An Introduction This is the first independent middle school Highliner magazine. Last year, the magazine was created by the high schoolers, from editing to formatting. This year, middle school students created the whole magazine by themselves, under the faculty guidance of Ms. Tursellino. We, the Highliner staff, felt that the middle school should have its own voice. We wanted to be independent from the upper grades, because the middle school is a unique space and an unique part of Avenues. Itâ€™s the next logical step to have a place for the middle schoolâ€™s unique voice, too. All the articles in this issue were written by middle school students in grades 6, 7 and 8. The articles were written in our free time, and they are about issues and topics we find relevant and interesting in some way. The topics range from tips to surviving middle school, to the ecological impact of Avenues to interviews with people like Salva Dut and Eva Schloss. Ultimately, the diversity in topics shows the breadth and diverse culture of the middle school. The only reason we can fill up this whole magazine is because there are so many special stories and people in the middle school. There are 306 kids in the middle grades, and 40 faculty members. We hope that the this issue of the Highliner can represent this body of faculty and kids well, and give them a independent voice in this school. Praharsha
Sophia Gonzalez Writer
Contents • Issue 2 • Spring 2019 •
Why Diversity is a Problem at Avenues
Trevor Sullivan Weinstein
Updates on Avenues: São Paulo
Avenues’ Ecological Footprint
Evolution of Avenues How to Survive Middle School
Lockers: the 6th Grade Inside Student Council Experience
FOMO in NYC
Popular Classes at Avenues Soleil Wizman
Arts & Entertainment
Spotlight, Crossword, Headliners & more!
Free expression matters. THE HIGHLINER MS MISSION STATEMENT We serve neither students, nor faculty no administration, we serve the stories that emerge in our community and we work to give those stories significance. Free expression matters. The Highliner is a student lead publication, written by students for students. We want to represent a voice, and we, as a team, want to represent the Middle Grades. We will try our best to produce content that is not only important for our students, but is also interesting. However, The Highliner does not lean toward studentsâ€™ or facultiesâ€™ opinions. We are a publication who serves truth, stories, and student art. In doing so, we hope to explore what life is like for a Middle Grades student at Avenues, what problems they face, and how the middle school responds these problems, both inside and outside of Avenues. These are the questions the Middle Grades Highliner aims to answer, and answer with utmost integrity and truthfulness. The MG Highliner will provide a snapshot into the life of an average middle schooler, and create a space for open discussions about difficult and nuanced problems here at Avenues.
-Highliner MS Staff
Why Diversity is a Problem at Avenues BY TREVOR SULLIVAN WEINSTEIN
ave you ever thought about diversity and how it impacts the Avenues community? When you focus on the Avenues student body, there isn’t much ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic diversity. A seventh grader at Avenues said, “It’s only minorities talking about race at Avenues.” Sadly, this seems to be true. It seems like diversity is the invisible elephant in the room at Avenues. People are aware of the subject, yet do not consider whether the community or place in is diverse or not. David Buckwald, the Head of Admissions at Avenues, cares a lot about diversity and inclusion. “I would like to see more support for sustained dialogue about issues concerning diversity and inclusion,” he said. When Buckwald made this point, it caused me to think about any times that that type of dialogue happened during my experience at Avenues. Even though we have things like “Awareness Day” and “Community Day,” these are just isolated moments to talk through the issues. The topics we talk about on those days should be discussed every day. Buckwald also touched on the subject of socioeconomic diversity at Avenues. He talked about how Avenues offers financial aid. “From an access standpoint, cost at private schools around the world has been a barrier to many talented students and families...We can do better by our motto, ‘Welcome, Safety, Respect. In addition to diversity and inclusion, I care deeply about access and equality, and making an Avenues education available to those promising students in New York City who deserve to be a part of our amazing community.” This presents how the Admissions team at Avenues is looking to create opportunities for those less fortunate. One important thing that Buckwald shared was that it’s important to be aware as a whole school.“I think that it’s important that for Avenues as a school, and further as a community, to take time to share conversations and views about diversity and culture at Avenues. Having those conversations is very important.” In fact, a few years ago, the school appointed Ana Maria Correa to the position of Director of Community
Engagement & Inclusion in order to fuel conversations on diversity. This was a good first step towards making diversity and inclusion a part of the everyday Avenues environment. In an interview, Dr. Evan Glazer, the Head of the School, commented, “I hope Avenues can become more representative of New York City in terms of race, culture, religion, and socioeconomic diversity. More diversity will bring more perspectives so our students can be uniquely equipped to understand and solve global scale problems.” When spoken to about community day, he nodded and said, “The deeper meaning of Community Day should be taught everyday. We want students to understand what inclusion means first based on learning empathy, identity, cultures, beliefs, and humility, and then use those principles to participate in meaningful community engagement that improves the lives of other people.” Evan Glazer also noted, “We have diversity as it relates to cultures and lived experiences around the world. In our upcoming Avenues World’s Fair, we will celebrate our diversity through food, arts, music, and activities in the spirit of recognizing and appreciating our global community.” The seventh grader I interviewed shares this interesting view as well. They said, “I think we need to give scholarships to kids in the public housing.” Dr. Glazer’s comment shows that in some way or form, Avenues is doing something on this issue, and when it comes to financial aid, Buckwald provided numbers that were quite stunning. Avenues has spent more than 9.2 million dollars on grants and financial aid every year. While this is a great option for less fortunate families, there still are complications. Avenues should not be using scholarships to be the only way to increase diversity . Avenues, this is a wake up call. Diversity and inclusion is not something that should only be discussed about at home. In order to become a new school of thought, we need to consider diverse perspectives in terms of ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic diversity. In order to achieve that, we need to be a more diverse school. If Avenues wants to live up to its description as a new school of thought, we need a more diverse and inclusive working and learning environment. •
It’s January 30th, 1933. Homes, stripped of families. Sons and daughters ripped from mothers. Sent on cattle cars like animals. Riding for days, with barely any food or water. Some give up on the journey, but little to none pull through. She pulled through. Eva Schloss was born on May 11, 1929, in Vienna, Austria. Her family rented a flat in Amsterdam, where she met Anne Frank. After the Nazis invaded Amsterdam, she went into hiding for two years until she was freed by Soviet troops in 1945. Shortly after that, she and her mother returned to Amsterdam and reunited with Otto Frank. In 1953 her mother, Elfriede Geiringer, married Otto Frank.
EVA’S STORY BY RONI ZILBERMAN
Photo of Eva Schloss, 1989
“Everything you do leaves something behind; nothing gets lost. All the good you have accomplished will continue in the lives of the people you have touched. It will make a difference to someone, somewhere, sometime, and your achievements will be carried on. Everything is connected like a chain that cannot be broken.” Tell us about Anne “Of course as you say, she wasn’t famous, so she became just one of my playmates. And, in my experience, I had become shy, so it wasn’t in my nature, and she was very loud. They left already when Anna was 4 years old in 1933. It was Otto Frank, her father, who realized when he saw the Nazis marching through the streets, (singing) a very famous Nazi song when Jewish blood drips from our knives everything will be better, and Otto Frank said, that is not a country. He was very patriotic, he was an officer in the first world war and it was hard to suddenly leave his own country because he said, this is not a country where I want to bring up a family. So Anna was only four years old when they settled in Amsterdam, so she learned Dutch of course, immediately, and she only spoke Dutch. And, so when we met, she asked me where I came from and I said Austria and she said, oh you speak German? I will take you to my apartment to meet my dad who will speak German to you. And this is how I got to know the family, of course, never expecting how close we would become later on. “She actually went to a Montessori school, which means that Otto must have realized that she’s not just an ordinary child, she needs a bit more attention. She hates to do maths, which some people hate. I was actually very good at that, so we were actually quite opposite. She loved writing stories and I checked it a lot. Her nickname was Mrs. Quack Quack and never could stop talking. She had to stay behind in
school to write a hundred lines; she just couldn’t help it. And in that school, the Montessori school, they could do really what they liked and this suited her. And so, Otto told me later she had no ideas about addition or subtraction, she just didn’t want to learn that and she didn’t. Stories were her, that is what she really loved. Of course, later was when she got the diary, not ‘till much later. I didn’t know really that she got the diary. I just want to tell you, that she was eleven years old and was already very interested in boys.” What happened when the Nazis arrived? “Nothing really happened, and this is going well, this has got to be okay. They won’t do anything in the occupied countries. But then the measures against Jewish people started to come. So it was first just a nuisance. We were not allowed to go out before eight o’clock in the morning and eight o’clock in the evening. We had to give in our bicycles, we had to give in our radios, we were not allowed on public transport, we were not to go to the cinema or the theaters, swimming pools. So for us children, you know we were upset, but it was not life-threatening. But then we had to leave our schools and go to Jewish schools. You will say then what is wrong with it, and there is nothing wrong with it. All is a Nazi’s views and lots of Jewish children, and they came with trucks, and they told the children to get on the truck. And the children never were seen again. So the parents went to the police, trying to find out where are the children, when are they going to come home? Nobody gave them any information. And only after the war, we found out the three years of children missing were sent to Mauthausen, a horrific Austrian death camp, and they were just thrown down from the cliffs. You know, but just the children disappearing, that was already a terrible event. And then after two years occupation, in June 1942, ten thousand young people, I am sure there are a lot of you here, sixteen years old and a bit older, got a call-up notice to be deported to Germany. That was my brother Heinz who
had just turned sixteen and Anna’s sister Margot. That is when my father called us together and said Heinz, we are not sending you, but we are going into hiding. And, you know, I couldn’t understand. To go into hiding was something I couldn’t imagine.” “And my father explains he found some wonderful people, Dutch people, who risk their lives to take us in, in their own homes. But he didn’t find the family who could take in four people because the apartments were quite small, so we had to split up. I will go with mother and Heinz will go with him. And I started to cry. I didn’t want to be separated, I was very much attached to my father and my brother. And my father explained to me, if we’re in two different places, the chance that two of us will survive is bigger. So I realized, it might be a matter of life and death, and that is for a thirteen-year-old, or anybody, quite scary. We were in hiding for two years.” Eva went on to talk about her worst memories and inspirational stories of overcoming her journeys throughout the years in the Nazi death camps. She and her mother were freed January of 1945, where Eva then traveled to London for her photography. Eva later met her soon to be husband, Zvi Schloss, in 195,1 who was also taking the course. After recently being proposed to from Zvi, Eva turned him down and went home due to the fact that Zvi had wanted to move away from her parents. Yet when Eva turned home solitary, she found her mother in love with Otto Frank. She then returned to London and said yes to his proposal. Zvi and Eva married in 1952, then Otto and Elfriede the year after. Eva talks worldwide, sharing her story and teaching people of all ages and cultures the importance to accept everyone for who they are. She is an inspiration for modern day children and a role model to millions. Even still, she has dedicated more than fifty years to sharing her story worldwide. Eva’s story is sensationally difficult to imagine, yet she reminds us of the important message that life is precious, and love makes a difference. Love is what is important. •
Salva’s Journey BY AVA LENNON
he book A Long Walk to Water, written by Linda Sue Park, is an inspiring and true story about a man named Salva Dut. This book has been a middle grades classic, and favorite of many of the Avenues students. On October 16th, during assembly, the middle grades students were awaiting a surprise visit from the inspiration himself, Salva Dut. A tall man with dark skin, piercing eyes, and a navy suit, stands in front of the projector, facing three hundred of the Avenues Middle Grades students squeezed into the seventh floor commons. His intimidating height and facade vanish when he smiles at the crowd. He gently states, “I’m so happy to be here this morning with you.” The man’s name is Salva Dut. Born and raised within a Dinka village in South Sudan, he was forced to run for his life when war between Northern and Southern Sudan struck his home. He became one of the millions of Lost Boys of Sudan, boys who were fleeing to stay alive. 17,000 boys left Sudan because of the war. Only 12,000 survived. The Lost Boys traveled 18,000 miles, living in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. The boys left their friends, families, and their whole lives behind. At a young age, Salva led several hundred boys onwards, when he thought all hope was lost. In 1996, Salva was chosen to be resettled in Rochester, NY. In America he began his company, Water for South Sudan. heir whole lives behind. For 19 years, Salva had thought his whole family had passed away. Nineteen years later, he learned that his father is alive in Sudan, but very sick due to waterborne diseases. Salva knew he wanted to change things for Sudan, for people like his father who were suffering due to poor water quality. He started his own non-profit, Water for South Sudan, to give back to those who are in the same situation as his father was. Water For South Sudan is an organization that works to creating clean, fresh water, sanitation, and an overall healthy life to people in need.
“You guys are blessed to be born in this country, in America.”
--fter Salva greets us, he asks us how many of us went to the bathroom this morning. Most hands went up. He then asks how many of us used a tap this morning. All hands went up. “Do you know how important it is, simple, you treat it like nothing difficult. This is what is very very important. Imagine yourself not having a bathroom at home. Would be very difficult, correct?” Everyone nods, including the teachers that line the sides of the commons space. “Not having water would be very difficult. Every kid in America, you just get all this, in your house. But in other world, you don’t. Like where I grew up, I didn’t have running water. I didn’t have [a] bathroom. I had to go to the bush. And I didn’t even eat three times a day. If I get something one meal a day, then I am happy and I will not complain. You guys are blessed to be born in this country, in America.” When I interviewed Salva one-on-one, I asked him about all the struggles he had to endure when he took the long walk to safety. About the effect war had on his entire life. “Fighting doesn’t take us anywhere,” Salva said. “Always be kind. If all of us were kind, the world would be a better place.” Salva has now provided clean water for 300,000 peple, building 394 wells. But apart from being having a huge impact on his country’s health and life, it has also had a huge impact on the students of Avenues. Lelolai Paulino-Dinzey is a 6th grader, and she had the opportunity to introduce Salva at the middle grades assembly. “It felt good to introduce him,” she told me. “He impacted me a lot, because not only did he like take care of himself, he took care of the other boys, and now he’s giving back to his community by building the water wells.” And, as
wisely said by one of our seventh graders, “When I don’t want to wash the dishes, this makes me want to wash the dishes, and I should wash the dishes, because I can wash the dishes.” “It was very inspiring, and maybe now, I will have the power I need to make a difference,” said Sienna Ashworth, another seventh grader. At the very end of our interview, I asked Salva one last question. What would you say to any kid my age who wants to make a difference in their world? “Focus on your education,” he tells me. “Never give up on it. Have hope all the time and never give up. Be persistent. Persevere.” I hope Salva made an impression on all the students of Avenues, because learning about how fortunate we are will inspire us to help others. Just like it did for Salva. •
Global Journeys A Once in a Lifetime Experience BY BEATRICE SELCH
can still remember sitting on a rock outside, just staring out into the magic happening above me. I remember that during one point of the night, Trilli, the dog that lived on the farm, climbed into my lap and closed her eyes. I can still remember her steady breathing, each breath sending ripples across her golden fur. It was just so beautiful. I never wanted it to stop,” said Renee Cai, seventh grade student who travelled on the Global Journeys Italy trip. Ever since Avenues opened in 2012, Global Journeys has been an integral part of the Avenues experience. Going to explore a different country with your school is something special. But what really makes Global Journeys so special? Is it the adventure of travel, or the experience of another culture? Students have been sent all over the world- China, Argentina, Belize, Taiwan, Italy, Japan. Studying and experiencing new cultures, eating new food and living with homestay families are some of the things students are able to experience with Global Journeys, and are just a few of the things that make . Avenues was created and designed to teach their students how to be “at ease beyond their borders.” Global Journeys is a very clear representation of this goal. Global Journeys is all about getting students to learn outside of the classroom. “Engaging students in programs internationally that allow for them to explore, specific global thematic issues, linked to the learning that you’re [the students] doing at school, to learning outcomes, as defined by elements, and also, giving opportunities for students at Avenues to engage with their peers, around the world, in an authentic, kind of… ethical standard of way, to stand in 14
solidarity and address global issues.” said Kevin Murungi, Director of Global Journeys. Being able to address issues beyond your own community is a great achievement, and to do so you must be able to engage with the people and cultures outside your own community. Jordan Park, Global Journeys Coordinator, said, “Those elements really ring true in the opportunities we’re creating, opportunities for language practice, but also opportunities to engage with other people around the world and learn to thrive in situations where you’re maybe not perfectly comfortable.” The experiences of students and faculty on Global Journeys trips, is something special. Each trip is organized around a location and theme. While the theme defines the structure of the trip, there is plenty of room for fun and adventure. These adventures can be anything from trying a new food, to staying with a family that doesn’t speak English. “My most interesting and fun memory was when me and a couple of kids from my 4th grade class went to Taihu, a place in China, and all the kids at the boarding school we stayed at were so nice and thoughtful,” said Braeden Lenehan, seventh grade student. Taking risks is a huge part of the Global Journeys experience, like pushing yourself to try new things that you may not be comfortable with. Emma Creeden gives us a perfect example from the Middle Grades 2018 Taiwan trip: “You were up to mid calf or knee in mud in the rice patties, barefoot, and we were all squelching through the mud and finding the apple snails and taking them out. And even though students were uncomfortable with it at first and students said, ‘no, no no I’m not going in,’ and people fell in the
mud, it didn’t matter because at the end of the day, everybody went in and everyone took that risk even students who were not initially okay with that. They too, embraced it.” Aside from the fun and games, and adventure, the most important part of a global journeys trip is the confidence it instills in students to take risks, try new things, and to learn by immersing themselves in a different culture. “But what we’re really trying to message to our students especially this year, is it’s not about just checking off the country on your list of places that you’ve traveled to. These experiences are really unique and they’re very different than how students would travel with their parents, for example, overseas. They offer experiences you wouldn’t get as a tourist in these destinations,” said Park. Global Journeys really allows students to live the life of a person from the country they’re visiting. It is more than just seeing landmarks, it’s enjoying the small moments. “I think my favorite [moment] in China was Alex, Ana, Zenchang and I saying ‘wu kuai qian’ in a cute voice, which is how we bargained,” said Calypso Maazel, seventh grade student. Immersing yourself in a different culture is not always easy, but when you do, you always leave the country with a better understanding of the people and culture. “Nobody has walked away not without a strong sense of respect for whatever country and cities we visited, without a renewed sense of curiosity and wonder I think is important. It really lights a spark under students to have a more open mind and a broader global mindset in terms of all elements, like how are you opening yourself up to others and experiences. So it definitely just shifts the way you engage with the world and ask questions,” said Creeden.
Global Journeys started as a very small program, but interest has grown, as well as support from Avenues. One of the ways Avenues has supported Global Journeys is by providing financial aid for students who otherwise would not be able to participate. When asked to explain the financial aid program, Murungi said: “The policy is that each Upper Division student, can apply the same percentage that they receive for financial aid that applies to their tuition, to two Global Journeys in their Upper division career, and only one of those can be in the middle grades, so it’s, you know, maybe not as extensive, a policy as we would like, but we’re restricted by the reality of what the financial aid budget actually is at the school. So like I said, we’re trying to make sure that we are keeping the costs of these programs as low as we can.” “My favorite part about going on a Global Journeys trip is discovering the different cultures in our world. The last minimester I went on the Taiwan Global Journeys trip and though it wasn’t a language based trip, there was still plenty of people who spoke Chinese, and I went to improve my language skills,” said Braeden Lenehan. Global Journeys is such a special experience. Pushing students to think and learn beyond how they usually do, putting them in an unfamiliar environment, and seeing how they do; it’s a once in a lifetime experience. This year, many exciting new programs have been launched for the spring of 2019, such as programs to South Africa, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, as well as a new program to Avenues Sao Paulo. And as more and more students become involved in Global Journeys each year, the program expands, taking on new challenges, and providing new opportunities. • 15
Update on Avenues: São Paulo BY PRAHARSHA GURRAM
On a sunny August day of 70 degrees, Avenues São Paulo opened its doors this year.
With a brand new 323,000 square feet campus that’s able to accomodate 2100 people, more than 700 students started school on August 20th.
Photo Credits: Aflalo Gasperini Architects
hey are a new generation of Avenues students, and the school is the first result of a long time Avenues promise to have multiple schools around the world. The path was not an easy one, with the original plan for a campus in China scrapped after difficulties. Nonetheless, students walked into the São Paulo building to begin their first day of school. The Highliner was able to talk to a 7th grader at Avenues São Paulo, Nacho Barrios and a middle school English teacher there, Ms. Rachel Spector, and we asked some questions.
What is your schedule like? Nacho Barrios: There are 2 classes, then a 20 min recess, then another class. After that there is either Deans group or recess, then lunch. After we eat we have another period, and then we have our elective. If it’s Wednesday, then we have another recess instead of elective.
Why did you come to Avenues? Nacho Barrios: I came to Avenues because my mother got a promotion, and we had to move to Brazil because of it. She saw the schools and loved Avenues, so I came here. It’s a fun school.
What is your favorite project at Avenues so far? Nacho Barrios: My favorite project at Avenues was in Art class. It was a 3D modeling project, and I loved it because I love modeling, and it was great I could do it in school.
What was it like being at a brand new school and setting it up? Ms. Spector: It was a much more inclusive culture, certainly compared to an already established school. All the teachers
really bonded over the summer, and I felt very welcome and accepted into the Avenues community from the very first day. Everyone walks into the school with similar questions, and so it feels like a huge project we are all doing together. It is a challenge, as new schools have unique challenges, but we are figuring it out together, so we have each other.
What was the first day like? Ms. Spector: The first day was everyone outside of classrooms in commons doing project- based learning. Everyone launched a project at the same time. I don’t know if this is unique in Sao Paulo, but it was an amazing experience. The students were thrilled by it. After that, we settled down into a more regular routine, but kids still remain in and out of the classroom.
How did it feel? Ms. Spector: The excitement was palpable. All of the teachers were so excited, as we were together for a month before school opened, and that excited transferred into the first days, weeks of school even, but especially those first few days I will never forget. In conclusion, Avenues São Paulo is well under way. The challenges of being a brand new school still arose, but they were handled with aplomb, and Avenues São Paulo has the same underlying culture as Avenues New York-welcome, safety, and respect. Students there still do project based learning, sit in tables, not desks, and have access to amazing machines and tools. 8th graders still do Exeter Math, and minimester is exciting in Avenues São Paulo too. Instead of Chinese or Spanish, Avenues São Paulo has English immersion instead, the schedule is a bit different, and there are Portuguese classes, but these are trivial differences, influenced only by the location of the school. These schools together form an even better school of thought. It is safe to say that the Avenues culture is still preserved 4800 miles away. •
Avenuesâ€™ Ecological Footprint
W as te
Some changes are good. BY THEO GRELLET-AUMONT 18
ome people might have noticed, but some might have not. Avenues is becoming more ecologically friendly, and we might not even be seeing it. Avenues is a large school, and it makes a lot of waste. Avenues has a plan to go Zero Waste by 2021. That’s pretty ambitious, and the decisions we take every day make a difference. Going Zero Waste will be difficult, so Avenues is taking small steps. Avenues has already made huge progress removing plastic straws from the café or removing paper from bathrooms entirely, making it easier and more efficient to dry your hands. But there are small things happening that many might not notice.
What is Avenues doing? Matt Scott, director of Operations and Administration at Avenues, has a big role in Avenues’ Zero Waste plan. “We are looking at our waste streams here in the building, for example introducing new trash cans. We saw that everything that needed to be recycled and everything that needed to go to landfill was being mixed together,” Scott said. By separating the bins, we do not have less waste, but we are splitting up the waste, which is already a good way to
help. This can also make people think about if their choices - if a plastic cup over a paper cup is a good choice. “The Zero Waste Committee is also considering having a dish room, where we could wash dishes instead of throwing out compostable plates,” Scott said. Having a dish room would be using more water, but less paper plates. If you tried to get seconds with your old plate, you are not allowed to. Instead, you have to get a new plate. There are rumors that Avenues will be completely Zero Waste by 2020, but Scott thinks otherwise. “One of the bigger priorities is to find ways to get more students and teachers involved in Zero Waste,” said Scott. By raising awareness with teachers, we can also raise more awareness with students. Scott even said some teachers were attending Zero Waste Committee meetings, and those teachers might definitely influence students and others in our community. They may also show that there are interesting ways to raise awareness for Zero Waste. “We’re looking into participating in something called the ‘Green Cup Challenge,’ which is a sustainability prize for independent schools and will definitely require a community-wide effort,” Scott said.
“We used to have just one trash can. It was vague what could be recycled. Now, garbage cans have very distinct purposes. That’s a great step forward.” Jessica Berkely, English Teacher
Why does it matter? Although one might not realize the huge amount of waste at Avenues, it definitely piles up. In October of 2018 at Avenues, 29.16 tons of waste were generated.“We have around 2,000 human beings in this building every day, and we make a lot of waste. So at a small level, limiting that makes a difference. We are setting the example for other communities. One thing I’d like to see at Avenues is a waste audit, where we’ll empty out all of the trash and students come through and sort everything. There you can see the amount of waste we actually create in one day,” Scott says. These ideas will surely make a difference as they will raise awareness for the cause and make people change their behavior.If people are not conscious of how much and their impact in our community, why would they make a change? This is why raising awareness might be as important as actually going Zero Waste, as well. By raising awareness around the topic, we might be getting results quicker than expected. “By 2020, we plan to have 60% of waste diverted,” Scott said confidently. It would be very difficult to go completely Zero Waste at all because of the constant demand for snack, food and paper. Malcolm Davol, creator and leader of the Zero Waste Club in the Upper Grades, might have a solution to this. All of the changes might be necessary, but if we want people to continue being as Zero Waste as possible outside of Avenues, we need to let people know. According to Davol, the most important thing about Zero Waste is awareness. “What’s important at Avenues is its students. They are the majority, and they are the ones who create the most waste. After all, the average student at Avenues creates a lot of waste.” Between math, snack, Art, English, and going to the 20
cafe, a lot of waste is generated. When you multiply that by about 100 students per grade and 15 grades, you get a large number. Elizabeth Yang, a 6th grade student, believes in Zero Waste: “I think it’s important because Avenues makes a lot of waste.” When asked how much waste Avenues generated a day, she hesitated. Most students are unaware of the amount of waste we actually create, around 80 tons every quarter. This is just proof that the student body creates lots of waste. Another student, Kefei Wu, thinks this is a good idea, but thinks it could get much better.“I think they’re doing great job, but they could do better. For example, pop chips come in huge plastic bags.” When asked if Avenues could go completely Zero Waste, she answered truthfully. “Zero Waste is about creating as little waste as possible, not going Zero Waste completely.” Going entirely Zero Waste will be very difficult, but getting close to that and making people aware about it is very good. “Right now we want to really educate people on Zero Waste. We want to let people know about what is going on in our community and New York City,” Davol said. “There are things that people will notice and there are internal changes; for example switching to recycled paper. There are things that happen through the administration that people might not notice. “The main thing is just to buy less so you don’t have to compost or to recycle anything. You really have to look into the products you are buying and really evaluating if you need something.” “Awareness starts with making sure people understand Zero Waste. It can’t be internally with administration. It needs to be the students as well,” said Davol.
What can you do? Sarah Currie Halpern, The APA Zero Waste Committee Chair, cares a lot about going Zero Waste. She also founded a company called Think Zero to help for the cause of zero waste. The APA plans to make Avenues 90% diverted from waste by 2021. This is very ambitious, so how will the APA do it? “The APA Zero Waste Committee has developed a Zero Waste plan that goes through 2025 and sets specific Zero Waste goals for the school with a plan to get there. We are already hitting some of the milestones. We are also fostering a community where less waste is generated, one that promotes a circular economy where materials are reused over and over again until the end of their useful life, at which time they are recycled into new projects.” The APA Zero Waste Committee has always been committed to zero waste since the beginning, and now we see in the world that there are more reasons to be more committed to zero waste. “Given the state of our world with the crisis of plastic pollution in our waterways and on land, and the effects of climate change, Avenues has to step up and be a part of the solution,” Currie-Halpern said. “We are making big changes like switching the school over to durable, dishwashable plates and cutlery so that we can eliminate the huge amount of waste we are creating each day eating off of disposables in FOOD and around the school. We are also buying and collecting more second hand and recycled materials as a school.” At Avenues, we are making changes big and small to go
Zero Waste, but what might be the effect? “It might reduce our dependence on carbon transportation upstream and downstream, which means less shipping, and reducing waste means less reliance on garbage trucks which pollute a lot. In many cases it will reduce costs, as well,” Currie-Halpern said. A lot of people might not have thought of the positive aspect to going Zero Waste or using less waste; it costs less for you. “I think many [students] don’t know what we are doing and we need that to change. We also need a lot more help in the way of student and parent volunteers. I think within our community we cannot go Zero waste successfully (ie divert 90% of our waste from landfill and incineration) without everyone buying in and participating, from the Head of School (Evan Glazer has been very supportive), to Upper Grades students, to Lower Division teachers, to ELC parents and everyone in between!” Jessica Berkeley, a teacher almost since the beginning of Avenues, thinks these changes are great. “We used to have just one trash can- it was vague what could be recycled. Now, garbage cans have very distinct purposes. That’s a great step forward. When Avenues founded, the goal has been to use less paper. We use a lot of technology, and part of it is using less paper,” Berkeley said. Avenues is serious about going Zero Waste, and we see that not only people within the administration care, but also students, faculty, and parents. I encourage you to do more research about going Zero Waste, and trying to go zero waste yourself, as it is a very interesting and important topic at Avenues and in the world in general. •
TIPS FROM SARAH CURRIE HALPERN APA ZERO WASTE COMMITTEE CHAIR
1. Bring your own water bottle and refill it every day. Bring your own coffee mug if you drink coffee. Don’t buy plastic water bottles. Switch to reusable bottles, bags, cups, and utensils instead of single use ones. 2. Don’t put more food than you can eat on your plate at lunch. 3. Save leftover food for a snack later or throw it in the compost bin. Educate yourself on what materials are compostable. There are so many things that are, such as tea bags, tissues and even gum. 21
Evolution of Avenues BY HELENA HENSON
Avenues The World School opened its doors in 2012 in Chelsea New York and has been growing ever since. Every year classes are added, class rooms change and new students join the Avenues community. But does Avenues’ age have anything to do with the changes in the school? Monica Ramos, a Middle-Grade Dean for grades 6 through 9, has been a teacher and faculty member since the first year of Avenues. She has also worked all over the
building in the Lower, Middle & Upper Divisions. She stated, “The biggest changes we have gone through is having more than one location; we used to be all in one building. We also started as just ELC through 9th grade, so now we’re a full school. We’ve also now had three graduating years of 12th grade. We have campuses opening worldwide, which is what we initially envisioned.” Ms. Ramos went on to talk about the Deans: “The Deans program is something that’s new, that started about three years ago. Your Dean is a model for you, someone to look up to, and the person that’s following you for four years (sixth grade through ninth grade). And there’s also a Dean for Upper Grade students in tenth through twelfth grade, to help get you through the college process.” This then is also the person who can help you get through Middle and Upper School. She goes on to say, “There is more alinement with the divisions. The Upper Division used to be more separate, now it’s just one. But I think that is a good thing because you start to build a better community, because for example, some teachers teach sixth grade but
also ninth grade.” Edith Sløk, a current seventh grader who has been here since 2012 (meaning she started Avenues in first grade), thought that Avenues’ middle school teachers and faculty members improved at talking with the students. “I have noticed that teachers are trying to be more open to students and are coming to them and endorsing kids and saying ‘yeah you should come to me, we can work out when to can meet,’ which I think is excellent and for students who need one-on-one time.” She added that it could be difficult transitioning from Lower School to Middle School, so having an opportunity to talk with teachers one on one can be useful. Sløk also mentioned that there are a lot of minor changes, such as with the food. “Snacks have gotten better, which in my opinion is for the better, especially for the students.” Ana Poopat, a 7th grader who came to Avenues in 2017, has found that the mos
significant changes she has noticed so far are with scheduling. “I think that the schedule has changed a lot. We used to get out at 3:20, and now we get out at 3:50. It’s a pretty big deal.” Ana was referring to the change that was made between the sixth and the seventh year of Avenues, when school for the Middle Grades was extended by half an hour. This change was made to make more time for Music and Electives. Poopat said that this is probably the most significant change that affects the students since she has been here. So in conclusion, because of Avenue’s age, lots of changes are being made, and there is most likely more to come. However, these changes are everything but easy to make, and the process is long, but necessary to make sure that we positively influence our school. When creating the best possible environment, it is necessary to incorporate student and teacher feedback, which is working well at Avenues. 23
HOW TO SURVIVE
Tips from a soon-to-be high school freshman BY SOFIA GONZALEZ Whether you’re a fifth, sixth, or seventh grader, and waiting to enter the exciting world of Junior High or just finding yourself in it, let me give you some tips on how to handle different situations you’ll come across and tricks to maybe avoid them all in all. When I was in sixth grade, two years ago, I remember watching the ninth graders, and thinking to myself: Middle School’s going to be so easy, it’s only four years. It’s only four years, but within the time span, you learn more subjects than you’re learning now, and you will learn many lessons about life. I know that sounds cheesy or dramatic; but it’s true. I took the chance to interview a current eighth grader, my fellow peer, Lucia Cutler (13 years old), to see what she had to say about it.
Q: What lessons have you learned through our middle school? A: That really nothing is as stressful as it seems. It only is stressful because you make it up in your head. I’ve also learned that it is important for you to have great and supportive friends to fall back on if you need help.
Q: Do you think you’ve changed over these four years of middle school? 24
A: Well, I’ve definitely grown, but besides physically, I think that I have learned how to control any stress that I have. When I was in fifth grade, I was so obsessed with the idea and concept of getting a good grade, but now I know that it is more about understanding the content.
Q: Were you nervous coming into the new experience? Why? A: I came to Avenues in second grade. This was the first year of Avenues. Since we were all new, we all had the butterflies
“I’ve definitely grown, but besides physically, I think that I have learned how to control any stress that I have.” in our stomachs and the jitters. Going into middle school was a whole different experience. One, I knew the people in my grade and two, the graduation from fourth grade made me so much more excited.
Q: Middle school versus High school? What comes to mind when you think of that comparison? A: I think that middle school has prepared me for high school because I am not nervous. I think that subconsciouly I know that the transition into high school is going to be similar to middle school.
A: That nervous stress is only in your imagination, and if you think about you problem, it isn’t significant. Just take a deep breath, because if you persevere, you can tackle it. Whether you have more questions, or your mind is at ease, enjoy your middle school years, because many things will be learned, and many memories will be made. In my opinion, the Middle school years are great years where you get to find yourself in all the social drama, find out who you want to be in school, and find out who you want to hang out with. Remember, always have an open mind about new choices, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Also, remember there’s a difference between wanting to do something, and peer pressure; be you, not cool! That may sound corny, but it’s true. Other than that, have fun, be yourself, and accomplish your dream Middle School experience. •
Q: What is some advice you’d want to give to future middle schoolers?
FOMO in New York City BY EDITH SLØK
The Science of FOMO
FOMO stands for “Fear Of Missing Out.” With Instagram and Snapchat, we’ve never felt more left out. FOMO stems from the social anxiety of being disconnected from everyone else and the want to live a more interesting, glamorous, or better life than others. Now that we have the ability to see what everyone’s doing and where they are at all times, you can feel helpless if you aren’t doing the same. Negative emotions, stress, and lack of sleep are all possible side effects of FOMO. Most teens spend upwards of 6 hours on their phones in their freetime everyday, so FOMO becomes a bigger issue. The more time we spend on our devices, envying the lives other people live, the worse we feel. Studies show that teens today are lonelier than they were just 25 years ago. 31% more eighth graders feel lonely and majority of high school students would report their mental health to be below average. Mainly because we’re able to know what anyone’s doing at any given time, at our fingertips. Think: SnapMap, stories, etc. So here. To make sure you don’t feel as left out, I’ve made this to keep you updated about things that are happening in the city.
Museum of illusions
What: This museum is more than what meets the eye. The museum of illusions has many interactive exhibitions where you can fool your friends and family. There’s an anti gravity room, a head on a platter room, and an infinity room! You can check out the museum for cool pictures and a great experience. Where: 77 Eighth Avenue Prices: Adult ticket: $19, Child Ticket: $15
What: Color Factory is a 20,000 foot space filled with colourful fun. This 16 room building includes a ball pit, and many colorful exhibits. It’s a self proclaimed celebration of color and a ton of fun. When: Runs till May 31 Where: 251 Spring Street Price: General Admission $38
Dreamland Roller Rink
What: Brooklyn’s Best Roller Rink! Every Thursday, they have a “hula hoop hour, skating and dance classes for kids and adults, and themed dress-up roller disco!” When: Runs till April 13 Where: Industry City Price- Varies per event, tickets go for around $18
Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York has some quite fascinating exhibitions, including one about germs! You can learn about past epidemics in the city and how New York has fought off many diseases. While you’re there, you can also learn about the overall history of The Big Apple. Where: 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St Price: Adult ticket $18, Student ticket $12 •
Lockers: The Sixth Grade Experience BY SOPHIA LANDE
It’s the first day of Middle School, the first day of all these new, big changes in your school life. You scurry to your homeroom after receiving your schedule and your ID Badge. Following the introductory talk about what it will be like in middle school this year to all the bright-eyed, excited students, you eagerly walk towards your first challenge.
ockers. Many kids have success when opening their lockers after the first few tries, but others aren’t so lucky. I spoke to 6th grader Izzy Leyton and 7th grader Renee Cai, who both had opinions about lockers. Leyton spoke about the hardest part of opening her locker. “I think that you have to have the patience to do it. On the first day, everyone just wants to open their locker. So the most patient people probably opened it first. On the first day, I couldn’t open it, but after a few days I caught on to it, because it’s just about turning the locks the right way,” she said. When asked what the easiest part was, Leyton replied that it was knowing which direction to spin the lock, since they explained ‘go to the left, then to the right’. “It was easy for me to do it in theory, but it was more difficult actually doing it in real life, ” Leyton said. When asked about if she wished her locker was bigger, Cai also expressed some difficulty with her locker. “Every other day I have to bring a violin, which means trekking up to the second floor and down in the morning. The task might sound small, but it takes at least five minutes, and I know plenty of people who have been marked late because of it. We have to do this because our violins don’t fit in our lockers, so it would be amazing if that would be possible”. Many other people that have instruments such as a clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and violin have to deal with this issue. Usually, with winter coats, all of people’s belongings 28
are cramped in their locker. Whether you get a top or a bottom locker is also a key feature you don’t realize is important until later the year goes on. “I have a lower locker. I feel like with a lower locker you are the ‘second person’ because the person with the top locker always gets to go first. I also think that you get banged in the head a lot, so it isn’t as comfortable as having an upper locker. I think of it as first class and second class,” Leyton commented. Decorating your locker is also a key part of the locker experience in Middle Grades. It is one thing that can make this privilege even more special. Cai said, “Personally, I like my locker to be simple so I have the space to put my extra belongings, which includes a tennis racquet. But I know lots of other people that decorate their lockers.” Although lockers present challenges, there is a feeling of accomplishment once you know you can always open one. You might even be able to help other students in the future, if you become very good. Leyton had some thoughts on this. “I felt success, I thought, ‘I am a real middle schooler now’. Because now that I can do this, this part of middle school won’t be hard,” she said. I asked Leyton about how she would teach another student how to open their locker, and she said, “I would probably do it for them the first time, and then show them how you reset it and how you have to turn it.” Faced with the question of what her favorite part of
her locker was, Leyton responded: “In some ways I like the lock being there, and in others, I don’t. In the Lower School, some people stole or took your stuff, so when you think of it that way, it’s a protection of the next level. Also, the lock makes it feel like the inside of the locker is really yours.” Cai thought the locker situation would be easy, honestly,” she said. “But never did we know the actual harsh truth - that reality was much more difficult.” Some people think that lockers can be important socially, and so does Cai. “I think this because you don’t usually see most of your friends during class periods, and being able to catch up next to your or your friend’s locker between classes is always nice.” Some kids give their locker code to friends, even though it is against school policy. Many kids feel like they want to give their code to their friends just in case they need something, or they want to leave a gift/note in that locker. Others believe that it is your code for a reason, and somehow someone else might find out and begin to steal/leave things in a locker. Leyton expressed what she thought about this subject. “I think that it is OK, but you should really trust the person. Again, as I said before, we never really thought about someone taking our stuff in lower school. I don’t really think of it either, so that’s why some of my friends know my locker code. People keep it really secret because they feel like it’s their code to their personal space.” Some kids return to their lockers between classes to get supplies for their next class, and some of them think that it takes too long. “I don’t [return to my locker between classes]. I think it takes longer than a cubby and then you have to open your locker which is a whole process so it takes a lot of time. If we have a longer transition time for snack, then I would go to my locker and put down the old materials,” Leyton said.
Leyton also spoke about her feelings about staying (or not) with the cubbies like in Lower School. She said that having a locker makes you feel like a middle schooler, because of the change from cubbies to lockers. She also thought that the change was good because of privacy, and responsibility of being able to open her locker and memorize the code. Knowing that there are so many struggles with lockers, it might lead you to think that there should be more explicit instruction on how to use them. Yet, there are many benefits to learning on your own. Leyton said, “I don’t [feel like there should be more instructions on how to open your locker], I feel like it is something more independent. It helps you be more independent, and it is a great way to start off middle school, trying to open your locker. I feel like it was a puzzle, and they gave you a few pieces but you had to figure out the rest on your own.” Being independent is a large part of middle school, and lockers enable that. I also asked Cai if she still had difficulties opening her locker in 7th grade. She replied that “Not really. Sometimes it takes 2 to 3 tries, but I think that once you get the hang of it it’s really just muscle memory.” And that is what it really is: remembering how and where to turn the lock, and remembering the numbers to turn it to. Many students feel that your locker is an important part of your middle school experience. “I feel like having a locker is one of those milestones in your academic life. You do also see them everywhere when it comes to middle school and the media, and I feel like many people expect a locker when it comes to middle school and being able to call it your own,” said Cai. Lockers are a lot like middle school. It’s tough to crack and to remember, but when you do, it’s one of the best feelings that you have all year! •
Inside Student Council BY CAIA SCAROLA
venues Middle Grades is in its second year with a Student Council. Have you ever wondered what they are up to? I talked to Bernard Geoxavier, a grades 6-9 Dean and advisor for Middle Grades Student Council meetings. These Student Council meetings are open meetings. They meet on Tuesdays in the Seventh Floor Commons. If you are interested in attending, you are more than welcome to. However, here is a little insight on what has been going on.
What is something the student council is focusing on? “Student council was focusing on the food drive and is always trying to be a conduit for the students to the administration.” says Mr. Geoxavier. Are there any big events for the Middle Grades in these few coming months? “When we get back in January, we are going to try and get a winter field day, but we do not know if we can pull it off. We do know that toward the spring we are looking at grade level trips overnight.” What is the point or main goal of student council this year? “There are so many times when a student can bring up a good idea or a good proposal, or a good suggestion, or a good change. As adults, we are cognizant that we are here to educate you, but we realize that we may not have all of the answers. We do not know the experience walking in your shoes and it is important to get the students perspective on how to make their day better or how to make school more productive. If kids want to make a change in the world and they want to organize and speak with one voice, to send a message to administration that they would like to see x, y, z, or they don’t like x, y, z, we need to create a forum for that, because if we are going to train you to be self-advocating, we need to give you a forum of which you can do it. How can student council members bring their ideas to the table? “Just get feedback from the kids in your grade and directly bring it up in Student Council. You can say, ‘Hey these 6th graders have been bringing this thing up to me, can we talk about it?’” 30
Is what some of our new 6th grade representatives were pitching such as “less homework” and “more lunch time” actually possible? “I think one of the things we, especially the 6th grade representatives should consider, is taking a poll of how much time a student is taking to do their homework on a given day, because with actual data and feedback, we can go to the teachers. A teacher can say, ‘this project takes 15 minutes,’ but for the class it takes like half an hour. So that targeted feedback can help teachers make thinking more effective. More lunch time, we can try to work at it but realistically if we were going to change the schedule, it might have to wait until next year.” Who decides what to prioritize in the student council meetings? “Ideally the representatives do and Alexis Kim [Student Council President]. The representatives can bring something up and Alexis Kim can decide what we vote on. If I have something that I want to bring to student council, it is really on the representatives and Alexis Kim what to prioritize.” Is there anything that you want the community of Avenues to know? “Student council is here, it exists, it is working along you, so take advantage.” These are a couple of questions I asked Elias Tejpaul, [6th grade representative]. What has been a challenge? What has been the best part of Student Council?
“The best part of student council is that I LOVE helping people, just the fact that I get to solve people’s problems is awesome! “What’s been challenging is incorporating everyone’s ideas and blend them together so everyone likes the idea that is proposed. Also, we all need to work on compromising ideas.” What do you think is the purpose of student council? “I think the purpose of student council is: For students to have a voice in their school community, and by having representatives there is more of an opportunity for conversation and change.” These are a few questions that I asked Alexis Kim, [Student Council President]. Will we ever get more recess? “Right now, I cannot give you an exact answer to your recess question, however, I do assure you that we are working on things that we get more complaints on.” Is there any way you can get input from students? “The way we get input from the students as of now is sending out grade wide emails. However, if you have anything on your mind anybody can come up to me.” As a leader, how do you feel about running student council? How is student council working as a team?
“To answer your first question I feel that running student council is a very fun opportunity. I’ve always loved the idea of the student council, being student-run to help the students. I think that this experience so far has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. First, I felt nervous, I mean it’s hard to stand up in front of a big crowd but I turned that nervousness into motivation. To answer your second question, I think that the student council is a bit of a rollercoaster as well. I mean we have our highs and lows, although we always make it out on top.” What are your biggest priorities? “My biggest priorities right now are related to food. Many of the students have been complaining about snack so we have been trying to address that by looking into new snack options.” What do you think is the purpose of student council? “I think the purpose of student council is to represent the students and be a voice for the student body when they need to communicate their thoughts to the faculty and administration.” Is there anything else you’d like the students to know? “Yes, one major thing is, we are working on Frost Valley and trips like that. Many people have been expressing their want for it and I assure you it comes up a lot.” •
Popular Classes at Avenues BY SOLEIL WIZMAN
t’s 8:20. You lumber away from your seat in homeroom, tired, but ready to face the day. You look at your schedule, but the question is, how do you react? As a 6th grader, I smile when I see Art, English, and World Course. But everyone has different opinions, and I was determined to find out what everyone in the Middle Grades thought. So, I sent out a survey to everyone in the Middle Grades and reviewed your answers. What I found was pretty astonishing.
Q.#1 and #2: What is your favorite class and why? The majority of student replies (28 out of 100) said English is your favorite class! Many said the teachers were nice and they loved to read, but most said they loved English because they loved to write and read stories. It seems a lot of you love the creative ambience of this class and all the passionate energy going on. The teachers are worth being mentioned however, so Ms. Delhagen, Ms. Tursellino, Mr. Kravitz, Ms. Berkeley and Mr. Shaffer, kudos to you all for being voted Favorite Class! Following their lead by a close 1 vote is Art class! Many of you mentioned you feel relaxed in this class, while others said they liked to challenge themselves and loved the variety of projects in the class. The teachers are obviously a big factor as well. It seems many of you referred to this class in a way where it almost didn’t even feel like school anymore, due to the amount of fun you’ve been having. In third place we have WAM with 22 out of 100 votes! Many of you said you loved moving around, while the other classes required you to be seated most of the time. WAM is the opposite, a class to run around and get all your energy out. However,these aren’t the only As 6th grader Annika Sondhi said, “I chose math because Ms. Sosenke teaches us in a way that makes learning fun. She know when to make jokes and when to be serious. She teaches me in a way to make everything understandable. She has a motivation to teach us and is awesome. She makes school way better.” Please remember that this is only about 100 people, approximately a third of the Avenues Middle School. This list does not represent all the Middle Grades, only the ones who responded! 32
Q#3 and Q#4: What is your elective and how do you feel about it? When I started this article, I planned on writing solely about the fundamental nine classes of the Avenues education. However, as I progressed through the idea, I realized electives were also a huge part of our learning, and I decided to include them here to showcase our opinions on that special class we got to choose. When I posted this survey, there were four opinions I gave to see which ones students would connect with, for example: “I love my elective, it’s my favorite part of the day!” “It’s cool, I like it.” “Eh, it’s okay…” “I strongly dislike it.” Fortunately, an overwhelming 37% of you answered the first option. It’s great to hear how so many of you loved this 40 minute period to do something you’re passionate about. Most people who answered this option were in Creative Writing or Creative Construction. About 40% of students said they liked their elective. Kids in Drama, Mastery Play and Hispanic Culture & Community chose this option. However, I was alarmed at the 3% who said they strongly disliked their elective. If this is a class that we the students got to choose for ourselves, how could it be possible that people dreaded this part of the day? That leads me to the question I added after seeing these results:
Q#5: What electives would you like to have seen or want as options next year?
Q#6: Overall, how would you rate school from 1-10, 10 being the best.
When I put out this question, I have to admit that I didn’t expect too many people to answer, maybe two real ideas and 80% “I have no idea.” But It turned out only 6 out of 33 people were clueless. However, your ideas were very varied, so I’ll put out a few I thought were interesting, popular and original: -Cooking or Baking -Stand Up Comedy -Film Making -Art -A sport elective Thank you all for sharing, and I hope teachers will put your ideas into consideration next year!
Of course, one of the biggest questions of this article, how much do you like school? Out of 112, the huge majority of middle graders chose 8, meaning school was something they liked. I’m also happy to report 27 nines and tens. However, unfortunately, we have more than 17 votes under 6, indicating people who chose they this dislike school. I, personally, would rate school at a 7. School is super fun, however some of the units this year weren’t really personal interests for me. All in all, I’m happy with the results we got, as most of you seemed to be happy about how school’s been going this year.
That concludes my student feedback! As you can see, people seem to be happy about classes and electives for the most part, however, we do have ideas on how to improve next year. To end this article, I would like to acknowledge all who responded to my survey. Thanks for reading! •
Book Recomendations of 2019 BY OLIVIA HAN
ore and more students wonder, which books should I read? Are they all going to be interesting? For this article, I interviewed at least one student from each middle school grade, and gathered the most popular books in the middle school. From all their information, I noticed that almost everybody in the grade loves reading, especially now since there is an added independent reading time for English. I am writing this article because reading is a really important part of your life, and it is nice to have some book recommendations for your age groups! Hopefully you can find some interesting books you’ll like to read! Personally, my favorite author out of all of these book recommendations is Cassandra Clare. Some of you might know her, and if you are a fan of fantasies, you should totally check out some of her books! She is an amazing author and her books are addictive - so much so that you can’t stop reading. One thing that she’s stated that inspires me is, “At some point I was approached by a publisher who was interested in the book, but they wanted me to “age up the characters” and make them adults. I toyed with the idea for a while, but I knew it wouldn’t work. I wanted to tell a story about characters at that crucial life stage just between adolescence and adulthood, where your choices determine the kind of person you’re going to be rather than reflecting who you already are.” I thought a while after reading this quote. She is making a great point of why she likes writing teen novels better than for adults, because Clare wants to make every single book of hers be about the connection of adolescence and adulthood, so that you understand that your choices now determine who you really are, or who you will grow up to be. I would like to say to the people who do not personally like fantasies, that if you don’t like fantasies, still give them a try! When I was younger, I wasn’t really a fan of classics (Catcher in the Ryle, Lord of the Rings, etc.), but I am now, because I gave them a try during summer, and it really made a great change in me. That’s also why I am writing these recommendations. To encourage others to try every different and single type of book most teenagers like, and not only read a new book, but see a new part of yourself.
THIS MONTH’S AUTHORS: Veronica Roth: Divergent, Carve the Mark E. Lockhart: We Were Liars, Genuine Fraud Holly Black: The Folk of the Air FANTASY:
“I think some people are turned off by fantasy because it is all dragons and fighting, but it is not all about that. It’s really real life situations with more actions.”-Mya Cahana, a student in 7th grade
-The Mortal Instruments-Cassandra Clare -The Infernal Devices-Cassandra Clare -Akata Witch-Nnedi Okorafor -The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins -A Court of Thorns and Roses-Sarah J. Maas -Matched-Ally Condie -The Siren-Kiera Cass -The Selection-Kiera Cass -The Crown’s Game-Evelyn Skye -Beautiful Creatures-Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl -Caraval-Stephanie Garber -The Chaos of Stars-Kiersten White -Red Queen-Victoria Aveyard -Ruined-Amy Tintera -The Folk of the Air-Holly Black
“Dystopian novels help people process their fears about what the future might look like; further, they usually show that there is always hope, even in the bleakest future.”-Lauren Oliver, the author of Panic, The Delirium Trilogy and Before I fall.
-Divergent-Veronica Roth -A Wrinkle in Time-Madeleine L’Engle -Children of Blood and Bone-Tomi Adeyemi -City of Ember-Jeanne DuPrau -Uglies- Scott Westerfeld -Scythe-Neal Shusterman -The Lunar Chronicles-Marissa Meyer -Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi -Delirium - Lauren Oliver
“The thing about realistic fiction, no matter what the book is, you can always relate to it, it’s more than just a book, it’s you taking part in a story. When you read realistic fiction, you are a character in the book, you are part of the book.”-Isabel Leight, a student in 6th grade
-The Hate U Give-Angie Thomas -The Sun is Also a Star-Nicola Yoon -Jenny Han (Author) -Everything Everything-Nicola Yoon -Are you there god, it’s me Margaret-Judy Blume -Stargirl-Jerry Spinelli -The Thing about Jellyfish-Ali Benjamin -All Fall Down-Ally Carter -Lying out loud-Kody Keplinger -Have Lost My Way -Gayle Forman -The Night Diary- Veera Hiranandani -Amal Unbound-Aisha Saeed -The Key to Everything-Pat Schmatz -Love, Hate, and Other Filters-Samira Ahmed -Allegedly-Tiffany Jackson -Disappearance of Sloan Sullivan-Gia Cribbs
“When you hold a graphic novel in your hands, you’re holding artist blood made ink.” -Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood.
-Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father-Jonathan Hen nessey & Justin Greenwood -Real Friends: A True Story About Cool Kids and Crybabies-Shannon Hale. -Rendez-vous in Phoenix-Tony Sandoval -All’s Faire in Middle School-Victoria Jamieson. -Pashmina-Nidhi Chanani Illus -Spill Zone-Scott Westerfeld. -The Backstager-James Tynion IV -Black Hammer, Volume 1: Secret Origins-Jeff Lemire -Jonesy-Sam Humphries -Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation-Damian Duffy and Octavia E. Butler
2018 Movie Rewind
BY MAYA INALTONG
Crazy Rich Asians When I first walked into the movie theater, I didn’t think I would enjoy this movie. The movie I originally wanted to see was sold out, so my friend and I decided to see Crazy Rich Asians instead. When I walked out of the movie theater, I was really happy we decided to see this one. Later, I read the book and there were a lot of parts they excluded in the movie, but overall the movie was pretty good. The entire cast was asian, which made it really cool.
My Personal Rating: 9/10 Summary: Rachel Chu and Nick Young have been dating for over a year and whenever Rachel brings up Nick’s past or family, he quickly changes the subject. Then, he invites Rachel to go to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel finds out that Nick’s family is one of the richest families in Singapore, and that Nick is one of Singapore's most eligible bachelors. There, Rachel must get used to ex-girlfriends, royalty life, and Nick’s mother, who strongly disapproves of everything about Rachel.
PG-13 7.5/10 IMDb 92% Rotten Tomatoes 74% Metacritic
The Hate U Give When I read the book, it changed me. I started to look at the world in a new perspective. But the movie was just amazing. The creators started making the movie the same time Angie Thomas started writing the book, so the book and movie are pretty much the same, which is a really good thing.
My Personal Rating: 10/10
Summary: Starr Carter lives in two worlds, a poorer, mostly black neighborhood and in the world of the rich, white high school she goes to. Then, she witnesses a fatal shooting of her black best friend by a white officer who thought that Khalil (her best friend) was carrying a gun. Starr must speak out for the injustice happening in their world.
“I think The Hate U Give is such a amazing movie that can impact so many people. It sheds light on a very important topic in the U.S. and I really hope people will look at each other differently and really open their eyes once they’ve
seen it,” says Thandi Chikuhwa, an eighth grader at Avenues. PG-13 6.6/10 IMDb 97% Rotten Tomatoes 82% Metacritic
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again My best friend and I loved the first movie when we first watched it when we were eight. Now, we watch it at least once a year, maybe even more. When we found out the second movie was coming out, we were really excited. But when I saw it, I was a little disappointed. The plot was a little hard to understand and also the character perspective switch was hard to understand and there was only like two new songs and the first one was better, but I still enjoyed watching it and it was worth the watch.
My Personal Rating: 6.5/10 Summary: In 1979, young Donna and her friends graduate from Oxford University. This gives Donna a opportunity to embark on a series of adventures throughout Europe. During this time, she meets three men, Harry, Bill, and Sam, who she falls in love with, but Sam then breaks her heart. In the present day, Sophie, Donna’s pregnant daughter, tries to renovate a taverna while reuniting with her mother's old best friends and boyfriends on the Island of Kalokairi in Greece.
PG-13 7/10 IMDb 80% Rotten Tomatoes 60% Metacritic
WINNERS In the fall, the Highliner announced the Art Spotlight Competition. We recieved about 20 submissions, and the entire Highliner Staff voted to choose the best ones.
SUBMISSION BY SARAH BLUBERG 39
SUBMISSION BY NATALIA MURILLO
SUBMISSION BY SIENNA ASHWORTH
SUBMISSION BY BIANCA HADLEY
SUBMISSION BY OTTO EVERKE
SUBMISSION BY SIENNA ASHWORTH 45
Entopic Graphomania Art by Yazmine Geula, 6th Grade
Art by Lola Serdan, 6th Grade
Famous Birthdays & Events BY CAIA SCAROLA APRIL Sunday
Wednesday Thursday 3 4
April Fool’s Day Term 4 Starts
Author Visit: E. Lockhart We Were Liars
Emma Watson turns 29
Half-Day UD Conference
Easter Earth Day
MG Minimester Jelly Bean Day Earth Day
MG Minimester John Cena turns 42
UD No School for Conferences
No School for PD High Five Day
Saturday 6 Model UN Conference Chess Event
Brendon Urie turns 32
James Franco turns 41 Good Friday
MG Minimester Channing Tatum turns 39
Gal Gadot turns 34 Bubble Tea Day
Wednesday Thursday 1 2
May Day Principal Day
Dwayne Johnson turns 46
Star Wars Day
Cinco de Mayo
UD Book Fair Author Visit
UD Book Fair Teacher Appreciation Day
UD Book Fair Coconut Cream Pie Day
UD Book Fair Spring Break/ Minimester Show
Apple Pie Day
Grade 6 Instrumental Concert
Grade 7&8 Instrumental Concert
Vanilla Pudding Day
James Charles Brother’s Day turns 19 Lucky Penny Day
No School Memorial Day
Avenues Family Day Pizza Party Day
31 Macaroon Day
Havenâ€™t had enough of The Highliner? Go to: www.thehighlinerms.com
Check out our new website to find articles, our staff, our online issues, and more!
After doing God-knows-what since September, Student Council finally to “begin work.” BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mush-in-a-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Chemistry students discover new element causing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you my political views.” Waffle truck arrives, students now have way to legally bring waffles to school. Student takes “wrong turn” between buildings, arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big storm comin'. Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. After doing God-knows-what since September, Student Council finally to “begin work.” BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mush-in-a-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Chemistry students discover new element caustheir downfall. Its symDean yells at kids for bringing in fruit because ing bol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be it does not contain a list of ingredients. renamed “Let me tell you my political views.” Waffle truck arrives, students now have way to legally bring waffles to school. Student takes “wrong turn” 300 kids given detention after whispering between buildings, arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” during assembly. Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” Lunch time decreased: Kids start eating forks Trump” Facebook group “Avenues Students for adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous and knives. musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced, After detention spree, Deans run out of rooms called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big to put kids in afterschool. storm comin'. Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how Deans found eating all candy that was confis- to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachcated from lockers. ers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. After doing GodHungry children leads into smuggled candy knows-what since September, Student Council wars. finally to “begin work.” BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mush-ina-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Chemistry students discover Multitasking kills its first kid as predicted by new element causing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ HIP studies. “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you my political views.” Waffle truck arrives, students now have way to legally bring Snoring heard at back of assembly, Ramos waffles to school. Student takes “wrong turn” intervenes. between buildings, arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly an- Undefeated Dean’s group loses for first time in ticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group 15 years. adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Contagious maternity leave causes shortage of Freshmen: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak teachers. at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big storm comin'. Juniors: Renew gym memberships Avenues = big meme, after fornite dances join nally figure out how to for EC sheets. Seniors: Fispeak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. curriculum. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: They still go to school here? Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced,
W R O R D
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New drink system Yanny Unit 1 of most English classes Mr. Punzalanâ€™s Global Journeys trip
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New to schedules this year MG Vice President MG Literary and Arts Magazine New to the dean team