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27 OP-ED



*Cover photos by Sophie Potter










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Wylie Makovsky

Managing Editor

Lucas Hornsby

Jackson Ehrenworth Sophia Koock Ally Witt

Andrew Blum

Managing Editor Junior Editor Junior Editor

Account Executive Business Manager




Managing Board Isabella Simonetti

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Staff & Contributors Tolo Bickford

Matthew Thaxton

Dominique Da Silva

Ricardo Vega

Caroline Yu

The Conservative Club

Sophie Potter

Connor Wise Emily Gold

Kyla Windley

Faculty Daniel Mendel Avery Barnes

Chris Meatto

Founding Faculty Founding Faculty Faculty Advisor

*Congratulations Class of 2016! The Highliner thanks you for all of your contributions and wishes you the best of luck as you move on to college in the fall.




sit in box 54 of Carnegie Hall’s balcony, cramped in between a college-aged man and my friend Lucas. I am at “The Unfinished” concert listening to Mozart and Schoenberg’s great ‘unfinished’ works. Although I am not a classical music expert, when the violinists surrender their bows and the drummer’s mallet returns to his lap, the piece seems finished. I turn to Lucas and ask, “How is that considered unfinished?” What does it mean to finish? According to the Oxford English dictionary, the verb to finish means to “bring (a task or activity) to an end; complete.” But how is completion measured? And how should it be measured for our graduating seniors? Avenues, which is nearly five years old, is still new. We watch it evolve each day: the new schedules, the course requirements, even the building itself. And now, the upper school is about to graduate its very first senior class, a group of fifty-five pioneering students who took a big leap of faith in enrolling at a brand new school to begin their high school careers. For a school that many still consider a “work-in-progress,” it seems odd for a group of its students to finally “finish the job.” For what drew many of these students to the school in the first place was its “unfinished” character. Avenues senior, Julian Franco said, “Entering Avenues I was really nervous. I didn’t know anyone. It was my first time spending a lot of time in Manhattan. It was my first time taking Spanish. It was my first time in a secular school.” For Franco, Avenues represented an opportunity to push herself in a new way, perhaps more than a traditional high school ever could. After all, Avenues does not possess the longstanding and limiting traditions of more established institutions. But comparisons have not always proven productive. “Avenues has taught me not to compare myself to others. This has allowed me to learn more about myself and my community. Success means different things for different people,” said senior, Miriam Khazanov. At the same time, due to its “unfinished” character, Avenues students have had many experiences that students at other schools could not even fathom.


“So many of the most memorable times in my high school career—studying abroad in Beijing, co-founding the D4i Conference, creating my mastery project, captaining the Varsity Basketball team, amongst others—that were crucial to my development as a student and person involved activities and skill-sets that I had no experience in before I got here,” said senior Sophie Potter. Potter laid the groundwork in many of her extracurricular pursuits. She was not just the captain of the Varsity Basketball team. She was the captain of Avenues’ first Varsity Basketball team. And that is unique in and of itself. All schools evolve. All schools change. Very few schools, however, change as often and as drastically as Avenues, a school committed to innvotation and growth. The first graduating class is likely leaving behind a school that will come to resemble something different in the years to come – but not without leaving a lasting legacy and a nod to the beauty in the “finished” and the “unfinished.” “I think there are certain moments in life when you realize an experience, relationship, or job is finished. Graduating will be one of those moments,” said Franco. “For the past four years, I’ve worked really hard not just to get into college, but to make a difference.” As Avenues evolves, its first graduating class has finished one of the most important pieces of its history: high school students successfully starting and finishing their time at the school. What remains unfinished is who these same students will become and how their time spent at Avenues informs those decisions. Lao Tzu, a famous Chinese philosopher said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” On the first first day in September 2012, the Class of 2016 took that step, and on graduation day, the entire school will continue the journey with them. At “The Unfinished” concert, when the music stopped, the show seemed complete to me. On graduation day at Avenues, it might be easy to think the show is over for our graduating class. But Avenues seniors will know better. The music never stops. • - Isabella Simonetti

A Bittersweet Last Day BY ALEXANDRA WITT


t has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Each year has varied significantly from the last; schedules change, people mature, and space in the upper school shrinks. It would be an understatement to say it has been easy, because truthfully, it has not. Thinking back on the first day of freshman year, there are certain things I wish I would have told myself – some superficial things like: what were you thinking wearing bell-bottom jeans and a hot pink belt? Or even, do not flip your hair like that, it is not the 1960s. In all seriousness, technology orientation day in 2012 was the beginning of a new chapter of my life—it was the day I opened the book and decided to take a stand for my education. I knew what I wanted. I craved a well-rounded school that would teach me what it meant to be a millennial. I desired peers that would challenge me and stimulate me intellectually. I wanted to play in a tennis match with good players. I hoped for teachers who would help me discover who I am as a student and how I could become a better scholar. I am nothing but grateful for the education Avenues has given me. I know that wherever life takes me, I will remember what I learned in these unforgettable four years. I will stand with pride at the podium when I graduate and recall the life lessons I learned here.

During my high school career at Avenues, I have found my “hum.” I have grown into myself and discovered what makes me tick. I am forever indebted to Avenues for helping me find my passion. I have learned to be a changemaker. I have come into my own as a student, a mentor, and a woman. The senior class has had a unique experience. We were here to watch Avenues grow from the ground up. Before us, there was nothing. We took a risk in deciding to be the first graduating class. When people ask me why I decided to take such a risk and “gamble” with my education, I respond “I had faith.” I had faith that Avenues would become everything it sought out to be. As we pass the torch to the current juniors, I respond in the same manner. The senior class has faith in you all to continue what we started. We pass the torch with honor, faith, love, and gratitude. As we close the book and begin a new chapter in our lives, I can say, along with my peers, thank you. I am confident in who I have become as a result of my Avenues education. I will radiate welcome, safety, and respect in every venture I take on in the future. I have learned to be a great leader when I can be and a good follower when I should be. I am on my way to a well-chosen higher education, and I know that I will transcend the ordinary. •


Student Life

It’s Time to Salsa! BY EVA HWANG AND GRACE FRANCO How could Avenues create an entertaining and welcoming environment at our first community-oriented party in Chelsea? This was the main focus of the Community Salsa Party Planning Committee’s discussion. A relatively small group of Avenues upper-schoolers and members of the “APA” (Avenues Parent Association) banded together to from the inaugural Salsa Planning Committee under the leadership of Mrs. Meatto. This fall finally marked the partnership of Avenues and the Hudson “THE PROSPECT THAT Guild, a rela-

idea that I would be helping in the process of integrating the Chelsea community together. The prospect that it was the first time Avenues was really letting people in was really intriguing for me,” said freshman Nico Wells. On April 16th, members of the Hudson Guild, Fulton Center, and Avenues came together to take pictures, get their faces painted, and dance salsa. There was live music, catered food, and a great sense of community spirit. Junior Stephanie Cobas stated what she believed was the significance of planning an event like this, “I think it’s really

tionship that was continuously being built upon. “All of Ms. Allen’s groundwork making that partnership was the beginning of a long process of inspiration,” said Meatto. After working on several projects in the Spanish curriculum, including interviews with Hudson Guild community members and visiting their facilities in parties, the popularity of dance was more prominent. Narrowing down more specifically, a common passion was to dance salsa. At one of the events several Avenues members attended, all of the Hudson Guild was up on their feet, dancing to the music, and being overall joyful. This group gathered weekly, before, after, and during school. Although it proved to be a lot of dedication and hard work, students were motivated by, “the

important to establish early on that we are a community, especially as we are sharing the same space. Not only that, but it’s just so much more fun being a part of a community than not.” Following months of planning, the Community Salsa Party




finally came to fruition. “So many people were happy and dancing, friends and strangers included. I got to be with my mom and we had a lot of fun. The band was amazing!” said Cobas. Other students felt the event was a positive experience for the Avenues community. “It was such a great and easy way for me to engage with the Chelsea community and see us come together,” said Lucia Colarusso, a freshman who volunteered for six hours, helping to set up, clean up, and, most enjoyably, paint kids’ faces. This party has paved the way for annual and other celebrations to bring the Chelsea community together as a whole. It was the first time gagement should be founded in genuine relationships. Avenues truly opened its doors “I hope it inspires an idea “I DEFINITELY FEEL A LOT BETTER among the Avenues community to the rest of the Chelsea comABOUT GOING TO AVENUES AND and the Chelsea community that munity. “Without a doubt [the Salsa MORE PROUD TO GO TO AVENUES this is a community space. And, Party] is one of my biggest acjust to get that idea out there, it BECAUSE IT’S A PART OF A BIGGER doesn’t have to be in the form of complishments this year because COMMUNITY, AND I FEEL HAPPIER a party, but it might inspire other of how remarkable and cultivating it was,” said freshman Lauren KNOWING THAT I WAS A PART OF people to realize what we are Schulsohn. lacking and for other faculty and MAKING THAT HAPPEN.” However, some thought this parents and students to come up party seemed almost forced, and with new ways of engaging with our community that Avenues’ relationship with the Hudson Guild has only in our building.” served to benefit the school’s public image. However, Bloch also stated that from this event, “I One student, Anna Bloch, suggested that, “We should make definitely feel a lot better about going to Avenues and more it more natural. Instead of sort of forcing things, it would be proud to go to Avenues because it’s a part of a bigger commumore beneficial to build a natural relationship.” nity and I feel happier knowing that I was a part of making that In this same sense, Mrs. Meatto feels that community enhappen.” •



On May 14, the 17th Annual Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students (DAIS) Conference, where students come together to discuss social justice issues, was held at Avenues. The DAIS conference, which happens once a year, is a completely student-led and student-driven event. The DAIS conference was open to students in grades eight through twelve from New York City. The twelve hour conference included music, workshops, affinity groups, as well as an optional game center and dance. Over five hundred students attended the event. The DAIS organization not only plans the yearly conference,

“IT WAS A VERY OPEN SPACE WHERE KIDS WERE VERY BLUNT. IT WAS NICE TO HEAR FROM OTHER NEW YORK CITY TEENAGERS COMING FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS” but also holds monthly meetings to discuss topics of diversity and social justice. “[DAIS] is hosted… at different independent schools for their monthly conference,” said Ms. Allen, the head of Community Engagement for Avenues. “And then the culminating event is a big blowout Saturday conference.” Members of DAIS and volunteer students, including some from Avenues, worked to plan the lengthy day from beginning to end. They were responsible for organizing the registration process, the workshops, the opening ceremony, the talent show, and the publicity for the conference. “It was a lot of planning,” said Avenues junior NiKaila Saunders, a frequent attendee of DAIS meetings throughout the school year. “I know we started planning in October or November and I went to meetings every month, sometimes twice a month.” For weeks before the event, posters advertising the conference were hung up around Avenues, announcements about the conference were made, and emails with registration specifics were sent out. Though a few Avenues students had attended the past conferences, this year more members of the Avenues community went to the conference, either as chaperones or as student participants. This year’s conference addressed issues like Islamophobia, cultural appropriation, and gentrification. Though the work-


shops tackled tough issues, the workshop names were recognizable to to participants since they referenced teenage pop culture. For example, one workshop that discussed reparations was named “Is it Too Late to Say Sorry?”, a lyric from the popular Justin Bieber song, “Sorry.” “I really like how [DAIS] tr[ies] to bring in pop culture references,” said Avenues sophomore Kyla Windley. “Like this year the title is, ‘What A Time to Be Alive’ which is actually a Drake and Future album that came out last year. So, a lot of young people are able to relate to it. I noticed that that attracted a lot of students from our school to attend the conference.” Each workshop was lead by two or more facilitators, whose responsibility it was to steer and moderate the discussions. At the beginning of every workshop, community norms such as speaking from the “I” perspective, and being fully present, were revisited to maintain a safe and open environment. Students responded to the facilitators’ questions about the topic in a Harkness style discussion, exploring the nuances of the subject. “I loved the workshops…The discussions went really well. I learned a lot…It was a very open space where kids were very blunt. It was nice to hear from other New York City teenagers coming from different backgrounds,” said Avenues sophomore Sylvie Cohen. After the workshops, all of the conference participants gath-

ered in the gym to be split up into affinity groups. Affinity groups can be based off of one of many social identifiers such as race, gender, or class. For example, at the DAIS conference last year, participants were split up into affinity groups based on sexual orientation. This year, affinity groups were based on skin tone. Members of DAIS directed participants to line up based on skin color, with

those with dark skin on one side of the room, and those with pale skin on the other. By doing so, participants created a “melatonin rainbow,” where all skin tones were represented. Though discussions varied from group to group, one topic each affinity group discussed was how their skin tone affects society’s perception of them. Following the workshops was a talent show and open mic where conference participants could share their talents with the student attendees. Students shared dances, spoken word poetry, singing and dance with all of the participants. One student even asked someone to prom during the talent show. The day ended with warm dinner and time to debrief about the conference. Afterwards, participants had the option to dance or play board games. “[DAIS] is really a chance to meet new people… and find your position and understand these concepts a lot more in a non-threatening, really open environment,” said Avenues junior, Danielle Paz. “It’s comfortable and it’s so much fun.” •






On our daily commutes, as we are being transported from point A to point B, we very rarely take the time to stop and smell the roses. Commuting is frustrating and as New Yorkers, we are impatient. What follows are a series of appreciations for these moments. As Avenues students, we are always seeking greater awareness of ourselves and our surroundings. And the truth is, it is a lot easier to consider the beauty of our daily commutes from the outside.


The following three essays are written in tribute to the Avenues commuter.

This is 23rd Street. The next stop is 34th Street Penn station. Stand clear of the closing door. Ding Dong. This announcement — or some variation of it — is instantaneously recognizable to virtually every New Yorker. The most used mode of transportation to Avenues (aside from Ubers and taxis, it seems) is the C/E train. Each morning, we walk down the weathered stairs, already used to the gut wrenching stench of rat feces and urine. We might see a few familiar faces, but it does not matter. We are sucked into the world of whatever is playing on our phones. One time, I was so caught up in a song by Drake that I missed my train (I am sure you can relate). The trains can be an unpleasant ride — from being squished in the middle of a human sandwich to being disturbed by a fellow commuter’s blasting music. We depend so much on these trains that when we see three-quarters of our students arriving late to HIP, the C/E line is probably experiencing delays.

CAR SERVICE It is 8:15am, and you are on the left lane in congested traffic. You are either behind the musty, adcovered glass that seems inherent to cabs, or slouched behind the front seats of a Lincoln MKX. You are now scrolling through your feed or taking a photo using the basic dog filter on Snapchat. There is no judgement, just the everyday travel rituals of numerous Avenues kids. Ubers and taxis are there for those of us who want personal space and do not want the bump and grind of a subway. I actually do not mind the people breathing on my neck; but that is just me. In Ubers or in cabs, most of us just get in the car, and the only words we exchange with the driver are where we are going and maybe a brief thank you. What we sometimes forget is that the person in the driver’s seat is a person with a life that exists beyond driving people to their jobs or homes. These people may have families and be of a culture that we have never been exposed to. We never think to have a conversation worth remembering with our driver while they are driving. We miss out on so much — even if that is just a brief human interaction. To make someone’s day, and possibly your own, remember this one cheesy line: stop and smell the roses.

SCHOOL ELEVATORS We all know this machinery of transportation. Some call it their friend, others, their nemesis. At the end of a long day, this place becomes a home to anxiety, relief, and freedom. Going by the names of A and B South, and C and D North, the school’s elevators hold the secrets we whisper to our friends. They are the safest space for gossip. Whether being shoved to the very corner or squished to the railing, every person has gotten intimate with the elevator at least once in their time at Avenues. I, for one, am either crushed between five people, or pushed against the buttons. Often, the elevators fail to get to us to class at 8:45am (even when we arrive at the building at 8:00am). But once in a blue moon, one can find peace and tranquility in the air of the empty elevator ride to 8, 9, or 10. Or ironically enough, one can get caught in the grips of Avenues’ youngest singing with their teachers about being quiet in the elevator. Though we tend to complain and groan about the elevator every chance we get, maybe, just once in a while, we can shift our perspectives and see the gridded box as a portal to daily adventures.





n the concrete complex of the Marriott Crystal Gateway, the four of us on the Quizbowl team sit next to each other on plastic covered, padded seats that one typically finds in a hotel. The only difference is that these seats are in hotel rooms as opposed to the multitude of other venues at the complex. The beds that once sat comfortably in the room are stuffed in a particularly conspicuous corner, and all disregarded furniture seems to focalize on the large table that does not seem to belong and the buzzer system atop it. When looking out the window, one could hope to see an escape from the mess, but all that the eye can see are more concrete complexes and barren streets in the hotel town of Crystal City, Virginia. The judge’s eyes flutter in an attempt to stay awake. “Mich-gan’s the topic you want?” he slurs. Mr. Wang, our faculty advisor, manages to disappear without us seeing him leave. The room is dim since the tired man does not wish to be a fully inadequate judge, although the darkness stimulates his groggy state. “Yes please,” says Jacob. I don’t have a clue about anything


regarding Michigan. I look at my teammates: neither do they. Whoever knows the answer to the questions has the right to buzz in unless their team has already done so. I am as ready as I am ever going to be and it is safe to assume that so is my team, and so we begin. “These birds have warm, orange breasts. They are commonplace in many towns and cities. They are also classified under the term robin. What is the name of state bird of Michigan?” Hmm... Do you know the answer? Over the past two years, the Avenues High School Quizbowl team has been buzzing in, shouting answers, and travelling to competitions around the New York area. Quizbowl is a game that tests historical knowledge and confidence in one’s responses. The game can be set up in a free-for-all or team based manner, each person having their own buzzer that needs to be activated before answering each question. While the variety of topics questioned, ranging from the history of Michigan to Medieval era wars, makes the game difficult, the confidence needed when answering, makes Quizbowl truly a competition as opposed to a casual game. Josh buzzes in, “The Michigan Robin?” “That’s Inc-rrct,” the Judge sputters. While the team has attended seven regional competitions in the two years of its existence, the most recent competition was the National Quizbowl in Washington D.C., at-

tracting schools from all over the country. The competitions provide opportunities to see facets of other schools and cultures, including the one around Quizbowl itself. The teams that attended were clad with matching T-shirts, ties and blazers, and for the most part a competitive desire to win. The team has faced both moderately competitive teams that seldomly call in to answer and teams that buzz in for questions before any significant smidgens of information are presented. Some areas of history are too obscure for the Quizbowl team to know and have spawned opportunities to learn more historical knowledge extracurricularly. The Avenues Quizbowl team is somewhere in the middle of the competitive range: not too aggressive as to make the competition stressful in conjunction with the realization that going to such competitions is a matter of experience, and not only winning. “I can’t say that we won a lot,” said Joshua Glueck, a senior on the Avenues Quizbowl team. “But I had a great time.” The Quizbowl team at Avenues prioritizes fun first and competition second. “If we had focused too much on the competitions, I do not know how fun the club would have been,” said Glueck.

closing his eyes. “I’m tired guys, stayed up until 4AM. Don’t do that kids,” the judge continues to blumber. I really hope he stops the side commentary soon, as we are already thirty minutes over time. The Judge counts up the score and despite a weak showing at the end of the match, we come pretty close to winning, losing by only three questions. We leave our loss behind us and head to Mr. Wang’s room. From there, our real fun begins. It is there that the team has the opportunity to truly enjoy each other’s company and take advantage of D.C. We are able to escape the concrete of Crystal City and embrace the marble and plots of green that the nation’s capital has to offer. The opportunity we have been given to go to the national competitions is by no means a wasted one. Being a part of such a competition is an experience in itself. It is an experience of being a small cog in a larger machine, while the visit to D.C. provides the gift of new memories in celebration of a successful career in Quizbowl. “I am happy that the final competition I went to before I graduate was the nationals. I really will miss the fun we had,” said Glueck. •

The judge indicates to the other team that they now have the chance to give their try at the problem. One of the team members buzzes in. “American Robin?” “That is correct,” the judge says


Surviving Junior Year A Letter of Advice to Lowerclassmen


As junior year is coming to an end, I cannot help but notice the amount of pressure the class of 2017 was under all year. From the increased workload, to early-morning ACT prep, to the first, stressful encounters with college counseling, junior year is undeniably a difficult year. Most of us wish we could skip ahead to the second half of senior year, and forget all of the stress and anxiety that this year has brought upon us. The Friday before April 9, 2016 was filled with sobbing juniors, roaming through the studio, stressed out of their minds in anticipation of the coming Saturday. For that next Saturday was the most feared day for the majority of 11th graders: the ACT. I had to console four friends of mine who were on the edge of having a panic attack. That said, the only thing I could think of was why hadn’t we learned anything from what the seniors had gone through the previous year? Why didn’t any of the seniors warn us about the stressors that were to come? At the end of my sophomore year, I was warned about how horrific the upcoming year would be for the class of 2017. In fact, I recall senior Culver Moskovitz making an announcement in assembly that, quite frankly, terrorized me. He made a comparison about how junior year was like that moment when you’re driving on a highway, and you see a gigantic traffic jam on the lane going in the opposite direction; he said that you knew that the poor souls who were going to be stuck in that jam had no idea what they had going for them. I was, however, warned about the following year numerous times. Having a decent amount of friends in the grade above, I remember them coming up to me and wishing me the best for junior year. It often happened that I would complain about how stressed I was, and I would always have someone laugh and say: “Ha, wait until next year”. Eventually, I would find myself saying the same exact thing to a friend of mine in the grade below. I am not writing this article to stress out or scare the upcoming juniors. I am simply writing this advice column to prepare them and recommend a couple of strategies to survive the trials of junior year. So, to all the current sophomores, here is a list of advice you may want to consider before the onset of your junior year. •


Don’t slack off. Personally, I have the

tendency to start the year strong. I tell myself to complete all assignments ahead of time, and I join all the extracurricular activities I can. I persevere this state of mind and energy level for a couple of weeks, and then I start getting lazy. Once winter arrives and the New York weather gets harsh, I shove all of those good intentions in a corner of my mind and distract myself by watching Netflix for a couple of hours each day. Please do not do this next year. If you do, you will find yourself in an extremely chaotic situation in the spring, when your grades really start to count. All the Netflix watching will catch up to you. Avoid making the same mistakes I made, and plan ahead. Always. Organize your day in a calendar, and plan a time to work in your schedule. This way, you will have allotted time to do everything you need to do and you avoid procrastinating.

Start studying for standardized tests now. Whether you decide to take the

ACT or SAT, start prepping in the fall or the summer before your junior year. Please do not wait until the very last minute to get a tutor, because you do not want to be forced to retake these dreadful tests in September of your senior year. Make sure you do your best, but don’t freak out. Remember, these tests are made to help you, for they are the only part of the college application that gives you the same opportunities as everyone else. These tests give you the opportunity to stand-out, despite your socio-economic background, your gender, or your race.

Join as many clubs and activities as your schedule allows, but make sure they are selections you enjoy. Cut out all the negativity in your life. This last piece of advice is

much more personal than the previous ones I have given, but it might just be the most important one. I strongly advise you to cut out all sources of negativity from your life. Whether that be a friend who has a negative impact on you, unnecessary drama that drains you of your positive energy, or any person or thing that causes you additional stress. All these sources of negativity bring you down, in a year in which you need all the help and support you can get. Surround yourself with people who nourish you, intellectually and emotionally. As cliche as it may sound, you need to be happy socially to handle the stressors of junior year.

As you start thinking about the college application process, make sure you remember to think about spending your time in ways that may enhance your extracurricular resume. Just this year, I have foregone so many opportunities to enhance my resume due to my own laziness. I could have joined the D4I team, Awareness Day committee, the Mentorship program, and so many other cool programs that would have made me stand out to colleges. Avenues presents students with so many opportunities to have a rich extracurricular life — do not take these opportunities for granted. We are lucky to be students at a school that not only seeks out enriching activities for its students to engage in, but supports its students’ own ideas. Therefore, please sign up for extracurriculars and volunteer opportunities ahead of time. You will not regret it, and more importantly, you will not find yourself scrambling to build your resume come spring, when you have a lot more to do.



I have lived in New York City for my entire life, and all of it in Brooklyn. My family fell into the awesome and powerful trap that is this city. I have learned how to survive here, and I am still learning today. Through a terrorist attack, a blackout, and the crazy situations we’ve experienced, we have still managed to survive and thrive, giving us a reason to call ourselves the Empire State. Below are strategies for any incoming/current New Yorkers to help them survive and live in these city blocks.

1 Always carry a metrocard - Be ready to put more than enough money on it. Every ride is $2.75. From Inwood 207 St. to Far Rockaway, Queens is 33 miles of track. Don’t choose a 45 dollar Uber over a $2.75 ride. Be smart.

2 Be aware of your surroundings - No matter what borough or neighborhood, a wallet is a wallet and a bag is a bag. It’s all the same.

3 Take pride - Only 8.5 million people get to call themselves New Yorkers. It is an honor of grit and authority. It lasts a lifetime. 4 Shelter - Buying an apartment or house will alway be a tradeoff. For an overrated location and a cheap price, you’re gonna have to settle for small. For a underrated location and a cheap price, it will be bigger.

5 Think cheap - People will want you to buy expensive foods in expensive places. The bodega across the street will sell you Ramen Noodles at 10% the cost of what it would at a big food store.

6 Make friends - NYC is a small world. Having friends in multiple boroughs that you can trust is the difference between a night on a bed or a night in the train station.

7 Don’t buy anything in Chinatown - Just don’t. Unless it’s food. While it is a beautiful place with lots of culture, it is ground zero for an epidemic of tourist scams.

8 Keep your phone charged - It is always important to be able to contact people. 9 WALK - You don’t need to take a cab to go 15 blocks. Spend nothing and walk. Avenues students - I’m talking to you. 10 That empty car in the train isn’t a good space to be in. Think before you run into a car because New Yorkers aren’t known to leave a car unfilled. It’s like that for a reason.

11 Subway - To avoid being called an inconsiderate tourist idiot, practice correct etiquette in the underground. You will need to be courteous. Here are some tips for the subway:

a That pole is not a wall. Don’t lean. b Empty seats in a crowded train belong to the elderly and pregnant.

If none of those appear and you are feeling kind, give it to a kid. Seats never belong to bags.

c If your food smells, don’t bring it in the car. d Let people out first. Running in before people get out is not just rude, it’s illogical. e Stand to the side. When looking for your metrocard at the turnstyle, you are liable to get shoved. f Be on your right - For stairs, walk on the right. For escalators, stand on the right. 15

12 Scams - Don’t be foolish. That Rolex can’t be real and yet so cheap. Why would that guy be selling a $20 dollar metrocard for 5 bucks? Because he’s going away and doesn’t need it? No

13 Don’t cheat - Part of being a New Yorker (and a human being) is just to be kind and sensible. Don’t cut lines and don’t take others’ places.

14 Animals - It’s just a rat. It’s just a pigeon. They’re not going away anytime soon so just get used to them. Not to mention that these creatures are as scared of you as you are of them.

15 Public spaces - A park can be the best place to be for all different times. Whether it’s the great lawns of Central or Prospect

park, the Highline, Bryant Park, or Van Cortlandt Park, a green space can be perfect. Beware though, the difference between night and day makes a big difference.

16 The Metrocard Food Rule - Don’t give in to what food vendors say; they will automatically assume you are a tourist and don’t

know better. My rule of thumb is that a hotdog, slice of pizza, pretzel, or soda from any street vendor or pizza store is this: never pay more than the cost of the current subway fare. Also: tourist attractions bring higher prices. This applies for everything. A one dollar water bottle will cost $5 at the MET.

17 Find quiet - Tourists often get intimidated by the noise and bustle of the city because, often times, they’re sightseeing route

is confined to heading south from the park down Midtown. Of course that’s what they would think. This city is huge and is one living organism. In a city with so much going on, it is important to be able to find quiet and peace and a good place to walk and think. Some good ones are:

a Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges b Public Libraries (books still exist) c Central Park Conservatory Garden d Valentino Pier (Brooklyn) e Riverside Park

18 Don’t be afraid to speak up - Being an New Yorker means that you can have a goal or destination and not give up once you get there. Having determination and an icy walking stare makes a difference.

19 Know your way around - One of the best things you need to memorize in this city is the MTA map. Know what stations

can get you to where you need to be. Know where to stand in the train. Know north, south, east, and west. Know the difference between avenues and streets. This takes time and practice and it is never instant.

20 Finally, a truth of New York City that is eternally true: The most beautiful person you will ever see will be looking out the window of an uptown train across the platform from you.

New York City cannot be explained. It’s a place of mystery, coincidence, and the meaning of the essence of life. Time in this place will send you down a path of urban self discovery. Everything here has a meaning, and whether it is in a train, bus, or by foot, all who come are meant to find them. A city of dreams both forgotten and new; a city where sleep is a fallacy. •



Affirmative Action as a Door to Equal Opportunity



remember hearing about racial quotas on television a few the natural next step, like a part of a tacit agreement. But educatimes during my childhood in Brazil. These quotas, I learned tion is not just a part of my own life; it has been valued and cherfrom the news, reserved a number of seats at public Brazilian ished by my family for generations, though in very different ways universities for members of racial minorities. My father rolled on my maternal and paternal strands. My mother’s parents grew his eyes at this proposition and other programs aimed at increas- up in abject poverty. My grandfather started shining shoes before ing the enrollment of racial minorities in institutions of higher his thirteenth birthday and managed to attend medical school at education. “Ridiculous,” he called them. For a long time, I agreed a public university while working whenever he was not in class or studying. My grandmother never completed the fifth grade and with him. The early years of my academic career are still vivid to me. In also began working at an early age; at seventeen, she spent most nursery school, I had little regard for authority and took frequent of her waking hours operating a switchboard. Education looked very different in my father’s family. For naps on the mattress in my principal’s office. In kindergarten, as many generations as we can trace, I transferred to a larger school, where both sides of his family have been surmy twin was in the classroom across “THESE CONTRASTING rounded by money and prestige. Some the hall, and my sister in the elemenNARRATIVES ABOUT MY OWN tary school upstairs. I decided to emuFAMILY PULL ME IN DIFFERENT, took education for granted, but many chose to attend college, in Brazil as late my sister and behave myself, and CONFUSING DIRECTIONS.” well as in the United States. to complete my homework assignThese contrasting narratives about ments timely and thoroughly. By the time I reached high school, a strong work ethic had long been my own family pull me in different, confusing directions. My instilled in me. I always worked hard. I had high grades through- grandfather’s triumph — his journey from destitution to sucout middle school and have done well in high school. Everything cess, from illiteracy to scholarship — romanticizes and promotes I achieved was the product of my hard work and nothing else, I perseverance and accountability. The easy access to education afforded by my father’s family, on the other hand, seems to paint an thought. At the same time that I was applying to high schools, my opposing picture. For my father and his family, a quality education began in the sister was applying to colleges. She was still the harder­working, more intelligent mold upon which I had built my academic char- earliest stages of development and continued through the graduacter. English is not her first language (like it is not mine). She ate level. It was always an accessible option. That is not to say came into a rigorous public high school in the second semester that my father and his family members have not worked tirelessly of freshman year; still, she excelled universally. Her performance for each of their educational and professional achievements. But earned her praise from teachers and administrators, and it cul- there is no denying it that schooling was in much closer reach to minated in a visit to a barbecue hosted by Mayor Bloomberg for them than it was to my mother’s parents. Sometimes, I try to imagine what education would look like to valedictorians of New York City public high schools at the end of her Senior year. My sister had little time for sleep through high me if my life and the lives of my ancestors were different. What if my great grandparents were legally prohibited from learning to school. She earned this. Education is not just important to me and my sister, but also read? I wonder what it would be like if, for generations, not one to the rest of my family. Higher education has always seemed like person in my family heard bedtime stories out of a colorful book,


or was taught the ABCs in a warm, bubbly bath. I wonder what injustice. In doing this, Coates debunks claims that the United would be different if neither I, nor my father, nor my father’s States is a post­racial society; he makes it clear that race has long father, nor my father’s father’s father had the option to attend mattered and that it still does. Not only have African Americans college. I surmise this would change a few things. First, it would been robbed of opportunity for centuries, Coates argues, but the have been difficult for my family to accumulate the wealth and limits imposed on them have also benefited the white population. social capital that they have. I also imagine that the strong culture For this reason, Coates urges the United States to acknowledge of scholarship that has permeated at least some of my family’s its transgressions and to take action to work towards racial equity history would not exist. through reparations. But Coates ends his piece with a sense of I recently read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An urgency that lacks a specific plan for reparations. American Slave, which addressed many of the questions about Coates’ open­ended conclusion is not surprising. A national ill access to education with which I have been grappling. In this as ubiquitous, as pervasive, and as intimate as racial inequality autobiography, Frederick Douglass details his progression from is too complex to require only one answer. There is no panacea a slave in the Chesapeake Bay to an educated man in the North. capable of effectively tackling the gap between races. A promisThrough a deeply personal lens, Douglass examines the nuances ing starting point, however, is education. The different roles that of slavery and places education at the center of his attainment education played in Frederick Douglass’ development, as well as of true freedom. Douglass’s journey of self­growth and liberation my own and my family’s, reassure me of this — of the empoweris not only paralleled but propelled by his learning to read and ing force of education. write. Literacy exposes Douglass to texts that clarify the conThe proposition to employ education as a means to ameliorate text of his condition and provides a platform for more developed the lives of a marginalized group is not new. In June of 1965, thinking. then­president Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a commencement While living in Baltimore, Douglass was under the service of address at Howard University titled “To Fulfill These Rights.” a mistress who began to teach him how to read before she was Johnson’s speech was filled with respect for and sympathy tostopped by her husband. Still, Douglass persevered and taught wards the African American community, but most memorably, himself to read and write. He reflects on this experience: “I was it stressed the need for support of this group: “You do not take gladdened by the invaluable a person who, for years, has instruction which, by the been hobbled by chains and “LEGAL DECLARATIONS THAT ENFORCE merest accident, I had gained liberate him, bring him up FREEDOM ARE INSUFFICIENT. A GROUP from my master. Though to the starting line of a race THAT HAS BEEN DISENFRANCHISED FOR conscious of the difficulty of and then say, ‘you are free to CENTURIES CAN NOT BE EXPECTED TO learning without a teacher, I compete with all the others,’ WIELD THE SAME BENEFITS AS WHITE set out with high hope, and and still justly believe that a fixed purpose, at whatever you have been completely AMERICANS FROM THESE SEEMINGLY cost of trouble, to learn how fair. Thus it is not enough just EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES.” to read.” The odds he faced, to open the gates of opportu“served to convince [Douglass] that [his master] was deeply sen- nity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those sible of the truths he was uttering. It gave [him] the best as- gates.” surance that [he] might rely with the utmost confidence on the Legal declarations that freedom are insufficient. A group that results which, [his master] said, would flow from teaching [him] has been disenfranchised for centuries cannot be expected to to read.” wield the same benefits as white Americans from seemingly equal This realization prompted Douglass to continue to educate opportunities. The disadvantages incurred by African Americans himself. Once Douglass gained a greater awareness of his con- are not only the direct result of overt oppression, but they are also dition, he became deeply discontent with slavery. No condition not an isolated incident. Rather, they form a complex web whose short of liberty could satisfy him. Before pursuing an education, “infirmities” operate in a symbiotic and self­sustaining cycle. Douglass knew little about himself and the world. By the end of Johnson was not the first president to speak publically about his autobiography, he was a physically and psychologically liber- this issue. In 1961, John F. Kennedy established the President’s ated man, finally capable of economic and social autonomy. Dou- Committee On Equal Employment Opportunity with Execuglass’ success encapsulates the transformative power of education tive Order 10925. In essence, the Order aimed to decrease disand the obstacles that can exist between it and a person. crimination in the hiring process and workplace and to promote The Thirteenth Amendment, passed while Douglass was still integration. In one of the Order’s provisions, Kennedy coined the alive in 1865, abolished slavery in the United States. However, term “affirmative action” in his request that “the contractor will even after they finally achieved legal emancipation, African take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, Americans in the United States still faced legally enforced seg- and that employees are treated during employment, without reregation and discrimination, until the Civil Rights movement of gard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” Though the the 1960s finally put an end to these inequities and abuses. Or Order mandated that employers take “affirmative action” to strip at least it was supposed to. Many African Americans still find the hiring process of racial bias, it did not propose or imply that themselves trapped in a system of insidious oppression. marginalized groups should benefit from preferential treatment. In “The Case For Reparations,” published in The Atlantic in Kennedy’s and Johnson’s remarks marked the birth of a series June of 2014, Ta­Nehisi Coates presents concrete examples of this of legal quandaries about the constitutionality of affirmative ac-


tion — whose definition remains muddled and misleading — that has lasted to this day. The earliest Supreme Court case to address affirmative action was Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978. The respondent, Allan P. Bakke, a white man, sued the medical school at the University of California, Davis with the allegation that his rejection from the program was made on racial grounds and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The medical school at Davis had recently launched a program that reserved sixteen places in a class of one hundred for racial minorities in an effort to remedy their historical exclusion from the medical profession in the United States. There was no single majority opinion, but Bakke’s admission was ultimately ordered by the Court. Most importantly, the Court held that any form of a strict quota system was unconstitutional, but that it was permissible to consider race as one of many criteria in admissions, though some ambiguity still remained. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke was followed by several similar court cases, only some of which reached the Supreme Court. In 1996, Hopwood v. Texas challenged the Bakke decision when the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit ruled that race may not play a factor in admissions decisions. Similarly to Bakke, Cheryl Hopwood sued the University of Texas School of Law after being rejected despite her qualifications.

The Supreme Course denied a request to take on the case, but the decision still applied in the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit, which includes Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Until a future case prompted federal policy changes a few years later, racial preferences in college admissions were banned in said states. In 2003, another case was brought before the Supreme Court that called to question the resolutions of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. Barbara Gutter, a white female with a high GPA and standardized test score, filed a suit against the University of Michigan law school contesting her rejection, arguing that she had been the victim of racial discrimination. Grutter v. Bollinger (Bollinger was then president of the University of Michigan) was resolved when the Supreme Court held that the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies did not amount to a quota system, which had been declared unconstitutional by the aforementioned Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. Furthermore, the Court argued that diversity was a compelling component of a comprehensive admissions process. A minority of four justices, however, agreed that the University’s admissions policies were, in fact, a veiled form of a quota system. In the last decade, a number of other cases at various judicial levels have continued the discussion of affirmative action. Two­ thirds of Americans are still opposed to racially­conscious admissions, and similar divisions are seen in the judicial sphere. I, too,




still feel conflicted about affirmative action at times. I think of my grandfather’s hard work, and the odds he faced, and the support he lacked. And, above all, I think of how he still managed to succeed. But I also think of my father’s family, whose privilege should not induce guilt or bitterness but ought to shed light on the innate advantages and disadvantages of certain groups. Although my family’s educational experiences have no direct link with affirmative action, they provide an illuminating parallel to it, and this parallel has deeply influenced my approach to the topic. We all probably have family members who have defied the odds, or family members who have taken their privilege for granted, or family members who could have benefitted immensely if they had received support, such as the kind that affirmative action might provide. The absence or mismanagement of programs to bridge the gap between races in opportunity and success in education will only perpetuate inequality. Put simply, inaction passively

condones centuries­old marginalization and the cycle of poverty this system has constructed. The United States government not only permitted but enforced a handful of the conditions that have driven many African Americans into poverty. It seems natural and logical that the body that perpetrated injustice should also be responsible for remedying the vestiges of such. My grandfather’s life was transformed by education, which he sought and excelled in due to his utmost dedication. Similarly, Frederick Douglass built his identity and achieved liberation by learning about his condition as a slave and the broader historical context into which he was placed. Affirmative action takes into account the obstacles that African Americans have faced throughout history and acknowledges the harm these may have caused. It is the imperfect solution to an undeniable problem. But at least affirmative action is a piece of the puzzle that the United States has only begun to put together to provide for all its citizens the fair opportunity it promises. •






ou may know that Avenues juniors Jean Li Spencer and Maddalena Rona are figure skaters outside of their studies, but I doubt you know the extent to which they practice. Both Maddalena and Jean Li are undoubtedly passionate about figure skating—enough to put up with grueling practice times in the midst of busy school schedules. “I have practiced five days a week before school for an hour or more since I was about ten years old,” said Rona. “This year, since I’m a junior, it’s been more difficult because I am up later in the night doing work. But I still aim to get to the rink three or four mornings a week.” According to Rona, missing a day of practice is not an option. She makes up for missed week-day sessions on Saturday mornings. Sessions strart at 6:00am and always involve a coach. Spencer’s schedule is similarly grueling. “We have a few 5:30 am practices and our rehearsal schedules can be a mess, but the work is worth it in the end when you step onto the ice as a team and skate a solid performance,” said Spencer. Some people might assume that figure skating is not much work—after all, figure skaters tend to look carefree as they glide across the ice and spin in the open air. And just as some might argue that golf, dance, or even bowling are not real sports, the same is often said about figure skating. Rona and Spencer defy such logic. Spencer, a committed member of the “Reach for the Sky Rink All Stars” team skates to express herself through performance. “Figure skating is fun. I suppose expressing myself comes easily when I’m enjoying what I do, and figure skating is a great sport if you like to put on personas and play different characters,” said Spencer. “I’ve often heard figure skating be described as ballet on ice, but in my mind, it is more like theatre.” According to Spencer’s coach, Marni Halasa, the Reach for the Sky Rink All Stars are New York City’s longest-running artistic ensemble team, and the 2013, 2014 and 2015 United States Figure Skating National Showcase bronze medalists. The team has performed at the Sky Rink, Rockefeller Center, the Standard Hotel and Riverbank State Park. They have also performed with Ms. Halasa’s company, “Imagination on Ice,” a company that skates upon creative float displays. According to Halasa, the All Stars have been seen in numerous parades like the Coney Island Mermaid Parade (helping to win a second-place finish in the Mermaid Parade), have performed in the Gay Pride Parade, and have even been entertainment for events like Johnny Weir’s birthday party at the Soho Grand, skating on synthetic ice. The team has also worked with an outreach mission and has taught kids in Brooklyn to skate at the

Abe Stark Arena. The skaters have also donated their time to “Ice Theatre of New York” and they have worked with families who were hit hard by hurricane Sandy. For Spencer, figure skating is not just for recreation, it is a part of who she is. “I’ve been skating since I was seven years old, so most of my memories from childhood include figure skating as a part of who I am. Looking at myself, I wouldn’t know how skating has changed me as a person, but if you asked somebody else who has watched me skate, they would tell you I act differently on the ice than I do when I am off it,” said Spencer. Spencer is particularly keen on team skating and the relationships she has made as a result. “I’ve known the girls on my skating team for seven or eight years. It was a natural transition for me to join the Reach for the Sky Rink All Stars theatrical team, since I knew who my fellow skaters would be and that I would get along with them. Since I’ve joined this team I have realized that figure skating doesn’t have to be an independent sport, which is something I used to think. When I joined the team, I felt I wanted an experience in which I worked with other skaters,” said Spencer. Over the years, Spencer has learned to become a great skater while also being a part of a loving, passionate figure skating community. Rona, a dedicated skater since age ten, also believes that figure skating has played a huge role in shaping who she is. She said, “The skating world is crazy. I’m really surprised there isn’t a show on TV called like ‘Skating Moms’ or something. The skating community is so serious to a point that you’ll want to bang your head against a wall, but it’s hilarious and loving, and everyone that’s apart of it is filled with passion.” Rona added, “I’ve skated with girls and boys who have gone to the Olympics, and those who just do it for fun. It’s incredible how no matter your level of skating or your qualifications, the skating world will welcome you in a beautiful way.” Rona has participated in competitions in New York, Colorado, Connecticut and New Jersey. She also competes annually in the Empire State Games—a winter sports competition in Lake Placid, NY. Rona shared how even through her frustration at times, she never loses faith in her sport. “It has taught me that whichever passion or sport you choose be apart of, an incredible amount of work to distinguish yourself and become excellent in it is required,” said Rona. “Over the thirteen years since I first stepped onto the ice, I’ve had moments where I wanted to quit skating or where I would take a break because I would get frustrated when I couldn’t land a jump or pull off a perfect program. I always end up coming back to it. Skating has really taught me that you’ll always come back to what you love.” Figure skating is passion like this that fuels greatness. Through figure skating, Spencer and Rona have found something that gets them up each morning and keeps them focused through the day. And while the commitment might be taxing, the challenge is worth it. It’s what keeps them on the ice. “To me, skating is the most beautiful sport. It combines physical ability, mental ability, musicality, and passion all into one practice,” said Rona. “I think that through movement and grace skaters really feel centered and connected to the ice.” •


“Advertisement” from Ms. Teixeira’s Class

“Advertisement” from Ms. Teixeira’s Class

Interview with Juan from the Hudson Guild


uan is at the Hudson Guild community center often. You may run into him breaking a sweat in a zumba session, or showing off his moves at a dance, or taking an art class. He has been a member of Hudson Guild for about a year and a half. However, before he found his way to Chelsea from New Jersey, where he now resides, Juan led a thrilling life that brought him to different oceans and continents. Juan was born in Chile and wears a kind smile and jovial spirit that mask his old age. In March, Juan visited Avenues with a number of other patrons of the Hudson Guild. I had the pleasure to have lunch with him and hear about his life. “No, I never finished school,” Juan answered when I asked about his education. “My mother took me out when I was ten because my father died. She was very strong lady, but very smart too. She took me


An Unexpected Story from Across the Street

Brazilian port city of Recife for the United States. “The U.S. stopped us all the time,” he recalled, “because they were afraid ships had Russian weapons.” Eventually, they arrived in the United States. Several months later, Juan remembered working on the ship with his crew in Mobile, Alabama when, in November 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed. Soon, they left Alabama. In 1968, while he was working for the Danish, Juan returned to the United States, via Glasgow, Scotland to New York City. His ship was scheduled to dock on 34th street on the west side for a few days before taing off again. But Juan wanted otherwise. “On Tuesday night — it was June 4 — I went out to 42nd, I walked around. And then at about 10 o’clock, I decided to go back to the ship. It was on 11th Avenue and 34th street, or 35th...

“FOR THE NEXT DECADE AND A HALF, HE WORKED AS A MARINE — FIRST FOR THE NETHERLANDS, THEN FOR GREECE, AND, FINALLY, FOR DENMARK. JUAN THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THIS PERIOD IN HIS LIFE. THROUGH HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH THE MARINE CORPS OF THESE THREE EUROPEAN NATIONS, JUAN EXPLORED THE WORLD AND MET HUNDREDS OF CRE WMEMBERS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE.” out of school and put me to work. Then when I was about 15, she put me back in nighttime school.” Juan only completed his second year of high school, at which point he joined the Chilean air force. After two years, his contract ended, and he realized, “I had nothing to do. I didn’t want to wear a uniform my whole life.” And he did not. His girlfriend at the time had a brother who was working on a ship for the Royal Netherlands Navy. Thanks to this connection, Juan found a job on the same ship, and by December 1951, he was in the open sea. For the next decade and a half, he worked as a marine — first for the Netherlands, then for Greece, and, finally, for Denmark. Juan thoroughly enjoyed this period in his life. Through his involvement with the marine corps of these three European nations, Juan explored the world and met hundreds of crewmembers from across the globe. On one occasion, in 1962, Juan’s ship left the northeastern


where Javits Center is now. And then before I got to the ship, I said, let me have a beer at this Mexican bar. I had one, then the waitress bring me another beer.” “Hey, I didn’t ask for no more,” he told her. A friendly stranger at the bar, Juan explained, had sent him the beer. The two started a conversation. “How hard should it be for me to stay here?” Juan asked. “If you stay, I’ll help you,” said Juan’s new friend, a Puerto Rican man. This man gave Juan his address and phone number, and told Juan to find him when Juan was ready. “Go to the Village, Perry Street. Close to Seventh Avenue,” he said. The next day, June 5, 1968, Juan told me, went down in history as the date of Robert F. Kennedy’s death. That Wednesday became similarly monumental in Juan’s own life. He and five fellow crew members decided to go out for a customary last beer hours before their ship was scheduled to leave

New York. He put on as many layers as he could. He stuffed his razor and other small possessions in his pockets. “It’s hot now. Why are you wearing so much?” his friends

“Just kidding. Dishwasher. It was in Long Island. So the next day, I had to go to Mineola. In Mineola, I had to find a way to get to the factory, a plastic parts factory.”

“THE NEXT DAY, JUNE 5 1968,” JUAN EXPLAINED, WENT DOWN IN HISTORY AS THE DATE OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY’S DEATH. THAT WEDNESDAY BECAME SIMILARLY MONUMENTAL IN JUAN’S OWN LIFE. ” asked. He waved off their questions and the group took off. As happy hour drew to a close, Juan’s five friends got up. “It’s time to go,” one of them said. “No, I’m going to stay,” Juan responded. “Are you crazy?” was the only response Juan heard from all of them before they left.


And maybe he was. Juan told me he remembers that he walked past Madison Square Garden then hopped on the subway at 34th street. He got off in the West Village and found his way to Perry Street to see the man he had befriended the previous night. More celebration followed. When morning came, the cloud of excitement that had inspired Juan the night before began to settle. Juan and his friend decided to face the facts. By mid-morning, the two of them were at a “big office” on 58th street and Eigth avenue. “So I changed my name to Pedro, and they gave me a social security just like that,” he told me. “On our way back, we stopped at an employment agency and I got a job.” “What was your job?” I asked. “DJ,” he said. We both laughed.

For the next several months, Juan bunked in a ‘monkey house,’ which resembled a hostel, near his job in Glen Cove. I asked Juan about any special moments he remembered from his early months in the United States. “That November, on Thanksgiving,” he said, “they gave me a turkey. First time in my life, I got a turkey! I was renting a small room with a kitchen, a bathroom, a stove to cook. So I put the turkey in the oven and just sprayed wine on the top… and a few friends came to my place. We played cards, played dominoes, and ate the turkey.” One day, around that same time, Juan attended a party thrown by his Puerto Rican friends from work. “And I meet this woman from the Bronx,” he said, “and she had an apartment there. We fell in love, so I came to the Bronx” Juan soon found work in the Bronx. “One day I took my lady, you know, who is Puerto Rican but is also America. We got married, and I started to fix my papers.” These action-packed few months segued into years of an inevitably adventurous yet more stable life. Without my even asking, Juan shared some sage words at the end of our conversation: “I think life,” he said, “it is the way you want it to be. You know, they are talking about destiny. (He was referencing a nearby conversation.) And I don’t think it’s destiny. You make your own destiny. You know, I used to be stupid, drink a lot. And I got into a lot of fights. I was knocked down, but never got out. I stand up, shake up, and keep going.” Juan’s creative, adventurous, optimistic attitude guided him from Chile, through the open sea, to Europe, to Alabama, to Manhattan, and Long Island, and the Bronx, and New Jersey. And now he can be found across the street, at the Hudson Guild, several times a month. Who could have known. •



FIRST CLASS RESULTS BY YASEMIN SMALLENS On May 10, I opened The New York Times to find an advertisement as ostentatious as it was revealing. For those who have not seen it, the full-page, color-printed advertisement read “First Class Results,” followed by a list of all the colleges my peers and I have been accepted into. I discussed this advertisement with my peers and found some mutual feelings of discomfort and frustration. When asked about the advertisement senior Zaira Chaplin said, “I feel that the administration prioritizes money over our academic needs and seeing that ad only furthered that belief.” Other students have similar views. Senior Brian Haver-Scanlon echoed Chaplin’s views, “I think it’s kind of the prime example of Avenues being a corporation versus an actual school.” While some, like senior Daniela Nasser, were more forgiving, “I do believe that Avenues is doing their job. As a class we did spectacularly and Avenues wants to promote that; after all, we are the face of a business.” However, despite these numerous conversations, not a single person expressed surprise; for the advertisement spoke to a truth we all know but have avoided to confront, the reality that our value not only as an institution, but as students, is solely dependent on where we matriculate to college. As I reflect on my three years at Avenues, I begin to wonder what principles the school has left me with. The mantra we so often hear, “Welcome, Safety, Respect,” is nearly always applied to intraschool relations. When there is a bullying scandal, we are asked to be more welcoming; when there is drug abuse within the community we are asked to be more safe; and when there is conflict between students and teachers we are asked to be more respectful. While I commend these applications of our mantra, I am concerned about their myopic nature. Too infrequently do our administrators ask how Avenues can be a school that honors these principles on an institutional level: how can Avenues be more welcoming to students of different racial, ethnic, sexual and gender identities? How can Avenues ensure the financial safety of students from low-income families? How can Avenues be more respectful of other countries and cultures as we build campuses abroad?


Avenues’ reluctance to hire a diversity coordinator, a position nearly all other New York City private schools have, speaks to the institution’s indifference towards welcoming students from a diverse array of backgrounds. The scarcity of funding for financial aid, with only 12% of students receiving some amount of assistance, reveals the school’s disinterest in being a safe choice for families in financial distress (meanwhile, The New York Times advertisement is estimated to cost $50,000). And finally, Avenues’ upcoming São Paulo campus, which is said to not only be placed across from favelas (slums) in Sao Paulo, but on top of them as well, exhibits the school’s complete lack of respect for Brazilian citizens. The apathy of this institution on an administrative level leaves it with principles based not in ethics, but economics. The “first class results” promised by Avenues in The New York Times advertisement, are not graduates who live thoughtful and moral lives, but are instead students who enroll in elite and exclusive institutions; for in a society that believes a diploma dictates worth, college matriculation is placed above an ethical lifestyle. With so many moral failings, I begin to wonder what kind of parents Avenues is attracting. If The New York Times advertisement is any sign, then the school is luring parents as apathetic as the current administration. This effectively creates a self-perpetuating cycle of indifference, in which the parents and adminis-

trators value objective success over any virtuous one.

With so many moral failings, I begin to wonder what kind of parents Avenues is attracting. If The New York Times advertisement is any sign, then the school is luring parents as apathetic as the current administration. This effectively creates a self-perpetuating cycle of indifference, in which the parents and administrators value objective success over any virtuous one. One of the most harmful results of this current is how poorly it represents students and teachers. There are so many examples within the community of aviators working to build a more inclusive and empathic environment. There are students like Ally Witt, who has worked tirelessly to address educational inequity in New York City; or teachers like Mr. Misler, who has elevated the level of conversation about race and sexuality by including students from across the political spectrum; or Jules Franco and

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Columbia University/Jewish Theological Seminary of America Davidson College Drexel University Eckerd College Elon University Emerson College Florida Atlantic University Florida International University George Washington University Hamilton College Harvard University Haverford College Hawaii Pacific University High Point University

Mr. Wang, who have worked countless hours to engender racial harmony within the Avenues community. But despite these triumphs, neither these aviators nor their efforts are captured in the college acceptance list the school so proudly flaunts. Maybe as a sophomore, or even as a junior, I would make a call for action asking fellow students to speak out and demand that Avenues do more good on an institutional level. But reaching the end of my senior year, I am afraid that these efforts would be hopeless. The capitalist drive of the school far outpaces any moral one, and economic rationale begs us to not act— not

hire a diversity coordinator, not invest more in financial aid, not build campuses ethically. There are many things I will miss about Avenues as I head off to college: the lazy afternoons spent with my friends playing music and making art in room 805, the frustration and eventual excitement after deciphering seemingly unsolvable physics equations with Mr. Maccarone, and the most gratifying kind of exhaustion that followed every Awareness Day. What I will not miss are the values this school holds on an institutional level; those I am eager to leave behind. •


Welcome, Safety, & Respect Means Protecting Americans A Response by The Conservative Club to “Political Views & Avenues” by Didlane Pierre TRIGGER WARNING: The content of this letter may frighten, anger, or disgust some readers. If you are at risk for being triggered in such a way, please continue to read. “As Avenues students, it is hypocritical to support presidential candidates that do not agree with the school’s mission statement: Welcome, Safety, and Respect.” With a strong, and hardly disagreeable first sentence such as this, one would expect an article that provides examples and reasons for Avenues students to support candidates who conduct themselves according to these values. You would expect a critique of Trump’s rhetoric, a comment on Clinton’s blatant lack of respect for those who accused her husband of sexual abuse, perhaps, a criticism of Bernie’s lack of welcome to those who work on Wall Street. However, “Political Views & Avenues” does none of the above. It uses our community values of Welcome, Safety, and Respect to orchestrate an attack on legitimate conservative views. The right-leaning members of our community feel the need to reply. Yes, the author makes a convincing argument grounded in research and left-wing rhetoric, however her argument boils down to one point: that the responsibilities of Avenues students—to be welcoming and provide others with safety and respect—are equivalent to the responsibilities of our country’s citizens. We contend that this conflation is irrational. Does our government have an obligation to welcome those who are living here illegally? We think not. The article questions “America First” stances on illegal immigration by stating that these people “are without a state,” which means we must “protect” them. The basis of the author’s argument—that illegals have no state—is incorrect. Illegal immigrants, almost all 30 million of them, are from another country. Most of them applied for visas to get here, and you must have a county of residence to do so. The author continues to dig deeper with this point though, asking “What kind of respect are we showing by only entitling ourselves to these benefits and opportunities?” The idea that we should turn this country into a charity for those who are willing to break and bend laws to reap the benefits of another’s country is laughable. And by this standard, it is hypocritical to be a democrat and go to Avenues.

At Avenues, we have security. We have an admissions process. If we applied the author’s logic to our school then we should allow any student to attend for free and raise the price of tuition for those who apply and get accepted. Furthermore, why don’t we fire our security team because they keep out people who want to reap the benefits of Avenues without paying? We only share the resources we are able to share without going bankrupt. We do so out of obligation to protect our school, reputation, students, and sustainability. The same reason that many Americans wish to implement similar regulations to get into, and stay in, America. In essence, Welcome, Safety, and Respect are ideals with context. To the author, a liberal-minded individual, maybe it is disrespectful to enforce the law on those who blatantly violated it. Maybe it is unwelcoming to secure our borders to ensure our country’s safety. Maybe we should prioritize the safety of those who threaten ours. However, us conservatives do not see it this way. We wish to be able to welcome, make safe, and respect those who abide by the law, before we do so for those who break it. Our government has the obligation to protect its own citizens. On March 2nd, 2008, Jamiel Shaw Jr., a 17 year old African American high school football player was brutally executed by a gang member illegally living in the United States. Shaw’s murderer had a criminal history prior to this event. In fact, the murderer was released from prison early after being detained for his third gun charge and assault on a police officer the day before Shaw’s murder. Shaw’s father, Jamiel Shaw, Sr., has since become an avid supporter and surrogate for Donald Trump. While some disagree with GOP proposals to enforce the law and deport illegals arrested for crimes, it is personal to Shaw, Sr.; he understands the threats that violent illegal immigrants pose to our county’s safety. Welcome, Safety, and Respect are guidelines to live by for life. However, the idea that supporting legislation and initiatives that deny these principles to illegal aliens is a violation of our community standards does not add up. As Americans, we must welcome one another, ensure our safety, and show respect to each other, before we do so for those who don’t for us. •





diversity making the case for

Over the past few weeks, socially consicous upper school students and faculty members have been hard at work on a campaign to bring a Diversity Office to Avenues. The following letters were written to the community in support of this initiative.

As read by seniors Yasemine Smallens and Jules Franco at the upper school student assembly on May 25 Jules: It is truly a special moment to be a senior in the days before graduation. An optimal time for reflection, the inevitable conclusion to a four year journey causes one to think not only about the things they were proud to have accomplished, but also about the business left unfinished. Since our entrance in Avenues in tenth grade, Yase and I have been humbled to find work for which we are passionate, and in that work we’ve not only sought and found deep personal enrichment but we also hope to have brought a positive impact to the Avenues community of which we are proud members. Yase: To be perfectly honest, our initial reaction to the Avenues community was one of uncertainty. We had both entered Avenues admiring the school's commitment to creating “global citizens,” but we were soon disappointed by the lack of visible diversity as well as initiatives to engage in dialogue about the systemic privileges and disadvantages we all experience. Avenues has made tremendous progress over the years, and we truly applaud this community for continuing to improve and foster a healthy dialogue. Jules: The work, however, is far from over. And today we would like to use one of the best platforms in our school to air student and faculty voices to speak not only of what sadly continues to ail our community, focusing on that one dimension would be counterproductive, but more so to raise each other up, to honor our school for the progress it has made, and challenge all of us to further individual and institutional action. Yase: Jules and I talk about this a lot. Our role today is simply to introduce and to give context to the following announcements, concerns, stories, and appreciations that are the products of the hard work of an entire community that can and wants to do more. We offer these to you for your consideration, and hope that you will observe with patience and empathy. Jules and I have never made a secret of our desire to see a Diversity Office and a more concrete set of diversity initiatives implemented into our community. You have listened to our voices, now you will hear theirs. (motion to the people on deck). Jules: A close friend of mine once asked me if I believed that every person has a moral obligation to stand up when they see something wrong. While I think it gets complicated to debate the ethics of moral obligation, what I will say is all of the students and faculty presenting today have felt the call of service to their school and to their peers. And there could be no better circumstances. The combination of Avenues, a still very new school of thought with a culture that is still being created and a student and faculty body eager to fulfill their school’s mission of creating a diverse and accountable community are the perfect ingredients in change-making.


Dear Avenues, When I went to DAIS this past weekend I was in awe once again. I was so happy to be a part of something in which I felt truly loved, accepted, and valued as a member of a much larger community, and the best part was that it was happening within the walls of my school, a place that sometimes struggles to encompass these values. When DAIS ended I kept thinking how fun school would be on Monday. I envisioned the same type of atmosphere—powerful poetry, beautiful dancing, meaningful discussions, passion, empathy, confidence, and respect. However, when I returned to school on Monday this was not my reality. A similar feeling occured when I attended the White Privilege Conference earlier this year and DAIS last year. The environment from these conferences is what I believed my school was missing, but I do believe we can achieve this kind of ambience. My initiative in creating the Women’s Coalition was my way of contributing to the journey that would one day provide this environment at Avenues. This club encompassed our core values of welcome, safety and respect. One thing that disappointed me about Avenues was the way female students were approached about the dress code. On multiple occasions teachers would say that girl’s outfits were too distracting to boys and that they would stare if we wore skirts more than two inches above the knee. One day when I wore a tank top to gym, I was told: “We think your shirt is inappropriate for PE and you’re making male faculty feel uncomfortable.” Another day I wore a skirt to school and then when I got there I actually had to miss class and sit outside the office on 8 where everyone walked by and knew that I had been “dresscoded.” I had to wait for an hour or so until my mom who works full time had to leave work, go home, and come back with a pair of pants. So, in order to prevent other students from not being able to learn because of my skirt I had to be taken out of class myself and stop learning. When I needed to focus on school and leave the basketball team a faculty member got angry with me and said “boys won’t be interested if all you have are good grades. If you want a boyfriend—being dedicated to a sport is attractive— guys like that!” Comments like these are blatantly sexist. I understand that teachers needed to uphold rules put in place, but I was confused as to why our dress code targeted girls exclusively. I feel as though if we had a diversity office in our school such comments would not be necessary.If male students and teachers can’t learn and teach because my shoulder is exposed or my full kneecap is out, I think there is a much bigger problem at hand. Thankfully, since we have switched leadership to a female head of the upper school I have noticed this unfair standard has changed almost entirely and has not been such a problem this year. This showed me that change is possible especially when there is a change in leadership. I wanted a space to talk about why this was wrong or have some sort of support system to back me up, but I felt alone. I feel a diversity office at the time could have really helped our school create an equitable and accountable standard for teacherstudent interaction. When I started the club in my freshman year the only feedback I received was groaning and constant teasing from students who thought I was just the crazy feminist who hated men and that I was simply trying to rile things up, but that was far from the truth. I wanted a chance to bring an issue that I felt was important to me and something that needed to be addressed at Avenues. In our first meeting one of the teacher volunteers said to us, “I thought this club was just going to be like girls gossiping because like isn’t this whole thing pointless you knowbecause — boys will be boys.” Although we had some really great teachers come in and talk to our club and take us on trips like Day of the Girl (where we headed to the UN to learn about global gender inequality), this comment was extremely discouraging. We were still lacking proper support for the club. I created the group because I was inspired by the girl’s coalition at St. Ann’s (a school that actually has a diversity office in order to support its student’s beliefs and values). I believed that students at Avenues wanted and needed a space like this and yet still an underwhelming


amount of students attended these meetings. Of course I can’t pinpoint exactly why students didn’t show up, but I don’t think being yelled at by upper school boys helped recruitment. Different versions of the club have been presented each year and each time very few students have joined. It was frustrating because at the time, in my freshman year, I was just beginning to explore feminism, intersectionality and advocacy for women’s rights. My classes hardly scratched the surface of these topics, and the majority of the people we learn about in history classes are still white men. Women’s rights and powerful female figures have been hardly included in the curriculum during my time at Avenues. I realized then if I wanted to learn about these issues I would have to take the initiative and research it myself. Almost all of my papers in high school have focused on an aspect of feminism because there was no class that enabled me to learn otherwise. It wasn’t until this year in my Gender, Sexuality, and Race class taught by Ms. Shore that I could learn more about the topics that were so near and dear to my heart. The class was helpful in so many ways and I’m so glad I had the chance to take it. But, unfortunately, this class will not be running next year because there were not enough students who signed up. A diversity office at our school could allow teachers to offer multiple perspectives in their courses so that if students want to learn about such topics they won’t have to seek it out on their own. In addition, other narratives are essential in learning in high school classes: history, english, Spanish, Chinese—it applies everywhere. We need to teach Avenues students about social justice because it affects everyone and our lack of awareness puts us all at a disadvantage. In addition if the majority of our faculty is of the same race and background how do we expect them to know when to be diverse in their teaching methods? I believe a diversity office at our school could have helped the women’s coalition facilitate proper discussions and help remove the stigma of joining such a club that would progress a school’s environment while educating the student body. My classes could have been more interesting and applicable to modern times and our future if we looked at subjects with a nuanced point of view. We live in a multicultural society. Avenues is proud to call itself a global school. Then it is truly ironic that is one of the only private schools in New York City that doesn’t have a diversity office or coordinator to help ensure the promise of diversity this school made to its community. My Avenues education would have benefited so much and can benefit so much from a Diversity Office because it would help promote love, acceptance, and would mindfully challenge the school to be more inclusive of all backgrounds. Thank you, Dominique Da Silva, junior

Dear Avenues, On multiple occasions at Avenues, I have seen these principles: welcome, safety, respect, violated. I've seen this done on grounds of race, class, sexuality, etc., but I've never been personally affected by those attacks, and I cannot speak to their impact. Instead, I will share a story of my own struggle with a different -ism. An -ism that most of you don't know I deal with, and one that many of you may not know exists. Ableism. Ableism is the discrimination against a person due to being non able bodied. One example is a company denying someone in a wheel chair a job that requires


zero physical labor, just because they are not able bodied. I will share another example with you today. I suffer from a unique form of ableism due to something we call Invisible illness. This is a disability or impediment that can go by undetected. What passing is to racism, invisible illness is to ableism. I have never had to use a wheel chair, and I have never been mocked for not being able to walk; yet, I have a disability that I grapple with every day of my life. I was born with a genetic condition called Ehler-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) that holds me back physically. I get extreme pain from writing more than a few words on paper, I can’t stand for more than a few minutes straight without my knees collapsing, and I am held down by crippling joint pain every day of my life. Yet, most of my friends, teachers, and peers would never know. Many of you who I have let into my circle, and shared my struggle with have been great. Others have shut me down or not believed me. I was once told that since I am not in a wheel chair or that since I don't looked messed up, my pain, my experience, is not legitimate. This has happened on more than one occasion at this school, and it has happened with teachers at this school. My experience dealing with ableism has been one like that of charlie brown kicking a football. Time and time again the football has been removed from my foot. As an ideological conservative I didn't expect anyone to kick the football for me, so I kept trying and I eventually got it. But that process was too long, too hard, and not fair. I wish I had an advocate to support me, and I want every potential student like me at this school to have an ally from day one. I truly believe that this person can and will be the diversity coordinator. Connor Wise, junior

One time when I was helping out at an upper school information event, a parent asked me, "How many visible students of color are there in the Upper School?" When she asked me this, I thought about my first day at Avenues. The first thing that I saw was the difference between my skin color and everyone else's. I felt, and I still feel visibly alone. To some people, though, there is only one real black girl in the high school. Who am I again? Am I Nikaila? Zaza? Lola? It all depends on the day and who I am talking to. All four (four is not a lot) of the black students in the eighth grade are not returning to Avenues for high school, and for probably a similar reason. Being mistaken for one of the other few black students in the high school makes me uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable that the hundreds of white students in the upper school be told apart, yet I’m mixed up with a student that I only share a similar skin tone with. And sometimes, it makes me feel voiceless— if I say something meaningful, will people even remember that I said it, or will they remember it as someone else’s words? Even as the school's culture evolves and new traditions are being established, I'm still working hard to become comfortable in my skin at Avenues. Thus, I am lobbying for a diversity office, so that there is a chance for more students that look like me to have a chance to comfortably attend Avenues. So how did I answer her question? I was dying to tell her what I just told all of you, but I said, "I'm not too sure, but honestly--not a lot." Kyla Windley, sophomore



Adolescence is a prime moment of one’s life. The places in One of the first weeks of eighth grade at Avenues, my history which youth chose to spend their time inform who they will be- class was given a tour of the Elliot Center, next to the Hudson come as people. For me, that place was the Hudson Guild. Guild, by our teacher, Ms. Allen. I felt uncomfortable; I didn’t The first time I walked into the Hudson Guild Community need a tour, as by that time I had already performed three shows Center, it was fall, 2010. I was twelve years old; it would be two there. years before I ever attended Avenues. A good friend of mine was To me, the Hudson Guild was never a community center in in the ensemble of Children of Eden with a theater company need of ‘help,’ but rather a safe haven where I could be with my called KidzTheater, which I was interested in auditioning for. I friends and perform. was immediately struck by the hominess of the theater, and was For the past couple years, I have always felt uncomfortable quickly swept up into the wonder of Eden. about the insinuations that New York private schools ‘help’ comNot only was this my first munity centers. Coat drives, “WHEN I THINK OF THE PERSON language immersion—these experience with the Hudson Guild, it was also my first ex- AND PERFORMER I WAS THE FIRST community service projects posure to KidzTheater, both of TIME I WALKED THROUGH THOSE always seemed to benefit the which have since become like school’s persona, versus actually DOORS, TO WHO I AM WHEN I GO helping others. second homes to me. Since that fall day, I have I will admit, I have not been THERE NOW, I CANNOT performed with KidzTheater in too involved with communiwell-over 20 shows, including a COMPREHEND HOW MUCH MY LIFE ty service at Avenues in the yearly concert in Disney World. past three years. My old school HAS CHANGED AND HOW Although we perform at DIFFERENT I AM. IN MANY WAYS, forced us to go to soup kitchens many venues and theaters, all the time, where we would Hudson Guild has always been THE HUDSON GUILD IS SYMBOLIC mostly stand around and do KidzTheater’s home. I have nothing, and then talk about OF GROWING UP FOR ME.” spent countless, eighteen hour how much the experience bendays at Hudson Guild, cried there (a lot), and, ultimately, grown efited us. These essentially empty experiences created a stigma up. around community service for me; I constantly question whether When I think of the person and performer I was that first time community service benefits the receiver or the giver. I walked through those doors, to who I am when I go there now, Due to this lack of trust in community service, matched with I cannot comprehend how much my life has changed and how an increase in academic work, I chose to not participate in upper different I am. In many ways, the Hudson Guild is symbolic of school ACE events. growing-up for me. As of April 2016, Avenues has become a spirited partner of


Hudson Guild, creating and participating in several community a moment of joy. events. I began to think about what these moments had in common, The Hudson Guild has been a home to me since I was twelve, and discovered that the key to engagement was connection. and Avenues since I was fourteen. To that end, in order to keep “For me, the term ‘community service’ (and perhaps even an open mind, I have had to reevaluate what community service ‘community engagement’) are flawed terms. Here is why: The means to me. emphasis is on on going out and ‘helping’ or ‘serving’ the comThe truth is, the ways each of us spends our excess time is munity,” said sophomore Brandon Bunt. “The reality is that comdeeply related to what gives us pleasure. For some, that can be munity service is a free opportunity. It is an opportunity to learn community service. things that cannot be described Ms. Allen, head of ACE for “COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IS NOT through the internet or a textAvenues, often points to a study The guests at St. ClemABOUT COMPLETING A NUMBER OF book. done by the Corporation for ents only receive a bag of food National and Community Ser- HOURS, OR SPENDING CLASS TIME each week. In comparison, I vice, which demonstrates the AT A SOUP KITCHEN. IT IS ABOUT get to meet new people, underscientific benefits of engagestand their struggles, and talk to CONNECTING WITH A COMMUNITY them.” ment. The piece describes the feel- IN A WAY THT IS UNIQUE TO YOU.” Brandon’s words help us uning of pure joy one feels when derstand the potential gift of engaged, and that can come when one has the perception of giv- interacting with others, the way that Avenues has interacted with ing back. I realized that this joy some feel when they are engag- Hudson Guild. ing through service is the same I feel when I perform, or how Community engagement is not about completing a number of an athlete feels when they’re in the zone. All of these states of hours, or spending class time at a soup kitchen. It is about conbeing are characterized by the brain releasing dopamine, creating necting with a community in a way that is unique to you.




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Arts and Letters


Who Am I? A simple question, and yet it causes so much confusion. Am I not human, a person, like everyone else? No. Because I look different I am exotic, to you I look quixotic, I look unrealistic, yet sort of idealistic, to you I am a figure, that your brain cannot configure. I am a man, but you don’t understand, because my hair is long, I do not belong, like hair should determine my gender or sexuality, its just your mentality. I have one brow not two, and to you that is one too few. Because I don’t speak Spanish, its my fault my culture will diminish. My skin is too light, so you call me white, you take my culture away, as if you could shape me like I was clay. You try to take away my identity, like I’m from some foreign reality. You look for some way to define me, and all it does is confine me. Leaving me to question who am I, no, WHAT am I?

The following unlock the cr unconscious


g games were designed to reative potential of the mind YLER










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Digital Art




How black are you? You have a degree? Not black enough. You don’t sag your pants? Not black enough. You enunciate? Not black enough. You are rich? Not black enough. You do drugs? You are so black. You shoot people up? You are so black. You are unintelligent? You are so black. You don’t work for anything? You are so black. What are you...? “I am Held Black.”



Despite there being a pretty good turn around this time, we still had a lot of news to cover. These are the stories The Highliner had to pass on (I guess ink is as expensive as prom tickets).

Tech Team announces laptops can be used for educational purposes In order to stay politically correct, students protest “Down With Person of Authority” Seniors now openly don’t give a crap Juniors realize they were good at being the middle kids Teacher FAQ: Why won’t the seniors be here next year? Senior FAQ: When does college start? Junior FAQ: Why doesn’t the school care about us? Sophomore FAQ: Who woke us from our nap? Freshmen FAQ: We are tired of complaining about nothing, when will something actually bad happen to us? Next year, courses will be solely based on not giving people what they want Seniors have forgotten what learning is “I think they are going to break up with us before summer,” teachers ponder Living wall alive again Fundraiser for prom happens after it logically makes sense to do so Senior accounts no longer valid in cafe, school on verge of bankruptcy Juniors stare out the window as seniors return from lunch College counselors discover there will be senior class next year Student completes HIP-writing assignment Excursion to Texas makes Avenues 1% more conservative Cafe re-hires Dennis as bouncer Assembly committee gets a birthday correct Tiger team lead by senior Tigre Mui 2017 menu announced: Tofu Dress code, lol


It always finds a little place in the heart of teenage boys everywhere, and I know it has one in mine. One of the more mainstream odes to violence is video games. Some of these video games have allegedly made their way onto a few hard drives here at school. The owners of these hard drives in question have been getting in trouble with teachers and the tech team. Many students whose hard drives have been contaminated are concerned. However, in fear of guilt by association (with their hard drives) I have kept their identities secret. “So, when did you first realize you had video games installed on your laptop?” I ask. “Well, I remember getting an email telling me that I had gotten into one of my top choice colleges...” he starts. “Congrats,” I tell him. “Thanks, so I forward the email to all my friends and loved ones, as one would when they get such good news, then I blacked out. I woke up on the M23 two weeks later. I called my parents to tell them I was safe, saw the time, and hopped off on tenth avenue with a few minutes before class started,” he reminisces. “So you were fine,” “Yeah, my legs were really BY HENRY GOLD bruised and I had sand in my pockets, but apart from that I was fine. So, I find all my stuff in my locker and head to class. My teacher was going on about something that was boring, and then all of a sudden my laptop goes black and boots up a game I’d never seen before...I was curious and tapped some buttons. After managing to navigate the suspicious program, I saw a few avatars for me to interact with, I thought they could explain to me what this game was. My encounter with them was brief and I had earned something called a ‘Killstreak’.” His laptop was confiscated by tech in the hopes of finding a way to combat this phantom game spreading to other hard drives. Another solution from the tech team was the installation of Lan School. This allows the school to block students from accidently opening distracting things, e.g. these phantom games that were popping up on laptops. Now the learning can continue... Since I know no teacher will read past this point I can speak freely now. Tread lightly everyone, LanSchool also allows teacher to look at your screen in real time, because, you know, technology. Never stay on the tab you’re actually using for too long. While writing this I’ve moved between 4 tabs 6 times. Remember this system works through being on the same wifi, at the same time.Teachers can only see the last thing you had up on the wifi they’re looking at. If my suggestion wasn’t obvious enough come talk to me in person. Viva La Revolution. •

Copy of Death




GEMINI (THE SCIENCE GUY) MAY 21- JUNE 21 June is going to be a month of romance! Read romance novels, watch romance comedies, get a dog! Make sure that you have candles and roses handy at all times. Famous Geminis: John F. Kennedy, Bob Dylan, Naomi Campbell, Angelina Jolie

CANCER(OUS) JUNE 20- JULY 22 June is a month for you to branch out. Climb every tree that you see. Make sure that you have the endurance to climb for 9 days straight. Use the month of June to practice and go see a rainforest. Famous Cancers: Sylvester Stallone, Princess Diana, Elon Musk, Robin Williams

LEO (DICAPRIO) JULY 22- AUGUST 22 The month of June is going to be bumpy. Your car will run into many potholes this month. Make sure that you know how to change a tire, and always have two tires handy at all times. Famous Leos: President Barack Obama, Jennfier Lopez, Viola Davis, Ben Affleck

(40 YEAR OLD) VIRGO AUGUST 23- SEPTEMBER 22 You are currently juggling many things. School, summer, fun, netflix, etc. June is the time for you to enroll in a clown school. Learn about how to juggle bowling pins, kiwis, and even your homework schedule! Run away with the circus, ring master! Famous Virgos: Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Wiz Khalifa, Jimmy Fallon

(NON-EXISTENT) LIBRA(RY) SEPTEMBER 22- OCTOBER 23 You are missing the last piece of a puzzle. Go on Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy. Find your missing puzzle piece. If you cannot find it there, find the nearest FedEx Kinkos and learn to DIY! Famous Libras: Margaret Thatcher, Kate Winslet, Vladimir Putin, Confucius

SCORPI(LUWAK) OCTOBER 23- NOVEMBER 21 Use June to improve yourself. Sign up for multiple summer courses. Learn the bounds of astrophysics, as well as electric engineering. The month of June will be an enlightening time. Famous Scorpios: Pablo Picasso, Marie Curie, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Gates


SA(VAGE)TTARIUS NOVEMBER 21- DECEMBER 21 June is going to be a place for expansion. This means, eat all the pizza and tater tots your stomach can hold. Review the steps to make crescent rolls, and the basics on how to use an oven. Famous Sagittariuses: Taylor Swift, Pope Francis, Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra

CAPRICORN(DOG) DECEMBER 21- JANUARY 19 June is a month of slowing down. Whether you are in a car, plane, or roller coaster, step on the brakes. Make sure that you have taken proper safety measures, i.e.: airbags,etc. Famous Capricorns: Bradley Cooper, Issac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Elvis Presley

AQUARIU(M)S JANUARY 19- FEBRURARY 18 You are going to be working hard during the month of June. Learn how to surf or skydive. Make sure that you learn at least 7 exotic sports during the month of June. Famous Aquarii: Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Galileo Galilei

(MY LIFE IN) PISCES FEBRURARY 18- MARCH 20 You will come to a crossroads in June. Walk on every railroad in the United States, When two tracks cross, utilize the tracks to create your own crossfit exercise class. Host this class at the nearest Planet Fitness every Monday and Wednesday for a year. Famous Pisces: Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, George Washington, Dr, Seuss

AR(I)ES (CARTER) MARCH 20- APRIL19 June is all about staying on track! Make sure you visit all the race car tracks in the United States, as well as participate in at least 10 track and field events during the month of June. Famous Aries: Lady Gaga, Vincent Van Gogh, Maria Sharapova, Leonardo Da Vinci

TAUR(B)US APRIL 19- MAY 20 You will have to make big decisions in June. Pepsi or Coke? Binge-watch or Bingeeat? Make sure that you try both options before deciding on just one. Review the 5 decision making steps, and have them tattooed on your back. Famous Tauruses: William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, Tina Fey, Adele



Congratulations to the First Graduating Class!




SUSAN M. SINGER Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker C: 917.207.6368 TOWN FLATIRON LLC 110 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor New York, NY 10011

TOWNRESIDENTIAL.COM TOWN Residential LLC (“TOWN”) is a licensed real estate broker and a partnership of Buttonwood Residential Brokerage LLC and Thor Equities, LLC. Real estate agents associated with TOWN are independent contractors and are not employees of TOWN. TOWN Flatiron LLC is a licensed real estate broker and a subsidiary of TOWN.

The Highliner Issue 6  

Spring 2016

The Highliner Issue 6  

Spring 2016