Page 1

January 2014 Vol. 9 Issue 10

International Academy 1020 E. Square Lake Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

The Overachiever January—New start, new semester, and New Year’s Resolutions

Staff Principal Ms. Lynne Gibson Associate Principal Mr. Christopher Smith Faculty Facilitator Ms. Sarah Clancy Editor-in-Chief Nancy Huang News Editors Jenna Wang & Rama-Armaghan K. Ahmad Features Editors Alayna Wang & Eleanor Khirallah Entertainment Editor Monali Desai & Alaina Valente Sports Editor Mahum Farooqui Perspectives Editor Vedha Ghanta Back Page Editor Tami Lacasse Contributors Abrar Quazi Omar Iliyas Divya Goel Emily Moll Rana-Armaghan K. Ahmed

In this issue...

News………………………….…..3 Secret of Snow Days..……...5

Movie Flops...…...….…...……7 Sports……….....…..…............9 Celebrating Heritage…...…10 January…….........Back Page

Cover Design Photo from

January 2014


Polar Vortex brings record low temperatures by ABRAR QUAZI

fines the Polar Vortex as a, It looks like the White Witch “circulation of strong, upper -level winds that normally from Narnia had cast her magic all over the Midwest surround the northern pole in a counterclockwise direcin the month of January. tion -- a polar low-pressure The wintery bliss affected system”. over 26 states, and even the usually lucky Floridians experienced the 30s during How dangerous is it? the first week of the month. A polar vortex is not a sinThe sound of the cheerful gle storm, but in fact a mulstudents echoed all over tiple of storms. The storms the Midwest as schools bring in cold winds that called in for cancellation, which extended the already make the temperature feel lower than it already is. long winter break. These low temperatures can freeze flesh in five While most of you might have been sitting home and minutes, causing many relaxing, the vortex was not people to be diagnosed all fun and games. Wintery with dangerous forms of chills and lows of up to -62F frost bite. Road conditions temperatures, made every- all over the Midwest were day life harder. These tem- terrible, with traffic conditions backed up for hours. peratures haven’t been seen for decades, and have Air traffic didn’t fare well eiset new records. In order to ther, with up to 3,500 flights fully understand what the Midwest has faced through, let’s answer some of these questions. What is a Polar Vortex? Imagine a hurricane. Now imagine it during the dead middle of winter with lots of snow. That’s basically what a polar vortex is. CNN de-

Skyline view of Chicago engulfed in a polar vortex Image credit: files/2014/01/polar_vortex_chicago.jpg

being cancelled on January 6. How Frequently Does This Occur? Polar Vortexes cause many cold air outbreaks or otherwise known as “cold snaps”. Cold snaps occur multiple times in a year. Scientists say that cold snaps can occur more frequently than ever before as a factor of global warming. Global warming is known to have caused bizarre weather conditions, an example being distortion of the jet stream which causes hot summers and cold winters. Bracing yourself for Future Polar Vortexes As this harsh winter passes, it is important that you wear proper winter clothing. A good coat, hat and gloves are all necessary. The month of January is expected to have many cold snaps, and during those times it is better to stay inside if possible.



The Overachiever


Shooting at Purdue by OMAR ILYAS It had been another normal day at Purdue University when Andrew Boldt was shot and killed by a gunman. Boldt, a 21-year-old student and teaching assistant, suffered both knife and gunshot wounds when he was fatally attacked around 12:30 PM, Tuesday in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering building. When police arrived to the scene after being updated on the situation, they found the aggravator, fellow student Cody Cousins, sitting on the ground with his hands behind his head as if he was waiting to be caught. In addition, his hands and clothes were stained with blood. What officials found confusing was that Cousins did not attempt to run away or deny that he had anything to do with the dead body that laid by his feet. Authorities are stumped to as why the defendant “turned himself in”.

the gunman, believe that the suspect seemed to have only one target in mind—killing only Andrew Boldt. The city police officer that arrested the gunman says, “This individual seemed to have had intentions for the decedent.”

student at Purdue University, he had no apparent connections with his fellow student, Andrew Boldt.

During his 10 minute hearing, Cousins sat composedly with his hands in his lap and answered quietly with an occasional “yes” or “no” when the magistrate asked him questions and explained that he could receive a maximum of 65 years in prison if he was convicted. His family attended the hearing and expressed shock that Connor would do Cops arriving to the scene of the such a thing. Cousin’s court shooting. trial has tentatively been set for April 22. Image credit: HT_purdue_shooting_jef_140121_16x9_992.jpg

As for the defendant’s family and friends, they are all confused on why he killed Boldt. Boldt, according to them, was a straight-A student with a good social life. He had many friends, and even a girlfriend. However, this was in high school. During his life at Purdue University, many classAnother noteworthy part mates described him as a rude of this investigation is that, unindividual, and his professors like in most shootings, the gunstate that he was very “intense” man did not kill himself or kill a and “aggressive” about his prolarge group of people, which jects. Furthermore, he tended to leads police to wonder if the believe that he was always right, gunman had a personal grudge and would get very confrontational against the victim. Many officers, during debates. However, altincluding the one that arrested hough Cousins was not the nicest

Meanwhile, Andrew Boldt’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in his hometown of West Bend, Wisconsin. The funeral is open to all of his friends and family, as well as local residents. However, Pastor Nathon Reesman says that Boldt’s family members continue to request that their privacy be respected, and he asks that the media do not attend the visitation and the funeral.


January 2014

The Secret of Snow Days by DIVYA GOEL

If there’s one way most of us will remember January 2014, it’ll be as the month of incredibly well-timed snow days. As someone who has experienced snow days that were always on important days during the middle of the week, I think that the three snow days added neatly to the end of winter break. There’s only one issue: after a while, snow days can seem boring. When I first heard that particular complaint, I was utterly confused. After all, these are occasions that make us sacrifice a good deal of sanity, from placing silverware under pillows

to walking around in inside-out clothing to constantly refreshing Bloomfield Hills Schools’ tweets. Once I thought about it, though, I realized that this boredom actually made sense. When snow days go from being single days to triple blocks of no school, the initial excitement starts to dull. The first snow day is great. It’s the perfect day for procrastination. The second one starts off being nice, but as the day drags on, the roads are too icy to leave the house. Even worse, you have

watched everything on Netflix. By the end of the day, you find yourself wishing for a way out of the prison your home has become. The third day presents a bit of a challenge. However, during our three snow days, the third one was the day I found the secret to snow days. I started by desperately trying to find new hobbies to keep myself entertained. But then I thought about what I was recently lacking in my life, and that’s when I found the answer— sleep. The secret to snow days is just to sleep.

Tips for Going Green!


Every issue, The Overachiever will be sharing a new idea to help you live an ecofriendly life. Keep an eye out for more tips in future issues.

Tip for Month: When getting coffee from a coffee shop, start taking a reusable thermos or travel mug. Many places, such as Starbucks and Tim Hortons, will give discounts for bringing in reusable mugs, plus you won’t be using disposable cups that typically aren’t recyclable.

6 Features

The Overachiever

So Many Snow Days, Too Much Time by ELEANOR KHIRALLAH

One stereotype of IA is that all of its students love learning 24/7. Yet when Michigan was swallowed by the “Polar Vortex,” IA students were among the thousands of Michigan students begging for a snow day. My whole twitter timeline was blown up with tweets praying for enough snow to close, and once we got that second snow day, the tweets became more desperate than ever for a third. As you all know, IA ended up getting three snow days, but other schools in the area got five or more. Having a day off of school is great, but what are you supposed to do when temperatures are dangerously cold and there are ten inches of snow on the ground? Many times, there are certain expectations for what you're going to do with that time off. However, those plans typically don't actually end up happening. I thought I would go out with friends or finish some CAS journals, but instead I ended up on my couch watching Game of Thrones. Sure, I started a new TV series, but I could have done something much more productive, maybe even social. Alex Kalabat, a junior, agreed. She said, “I tell myself I want to be

productive, but I end up in my bed watching Gossip Girl.” So, what are some fun things IA students can do during snow days? There are many options, and it all depends on the person. For me, “fun” activities do not include doing ACT practice tests or looking ahead at the next chem chapter, but for someone else, those things could possibly be enjoyable. When asked about what she does on snow days, senior Alexa Volpe said, “Usually when I have a snow day, I'll hang out with my friends and we'll either go to one of our houses or go out. I mainly hang out with my friends and family to get in touch with, since I don't get much time throughout the week.” Using the time off from a hectic school schedule to spend some time with people close to you is definitely something to consider during a snow day. Dylan DeWald, a junior, used the recent snow days to do exactly this. He said, “I was able to have several relaxing evenings with my friends, which was a great way to spend my extended break.”

Another good idea for the snow day: relaxation, a concept sometimes foreign to the majority of IA students. With the amount of school work and extracurricular activities an IA student has, it's hard to even think about loosening up. Snow days offer the perfect opportunity for relaxing. Junior Lauren Ward used her snow days to get some much needed downtime. “They were a really relaxing days,” said Ward, “I took casual naps and watched Netflix, which was a perfect way to end our break.” These are just some of the many things someone can do on a snow day. If you are a typical Michigander, you could feel like you are supposed to do some outdoorsy activities such as sledding or ice-skating (which I definitely don't recommend on days when the wind chill is -15 degrees like our last snow days). If the roads aren't too bad, you can gather up a bunch of your friends and have a huge snowball fight. You could maybe even spend way too much time taking pictures of your snow covered suburb for Instagram. It's all up to you, but know that there are countless things to do.

8 Entertainment

The Overachiever

The Biggest Movies that Flopped in 2013 their last success a few decJanuary is a month meant ades ago. The second biggest flop

for setting goals for the coming


Potter, movie studios are eager to milk the cash cow known as young adult book to movie ad-

year, such as finally getting in

of the year was After Earth.

shape and dieting. It’s also a

This one isn’t as much of a

month for reflecting on why you

shocker as The Lone Ranger,

quit your goals of getting in

as the movie is criticized for

shape and dieting last year in February. As Hollywood execu-

everything, from Jaden Smith’s stantial fan base succeeds. less than stellar acting to the

tives are rolling around in the

perceived Scientology themes.

piles of money they made last

Will Smith’s most recent at-

year, they’re also lamenting the

tempt to shoehorn his son into

fact that there isn’t more money

the film industry has proved to

in the pile. 2013 was a year of

be a failure, to no one’s sur-

huge successes for Hollywood,


The Lone Ranger, along with

Movies flop every year at the box office, but this year

many other movies, are a damp- has shown a surprising large er on the film industry.

number of young adult movies failing. With the blockbuster

The biggest box office disappointment of the year was

studios are finding out the hard way, not every movie that has its roots in a novel with a sub-

Take Ender’s Game for example. This highly anticipated movie adapted from the 1985 novel with the same name was thought to be a box office success. While lauded by critics,

with movies such as Iron Man 3 and Monsters University, but

aptations. However, as movie

this movie grossly underperformed at the box office, as it seems that people do not want to see movies about child-spacewarriors battling bug-like aliens.

franchises of The Hunger

Games, Twilight, and Harry

by far The Lone Ranger. With losses thought to be at least $160 million, The Lone Ranger wasn’t met with much praise. Starring Johnny Depp and with a story reminiscent of the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean, this movie should have been an easy moneymaker, but it’s clear now that western movies had

2013 was a year of many box-office failures for Hollywood.

The Lone Ranger was the biggest flop of 2013. Image: http:// __cb20131123185031/disney/images/ c/c0/The_lone_ranger.jpg

8 Entertainment

The Overachiever

2014 WINTER OLYMPICS by ALAINA VALENTE Four years ago, families all

Team USA will be competing

over the world gathered around their

in the luge, curling, bobsled, figure skat-

television and proudly watched as their

ing, speed skating, short track speed

nation’s Olympic team walked through

sia. Some of the US athletes that are expected to place very high included, Charlie

the station at the opening ceremony for

White and Meryl Davis, Shaun White and Apo-

the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in

lo Ohno. Figure Skaters, White and Davis,

Vancouver Canada. Many dreams were

competed in the Vancouver games and took

made, many were broken. Yet every

home a silver medal. Going into the Sochi

competitor’s life was changed. Now,

again for Team USA to gear up for the

N.d. Photograph. 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Just Another Weblog. WordPress, 29 Nov. 2008. Web. 24 Jan. 2014.

next Olympic Games in Sochi Russia.

skating, skiing, snowboarding, skeleton,

This will be Russia’s very first time

ice hockey, and biathlon events. In the

hosting the games. The new stadium

Vancouver games, the US broke the

and Victors Village have been built

record for the most medals won by a

on February 7th, the time has come yet

team USA that got to pack their bags for Rus-

along the coast of the Black Sea, located nation in a single winter Olympic game. close to the ice arenas that have been

Canada, on the other hand, broke the

newly built just for this occasion.

record for the most gold medals won at any Winter Olympic game. Their Olympic team currently includes 11 returning medalists. Expected to be one of the best games in history, competitors have al-

games, they are one of the most predicted athletes to win gold in figure skating. Shaun White has won a total of two gold medals and has competed in the last two winter games. Shaun has high hopes for obtaining a third medal through his vigorous training and high dedication. Lastly, Apolo Ohno has already captured eight gold medals and is one of the best winter Olympians not only in the US, but in the world too. His standards have not been lower for Sochi. For whatever Sochi may bring, the US has prepared a team that intends to dominate. Weather you watched from your television, or stand in the stadium, remember to yell “Go

ready felt the pressure as they preformed Team USA!” in the qualifying rounds in order to adN.d. Photograph. Zimbio. Livingly Media, 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.

vance to the Olympics. Out of the estimated 313.9 million people living in the

January 2014

IA Athlete of the Month


There are many student athletes here at the IA. They are remarkable kids that have to juggle grades, sports, sleep, and social life. Sahil Sethi is one of those kids. He’s a kid of outstanding academics, but is also a member of the Junior Varsity track team at West Bloomfield High School. Today, we’ll ask him the secret to this success. Q: What inspired you to join the track team? A: I love running. Ever since was a child, running has been a way to clear my mind of tension and distress. I felt the opportunity to do track was like killing two birds with one stone. I got to do what I love and get recognition. Q: So did you have a good experience last year in track? A: Yes, track was a great experience. I got to stay connected with my home high school friends and compete with them. If it weren’t for track I would have less conditioned and not be able to be as stress-free. And I even made it to JV regionals. Q: How do you manage track with the IA workload? A: First, I enjoy myself at track and socialize with my friends. This is where I relieve any school -related stress. Then when I come home I get a quick snack, like a granola bar. After that, I go straight to my grandparent’s room and focus my mind solely on homework. I do homework that doesn’t require critical thinking

Sports first and then I focus on more difficult homework. Then I take a break and eat dinner. Then I watch some television for 30 minutes and finish my homework. Finally I get to sleep after a hard day of work. Q: How much free time do you have during the track season? A: Only that half hour. Q: That’s tough. Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep? A: Yeah, only on good days. Q: Thank you Sahil for your time and patience today. I hope you have a successful track season. A: I appreciate it.

Winter Olympics are here! by MAHUM FAROOQUI Possibly the biggest sporting event that will happen this winter, along with the Superbowl, is the Winter Olympics. The year is 2014 and now, after four years, the Winter Olympics are finally happening! This year, the Winter Olympics will happen in Sochi, Russia and will start February 7th and run through February 23rd. Less than two weeks to go! The featured sports include Biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, alpine skiing, ski jumping, and snowboarding. There are 88 total na-

tions involved in these Olympics with 2500 plus athletes participating. The events will be held in two different venues; one is the Sochi Olympic park, which is the coastal cluster, and the second is the Krasnaya Polyana, which is the mountain cluster. There have also been many changes in these particular Olympic games compared to the previous ones. Temperature might be one of them. The seaside city of Sochi is subtropical, with daily high temperatures around 50 F, and even though the Alpine events will be held on mountains that are miles away from Sochi, the developers are worried that rain and high temperatures will wash out the snow from the Games. in addition, security is a major concern for US officials as the Sochi games approach. Concerns over attacks during the Olympics have been raised, since many rebel groups for war torn regions in Northern Russia vow to attack during the games. This prompted higher security measures to be taken. Nonetheless, the excitement that these Olympics will bring will not be stopped no matter what the circumstances. On the slopes or in the rink, these events will be a thrill for us all.

Sochi Olympic Park, Sochi, Russia


December 2013



Celebrating Heritage by NANCY HUANG would be the same age difference. I’m going to miss having the kind of liberty that comes with being a kid, too, to be honest. Another reason this year is special is because my birthday falls on Chinese New Year. This has never happened before, as far as I’m aware, so my parents are making a big deal Image from out of it, requesting that I throw profile/Gabriella814?xg_source=activity a party and decorate my house and send out invitations. It’s the In sophomore year, my friends and I were trying to throw first birthday party I’ve ever a surprise, at-school, spontane- thrown, and probably the last, ous birthday party for our friend too, seeing as I’m going off to Anne. We drove out to Pizza Hut college soon. for a pizza, and then to CVS The thing is, I’ve always, Pharmacy to buy something to always embraced changes and light the candles. the responsibilities that come I picked out a really pretty Zippo lighter, pink and blue, and was about to purchase it when the clerk asked for identification. As it turns out, as long as we were not eighteen, we were not allowed to buy lighters. So we ditched the Zippo and went with matches instead.

eighteen is just another milestone, like sixteen and thirteen. Not one of those in-between ages like fifteen and seventeen. I kind of like hanging on the in-between. My parents would call this “running away from responsibilities”, or “avoiding adult things”.

Of course, there’s also the issue of CNY. Somehow, the universe has granted me an eighteenth birthday on the exact same day as Chinese New Year. If there’s any cultural or symbolic significance here, I’m probably missing out on it. My sister thinks it’s only a coincidence. My brother thinks the universe is trying to tell me to reconnect with my heritage— with growing older. It always which means eating as much helped me to think of it as grow- Chinese food as humanly possiing older, and not growing up. ble. My friend Jen told me that just because I would turn eighteen didn’t mean that I would be eighteen, and there’s some truth to that.

Thinking about my party My eighteenth birthday is just makes me anxious. I, like many others, have always assocoming up, and with it, a lot of ciated the idea of turning eight- Image from I don’t really want to new-year-friday-january-31-2014/ een with becoming an adult. change. One of the greatest things about being seventeen is How is that the norm? Well, I’ll be able to vote. I’ll be able to that you could date a 14-yearpurchase a lighter from CVS old or a 20-year-old, and it pharmacy. But other than that,

December 2013



Resolution: Yoga by NANCY HUANG I looked up the most common resolutions for teens, and most of them fell under these three categories: Get fit, get smart and get happy. Sure, one could spend hours on an elliptical, teach themselves a foreign language on the side and volunteer at an animal shelter to accomplish all of these goals. But let's be real: None of us have time for all of that that among the history tests, lab reports and general melodrama occupying our lives. We need a one-stop solution to all of our issues. My solution? Yoga. Yoga is not simply lowintensity exercise for mothers and middle-aged women. Yoga is multitasking at it's finest. Let me elaborate. Yoga is going to help you get fit. There's no denying that yoga is awesome exercise. I think that thanks to yoga, I've gotten stronger in the most painless way possible. The thought of going to the gym and work each muscle separately on some metal contraption makes me want to hide from the world in my bed and eat cookies under the covers. With yoga, I can work all of those muscles simultaneously, while also getting cardio exercise and relaxation. I like running, but it can get a bit tedious. Yoga never gets boring and I can customize it to how I'm feeling that day. If I want to work really hard and get strong --

I can do a flow full of utkatasana (yoga chair pose -kind of like a squat),paripurna navasana (a super-charged squat) and chaturanga dandasana (basically a really prolonged pushup/plank). If I want to work up a sweat and detox, I can go to hot yoga. If I don't want to do any physical activity at all I can just hang out in pigeon pose (it's better than nothing). More importantly, yoga changes your mind as well as your body. Yoga teaches mindfulness and appreciation for everything that the body can do. The yoga philosophy also promotes respect for animals and the environment. Since I started yoga, I try to be "vegan before dinnertime," which basically means that I don't eat any meat or dairy during the day, and then eat whatever I want at night. After making yoga a part of your routine, you'll be much less likely to spend money at the vending machine on Hot Cheetos. Yoga is going to help you succeed in school. In yoga, I've learned how to take control of my breath. You're probably thinking -what kind of B.S. is that? I am a procrastinator. I get tired and distracted... and suddenly find myself taking personality quizzes on Buzzfeed for hours on end. Yoga has helped me with my procrastination problem. Doing a few sun salutations and breathing

exercises can sometimes get me back on track. Sometimes, I get stressed about studying. I'm all "I don't even have time to wash my hair, let alone exercise." A few sun salutations later, the stress has simmered down, and I've only used up five minutes of study time. I've noticed that ever since I've implemented these techniques in my schoolwork, I've had less catastrophic "it's 1 a.m. and I'm still on paragraph two of my paper and it's due tomorrow morning" moments. It all sounds like hocus-pocus until you try it.Yoga is going to make you happier, better person. One of the yamas of yoga is ahimsa, or non-harming to oneself or others. If you get caught up in a bunch of drama, if you failed a biology test or the "haters are getting you down" -instead of starting a rumor, giving up on school or doing something idiotic, you can let go of all of your negative feelings through yoga. If someone that you care about is having a tough time, you can send them positive energy through meditation. It sounds stupid, but I think that the act of focusing really hard and thinking kind thoughts can help you actually find a concrete way to help those around you. Yoga is going to make you feel better, get good second semester grades and help you manage your anger, so why not give yoga a try in 2014?

The Back Page Everything else you could want in the news. by Emily Moll January was probably the shortest month of the school year, besides August and June of course, because of all the snow days that we had. Holiday break ended up being 3 days longer, and then this past week there was a snow day on Friday. The snow days were a great way to end and begin the semester. On the last day of the semester, the sophomore class threw an End of Semester Party which was attended by all grades. The rumor was that second semester of senior year was easier, and so far, I can agree that my course load is less. Seniors who have IB Exam Prep 1st hour have the chance to come in late and those who have the 4th hour can leave early. This gives seniors a chance to begin studying for their IB Exams in May. This month, the sophomores presented their MYP Projects and they were AMAZING! Each student learned about a topic that they found interesting. One student learned how to cut some one's hair and even cut Mr. Pagnani's hair during the fair! January was a crazy month for all grades, but also one of the best and hopefully February will be better!

Puzzle of the Month


January 2014 Overachiever  

International Academy Student Newspaper January 2014 Overachiever

January 2014 Overachiever  

International Academy Student Newspaper January 2014 Overachiever