March 2011 Vol. 27 No. 5
CLASSIC Townsend Harris High School at Queens College
by Margaret Jia and Yuval Solomon Audience members traveled around the world on the night of March 10 as they watched over 400 dancers, singers, and actors perform in the annual Festival of Nations (FON). The 22 performances displayed the cultural diversity of Townsend Harris. Acts included songs from Classical Languages teacher Marianthe Colakis’ Latin classes, an Indian dandiya routine from the student group “Chamkudi Re,” and a Filipino routine from “Flip and Funky Fresh.” The evening ended with a sing-along to Katy Perry’s song “Firework.” Spanish teacher Beatriz Ezquerra, this year’s FON coordinator, worked with co-presidents Aiya Aboubakr and Aquib Yacoob, both seniors, to put the event together. “I had the chance of attending practically all rehearsals and I have seen how committed and enthusiastic students were to show their cultures and how proud they are to be able to present their traditions in our school,” said Ms. Ezquerra. “The Festival of Nations is not just a showcase of our school’s ethnic mosaic, but an appreciation and tolerance of such diversity,” said Aiya. “It was most fascinating to see students of contrasting cultures work together to teach one another their respective dances and celebrate their individuality.” Assistant Principal of Languages, Art, and Music Lisa Mars, who also helped organize the event, said, “It was wonderful to see students learning cultural expressions and teaching each other in a very respectful and dignified manner.”
Students from the Japanese classes perform Japanese Songs: Old and New at Festival of Nations on March 10.
She added, “Every year [FON] is different because there are different cultures [participating].” Two of the new cultures this year included Romanian and American. Many performers and audience members said
Administration mandates AP US History for juniors
by Rebecca Seidel The administration is requiring all juniors to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) United States History starting next year, citing statistics indicating student preparedness for the course, as well as a growing trend in AP enrollment nationwide. This decision has drawn mixed reactions from students – some vehemently oppose the idea – but Principal Kenneth Bonamo maintains that it’s in the students’ and the school’s best interests to mandate the course. “Similarly talented students in other schools are taking this class,” said Mr. Bonamo, adding that programs with more AP classes are becoming the norm for top college-bound students. “I want our school to be as competitive as possible.” Statistics from AP Potential, a service from the College Board, show that the top 75% of Harris students score in the top 20% nationwide on the PSAT. Past correlations between Harrisites’ PSAT scores and their AP US History scores suggest that a large portion of juniors have the potential to excel on the AP exam. continued on Page 3
FON ticket scalping
they enjoyed the event. Senior Brian Rivera performed in FON last year but was a spectator this year. “There was a lot more energy than usual,” he said. continued on Page 6
Japanese relief effort commences
by Ella Leviyeva and Genna Mastellone Following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan, students immediately began efforts to aid the affected region. COSA advisor Aleeza Widman held a committee meeting for Japanese relief on March 17. Students attended in order offer their support to the fundraising effort. “Everybody wants to do something, which is amazing but it needs to be more organized,” Ms.Widman said at the meeting. She continued, “It shouldn’t be divided by clubs; it should be a school event: our community helping another community.” The students at the meeting discussed fundraiser ideas such as collecting money in envelopes, wearing ribbons, holding bake sales, and making 1000 paper cranes. For each crane students make, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate two dollars to the Japanese relief effort. Junior Max Bachhuber said, “Considering I am running Harrisfest, the proceeds [of
Last In, First Out policy page 5
which] are being donated in their entirety to Japan, I believe our efforts will be very effective. Last year we collected a large amount, but any amount tends to go far in relief efforts.” Ms.Widman later stated, “The Consultative Council meeting pointed out that this should be done quickly because world tragedies happen almost every other week nowadays, so action should be taken in a timely manner.” Junior Kari Wei, a student in Principal Kenneth Bonamo’s Current Events class, said, “People think, ‘Well, Japan is a wealthy country and it doesn’t need outside financial help,’ but in retrospect, we are an equally wealthy country, but New Orleans required outside assistance as well after Hurricane Katrina.” Harris’s Red Cross Club is also participating in accumulating contributions. Club member and sophomore Androniqi Kurtezi said, “Volunteers will be going continued on Page 3
club feature page 8
Pecoraro on Millionaire page 9
photo by Demetra Panagiotopoulos
Festival of Nations showcases cultural diversity
The Classic March 2011
OPINION sound off!
Racing to the Top
A few weeks ago, our school entered the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, an annual high school competition organized by the White House. The winning school will host President Obama as its graduation speaker in June. When coming up with a concept for a video to go along with the application, we had no difficulty deciding to focus on the student body’s eagerness to take initiative in the community, bringing the Ephebic Oath to life. It may sound cliché, but recent events especially have proven the message of our video to be true. As soon as news broke about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the reaction was instant throughout the school: something needed to be done. Students immediately began planning ways they could help, flocking to the COSA office to share ideas. The speed with which students and faculty collaborated to put together a relief program was remarkable. Japan is halfway around the world, and it would be so easy to passively watch the destruction unfurl— to pity the people of Japan, but not figure out a way to collectively put together a relief effort. Yet the whole school got involved. This was precisely the theme of our video: students here have a true sense of efficacy, and it never wears out. As the creators of the video, we’re glad to see that the Ephebic Oath is still more than just words recited year after year. Watching students fold paper cranes on March 24 and in the following days– for each crane, two dollars will be put towards tsunami relief – we wished we could pick up our video cameras again. We filmed it, and you proved it: students here have a true sense of efficacy, and it never wears out. Rebecca Seidel , Editor-in-Chief Rupeshi Shah, News Editor
The Place of Advanced Placement
I am a veteran of AP United States History (APUSH). My classmates and I called ourselves veterans as we celebrated the end of a long, arduous journey. When we emerged from the library on the day of the AP exam, it felt like we had indeed fought a war – against time, against a crushing workload, against our own work habits and heavy eyelids. For seven months, we juggled nightly outlines in addition to other assignments and extracurricular commitments. We bonded over the experience, sharing a sense that we were enduring a grueling ordeal together. Whenever I mentioned my APUSH-induced stress to students in the Regents U.S. classes, there was a clear consensus: “You’re crazy. I don’t know why you would do that to yourself.” These students were lucky to be members of the class of 2011, because, beginning with the Class of 2013, all juniors will be forced to take APUSH, regardless of whether they feel prepared for it, have an interest in history, or wish to earn college credit in high school. The administration cites Harrisites’ outstanding performance on the PSAT as a reason for mandating this course and a sign that students will pass the exam. However, the PSAT and the APUSH exam are not even remotely the same. How well a student can master the concepts of algebra or recognize grammatical errors does not determine in the slightest how he will score on a test that relies heavily on memorization, regardless of what correlations may suggest. The use of this statistic is nothing more than the administration hoping to draw a parallel between two exams that have very little in common besides being standardized and administered by the College Board. I wonder: What is the school’s average score on the AP World History exam, the other which students are required to take? It seems to me that if it supported the administrators’ decision, they would be touting this statistic instead of PSAT scores. Another argument is that Townsend Harris is a competitive high school, and thus students should have no problem rising to the challenges presented. If the administrators truly believe that junior year is not pushing most students to their limits as it is, I encourage them to attempt to master two languages, learn physics and math, read countless textbooks and novels, run multiple miles on a regular basis, participate in clubs and teams, and serve the community tenth months straight. I am sure that they would find themselves just as stressed and sleep-deprived as most students, even those enrolled in regular U.S. history, already are. What will become of students who are already struggling with this workload? What of those who are doing poorly in Regents level history? An accelerated class in a subject that requires hours upon hours of studying to perform well in could easily damage the academic success of these students. Another, and, I suspect, the greatest motivation for mandating APUSH is the growing trend of AP classes across the country. It is understandable that the administration wants Townsend Harris to remain competitive, but at what cost? I personally believe that the well-being and mental health of students are too high a price for an increase in national ranking. I would have hoped that the administration shared this view. But if the school feels that AP courses are absolutely necessary to maintain standing and that doing so is crucial, why mandate APUSH, out of all options? AP English is much more suitable for a school centered on the humanities, and can much better accommodate a student body with a wide distribution of talents, as opposed to APUSH, which caters only to those with good memorization skills. One may make the argument that the Humanities Colloquium, which all seniors take, is the equivalent of this class. However, despite what the administration may like to believe, Humanities is not a widely accepted substitute for AP English. Additionally, if this were the case, why would the school offer AP English at all? If students know that they must take APUSH, a very intensive class, during junior year, they will be less likely to sign up for additional AP courses in their areas of interest out of fear of taking on too much. It sickens me to see administrators prioritize the school’s standing over students’ true best interests. I vehemently urge them to rethink this change. If they will not, I call upon underclassmen and their parents to oppose this decision. Freshmen, sophomores, there can be no school without a student body, and it is your duty to leave your school not any less, but rather greater, than you found it.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF NEWS EDITOR FEATURE EDITOR COPY EDITOR SPORTS EDITOR A & E EDITOR ADMINISTRATIVE EDITOR PUBLIC EDITOR PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR ART EDITOR
Rebecca Seidel Rupeshi Shah Hayley Desmond Tracey Wang Ben Horowitz Freddy Millán Jr. Lory Martinez Frank Corazza Karen Rose Kim Richie Bonilla
ADVISOR Caroline Cross PRINCIPAL Kenneth Bonamo Townsend Harris High School 149-11 Melbourne Avenue Flushing, NY 11367
We always welcome opinions. Email letters to the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hayley Desmond, feature editor
The Classic is an open forum for the expression of student views. The opinions expressed therein should not be taken to represent those of the administration or faculty, or of the student body as a whole.
Writing Staff: Indira Abiskaroon, Candace Burton, Suswana Chowdhury, Emma Court, Chandi Ghuman, Magdalena Grabos, Fran Horowitz, Margaret Jia, Abigail Koffler, Eunice Lau, Ella Leviyeva, Katherine Maradiaga, Genna Mastellone, Salma Mohamed, Catherine Moskos, Demetra Panagiotopoulos, Yuval Solomon, Geoffrey Yip, Jeffrey Young Sports Staff: Chris Artun, Grace Shin, Joshua Solomon Art Staff: Edward Farquharson, Alice Hung, Amy Wang Photography Staff: Indira Abiskaroon, Rebecca Chu, Briana Dracuga, Nicole Godreau, Samiha Khan, Misty Kim, Demetra Panagiotopoulos, Marissa Shieh, Yuval Solomon, Lyle Weston
news A thousand paper cranes and counting: Relief effort follows natural disaster in Japan
The Classic March 2011
continued from Page 1 War II in Japan. Firstly I would like to express around with envelopes to collect money. We my deepest gratitude for the Townsend Harris are using pictures as a preview of what they community for their concerns for my homeare donating to. The money raised will go toland and people.” wards the whole Red Cross organization.” “Many of you were concerned about our The American Red Cross has donated $10 sister school, Shimoda High School, which is million to the Japanese Red Cross Society and located in Shimoda City in Shizuoka Prefecis collecting donations in response to the enviture which is about 270 miles south of Sendai ronmental tragedy. City which was the most affected area,” she The earthquake hit the northeastern coast added. “They also experienced magnitudes 4-5 of Japan on earthquake and aftershocks, March 11, devasbut they did not have any maI would like to extend my jor damage, casualties or injutating natives and deepest gratitude for the ries according to Mr. Sakano, tourists alike. A subsequent tsuTownsend Harris commu- an English teacher at Shimoda nami with water nity for their concerns for my HS who visited THHS with levels rising to 33 students in March 2009.” homeland and people.” feet followed the Another major concern in -Mariko Sato-Berger, earthquake, as Japan is the failing nuclear reMusic and Japanese teacher actor plants in Fukushima. Aldid numerous aftershocks. With though the reactors were shut a death toll near down when the earthquake hit, 10,000 and rising, celebrities and schools have the cooling systems malfunctioned, leading to rushed to offer relief efforts. radiation leaks of increasing severity. As a reJapanese sophomore Takuya Fukui said, “I sult, citizens, citizens have been evacuated in know that a lot of countries are sending money the areas surrounding the plant, and the govand support to Japan, so I was happy about ernment has issued warnings about tap water that. When I found out that that my family was and agricultural products from the region. okay, I was not as scared.” Dr.Sato said, “The whole world is now Music and Japanese teacher Mariko Satolearning about the slowly evolving disaster, Berger, also a Japanese native, said, “It took especially the failure of the nuclear reactors in me a week to be able to discuss the great Fukushima Prefecture.” earthquake and tsunami which occurred in the With Japan’s state unstable and fuTohoku Region in Japan on March 11, which ture uncertain, Townsend Harris consome say is the worst disaster since World tinues to raise awareness and support.
“Green Day” informs about global warming
by Rebecca Seidel On the Spirit Week calendar, March 17 was designated as “Lucky Green Day.” It had something to do with the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day, nothing to do with the rock band, and everything to do with global warming. Two assemblies during a double third band featured a multimedia presentation by Vernard Williams, a representative of the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE). The mission of ACE, according to its website, is to “educate high school students on the science behind climate change and inspire them to take action to curb the causes of global warming.” Mr. Williams spoke in time with a fast-paced animated video, covering the basics of global warming and discussing what students can do to fix the problem. “The presentation was fun,” said senior Victoria Tu, “and I think that was good because it caught the attention of a lot of people who probably would have never paid attention otherwise.” Mr. Williams, a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and longtime environmental advocate, stayed behind to talk to some students after the assembly. During lunch bands, many students signed a banner pledging to “Do One Thing” to save the environment. Students for the Preservation of the Earth (SPE) collaborated with ACE to put together the program. “For ‘Green Day,’ SPE worked with ACE by sending in detailed information about the past and recent projects that the school has done to raise environmental awareness and to help the environment,” said junior Hemali Shah, president of the club. Fellow junior Joanna Yeung, secretary and treasurer of SPE, added, “The ACE assembly was great for the school and a perfect stepping stone for SPE to make Townsend Harris into a more environmental friendly community.”
All rising juniors to take AP US History next year forced to take it might handle the work. Nevertheless, some rising juniors It’s not a class that you take to just take. are worried about the workload that It’s something you have to put all your comes along with the class – which is effort into voluntarily.” a reason that a majority of students in She added, “I don’t know if the adpast years have opted to take Regents- ministration is expecting good results level US History rather than the AP from this, because most of the students class. don’t have the motivation to do some“Junior year has enough stress as it thing they are forced into doing.” is; this is just going to add to it,” said In response to the argument that Merin Varghese, sophomore. some students would rather choose Maureen Lonergan, currently the the Regents-level course, Assistant only AP US Principal of HuHistory teach- I think all students are capable, manities Susan er, is skeptibut it’s a matter of if they’re Getting pointed cal about the willing to do the work.” out that much change. “It’s -Maureen Lonergan, of the content always worked is similar in the US History teacher well when stutwo classes. dents chose “They’re going the class,” she said. “I think all stu- to have to do the same kinds of critidents are capable, but it’s a matter of if cal thinking in a regular US History they’re willing to do the work.” class [as they would in an AP class],” She added, “Even in my Regents she said. class, there are some students who are She added that as of next year, struggling,” noting that “most students “the AP US History course and test have an aptitude in math and science are changing,” as is AP World History. – those two tend to go together – or hu- According to Ms. Getting, the College manities.” Board is trying to drive the test’s emSome juniors who are now enrolled phasis away from the multiple-choice in the AP US History class shared Ms. section, making the class and test more Lonergan’s doubts. analytical. “For those students who do not “Kids who are taught well will do have a particular aptitude in history, well on this exam,” said Mr. Bonamo. APUSH might prove to be too difficult, Junior AP US student Liudi Yang as the exam itself requires much mem- supports the administration’s move. orization,” said junior AP US student “The freshmen and sophomores have Emily George. already experienced AP World, and AP Junior Heidi Chang, who is also an US is just a step up,” she said. “It will AP US student, said, “I’m a little wor- certainly catch the eyes of colleges. We ried about how the students who are work hard, but I actually feel like I’m continued from Page 1
learning something.” convinced that the change is in their All students are introduced to AP- best academic interest. level work in freshman year – the AP “It’s not that big of a deal to me beWorld History class is already man- cause I was going to take the class anydatory. One reason for requiring AP way, but it’s not fair to some other kids history rather than other AP classes is who weren’t planning on taking it,” that Townsend Harris is a humanities- said sophomore Laura O’Shea. “If a focused school. All Harrisites enroll student excels in the class, it can make in college-level English – Humanities them much more desirable to colleges, Seminar – in senior year. but if the class is too hard, it can bring Another reason is practicality: AP their whole average down.” US History sections will replace secSophomore John Indergaard had tions of Regents-level history courses, a different view. “I never thought AP so teachers won’t have to take on extra World was that hard, and I like that classes. we’ll be taking AP US,” he said. “I AP US History is the most com- especially like that it will boost our monly taken AP test nationwide. As grades, since it counts as a ten percent college admissions grow increasingly higher grade.” competitive, Mr. Bonamo said that it’s Heidi said, “I think the new policy sensible to expect students to enroll in was implemented with good intentions. “at least one AP course, especially in We want our students to have the most junior year” to boost their academic challenging classes in preparation for standing in an applicant pool. college. But APUSH is a lot of work, “They’re in a no-lose situation,” and it should only be given to those he said, exwho want it.” Kids who are taught well plaining that Since 2005, there AP grades will do well on this exam.” have usually been two or -Kenneth Bonamo, three sections of AP US don’t appear Principal History, according to Mr. on students’ transcripts Bonamo. Each of those like Regents scores do. Additionally, years, the average AP exam grade was he noted that students don’t have to list above a 4. The one year there were four AP exam scores on college applications sections of AP US, the average grade if they don’t want to – but the presence was a 3.7. The grades and predictions of an AP class on one’s program looks show that students most students will good to colleges regardless. score above the national average. But As the principal, he added, he must the outcome of this change on students’ ask himself this question: “What are performance in class remains to be the trends, and how can we help our seen. kids meet these expectations?” “I hold my breath and wait to see Some sophomores remain to be what happens,” said Ms. Lonergan.
The Classic March 2011
Seniors show prowess at science research competition by Freddy Millán Jr. content with our school’s high performance in this Four seniors placed in the physics, chemistry, and competition. Research has always been my passion, biology categories at the New York City Metropolitan and I hope that this accomplishment will bring me a Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) step further towards my research goals.” on March 13. Ten students from the Science JSHS is a competition in which students compete Research program presented research findings at the for scholarships and recognition by presenting competition. original research projects in front of a panel of judges Michael Lee and and a group of their peers. It Research has always been my Kevin Most came in first is held in various states on passion, and I hope that this and third, respectively, various dates, leading up to in the physics category. a National JSHS. accomplishment will bring me For chemistry, Ishrat In addition to placing in a step further.” Ghani placed first. In their individual categories, -Ishrat Ghani, senior the biology category, Karishma and Ishrat also Karishma Ruparel came placed fourth and fifth, in first place. respectively, in the overall competition. This means “The competition was challenging, especially that they will be part of a five-member delegation with some difficult questions after the presentation from New York City attending the National JSHS in from the judges, but I was able to answer them San Diego, California. to the best of my ability,” said Ishrat. “I am very Karishma commented, “Competing at JSHS and
NYCSEF was a very rewarding and encouraging experience. It gives me hope that I can create a niche for myself in the scientific community.” Michael’s project involved the effect of length on polymer molecule crystallization. He said, “I was pretty surprised when I found out that I was first in the Physics category because I did not think my project was that good in comparison to some of the other projects.” For his project, Kevin developed an optical diode. He describes it as “a nano-structure deposited on glass that reflects or absorbs light in one direction to a larger extent than it does in the other direction.” Kevin added, “Even if I am not able to improve upon my optical diode design, someone else could easily read my paper and make their own improvements, which is how this whole process is supposed to work.”
Frenzy follows sellout of Festival of Nations tickets by Vanesa Martinez Desperation filled the days before Festival of Nations as people rushed to find tickets, buying them from student scalpers for inflated prices. “I need tickets,” said sophomore Jennifer Stroescu, “so I’m trying to find people who have them. I’m willing to pay whatever for FON tickets, because I really need one.” Scalpers took advantage of students such as Jennifer, raising prices as high as was possible. Freshman Jennifer Kim commented, “I know someone who bought one and sold it for double.” As FON drew nearer, desperation got higher, and offers for tickets increased as well. “Everyone is looking to buy. There are people selling for $20 or $30 to seniors. There were two seniors during lunch bands saying they were desperate, and buying for $20. Two girls were standing outside the lunch room holding a cardboard sign asking for tickets,”
according to freshman Aryana Corona. However, students such as sophomore Anila Some students, such as sophomore Shelley Thomas said, “I don’t like how people bought the Mitchell, are referring to the scalping as “supply and tickets and are selling them. At least don’t make a demand.” Michael Kaufman, a senior, smiled and profit.” said, “I wish I came up with that idea, because I want Irene Ching, sophomore, suggested using a larger to make money. Whoever auditorium so “more people I don’t like how people bought could come, and there would thought of that idea’s a genius.” Shaniza Nizan, the tickets and are selling them. be less scalping.” a sophomore, took her Others, including At least don’t make a profit.” time deciding her side on sophomore Annie Harrison -Anila Thomas, sophomore the issue. Eventually, she and juniors Jocelyn and decided, “To freshmen I’d Kimberly Hassel, believed sell them for $10; to seniors sell them for $5.” that FON should last two nights, which would Latin teacher Jonathan Owens found the positive hopefully lead to the decrease in the scalping of side of the situation. He said, “I think it’s great that tickets. there’s so much demand. I wish there was a way However, extending FON to two nights to offer more tickets. It says a lot about the THHS would require much more funding, in addition to community, being so energetic about embracing doubled strain on the student performers and show others’ ethnicities.” coordinators.
Robotics teams improve standings
photo courtesy of Priyanka Saha
by Lory Martinez games have so many random factors, that when we After six weeks of intense preparation, the started off we didn’t know how well we were going Robotics teams placed much higher than in previous to do,” he said. Laura O’Shea, captain of the Gold years at the US FIRST robotics competition held at HAuks, commented, “I knew we would do well, but the Jacob Javits Center on March 12 and 13. I didn’t expect to do that well.” The teams had six weeks from the day the US The Steel Hawks and the Gold HAuks (Au represents the atomic symbol for gold) took 11th and FIRST organizers declared the year’s game to create 14th place respectively. In addition, the girls’ team, functioning robots. Steel Hawks Coach and Robotics the Gold HAuks, won the Rookie Inspiration Award teacher, Philip Jones said, “It was very exciting… for their community outreach and efforts to recruit a lot of stress but it’s great, I like the engineering students to work in engineering. They also received challenge; to get something done that professionals wouldn’t get done in a six-week period, it’s the Highest Rookie incredible.” SeedAward for having The competition is the highest rookie the second largest in the standing according world as teams from all to Assistant Principal over come to show of Math, Science and off their work. Technology and Steel Gold HAuks team Hawks Coach, Susan member Priyanka Brustein. Saha said, “We “In spite of the spent countless late nights at school,and pressures of school many sleepless and life they have nights putting to face, they put in together our robots, an extraordinary and all I can say effort and this year; The Gold HAuks sport their goggles at the Jacob Javits center. is that it was definitely that effort was worth it. At the competition, we made numerous vindicated,” Ms. Brustein said. friends from other schools, countries even! This The competition hosted 66 teams in 88 qualifying experience was beyond phenomenal, and I’m sure rounds. Each team competed eight times over the none of us will ever forget it.” three day competition. During the qualifying rounds, This is Harris’s fourth year in the competition teams were placed in alliances of three in order to and the teams look forward to doing even better in compete and gain individual ranking points. the coming years. Senior Zachary Temkin, captain of the boys’ “I hope to go to nationals next year. I think we team, was chosen to lead the 8th alliance in the quarter can do it,” said Mr. Jones. final, while the girls were chosen to join another alliance. “We knew it was a possibility, but these
Week of Women brings attention to gender issues by Genna Mastellone Townsend Harris’ weeklong celebration of International Women’s Day, from March 7 to 11, shed light on issues like maternal health, reproductive rights, and the campaign to stop violence against women. Every year on March 8, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, a day devoted to honoring the achievements of women. The Amnesty International club brought International Women’s Day to Harris for the week. “Every 90 seconds, a woman dies because of pregnancy related complications. They die not because we can’t cure their diseases, but because society has yet to see a reason for them to live,” said senior Aquib Yacoob, president of Amnesty International. Amnesty hoped to call attention to the problem by dedicating a week to women’s rights. As students entered the building on March 8, they were handed blue ribbons that said, “Stop Violence Against Women.” Freshman Amnesty International member Victoria Mekhaelov said, “People were…reluctant to take the ribbon. It was a good idea to celebrate. History classes could have had presentations to better inform people.” On March 11, Amnesty International and Educate to Elevate hosted a film screening of Pink Saris, a movie that was shown at the London Film Festival.
Directed by Kim Loginotto, the documentary focuses on Sampat Pal Devi, a leader of the “Pink Gang,” who brings justice to the women of Uttar Pradesh, India. “It’s a great documentary that focuses on domestic violence and childhood marriage in India,” said senior Aquib Yacoob, president of Amnesty International. Senior Melina Iacovou said, “It’s amazing that one person could make such an impact and defy the expectations of society. You could tell that she didn’t care what everyone else thought of her. It was inspirational, but at the same time shows the injustice that is omnipresent in the world.” Sophomore Maria Ledesma voiced another opinion. “What bothers me is that women defend other women, but you never have one guy who speaks up for you, knowing that men usually have more power.” English teacher Robert Babstock, advisor of Amnesty International, said, “This is a non-controversial topic, something that everyone can embrace.” According to Glenda Stone on internationalwomensday.com, “IWD is now an official holiday in 26 countries. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.”
The Classic March 2011
State reviews policy on teacher seniority by Catherine Moskos The future of New York City public school teachers has been constantly rewritten and erased, like words smudged on a blackboard. On March 1, the New York State Senate passed a resolution designed to base New York City teacher layoffs on merit rather than seniority. However, since approval of the Assembly is also necessary, passage is unlikely. The new resolution aims to reform the current policy dubbed Last In, First Out (LIFO). LIFO bases teacher layoffs only on seniority. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been fighting to change LIFO. Recent reports state that the mayor wants to start laying off an estimated 4600 teachers in the coming weeks. He claims the layoffs are necessary because of cuts in state aid. French teacher and UFT representative Mariet E.R. D’Souza commented, “Why do we not hear about enthusiastic experienced teachers and about novice teachers who learn from more experienced colleagues?” Governor Andrew Cuomo thinks the layoffs are unnecessary; however, he does support a reformation of the teacher layoff policy. He plans to build on a new statewide teacher evaluation system that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), negotiated with the state last May. In an interview with WNYC Radio, English teacher Safia Jama Cross said, “I support the current seniority system. I really believe that teachers with a lot of experience have earned that privilege.” continued on Page 10
The Classic March 2011
by Geoffrey Yip Papers flapped in the wind, shouting echoed in the background, and readers projected their voices to be heard amongst the noise. Breaking with tradition, Phoenix Co-Editors-In-Chief Kelly Cordray and Brandon O’Shea made the last-minute decision to take February’s poetry reading outside onto the library patio. The location change proved to be a nuisance for the readers. Senior Sheryl Rivas complained of how the wind blew her hair in her face. Junior Nishat Hamid stopped in the middle of her poem to sit down, as her skirt fluttered in the wind. “I want to look at people’s facial expressions,” Nishat said, on how her hair obscured her vision due to the wind. “It wasn’t personal. I like the connection when I look at people. The papers flying, and the noise, and the airplanes... I just didn’t like the wind today. I do think that when it gets warmer though, we should go
outside.” Others enjoyed the different location. “Outside is more natural. Inside is stuffy and closed,” sophomore Denise Robles said. “It was warm [and] we’ve been too cooped up with storms. It also represents a kind of freedom which ties into the theme of the reading,” said Phoenix advisor and English teacher Rafal Olechowski. Aquib Yacoob, President of Amnesty International Club opened up the reading and introduced the theme: human dignity. “Let me give you guys some numbers. 963 million go to bed hungry every night, one billion people live in slums, 2.5 billion people have no access to basic sanitation services, and 20,000 children die as a result of this. These numbers aren’t set in stone. Just by coming here, you all are agents of change, and can bring an end to this. We’re here to make change. Thank you,” Aquib said. Members of the Amnesty
International Club were given complimentary admission to this event. Concerning the theme, Mr. Olechowski commented, “It was [the editors’] intuition. They know their community and I agree with them because it’s coinciding with [the revolution in] Egypt.” The reading also had its funny moments. Junior Max Bachhuber lightened the mood with comedic material, such as “How I Got These Abs” by Bob Owen Kirk. Brandon poked fun at the weather, saying, “We are out in this wind for a reason, this cult is outside here for a reason. The mothership will be coming down soon, if it weren’t for the weather.” Later when reading his own poem, he commented that he wanted to keep it real, at which point Mr. Olechowski yelled out, “You Apollo’s homeboy, go!” much to the embarrassment of those watching. Alumnus Deano Kritikos, ’10, who has attended every reading this year, said, “It’s
photo by Marissa Shieh
Phoenix poetry reading embraces human dignity, fresh air
Sophomore Fatima Uruci reads her poem on the library patio.
inviting. I think the kids here are more cultured than those at St. John’s. I like the environment here and believe it or not, I miss Townsend Harris.”
As always, snacks were served in the principal’s conference room after the reading.
Gujarati dancers twirl while performing a traditional dance with dandiya.
photo by Demetra Panagiotopoulos
Festival of Nations captivates audience
continued from Page 1 “When you’re in FON, everything is so hectic,” Brian added, “but when you’re in the audience, you don’t know what happening behind the stage. [Having been] in FON makes you appreciate it more.” Judith Suzuki, a sophomore who participated in both the Japanese and Chinese Ribbon dances, said, “It was very motivating to see the whole entire school embrace everybody’s culture.” Junior Esther Portyansky led the Hebrew class through a medley of traditional Hebrew songs. She said she was nervous at first but explained, “Once we started singing, I relaxed and enjoyed performing with my classmates. I think our entire class did a wonderful job!”
Today, I realized that I’ve learned more about English grammar in my Spanish and Latin classes than in my English class. MLIT. Last night, after numerous attempts to fall asleep by counting to 100, I gave up. Instead, I started reciting the four principle parts of Latin verbs for my test tomorrow. MLIT. Today, I was drinking water and out of curiosity checked the label for the ingredients. Thanks, Mr. Hanson. MLIT. Today, I was in the library reading Candide. Amused, I chuckled to myself. I was then kicked out for being too loud. MLIT. Today, I bruised my knee. I had walked into my friend’s SAT book. MLIT.
Egyptian revolution hits home by Emma Court Of the slew of protests in the Middle East and Northern Africa— many of them in countries foreign to the American tongue, like Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Jordan, and Oman—only the revolution in Egypt has captured a wholly modern idea: that the power of popular dissent and social networking can be harnessed to overthrow a dictator and bring democracy to a region that has seen little of it. The Egyptian people took to the streets in January of this year to protest three decades of autocratic rule by President Hosni Mubarak. The protesters were concentrated in Tahrir Square in Cairo, where they called for Mubarak’s resignation and clashed with riot police officers. In many cases the officers used tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons in an effort to subdue frenzied mobs of protesters; reports emerged of thousands being arrested and even more being beaten. Despite Mubarak’s efforts to quell the demonstrations, like imposing a curfew and shutting down Internet access nationwide, the revolution prevailed on February 11 when Mubarak resigned. When Townsend Harris senior Rana Abdelhamid first heard about the unrest in Egypt, she wanted to do something to support her fellow Egyptians. Along with fellow senior Anthony Barsamian and science teacher Philip Porzio, Rana put together a video that she hoped would encourage youth in Egypt to “keep fighting, realize that the people do have power and they will prevail.” The video features a song written by Anthony and Mr. Porzio, with the lyrics “here’s to the hope, here’s to
the love, here’s to the strength that protests in autocratic countries. you have to endure… Oh Egypt, you Fellow junior Kari Wei noted that gotta stay strong.” Egypt is groundbreaking in that the Rana’s video also contains uprising used “technology and social messages (with Arabic subtitles) networking in a revolutionary, utterly from other students at Townsend 21st century way.” Harris, like “stay strong and stay But the students also discussed together,” “I support your fight for possible negative repercussions of independence,” and “power to the the triumph of the Egyptian people. people.” Kari pointed out I’m not Egyptian, that The day although after the video but on that day I felt Mubarak was a was uploaded to dictator, during like an Egyptian.” YouTube, Mubarak his reign Egypt -Leanna Narain, freshman. was a mediating stepped down, and Rana spoke influence in the at a rally held by Middle East. Egyptian-American groups outside Mubarak was also an American ally. the United Nations that celebrated Both Joshua and Kari feel that they the end of Mubarak’s reign. were able to take their understanding Freshman Leanna Narain, of forces in Egypt and apply it to their a fellow Amnesty International studies of AP United States History. member who attended the rally, said, Elsewhere in Townsend Harris, “I’m not Egyptian, but on that day I the Egyptian revolution seemed a felt like an Egyptian. It felt universal, less pressing issue. Junior Sunny more about humanity rather than Cho said that she had watched videos ethnicity or religion. The happiness about the issue during Amnesty was contagious. Even though they International meetings, but that most were speaking in Arabic you could students at the school “know more or tell how they felt.” less something’s going on in Egypt, Rana believes that Egypt but don’t know the extent of it.” achieving freedom is most Fellow junior Laurie Beckoff said she significant “for young activists, like knew the basics from watching the people in Amnesty International in news—that there was infringement this school. When we urge people on human rights, that there had to go to rallies, they question the been a chain reaction in the Middle effectiveness, because they don’t East—but said the topic hadn’t come think the government listens. But up in any of her classes. now… it shows we don’t have to use Most of the students interviewed aggression to get our way. We just hadn’t learned about Egypt in class had to spread the message.” (with the exception of Mr. Bonamo’s Principal Kenneth Bonamo’s Current Events class), not even Current Events class also discussed history classes. Yet Kari said, “Every the developments. Junior Joshua moment is history. We’re living Solomon says that the class was through the Egyptian revolution able to predict the outcomes in the as it’s happening, which is pretty Middle East, notably that Egypt cool.” would start a chain reaction of
Ongoing upheaval of Libyan regime inspires students by Eunice Lau In a controversial move, the United Nations Security Council recently voted to authorize military intervention in Libya, where clashes between rebels and the regime in power have led to great bloodshed. The movement began to gain momentum on February 17, when Libyan rebels, consisting of mainly youths, gathered in Benghazi’s main square while some marched the streets of Libya. They held signs and flags and asked the government to step down and make way for a more democratic form of rule. Unfortunately, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, the ruler of Libya, sent soldiers to stop ted he peaceful protests. Violence quickly escalated between the two groups. Rebels gained control of the eastern city of Benghazi, and fight continues for other strategic cities. More than a month after the initial protests, coverage of the events in Libya on several websites such as Twitter, BBC News, and Al Jazeera parallels the widespread information on the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions. Some have accused the mainstream media in the United States of broadcasting limited coverage of the events on not only the Libyan revolution, but also the Middle East uprisings as a whole. “I don’t believe that the media is providing enough information,” senior Shanet Rampersaud said. She went on to say that she “get[s] most of the interesting and ‘inside’ information from [her] economics class.” Sophomore Judy Wang had a similar opinion concerning media coverage of the region. “I know many people who are still ignorant of the turmoil in the Middle East,” she said. Dina Chowdhury, senior, offered an explanation for the lack of information on the Middle East, saying, “It is a dangerous time for anyone to be out there.” During the month of February, the Libyan government and rebels fought for control of cities and towns within the country. Troops bombed towns and fired five-inch bullets at civilians. On March 17, the United Nations moved to physically stop the Libyan government. It ordered a no-fly zone to protect the rebels. In addition to the rapidly developing events in Libya, the Yemeni president fired the government amidst the mounting calls for him to step down. In Bahrain, beause of the current religious divide between the government and the people, citizens are demanding changes to the government. “As an interconnected and international society, we presently feel the impact regardless if we are on the one the opposite hemisphere from the Middle East,” Shanet commented. “The events in the Middle East encourage other parts of the world to fight for their freedom if their ruler is being unjust,” said Connie Huang, senior. Dina found the events inspiring as well. “I feel like with all these protests, the world is shifting,” she said. Connie continued, “The people fighting for their rights in Libya and Cairo have shown me that there’s hope that you can’t simply live in silence and accept what you don’t want.”
The Classic March 2011
On top of the world: March’s Top 5 events in world news in partnership with the Amnesty International club Aquib Yacoob, president
Revolutions in Middle East and North Africa continue Uprisings against autocratic regimes in countries such as Syria, Bahrain and Yemen have intensified, with hundreds killed and no signs of approaching resolution. See articles on this page. Japan’s radiation fear increases Anxiety continues to build over rising radiation levels in the water and air after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that decimated Japan on March 11. The series of natural disasters cut the supply of power to six nuclear power plants, leading to several leakages of radioactive gas, particularly from the facilities in the Fukushima Prefecture. The Japanese government has encouraged the “voluntary evacuation” of those living within a 12 to 19 mile radius of the plant, while the United States has suggested that no one stay within 50 miles. (see Page 1)
Threat of civil war lingers as growing humanitarian crisis unfolds in Ivory Coast The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast has concerns about what it views as an imminent civil war in the country. Recent violence, including the shelling of a local market that took the lives of 25 civilians, and a rapid buildup of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo’s military forces cause concern. Since the start of political turmoil in the country last November, the strife has resulted in the deaths of over 800 Ivorians, and the displacement of over 500,000. Gbaggo’s refusal to step down from office after losing last year’s election sparked this struggle. US pledges $200 million to fight drug trafficking and gang violence in Central America President Obama finished his tour of Latin America in El Salvador, where he announced the new Central America Citizens Security Partnership. This partnership with Columbia, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Spain, the European Union and various international financial institutions aims to empower Central American governments to reduce violence and drug trafficking and also to expand law enforcement and foster social and economic opportunities for citizens. The US has pledged $200 million towards this initiative. Italian Prime Minister on trial Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is due to appear in court on various charges, including corruption and paying an underage prostitute. The plaintiffs in one corruption case claim he falsely inflated the price for television rights, using the difference to fund his political campaign. Berlusconi has plead innocent in all cases.
The Classic March 2011
Ephebic Oath Project approaches finish line
by Lory Martinez The Ephebic Oath Project will conclude with a formal dedication ceremony on April 30 commemorating the 343 firefighters who passed away on 9/11. The ceremony, which will take place from 11 AM to 1 PM in the school l i b r a r y, “has been almost ten years in the making, beginning on the morning of September 13th, 2001, when we first reached out, in the spirit of the Ephebic Oath, to the FDNY, NYPD, PAPD, ESU and families impacted by the attacks on the World Trade Center,” said English teacher Helen Rizzuto, who leads the project. The ceremony will signify the completion of a permanent 9/11 memorial at Townsend Harris. It will include a memory book of letters and reflections written by students, an art book with over 150 panels, a yearbook of biographies of each firefighter, and mementos from the numerous fundraisers and events that have spread the project’s goal of keeping the Ephebic Oath alive in the Harris community.
The Ephebic Oath team of seniors as well as Ms. Rizzuto’s sophomore English classes will be hosting the ceremony, while Captain Alfredo Fuentes, a retired firefighter, will make the actual dedication. “We’ll be inviting firefighters from the local firehouse as well as the families of the firefighters who have joined us at the last several walks,” said team member Aquib Yacoob. In addition to speeches from team members and Captain Fuentes, there will be a formal color guard as well as a traditional bagpiper as part of the presentation of the memorial. “We hope that everyone will join us for the formal dedication ceremony,” said Ms. Rizzuto. “The first half will consist of the actual dedication, and after that, the families of the firefighters will remain behind for brunch and a chance to view the memorial case.” As the ceremony draws closer, team members who have worked on the project anticipate its completion. “Seeing the Ephebic Oath Project near its end is, without a doubt, a wonderful feeling,” said team member senior LaQuanique Lake. “It’s a joy to
see something that originally started out as just an idea actually materialize in the manner that you envisioned, and that’s what’s happening with this project. Though there’s still work to be done - piecing together the final components of the project - it’s a pleasure to see that the more difficult tasks have been or are in the process of becoming s u c c e s s f u l l y Student artwork is displayed in the Ephebic Oath calendar. completed.” Ms. Rizzuto extraordinary Ephebic Oath team for expressed how she felt about the the work they’ve done and the hundreds upcoming ceremony. “Endings and of hours and memories shared.” beginnings are often more shadow than Team member senior Alice Kim reality. The culmination of this project said, “It’s a tremendous feeling, one I means that the love and generosity of cannot communicate in words, knowing Townsend Harris students, staff, family that we’re finally paying tribute to those and friends will have created a final who have given so much to us, those resting place and memorial for our who have made the ultimate sacrifice 343 firefighters, a permanent archive to save our lives.” that will serve as its own eternal flame. I shall be forever grateful to my
Weight Training Club boosts physical fitness Hanson’s class comes to club because, as she says, “I miss the soreness.” Many of the students not only take the class and come every We d n e s d a y as a bonus, but also have signed up for gyms outside of school, putting Mr. Hanson’s motto of “weight training is a lifestyle” to good use. “ F o r beginners,” Mr. Hanson said, “club is fine to get Junior Klaudia Koziol exerts force on the leg press in the weight room at Weight Training Club. them started.” use it as a meal replacement for weight time. However, once one gets to a certain loss. Not everything in the club is that level of intensity, only exercise no Mr. Hanson supervises during serious. In fact, despite the sweat and longer enough. Some have even taken club, guiding students in performing grunting noises heard, the club has a on extra steps to control their diet like the exercises and motivating them. very light mood. Once, a member leg Timothy Trzaskalski, junior, who has Anyone who has had him yell at them pressed her partner and the commotion lost about 13% body fat since joining while working out can testify. Klaudia drew some laughs from nearby the class. Koziol was able to “do the rack,” a onlookers. Moreover, an exclusive group of term meaning continuous repetitions Many have tried to get the club mostly boys drinks protein shakes without rest, starting at a high weight extended to two days a week. After all, to further speed up the results. Mr. and decreasing by increments until club members will attest, it isn’t just a Hanson recommends the shakes for muscle failure, on the leg press starting class; it’s a way of life. muscle recovery, gaining muscle, or to at 360 pounds, decreasing by 90 each photo by Yuval Solomon
by Yuval Solomon Many consider Weight Training to be the “boot-camp” gym class of Townsend Harris. After finishing freshman gym, they refuse to endure the pain again. But for those who like the idea of getting into shape, working out or getting motivated, the weight training club is open to all on Wednesdays during enrichment. Led by physical education and health teacher Keith Hanson, the club offers an extra hour to focus on any exercises one would like. Students who have missed their Weight Training classes can also make them up at the club. As soon as students can get a hold of the equipment they can use it. An average of 20 to 30 students come by every Wednesday to work out. Unlike in Weight Training class, the club is allowed to focus on one body part if desired. For example, many of the boys in attendance opt for the chest exercises they are supposed to perform only once a week in class. Ariella Wagner, junior, said, “I come to work on abs because there isn’t room for an abs day in class.” Some of the members who show up consistently are the ones everyone expects: the “work-out-aholics” who are mostly juniors and some seniors. Many track members come, as well as wrestling team members during their seasons. However, even those that aren’t the typical Hanson protégées come to club. Tyler Hicks, who used to be in Mr.
The Classic March 2011
The Food Chronicles
Journey #3: Queens College Cuisine
By Joshua Solomon Signs have been materializing across the Queens College campus lately advertising about “Moo Bella,” an ice cream machine at the Q Café. This new “vending machine” is the sole saving grace of the otherwise lackluster food at Queens College. I made this discovery on a recent journey across the uncharted lands of Queens College. On the path between Townsend Harris’ Student Dining Hall and the famous Gino’s Pizzeria – sometimes thought to be the only place to get food nearby – there is actually an array of places to grab a decent bite. My adventure across the campus with junior Michael Benjamin, my food-critiquing companion, started before the February vacation. At this point, college students were on break and classes were limited while snow covered most of the benches. We walked around the perimeter of the campus, scouting out the numerous possible places to eat as we discussed topics ranging from future colleges to junior banquet. We had time to kill. Unfortunately, there was no food to be eaten. Every single place on campus was closed early for the duration of the break. First lesson of this journey: Queens College does not follow our high school hours. Therefore, part two of this adventure had to be delayed. Queens College Food Adventure 2.0 finally began a few weeks later, when we revisited the Q Café. In this pick-up-and-pay-after setup, there was pizza available. Let me use this analogy - school pizza: Gino’s:: QC cafe pizza: school pizza. Yes, this pizza made about as much sense as that analogy. Other, better choices included their semi-spicy/semi-delectable fried chicken sandwich which was, as Michael said, “…like when you go to McDonald’s.” Around the hall in the Q Café, the choices went on to include both Kosher and Halal stands. In addition, there was “The ONE Sushi,” which had unfortunately closed at 3:30, before we arrived. Next door, we stumbled upon the highlight of our adventure: Moo Bella. We found it in Q-Venience, a small store with a freezer stocked with microwave dinners as well as Queens College’s poor man’s version of Chipotle. Most importantly, though, there was a vending machine that if turned on its side would be close to the size of a cow. This machine allows you to put in a cup into a specified area and then select your flavor and toppings of choice on a touch screen. Then, with all the sounds of bells and whistles, makes your ice cream custom for you. The concept itself was enough to get me to check it out. Once I customized everything and the process was complete, I got my hands on the freshly made ice cream. It seemed too good to be true. But after the first spoonful I wondered how something that came from a machine could taste so rich and fresh. It was comparable to Coldstone ice cream in both creaminess and sweetness. This ice cream machine without a doubt will soon become a popular spot to munch for Harrisites as well as Queens College students. There are other noteworthy locations on campus that would be sufficient for a quick bite or a good place to work with a group on a collateral. Other than the Q Café, my suggestion would be the Student Union Diner, located near the corner of Kissena and Melbourne. This 50s-themed diner, whose culinary options are similar to those at the Q Café, is a quality place to do work that has plenty of seating. Although the food was disappointing overall, I did discover that there are places throughout the campus that we Harrisites should be aware of, particularly one special, homemade-like ice cream vending machine, from which I plan to try all 93 varieties by the time I graduate.
by Geoffrey Yip If you haven’t heard about Radiohead, you’re missing out. A band well-known amongst alternative rock circles, Radiohead no longer needs a label for press coverage. All it took was a surprise Valentine’s Day announcement on the band’s site for music giants like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork to come to them and run stories on the album’s release. But a warning to fans who know them only for OK Computer or In Rainbows: this is a purely electronic album, a throwback to Kid A or Amnesiac that had even critics admitting it needed multiple listens. Don’t expect any choruses either. Coming in under 37 minutes, this is freeform electronic music at some of its finest. Thom Yorke’s voice guides the listener through a dense arrangement of synthesized drum beats, strings, and piano. It’s all his anxieties, regrets and contemplations wrung out in beautiful falsetto against the backdrop of electronic noise. There isn’t really anything to hold onto in the haunting landscapes these songs create. The rhythm seems to be in a constant state
of catch-up, with crowded drum beats all purposely off just a little to put you on edge. It maintains a constant tension, with only slow buildups, and breakdowns to hint at a total collapse that never happens. It’s a shame that Radiohead chose backbeat over melody, though. Once the noise pulls back and the percussion dies down in the second half of the album, Thom Yorke’s falsetto really starts to shine. Before, he was a ghost, his voice haunting us over the beats, but now in the open space, he rings with emotion. “Lotus Flower” is the most melodic of all these songs; a wobbly bassline and claptrack provides the groove. “Codex” doesn’t even have a drum track, just a subtle bass beat under the warped piano. Don’t kid yourself though. This album will take multiple listens before you start to get it. It took me seven. Yet each time, it grew on me, teasing me like a puzzle. I noticed a drum pattern here, an echo effect there, and replayed it again and again to piece it all together. Have patience, because Radiohead is an exquisite pleasure that more people need to experience.
Alumnus competes to be a millionaire on television show
photo courtesy of Valleycrest Productions Ltd.
Radiohead’s King of Limbs merits multiple listens
by Jeffrey Young Some people buy a lottery ticket when they turn 18, others register to be a contestant on a televised game show. Daniel Pecoraro, alumnus of the class of 2010 and founder of the Trivia and Knowledge Cub, recently competed on the popular game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, hosted by Meredith Vieira. His episode aired on March 1. This widely known game show has contestants answer fifteen trivia questions in order to win money, with all the players hoping to reach one million dollars. Daniel, at only 18, the minimum age to
appear on the show, stands out as one of the youngest competitors. “It’s been a dream all of my (relatively short) life to be on a quiz show such as Millionaire,” he said. He continued, “I registered to audition the night of my 18th birthday and auditioned the next day.” In his performance, after a series of questions ranging from ‘Artistic Expression’ to ‘Jailhouse Rap,’ Daniel accumulated $52,000 before losing all but $1000 by missing a question pertaining to celebrity couples. The show is designed with audience participation in mind, with in-game features such as “Ask The Audience,” where the audience members vote for what they believe to be the correct answer if the contestant isn’t sure. Daniel said, “For a show with an audience-participation component like Millionaire, there’s a symbiosis of energy and a bit of a level of trust between the audience and the component, something I certainly was part of when playing.” There is an entire process behind applying and competing on Millionaire. Hopefuls complete a thirty question multiple choice exam. The show then interviews those who scored well to see if the potential contestants are interesting and energetic enough for television. Unfortunately, contestants can only appear once on the show Millionaire, but Daniel doesn’t mind. He noted, “I can’t be on another game show for a year - but that won’t mean I won’t keep trying out for Jeopardy!, looking for the Cash Cab, and calling into NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me here on out.”
The Classic March 2011
Model UN club participates in NYC conference by Katherine Maradiaga Members of the Model United Nations (UN) club, representing the countries of Ireland, Malawi, Peru, and Yemen, were recognized at the Global Classrooms: New York City Model UN Conference on February 5. Assembled at the City College of New York, the Model UN Club was awarded for “Best Position Paper” and “Best Delegation” after a day’s deliberation with other high-schoolers concerning realworld topics discussed at the actual United Nations. Representing Yemen in the General Assembly, junior Earnestiena Cheng and freshman Maria Averkiou won the award for “Best Position Paper.”
Teacher seniority policy reviewed
Maria reflected on the day’s events, saying, “All the hard work we put into learning about our country paid off.” The assembly discussed malaria, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases spreading throughout their countries. Delegations often brought up the topics of disease prevention, methods for informing citizens, and support for new developments in curing infectious diseases. Assuming the role of Malawi in the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Assembly, freshmen Andrew Mitchel and Priyal Sakhuja were granted the recognition of “Best Delegation.” Their assembly conferred ways to combat the growing circum-
stances of malnutrition in the participating countries. One suggested solution was to build a stronger infrastructure to transport food goods and to support the lack of economy in various countries. Club co-president Rana Abdelhamid commented, “People actually put a lot of effort and time and the fact that more than one person won is really meaningful. Being that this is international, they will now know what to expect.” Other assemblies at the conference included the Commission on Crime and Prevention and Criminal Justice discussing the illicit trade of weapons, the Food and Agriculture Organization reviewing biofuels, the UN Development Program discussing globalization
HarrisFeud proceeds donated to charity Dr.Colakis said, “I had a fine time. I thought the questions were easier than I expected. I was dreading questions about current popular singers, movies, or television shows. It was ironic that when I went head to head, the question was about Facebook - that was challenging enough!” Their final score of 324 points put Humanities in the Fast Money round, where Dr.Colakis and Ms.Cross answered five consecutive questions within a time limit of 30 seconds and 45 seconds, respectively. With a combined Fast Money score of 186, Humanities teachers were declared winners of HarrisFeud. With all proceeds being donated, HarrisFeud was a charity event targeted to raise money for the Coalition of Homeless Fund. “Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children.” (About the Coalition). Student Union vice president Karina Hernandez said, “As leaders, we want to help the world, but sometimes we need to help those within our neighborhood or city as well. [The Coalition for Homeless] isn’t just another food pantry or shelter, it’s an organization that helps thousands of New Yorkers rebuild their lives. They provide them with jobs, apartments, and anything they need to get back on track.” Aleeza Widman, the Coordinator of Student Activities (COSA), said, “Karina Hernandez and Aquib Yacoob worked tirelessly… We raised about $700 and will probably have another event to raise additional funds. We moved the date from the last day of the fall semester because many students said they wanted to go home to study for finals. However, ticket sales were still somewhat low. It’s a shame because it really was a fabulous event and all the money went to charity. We will definitely hold some kind of charity event next year. Last year we played Jeopardy, this year Family Feud, who knows what for next year.” Karina added, “We’ve promised to leave this city greater than we found it, and that’s exactly what we plan on doing!” photo by Rebecca Chu
continued from Page 5
As Ms. Jama-Cross has spent only four years teaching at public schools, she added, “It is kind of strange that I’m taking a position that perhaps doesn’t benefit me in the short term, but I think that it will benefit me in long term.” English teacher Robert Babstock said, “The fact that LIFO has become a front burner media issue is a clear indication that labor is virtually voiceless and impotent. Arguments against LIFO seem to be part of a well-financed campaign to distract the populace from the abuses of the powerful. It’s working. Teachers have been very successfully demonized as lazy and pampered.” Students have also voiced concerns on this controversy. “The entire LIFO process is flawed; it needs to be rethought. Furthermore, it’s all the more upsetting that we’re even considering cuts to education, as it is the key to a brighter future,” said Student Union president Aquib Yacoob. Sophomore Ameer Kazmi commented, “Even though older teachers have much more experience, I feel that younger teachers can relate to the students better.” About LIFO’s effectiveness, sophomore Susana Mollick said, “Sometimes intelligence comes with age. You should only be cut if everyone is aware you’re a poor teacher.” Principal Kenneth Bonamo said, “Seniority protections from layoffs are important because the more time people invest in their careers, the more they should be protected from layoffs. It is also an easy metric to use to rank teachers for layoff protections, since we really don’t have another way of doing it right now.” He added, “Someone who’s been teaching for three years can probably find another job much easier than someone who’s been teaching for 23 years. The humane thing to do is to lay off the teacher with fewer years in the system.”
and development, and the Security Council examining the situation in Afghanistan. Each country actively participated by raising an issue with given placards, speaking at the microphone, or composing a resolution. Amidst the heated debate at the conference, delegates continued deliberating over a small lunch of sandwiches and soft drinks, quickly returning to their assembly after the light meal. The end of the conference gave way for a substantial amount of resolutions to be introduced and possibly agreed on. The General Assembly wrote six resolutions altogether, yet the majority of the assembly was only able to vote and agree on one.
Harris feuds for Coalition for the Homeless.
by Ella Leviyeva Mimicking the CBS game show, Family Feud, teachers joined together at HarrisFeud on Friday, February 4 to raise money for the Coalition for the Homeless organization. Split up into two separate “families,” the Humanities teachers were declared victorious over the Science teachers. The Science family consisted of Principal Kenneth Bonamo, biology teacher Sarah Oberlander, chemistry teacher Philip Porzio, physics teacher Edward Gruszecki, and guidance counselor Sara Skoda. The Humanities family included English teachers Caroline Cross and Judy Biener, classical language teachers George Hagerty and Marianthe Colakis, and history teacher Franco Scardino. In the spirit of the show, 100 Harrisites were surveyed and the results were tallied to create the questions. With a final score of 100-324, the Science teachers trailed the Humanities teachers throughout the entire competition. As each of the six questions were asked, one teacher from each team attempted to get the highest answer on the board in order to steal the question for their team or pass it to the opposing team. When asked what students do on Facebook, both sets of teachers were at a loss, resorting to “discussing homework” as an answer. To the teachers’ surprise and the audience’s entertainment, the number one answer on the board was “Creeping/Stalking.”
The Classic March 2011
SHEâ€™LL HELP YOU GET FROM HER OFFICE TO THE CORNER OFFICE MEET YOUR MENTOR. â€“ Caitlin Krueger, PACT Mentor
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The Classic March 2011
Berkel soars from opening tip to final basket
a show. She finished a three-point play after being fouled on a layup. On the next possession, she used a spin move to create space and then hit an open shot. However, LaGuardia went on a run to close out the third quarter, cutting the Hawks’ lead to 34-31. Sophomore Candace Higgins got into the scoring mix and put the Hawks up by 5 early in the fourth quarter. She hit another shot midway through the quarter to put the Hawks up by 7 with three and a half minutes left. The Hawks looked like they had the game locked up with a 7-point lead. But in a sudden change of events, the game became much closer. McFadden, the Hawks’ starting guard, drove hard to the basket and suffered an injury on the play. And with three minutes left, the Hawks had some serious foul trouble.Sophomore Ginelle George, who had played a Hawks’ freshman Sierra Berkel controls the opening tip-off. major role the entire game, bringing dropped a close game to highly the ball up and setting up the offense, had four fouls. ranked Baruch College, but the team is ready for McFadden also had four, and Berkel had three. next season. The Hawks have a starting lineup and LaGuardia began driving at George, attemptng to roster made up of mostly underclassmen. Higgins make her foul out, but the Hawks remained strong. and George both provided steady play throughout McFadden quickly returned to the game, despite the season, while Berkel and McFadden proved her injury. The Hawks had their best team on the court their talents as freshmen. Berkel had a monumental and were determined to hold the lead. LaGuardia season, and finished as the 8th ranked scorer in New fought hard and was able to hit two clutch shots. With York City - averaging nearly 23 points per game. 40 seconds left, the Hawks were trailing 45-46. Coach Caiaccia was thrilled with the Hawks’ With the game on the line, Laguardia inbounded season and said, “We have a solid starting lineup with the ball. Berkel came flying in and tore it away from multiple underclassmen. In addition, we have lots of the LaGuardia guard. She dribbled up the court was players ready to step up. Our youth is our strength and fouled on the play, but still managed to hit the game- I look forward to seeing the team grow as a unit.” winning layup. To put the icing on the cake, Berkel The Hawks’ young players already have valuable also hit the free throw - putting the Hawks up 48- playoff experience. The team is poised to be a playoff 46. She finished the game with 32 points and 18 contender and to have tremendous success in the next rebounds, and completed the dramatic victory. few seasons. In their second round playoff game, the Hawks photo by Lyle Weston
by Benjamin Horowitz The Girls Varsity Basketball team defeated Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in the first round of the PSAL A division playoffs on February 16. After finishing the regular season with 9 and 5, the Hawks were ranked as the 30th seed. LaGuardia, who finished the regular season 8-6, was the 35th seed. The Hawks entered the game as slight favorites, but the team and Coach Lauren Caiaccia knew they would have to battle to win. It was the team’s third consecutive year with a home playoff game, and Coach Caiaccia was ecstatic to be hosting it. Before the game, she said she was ready for her team’s work ethic to produce another win. As the teams warmed up, she said, “We have worked hard all season and are now very proud to represent our school and borough in the PSAL playoff race. Our records are close, and we are fairly evenly matched with LaGuardia. This is what we have worked hard all season for!” The Hawks controlled the opening tip, and freshman Sierra Berkel started the game with an easy layup. Early in the game, both teams had many turnovers because of the defensive pressure. The first quarter ended with LaGuardia up 16-11. Freshman Olivia McFadden began the second quarter with a smooth three-pointer. After a LaGuardia jump shot, Berkel made it a two-point game with a pump fake and drive to the basket. Her presence under the basket and post moves would continue to carry the Hawks throughout the game. Midway through the second quarter, one of the referees made an incorrect call on a jump ball possession arrow and the game immediately tensed up. Coach Caiaccia and Harris parents in the stand respectfully let the ref know he was wrong. The players refocused, and Berkel scored three consecutive baskets. The Hawks went up 21-20, their first lead since the opening tip. The Hawks seized their chance for momentum. McFadden recieved an outlet pass at half court. She dribbled full speed, mixed in a crossover dribble, and finished the play with a one handed layup. At the halftime buzzer, the Hawks were leading 28-20. In the third quarter, Berkel continued to put on
Briefing: Boys Varsity Basketball team loses at playoffs Daring achieves track record by Joshua Solomon by Joshua Solomon Senior captain Emmanuel Daring became the first Townsend Harris male athlete to compete at the state level in Indoor Track and Field, running the 200-meter in 23.5 seconds on the first of March. Daring, a 300-meter specialist, moved on from the city level to compete in the state championship race. He finished sixth in the varsity finals race at the PSAL indoor track and field city championship with a time of 36.53 seconds. In a race with nationally ranked runners Daring’s time was 2.33 seconds off the first place time. “This puts me up there, doesn’t it?” he said. Nevertheless, when he comes back one day, Daring does not want to see his name still on top of the track record list for the 200 meter dash. “I don’t want that to happen,” he said. “Records are meant to be broken.”
For the sixth straight season, the Boys Varsity Basketball team returned to the playoffs, playing the All City Leadership Secondary School (ACLS) on February 17. Harris lost 58-55 despite the leadership displayed by seniors David Weeks and Nicholas Nehaul and a charged home crowd. Weeks, the point guard, led the team with 16 points. They finished the regular season 8-8 and qualified as the 32 seed in the Boys ‘B’ division playoffs. At the end the first half the game tilted in favor of the home team with a score of 33-29. By the fourth quarter, leads were changing frequently with a key six point upswing by junior Chirayu Patel. He scored a career high of 13 points. Both Patel, a point guard, and fellow junior Ioannis Babatsikos, a center, will be leading the team next season. Townsend’s lead was cut to a deficit by ACLS’s senior, Shaquille Joseph, who was playing his first game of the season. The team was down by two as they sent Joseph to the free throw line with four-seconds left. The first shot made gave them a three-point-lead. On the next attempt senior Eddie Caraccioli grabbed the rebound of the missed shot. He said after the loss, “I tried to get as close to the basket as possible and get a good shot off.” The shot would have tied the game but with the miss, Townsend’s season ended on an abrupt note. Veteran Coach Frank DeNunzio said on the draining loss, “I thought for sure we were the better team, but turnovers cost us the game.” The team was plagued by injuries throughout the season, including Nicholas’ leg injury, hindered his performance. Nicholas said, “I really love this team...I wouldn’t trade these guys to go further [into the playoffs].” Despite the loss, Weeks had advice for next year’s team, “Good luck and play like you mean it.”
4/4/11 Boy’s Varsity Volleyball vs. Bayside @ THHS 4/6/11 Girl’s Varsity Softball vs. John Bowne @ John Bowne HS 4/12/11 Girl’s Varsity Fencing vs. Long Island City @ THHS 4/14/11 Girl’s Varsity Tennis vs. Francis Lewis @ Cunningham Park 4/15/11 Boy’s Varsity Tennis vs. Benjamin Cardozo @ Cardozo HS