Tuskan Times Volume 8 issue 6

Page 1

June 2020 Issue

International School of Florence

Volume 8, Issue 6

A LETTER FROM THE EDITORS Who would’ve thought that I’d be writing my goodbye without having set foot on campus – or having done any IB exam prep – in several months. But here we are. While it didn’t go as planned, the end of the school year is approaching, and with it, a generation of Tuskan Times members is moving on to the next step. This was an unconventional year in many ways, one that brings a mixture of emotions in both those returning and those departing. For those that will still be at ISF this coming fall, the excitement of summer break combines with the uncertainty of what this break will be. For myself, along with many others in the Class of 2020, the joy of graduation and an IB diploma awarded without exams is dampened by the bitterness of a diluted senior year experience and a virtual goodbye to the ISF community. Nonetheless, my classmates and I are looking forward to what’s next. When I joined the Tuskan Times in 9th grade, I was the shy kid in the corner who was scared to suggest article topics and didn’t even know if he liked journalism. Meeting after meeting, I realized that I was in an environment of political debate, social awareness, and genuine intellectual curiosity, which truly shaped my high school experience. This is demonstrated in the outstanding quality of our monthly issues, which succeed time and time again in prompting discourse and reflection among our readers. While these are important features in any prosperous establishment, I couldn’t write about the Times without mentioning the great people I was able to work with throughout my four years as a member. Here I found a group of the most stimulating, mindful and understanding people, most of which I’m sure I wouldn’t have met due to the dispersed social scene at ISF. Every one of our dedicated journalists, artists, layout editors and editors was an essential part of our organization, and enabled an atmosphere of inclusivity and encouragement that I believe is one of the most valuable aspects of our newspaper. I would also like to mention the people who made my experience in the Tuskan Times as memorable as it was. Those who held my position as Editor-in-Chief in the years preceding me: Riccardo Talini, Nicholas Accattatis, and Isabella Lovalvo all helped me find my place in the organization and enabled me to become the journalist I am today. My Co-Editor this year, Giulia Oosterwijk, took on a leading role when it felt like we were drowning in work, and kept the paper organized and functioning. She and Jacqueline Obert, Co-Editors of Layout, made every publication possible, and elevated the Tuskan Times to a place where you would be surprised to discover it is a scholastic publication. And finally, Mr. Pitonzo, our supervisor, who never failed to lighten the mood, suggest eccentric cover pieces, look over our writing, and push us to step out of our comfort zone, whether that be in the form of a controversial piece of investigative journalism or an article about a topic we never considered before. Sincerely, Niccolò Platt


Co-Editors Omid Sheikh Peter Wood Layout Editor Greta Fischer

Artists Jacqueline Obert and Matteo Mastrangelo Advisor John Pitonzo Front cover by Jacqueline Obert Back cover collage by Greta Fischer


With While the COVID pandemic alarmed most and frightened many and sent us scurrying for cover into our houses and behind masks, I know we have all learned, if not much, something about viruses, about social distancing, and about what it means to be cooped up longer than we like in our homes. Now, with the numbers down, well into Phase 2 and the easing up of restrictions, the alarm and fear dissipating, we are venturing forth courageously in larger numbers to hang out with our friends, visit a café, shop for a nonessential item. While many of us still salute each other with the forearm bump, some of us sneak in that embrace. None of us, outside of the nuclear family, has seemingly dared to extend a kiss. While we mourn any family member or friend who falls victim to a disease or accident, three or four months of drastic change, something we will remember, doesn’t, however, register as even a blip in our lifetime cardiograms. Racial injustice, discrimination against people of color and minorities, and the continued inequality, hatred and violence against our black brothers and sisters, against our fellow man, doesn’t register as a blip either. It registers as a tragic stain on humanity. And the stain expands.

The stain, in America alone, has been expanding for 400 years. From generation to generation of black Americans. Our humanity is stained, but, apparently, we don’t see that stain. Because we don’t suffer. We aren’t born with a skin color that says you will suffer. Your parents have suffered. Your grandparents have suffered. Your great grandparents have suffered. It bleeds out and it touches all of us. We learned that COVID has no boundaries, though it preys on our poor communities much more aggressively. And who are the poor? What color are the poor? And who are we? Must we feel the lash of the whip, the rope around our necks, the bullet penetrating our flesh? Must we hear our neckbones crack? Must we feel the lash of the whip, the rope around our necks, the bullet penetrating our flesh? Must we hear our neckbones crack? Gasp for a last breath? If you could ask Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery or George Floyd, they would tell you. Yes. This is who we are.

Across countries.

- John Pitonzo

Across continents. Across centuries.



During the last couple of months, the world has witnessed the response to racial injustice culminating in the US. We have seen many joining hand in hand to deliver justice for those who have been taken away from us. Peaceful protesting has led to rioting and rioting has led to more violence and sometimes peaceful protests have been met with unnecessary violence from the authorities. As of lately, the Black Lives Matter movement has been campaigning for justice and equality for black Americans. Despite already having existed for many years, some people still fail to recognise the importance of the Black lives Matter movement and the message it entails, causing many to believe the Black Lives Matter movement wants black people to be superior to white people or that it aims to devalue the lives of other ethnicities. What movements like the All Lives Matter movement fail to recognise is that black people live very different realities to the average white American. It is a rare occasion to see the mistreatment of a white man or woman by the hands of law enforcement, but it is not as rare to see police target black neighborhoods or stop black people on their way to work simply based on a gut feeling born of a prejudiced mindset regarding the color of another human being’s skin. Over the years the situation seems to have only gotten worse and the US government seems to have cared little about it.

The death of George Floyd has triggered something in the American masses which has caused them to recently rise up, united as one, and fight against the government for what’s right. As Europeans, we view these riots from the comfort of our homes, filtered through news, thus we cannot possibly fathom the extent of the anger and frustration of the black communities. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery should be used as a means of making the police force a safer and more citizenfriendly authority, one on which all citizens can depend and one which no one should fear. However, it seems clear that the government forces have refused to take into consideration the victims, and instead of putting police officers in prison cells, they get to roam the streets free to continue using violence on unarmed black citizens. Working people of all races and ethnicities all across the world will rise up in solidarity to commemorate the many lives lost unjustly. They will not fight alone. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Until black Americans are heard, and black Americans achieve “justice, equality and humanity,” as King said, the rioting may continue for a long time to come.


- Omid Sheikh Peter Wood


Education never stops. It starts in school and goes on for a lifetime. First it is our parents, then our teachers, and then…it’s situations, scenarios and all the players that step onto the stage of our lives. Parents think of themselves as teachers. Then they hand off their child to other teachers. Hovering in the background, hopefully not in the foreground, popping on and off their children’s stage, parents linger, facilitate and move on with their own lives of self-education in parallel, many a time learning from…their children. …so I fly in, a quick swirl around my son’s room, a book on his desk catches the eye…The Underground Railroad…I snatch it with my claws and I fly out. Later that week, with all the torment and pain inflected on black bodies, chapter after chapter, I hear ’Cora telling me she didn’t know what optimistic meant, none of her friends knew either, so she decides that it meant…trying’. …back for another swirl around his room, he hands me Just Mercy with a smile and a peck on my cheek…” goodnight father…you speak of activism…well here’s activism for you…stopping racial bias in criminal justice system”. A few nights later I dream of grandma’ Rosa Parks telling the author and I: “That’s why you must be brave, brave, brave”.

“…enslavement must be casual wrath and random manglings, the gashing of heads and brains blown out over the river as the body seeks to escape…”. …Covid 19 brings my daughter, an ISF alumni, back home from university much sooner than expected. She hands me an essay she wrote this semester after uploading it to her teacher out in another country. It is about violence perpetrated against the human body and the ethics of framing the bodies of those fallen victim to such atrocities within a photograph. She points out a passage from Regarding the Pain of Others about souvenir photos taken by laughing mobs after a lynching. …Covid 19 rages on and the news brings “the news”. On one of my last hunts I snatched Frames of War – When is Life Grievable? from my daughter’s room. The author speaks of the value of life and it is precariousness going hand in hand. If life is precious, then its loss is grievable. “Grievability” has become the gage by which we value life. As long as we do not deem a life to be grievable, our cries to end violence against precarious bodies will fall on deaf ears. Tonight, I pen these words in my notebook: “Life is precious. Life matters. Black lives matter…thank you children…I have learned a lot”…..thank you teachers.

…Covid 19 puts him behind the computer every day, talking to his teachers. I hear him read out apassage from Between the World and Me for his teacher. I see her attentive face on the screen.


- Reza Sheikh

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL By Jack Bach On March 5th 2020, the students of ISF unknowingly started their four-and-a-half month break from campus. The day started just like any other; people begrudgingly walked to their first class longing for another few hours of sleep. When they sat down for class everything was the same: irrelevant chatter within groups, late teachers, and even the occasional student-hypochondriac that felt the burning need to wipe down every possible table and chair with Purel. When asking Lies Verbanck in 11th grade about what her day was like, she said it really was just “a normal day with normal classes.” At the time, the thought of even losing school days felt like a myth. Then half way through the day, everyone started to hear that the Italian government was discussing the possibility of temporarily shutting all schools down in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. I personally was excited by the idea. Who wouldn’t want a few weeks of break from school? We’d get to sleep in, see our friends, and maybe we’d even miss some of our trimester exams. That sounded awesome! Students began to wait with anticipation as the government came to a decision. And finally, it was announced that schools would have to shut down their campuses for the next two weeks. Everyone at ISF walked away either scared of the Coronavirus or excited about the break they’d have. When Katherine Dick in 9th grade was asked about her feelings on the last day of school on campus, she said she was “pretty scared of the coronavirus in the beginning.” But when Karia Pencabligil from 10th grade was asked the same question, she said she was “excited to have a one-week vacation.” Either way, everyone was happy to be getting a little of a break.

Both Lies and Katherine thought we’d be back at school in one to two weeks. Then what started off as a break for students began feeling more and more like what it actually was: a quarantine. Shops closed, masks became mandatory, and everyone was instructed not to go outside. Two weeks became a month, one month turned to two, and now we start school again in September. This wasn’t a break from school, it was a global pandemic.

If you knew that you wouldn’t have been able to see some of your friends, family, or teachers for the next several months, what would you have done? Maybe you would’ve had one last fun day with your friends, or gone out to dinner with your family, or maybe even started the quarantine life early because “people are too much work.” There probably is no perfect way of saying goodbye because at the end of the day, who likes goodbyes? It’s easy to look back at something in hindsight and nitpick all the little things that could’ve been done differently, but that won’t change anything. What will change things is what you do going forward.




Cinemas have been around for more than a century, and we love them for their buttery popcorn and big screens. Unfortunately, they have been closed worldwide because of the global pandemic. This raises the question: what will happen to cinemas after this time of isolation? One of the unfavorable possibilities for cinemas is that they could be deemed unnecessary, and the movie theater business may shut down entirely. While unlikely, there is a risk that this pandemic could be the end to cinema as we know it. Many people will remain cautious even after the world is released from quarantine. This could lead to moviegoers avoiding the crowded movie theaters entirely. Over these past several weeks, we have also seen that new content can still be released without cinemas. If we managed for over two months without theaters, who’s to say we need them at all? This is, of course, the worst-case scenario for the industry. The best-case scenario would be that cinemas come back stronger than before. During quarantine, many people have cabin fever and are regretting having lost out on opportunities outside their houses. When the stay-at-home orders are lifted, these same people might rush to do the things they’ve missed. Moviegoers may feel that they need to make up for lost time and would perhaps go much more frequently. Assuming cinemas will reopen by 2021, we could see a spike in ticket sales. Not only are the crowds desperate to return, but many big movies have been pushed to next year. People will be excited for new content, and cinemas could make their money back and possibly more.

Drive-in movie theaters provide some hope for cinemas. Many have speculated that drive-ins could make a permanent comeback. They allow people to practice social distancing as audiences are in their own cars and a safe distance away from each other. Drive-Ins in the United States are making sure they are safe when serving food to many customers. All staff wear masks and gloves, ordering food is done electronically, and food is delivered to the car instead of picked up from the building. The audiences of drive-ins are increasing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The once nostalgic drive-in movie theaters might stick around after COVID-19 and become a part of our new normal.

Will we have to let go of the feeling of watching a movie with strangers? What about the smell of butter, and the light from the projector bouncing back onto our faces? The future isn’t set in stone. Cinemas could be casualties of the pandemic or movie theaters could make a big comeback along with driveins. Nothing’s for sure. We’ll find out when the time comes.




The world is in a state of crisis, and by now that should not come as a surprise to anyone, however the situation is a lot more dire than you may think, and when this pandemic hopefully dies down we will not and should not be able to return to our everyday lives. Something this pandemic has taught us is that we are not ready to face whatever comes next, and certainly returning to the very lifestyle that put us into this situation, and made it many times worse than it could have been, is not the greatest of ideas. The main thing this crisis has taught us is that our society is fundamentally broken and corrupt, and cannot keep operating the way it does if our overall objective is the continuous exploitation of working people with the aim of fueling an economy catering primarily to the wealthy. I think it's about time we realised capitalism simply does not work anymore as a viable economic system compared to something like a planned economy, especially if “the market” can’t even last a few weeks of no activity without crashing and forcing more people to go out of their way to fix it by putting their own life in jeopardy. This is the case in the UK and will soon be all across the world: people are being sent back out to work because if they don’t they might not be able to afford basic needs like food, bills, or, for example, in the US, pay rent. I am not the only person who believes this; take ex-labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who recently tweeted: “There should be no return to work until it is safe to do so.

If work cannot be done safely, it should not proceed. People must come before private profit.” Sending people back to work means not considering all the problems they might face, and could effectively be making the situation worse by possibly resetting all the progress we have made so far in regards to death tolls and infection rates. Unfortunately however, the sad reality is that many people will end up not being able to afford basic human needs, and there is little a conservative right wing government is willing to do to aid its people when it comes to financial issues. This is only a small part of the amazing response process to coronavirus put in motion by capitalist countries around the world, a response process that included not taking China seriously after they reported the problem to the WHO around January, causing the virus to spread even further. Probably the worst part of this was the massive rise of sinophobic activity which was already rising due to the recent waves of hate and Western propaganda directed against the Chinese government, something which some bigoted people simply translated to “all Chinese people are bad,” so much so that violence against Chinese people is at an all-time high right now. I’m not saying this is entirely the fault of capitalism, but influential politicians, especially in the White House, have certainly played a role in allowing these things to happen, effectively spreading hate indirectly by doing nothing about it.


Recently, the Editor-in-Chief of the German newspaper, Bild, Julian Reichelt, published a video denouncing China for “endangering the world” and demanding that they pay reparations to the rest of the world for something that was completely out of their control. He then goes on making countless claims that go something like: “You rule by surveillance...,” and “China’s greatest export is Corona..,” and “In your country your people are whispering about you…” effectively making many claims for which no proof is presented. You could watch this obnoxious, belligerent J. Jonah Jameson of German journalism keep ranting and smearing China about things he doesn’t even know about, or you could go watch something that won’t make you lose brain cells as much as this video, like Spongebob Squarepants. I find it incredible that people are so quick to point the finger at China for something completely out of their control, but when it comes to something like the US’s war crimes in Iraq, or should I say “liberation,” everyone just looks the other way and pretends it never happened, because the US is some kind of untouchable being and the real big bad guy is China. Another “trend” I’ve seen recently is shaming China because apparently they are lying about their coronavirus cases and death toll. However, the only real reasoning I’ve ever seen for this is never concrete proof, but just seems to be people comparing China’s numbers to the US‘s or Italy’s and saying it's impossible they wouldn’t have more cases because China is bigger and more densely populated, an argument which is utter nonsense because I don’t think people realize that Chinese citizens actually took the quarantine seriously and in a more disciplined manner than many westerners.

Sometimes we fail to realize that our lifestyle is much more different compared to the Chinese one, so just because it's bad here doesn’t mean the rest of the world will have the same reaction as you. Even in countries like Vietnam or North Korea, coronavirus cases have not increased radically because the government took it seriously and made sure its citizens did too. A simple google search of “Vietnam Coronavirus” will land you several articles showing how Vietnam is managing to survive without going into complete chaos. On the other hand, if we look at the response to this pandemic in other countries, like Italy or the United States, there’s always cases of people defying the quarantine. In the US, specifically in coastal areas, people have gone on television explicitly saying that they don’t care about the coronavirus and that they “won’t let it ruin their vacation.” There have even been people protesting against the quarantine and going out of their way to make life harder for other people. This coronavirus has clearly taken the world by surprise, and as much as it may seem hypocritical of me, I think it's time we stopped pointing fingers at each other and focus on how to actually solve the problem and stop it from hitting and potentially destroying smaller and relatively poorer nations around the world who don’t have the same luxuries as we may have. And the truth is that media goliaths like Bild or Fox News aren’t going to make the situation better by laying all the blame on China. So my message to you, if you still hate China, try to take a closer look at the world around you.



OBITUARIES OF 2020 By Nelson Matos

With 5 months into the year 2020 and 3 months into quarantine, it is important to note the many people who have lost their lives to Covid-19, as well as the many others who were negatively affected by it in some way. Amongst the deaths in 2020, either from Covid-19 or by other circumstances, were famous celebrities whose passing have left their fans with an even more negative impression of the year.

Nikita battled against a brain tumor that led to her passing at the age of 15 on the 15th of February. Lead actress Lupita Nyong'o described Nikita as a “sweet, warm, talented girl whom I worked with on the film”. Whether Nikita would have gone on to lead a long lasting career as an actress or not, this year has nonetheless taken away a girl of great potential.

Max voon Syndow Max von Sydow, a man whose acting career spanned over 70 years, passed away at the age of 90 on the 8th of March. His career saw him taking up many roles in iconic films, such as Father Lankester Merrin in The Exorcist, to Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Based on how long von Sydow has been featured in films across his decades-long career, it is safe to bet that any era of film in recent memory had him appear in it in some way. Nikita Pearl Waligwa Nikita Pearl Waligwa gained notable worldwide recognition as an up and coming actress when she starred in Disney’s Queen of Katwe. Unfortunately,

Millie Small

Millie Small was a star with an active pursuit of her musical talents, even from a young age. She performed at music contests since she was twelve, which prompted her to record music throughout the 1960’s. Years after she released her most famous song “My Boy Lollipop”, Millie returned to the spotlight with her tours beginning in 2016. Sadly, Millie suffered a stroke and died shortly after on the 5th of May, which was expedited by the priority to treat Covid-19. The passing of Millie Small shows how the events in recent years have slowed down both the public careers and survivability of many people.


While his music did gain a following throughout the west, he gained more recognition when he took his career to Japan. He recorded music since the 1970’s and kept releasing albums all the way throughout the 2000’s. Unfortunately, Merrill contracted Covid-19 and died on the 29th of March.

Terry Jones Terence Graham Parry Jones, more widely known as Terry Jones, has a high profile in the comedy world for being a founding member of the Monty Python group. He made his most famous debut with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and became more notable when he helped to create Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He had worked from the 1960’s all the way until 2016, earning awards for his work until his career halted when he was diagnosed with aphasia and later, dementia. He succumbed to frontotemporal dementia by the 21st of January this year.

Kobe Bryant Arguably the death that caught the attention of the public the most this year, Kobe Bryant led one of the most successful basketball careers and gained a massive following, making his death all the more tragic. Kobe, along with his daughter Gianna, died in a helicopter crash on their way to a basketball practice on the 28th of January. Alongside the mourning of his fans and his associates in the basketball community, his death set the tone for the rest of 2020 since his death coincided with the news of tension between the United States and Iran, as well as the early spread of Covid-19.

Alan Merrill Alan Merrill, born Allan Preston Sachs, was a notable singer-songwriter for creating the song I Love Rock’n’Roll with the band the Arrows. While the song did gain more renown after it was covered by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Alan Merrill’s career continued for many years after, covering both music and acting. LOCAL AND CULTURE 9


HOW HAVE ATHLETES BEEN AFFECTED BY QUARANTINE By Luca Mijatovic Everyone is being affected by the coronavirus in some way, and we are all trying to adapt to these new changes. Many ISF student athletes are facing challenges whilst attempting to continue their sport at home. But they are not slowing down. Many of these athletes are trying different methods of training and are continuing to workout during this quarantine. One of these students is the 11th grader Robert Been. Robert has been playing tennis for 11 years. He currently plays tennis at the Matchball Firenze Country Club, and at the Assi. He has never stopped playing tennis for such a long period.

Luckily, his coach shares different exercises every week that focus on strengthening his legs, core and upper body. Even though Robert has been improving physically, he cannot improve technically without any facilities or equipment. Robert is only one of many athletes here at ISF that are being affected during these difficult times. Sports and outdoor activities are essential for your health, but also a great way for building new friendships. In 9th grade I played on the ISF varsity basketball team, and throughout the season, I was able to meet people from 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. People that I wouldn't have talked to at school. These past couple of months ISF student athletes have not been able to form new connections with students from other grades. Mathias Volkai, another 11 grader, enjoys athletics at the ASSI and enjoys playing on the ISF varsity soccer team. Like Robert, he also is trying to continue to train at home. When talking about varsity soccer, I asked Mathias about missing out on the practices, the games, the playoffs, and the season as a whole, Mathias stated: “It stinks, but it's for the better good�.


Mathias of course misses playing soccer, but also particularly misses spending time with his teammates and is saddened by the cancellation of the DODEA (Department of Defense Education Academy) tournament in Germany. The DODEA tournament is a highlight for many students at ISF. The friendships that are built, and the memories that are made during the past tournaments, are cherished by all its participants, and students remember them long-after their graduation from ISF.

Athlete's sports, experiences, and social connections have all been affected by quarantine. Student athletes, like Robert and Mathias, terribly miss their sports. They try to stay active and stay involved with their sport by doing different workouts, but it is obviously not the same. However, they both know it is for the better good. It’s important that we continue to follow the government's rules and continue to practice social distancing, as to end this pandemic as soon as possible, and allow us to continue playing the sports we love.




Unexpected, Unwanted, and Unpleasant for all. COVID-19. It crept into our lives like a parasite: at first barely latching on - an afterthought on the evening news. Then growing, as it thrived off of us, into something far worse than expected. Gaining speed, spreading far and wide, its offspring jumped from the host onto other victims, disregarding race, gender, status and borders. It is in fact still spreading rapidly in countries like India, where hundreds of millions live in densely packed cities with poor hygiene and living conditions. Here in our own beautiful Tuscany, we have been sheltering in our homes for nearly three months in an unprecedented lockdown. During this time, by pure friction and contact often unwanted - we were forced to confront each other.

This has led to an unsurprising surge in conflicts, bickering, even divorces, but it has also brought people together, and rekindled lost relationships. If a couple was forced to cohabitate round-the-clock in the same apartment, then little pet peeves were likely to emerge: “Honey do you have to reorganize every single nook and cranny in the house?” “Well all you ever do is sleep and eat, a t least I am being productive! You can see where this is going; add a couple of irritable and hormonal teenagers, or a bawling infant into the mix, and you can understand how relationships could go south. However, if the couple wasn’t able to shrug off any challenges or disagreements that came their way during the quarantine, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe it just brought things to a head, sped up the inevitable. Perhaps it’s better for it to end sooner rather than later, so that both can move on and find the right partner, as well as save themselves from potentially decades of unhappiness. On the flip side, a college student engrossed in his life may be forced to spend more time with their parents, and could grow closer to them. Or risk COVID-19, rather than facing another evening at home. Paradoxically, this quarantine may have taught us to communicate better, because there was nowhere to storm off to if you were in a fight, or are uncomfortable. Instead, you were forced to face those who in the end matter the most: your family.



WHAT IS QUARANTINE LIKE IN THE REST OF THE WORLD? By Coco li The whole world is trying to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. These days, Most of the countries in the world are in a lockdown phase where people are required to stay at home and are not allowed to go outside frequently. We are really interested in how countries' lockdowns differ and how peoples' opinions on lockdowns differ from one another. The following are interviews of people from China, The United States, The United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Frace, Ecuador, Japan, and the Netherlands. They answered some questions about what their experience of living through the pandemic was like, and we are fortunate to have interviewed people from so many different countries. When did your country’s lockdown start? Madrid: March 15th Ecuador: March 15th China: Around the 25th of January. How is the situation in your country? Netherlands: The situation here in The Netherlands is pretty good I guess, especially in the north where I live. In the south, Brabant it's worse though. Around 5000 people have died here. USA: It's pretty bad since we have the highest cases and deaths but some states are better than others Tokyo: Every day the rate of infection does decrease, and medical supplies are still not enough.

Do you feel any discomfort? Madrid: No, I have to understand the situation and stay home. Ecuador: In Japan, the houses are normally small so I will feel a bit stuffed. It is not convenient to study. I don’t feel energized. China: It's not usual to get locked down that much time, because I am usually outside in the gym, or hanging out with some friends. Is there any change in your country and city since the pandemic? Madrid: People started to stay at home more and began to understand how serious the situation was. Ecuador: You can definitely see, and expect a change. People now realize the value of doing sports, socializing, going to school and simply being outdoors. After the lockdown people will pay more attention to hygiene and will focus more on themselves. China: There's definitely a lot of change, since in some states you can't go out for non-essential stuff and in some cities you have to wear a mask in public. From these interviews, the lockdown is quite similar between these countries. People can actually see the difference from their window and feel their effect profoundly. Most of them feel discomfort staying at home for a long time. They noticed that social media has focused greatly on the coronavirus. Every person I interviewed has shown that the virus has made them think more about the world.




Students from ISF have joined forces with students from St.Nicholas' School in Olivos, Buenos Aires Argentina and teamed up to write inspirational speeches on the theme of Humanity at a Crossroads. Santiago Nosotti, and Daniela Del Castillo have been invited by the Tuskan Times to share their experiences with the lockdown from their homes in Buenos Aires. Speeches will soon be found on the World Speech Day Youtube channel. - John Pitonzo

I´m Daniela Del Castillo, and I´m 16 years old studying in 10th grade. I was born in Venezuela, but three years ago I moved to Argentina and I have lived here since.

I live in the province of Buenos Aires, approximately 30 minutes away from the capital. Here, I remember, the lock down started soon after my birthday. I turned 16 the 13th of March and it was a Friday, which was the last time I went out. The following Monday school was suspended, and my parents were already acting as if the quarantine had been established, but it was established 4 days later. My experience during this quarantine has been full of ups and downs. I can’t describe it as if it were good or bad, black, or white, because it has been all shades of grey. Of course, not seeing my friends is difficult, but we manage doing videocalls and texting all the time. I think doing Zoom meetings with my friends is one of the things that helped me most during quarantine. And not only with my Argentinian friends; I have been reconnecting with my friends that are living in Venezuela and Spain. One good example of how technology helps us to keep in touch with people is this. This whole connection we are doing with your school is amazing and is for sure one positive thing that quarantine brought us, and something I will remember forever. Now, Online school. It has been difficult, but I think I am already used to it. I am that this platform of learning has brought us and keep moving on. trying to take advantage of all the challenges. I cannot wait for this to be over, but we all know it´s going to be a long path and with a lot of obstacles. Now more than ever I think the world needs to get together and be better. But meanwhile, do just like I do: read a book, watch that Netflix show you love, talk with your family, friends and



Argentina is one of the countries that prepared the most for the spread of the CO-VID 19 more efficiently by imposing one of the longest quarantines in the world, but at what cost? Ever since the 20th of March the country has been in lockdown. In this article I am going to explore how this has affected the population of Argentina. The school year had begun, and only four weeks in classes were suspended; days later, quarantine was established. Students in private schools have managed to get by without too much difficulty. In the public sector, however, more difficulties have appeared. The proposition of online classes sounded promising, but many students that couldn’t afford a computer, or a cellphone, found themselves in a complicated situation: not being able to carry on with their education. According to the Ministry of Education, 10% of students were not able to contact their school. The sad truth is that many children are not going to be able to get an education this year, and no measures have yet been taken by the government. There has been information given about not assessing students in the traditional, numerical way, but still nothing clear has been confirmed. Private or public, most students agree that classes are not the same without face-to-face contact in the classroom. To begin with, economically, Argentina was not in a good place, and quarantine has only worsened this. The phrase “stay home” sounds simple enough, but the reality is far more complex. Many jobs can be done from home, but others depend on actual clients. A few examples are the owners of shops, salespeople, hairdressers, etc.

These people still have to spend money on food, clothes, health, rent, but aren’t able to earn anything to pay for it. The government has taken measures by providing people who are in this situation with a certain amount of money, but this is not nearly enough for them to support their family or themselves. This has led to much controversy about if the quarantine should keep going or not. To begin with, economically, Argentina was not in a good place, and quarantine has only worsened this. The phrase “stay home” sounds simple enough, but the reality is far more complex. Many jobs can be done from home, but others depend on actual clients. A few examples are the owners of shops, salespeople, hairdressers, etc. These people still have to spend money on food, clothes, health, rent, but aren’t able to earn anything to pay for it. The government has taken measures by providing people who are in this situation with a certain amount of money, but this is not nearly enough for them to support their family or themselves. This has led to much controversy about if the quarantine should keep going or not. In conclusion, Argentina has dealt with the COVID 19 in a way which has put health first, and the results show that. However, due to this, the economy is in an even worse place than before. As for Education. Learning from home has some flaws, but other countries are also having to deal with the same thing. Through these difficult times, Argentina has to learn to stay united to overcome this tragedy.



 By Kim Huijmans

Mathematics is used as an objective analytical way of describing things, while art is seen as a creative way of observing the world around us. Art and maths are often said to be opposites and unrelated to each other. This however, did not stop artists like Salvador Dalí from exploring maths through art. Salvador Dalì was a famous Spanish artist born in 1904. After being expelled from surrealism due to his political stance, a fued with André Breton (co-founder of Surrealism) and his public antics, Dalì entered his classical period. It was during this period that he produced many paintings in which mathematical phenomena can be identified, he became obsessed with geometry, DNA, divinity and experimented heavily with visual illusions. As a student of both Visual arts and Mathematics I decided to explore if and how Dalí has used maths in art, more specifically a hypercube. A hypercube is a cube with four dimensions, which means we cannot visualise it and only predict what it would look like. We can do this based on the knowledge that from a line to a cube there is a sequence which lets you predict the number of corners and sides, ect. It can then be assumed that a hypercube follows that same sequence and so a prediction can be made using mathematics of what it looks like. Salvador Dalí believed that if you put ‘close geometric constraints at the base of a picture’ and then use your creativity to finish it, it would be ‘aesthetically harmonic and nice to see’. Following this theory he made many artworks involving mathematics. One of these is Corpus Hypercubus, finished in 1954.

In this painting the cross represents the planar development of a cube and the figure of Christ represents three-dimensional development of its analogue in dimension 4. The idea is that that Christ represented in the fourth dimension is unreachable by human beings, he is in a higher dimension/another world. Figure 2 shows a diagram of the hypercube from Dalì’s painting Corpus Hypercubus, and figure 3 shows a different representation of a hypercube. This is the figure that I will use to explain the formation of a hypercube since figure 3 is more directly related and can be explained easier in the mathematical sequences as it is formed from a 3D cube.


In order to further explore the formation of a hypercube I will consider corners as zerodimensional objects, edges as one-dimensional objects, faces as two-dimensional objects, cubes as three-dimensional, hypercubes as four-dimensional objects.

The face ABCD of the square can be pulled out of the paper perpendicularly to the starting plane by the same length AB from the 1D line and the length of all the sides of the cube. As shown in the diagram on the right the red faces being the starting and ending position of the 2D square. If the movement of the edges of the 2D square is traced (as shown by the dotted lines in the diagram on the right) the square can be seen to form a 3D cube with 8 corners and 6 faces. Going from a 3D cube to a 4D hypercube means that just like the 1D line which can be extended into the 2D square and the 2D square which can be extended into a 3D cube, a 3D cube can be extended into a 4D hypercube. This is done by extending the initial cube in a direction “perpendicular” to each face. This is impossible to visualise properly because we would need to use the fourth dimension which is not available to us. The diagram on the left shows a simplified version of it, the red cube being the starting position (3D cube) and the cube with the solid dark grey lines being the end position.

This diagram on the left represents a 1D line from point A1 to B1, it is seen as a line with two corners and a perimeter of one. As shown on the diagram to the right, the lineA1B1 can be extended in the perpendicular direction (the second dimension), and the trace of it creates the quadrilateral ABCD. If the extension has the same length as the initial line A1B1 the shape created is a square. In a similar way this 2D square can be extended in a 3D cube, which unlike a 4D hypercube can be perceived by humans.


MathematicsThe dotted lines also form squares which cannot be represented as there should be cubes where all lines and corners are connected to each other. It is not possible to represent this and only a 3D diagram can be made preventing the dotted lines from visually being able to represent equally sized sides of a cube. This is mostly a physical and geometrical explanation of the formation of a hypercube, where not much maths is involved yet. However, in this evolution from a line to a hypercube patterns can be found. Which can be analysed and used to predict the features of a 5D penteract and so on. Having done all this research and finding rules connecting the shapes made me realise there is more mathematics involved in Salvador Dalì’s painting than can be seen on the surface. Dalì had help from mathematicians when he was making this type of classical art, but still required some knowledge about it to be able to let maths help convey the meaning of his art. Knowing this it is still difficult to say if he can be called a mathematician. I encourage anyone who is interested to look up more work from Dalì, many famous paintings you might know actually have very interesting mathematical compositions. It is often this hidden maths that made these paintings eye catching and extraordinary.



“PLEASE DON’T INJECT BLEACH” By Carlo Vitale & Nereo Loreto

It would seem as if the concerns involving the ingestion of cleaning products would have ended after last year’s tide pod disaster when some brilliant individuals decided to eat them based on their appeal, but clearly some people seem to be convinced that injecting disinfectants can in fact be beneficial and aid the body in killing COVID-19. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and doctors all over the planet continue to hunt for a vaccine, the world is just looking for any form of treatment or cure so things can return to the norm once again. However, luckily for us, a “very mentally stable genius” has been able to beat the doctors to the cure. Earlier this week during the United States’s coronavirus briefing, president Donald J. Trump had a revelation while speaking with his fellow White House Officials. Moments after the officials arrived at the expected conclusion that intense sunlight and cleaning products can kill the virus on different surfaces. Really? Well, luckily, Trump felt the need to express his ground-breaking discovery on the global pandemic. Trump elegantly explained to the committee, “I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?”. It seemed he was joking at first, or at least we hoped he was joking, but unsurprisingly our hopes were let down once again as the president followed his previous statement with another not so eloquent thought: "So it'd be interesting to check that." and then while pointing to his brain, "I'm not a doctor. But I'm, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.".

The argument proposed by president Trump is flawed in an incredible number of ways. First of all, disinfectant chemicals are designed to kill bacteria. Therefore they would kill cells inside the human organism proving to be fatal upon injection. In fact, these effects are so fatal that cleaning product companies such as Lysol and Dettol have released statements which advise highly against the ingestion of such substances: “We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body”. For his own sake, Donald Trump should really stay away from the cabinets under the sink. The cleaning companies however, are not the only ones advising against injections of these products. Doctors all over the country have come out declaring that it is fatal and previous government officials are in shock of how someone could say this. Although these are desperate times and right now any cure would be accepted for people in need, it is up to us to make the reasonable and right decision to not kill ourselves by believing some spontaneous flawed idea. Overall, the Washington Emergency Management Division sums all this up the best: “Just don’t make a bad situation worse”.




Mental health is a topic not often discussed in our everyday lives, much less at school. In the United States alone, 3.2 million teenagers (12-17 years old) suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2017 (NIMH). Most of which were in high school, so why isn’t it talked about? The less it’s talked about the more isolated people will feel, which will make them less likely to seek out the help they need. I know this because I’ve been there. I’ve been on the fence about sharing my story, but it’s mental health awareness month; so I figured it’s time to start a conversation. My anxiety started in elementary school, third grade to be specific. I had just experienced a loss of a family member for the first time, and I began obsessively worrying about something similar happening to my parents or even myself. I started seeing a therapist and after a year of weekly appointments I was able to manage it on my own, so I stopped. For a while everything was fine. I started middle school, made new friends and enjoyed myself as much as someone can enjoy middle school. Then in 8th grade, I went to a concert. While I was there, I saw how excited other people were. I wasn’t and I couldn’t help but wonder why. This led me to the realization that I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt happy or even genuinely laughed. I began to worry so I talked to my mom, who showed me a video about depression and it resonated with me. Almost everything that was said I had been feeling: exhausted, my favorite activities weren’t fun anymore, irritated, numb, and even small things required extreme energy.

I just didn’t know it was anything more than feeling “down”. We found a therapist and now I have been clinically diagnosed with depression and anxiety for a bit over two years. Over those two years I met with a therapist regularly and tried two different medicines (the first didn’t work well for me). Last year I went through an incredibly hard time. I hit rock bottom. I missed the last six weeks of school. I had so much anxiety about going to school that I was able to get dressed, brush my teeth, pack my bag, but when it was time to walk out the door I couldn’t. The thought of having to go made me feel physically sick, sometimes it caused panic attacks. I wouldn’t be able to get a good breath of air and my whole body would shake. I barely got out of bed much less my room. Spending most of my days in the dark made me feel alone and hopeless. As much as I wanted to believe that more people felt this way, I couldn’t. I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like that. There were times where I didn’t see the point in living. I didn’t eat enough, which not only made me feel even more tired, it also caused me to lose an unhealthy amount of weight. I used to do my best to hide it. I didn’t want to be treated differently or feel even more like an outsider. In fact, it took me over a year to tell my best friend what I was going through because my anxiety had convinced me that she was going to see me differently. And I believed it. Eventually, when it became too much work to hide, I told her. Telling her gave me one more person to talk to, I wish I’d done it sooner.


I’m proud to say that I’m doing better now. I’ve finally been reminded of what being happy feels like. Good days come more frequently. That doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with bad days. But little by little I’m getting there, it takes work but it’s worth it. I’ve realized that talking about mental health is something that should be done more often. I’m not ashamed of what I went through and no one else should be either. For those who don’t struggle with mental illnesses, be open-minded. Listen, educate yourself, be aware, try your best not to judge because you never know what’s going on behind the scenes. Work on creating an environment where people feel comfortable enough to be honest about how they feel. And if you’re dealing with something, know you’re not alone; know that it gets better. Believing that might be hard, but the fighting is worth it. Trust me.


SUMMARY OF THE YEAR By Jay Hughes Ransley

As I look back over the last several months and look at last September, it all seems very surreal. September 2019 started out normal, new classes, new schedules, new teachers and the same good old friends! I was really excited to start the new year and start preparing to look into colleges and finish up required classes and prepare for my final two years at ISF. We had our field trips, We had our exams, We had our parties, We had Christmas, We had New Years, We had more exams, We had our ski week, And some more exams. We had an unknown virus that changed the world. The last time I saw my friends, teachers and school was two months ago. I still wonder how this all happened. There is so much information from around the world, it is hard to tell what is true, what is fake and how we come back from this. We hear there is a “New Normal” but what is that? Will we ever be able to go back to school, sit at our desk and eat with our friends? Do we need to wear a mask for the rest of our lives and keep a distance from our friends and family? So much for a fist bump, a high five, a hug.

I detest online school. It makes no sense. I can't concentrate, focus and I don’t even care if I finish my assignments. What’s the point? Look at the class of 2020. They don’t get to graduate, see the school, see their friends and celebrate the end of all the hard work they have been spending all their time on trying to pass their IB courses, taking their tests and moving onto college? I keep asking myself, “What’s the point?”. Will this happen again? Why should I bother, I don’t want to work hard and then have it all end the same way next year. As I look at the information from around the world, I see people afraid of other people in lines at the grocery store, fearful to speak to the person next to them. Does it make sense to you that we wait in line, two meters apart, then once inside the store, scramble and reach over everyone, does that make sense to you? All I know is that I just want to go back to school, just like we did that first week of March, and sit with my friends, have some jokes, eat some lunch and just have a few laughs. Finish up the exams and celebrate summer. I just want the 2020 school year to end.




For the first time, the International Baccalaureate exams, which were supposed to start on May first, have been cancelled. This was announced on March 22. The global pandemic has affected students all over the world, and considering that the IB diploma was designed for it to be international, it was affected in a more complex way. While practically all students take an exam in the last year of highschool, most of these diplomas are national ones, meaning that they are exclusively taken within one country. This makes the decision regarding how to handle the situation much easier. The IB organization was put in a difficult decision, especially at the start of the crisis, since certain countries were under restrictions and others weren't, but since they realized that even if the exams were to be delayed they would have the same problem, so they ended up cancelling all exams. Even though the final tests are indeed not going to be taking place, the students of the 5,278 schools that offer the IB diploma program, will still get the chance to earn a full diploma. This will be done by ulterior grading processes.

As stated on the official IB website, the organizers “will be undertaking significant data analysis from previous exam sessions, individual school data, subject data as well as comparative data of schools who have already completed uploading requirements and those who have not,” as a way to calculate results. They also said that they “will externally mark work that is usually marked by teachers, instead of taking samples and applying moderation.” Unlike any other year, the predicted grade will also be considered when giving a final score to the class of 2020. While for some students it was a relief not having to take exams, for others it was a disappointment having worked so hard for two years to not even have a conclusive assessment. Having said this all the hard work will be considered and it will ultimately pay off. One can only hope that this is the first and last time that the International Baccalaureate final exams will be cancelled.




Every year, the Tuskan Times undertakes a broader and deeper look at the university application process here at the International School of Florence. Through an investigation focused on the perspective of outgoing seniors, we aim to have a better understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement of our school’s college counselling system. Critically, both the school and the student body must be aware of the expectations and demands that the application process entails. What is the balance between the school’s duty as an establishment to aid students and the students’ own responsibility to make educated decisions considering their future? To delve into this question further, the Tuskan Times decided to survey the Class of 2020 with the same questions as those given to the Class of 2019. In this way, we may be able to make direct comparisons on how students felt about the different college application processes. For context, the Class of 2020 worked with two different college counsellors between 11th and 12th grade, as well as had a change in administration between the two years. This may have had an impact on the students’ application processes. The survey sent out asks five questions on how students felt the school guided them, their own confidence in their applications, and their general satisfaction of the outcome. Moreover, we will also talk to some students about their experiences and expand more on the general sentiment of the grade towards the college application process. For the upcoming Class of 2021, some of the seniors will also give some tips and advice on what to do when applying to universities.

Breakdown of Results

Note: to maintain transparency between the Tuskan Times and readers, we disclaim that not everyone in the Class of 2020 responded to the survey. Although the survey results may not reflect the opinion of each individual in the class, the results are still valuable when considering students’ experiences with university applications. When looking at the response from the Class of 2020, it seems that student satisfaction with the application process remains consistent. Within almost all prompts, dissatisfaction stays around 25% of the senior class while 75% believe that they had a successful experience. One of the prompts that stands out most is students’ understanding of the application process, with more than 75% of students stating that they were knowledgeable about it. Similarly to last year, Mr. Lee and the school administration have dedicated time and resources to educating and presenting various options to the student body. With numerous college fairs, visits, and guest speakers it is reassuring that students feel that it was greatly beneficial to them.


A critical component to any application are personal statements and essays, which take time and skill to perfect. Roughly 15% of students strongly disagreed that they were confident when writing, with it also having the most “neutral” responses out of the prompts. Overall, around 72% of students felt more positively or neutrally about writing these pieces while 28% did not. While this data indicates that there was not an overwhelming discomfort in this area, nearly 50% of students aligned with the “neutral” response, suggesting that essay writing might still be a field that requires much mentorship and support. The administration may want to invest more time in building up the skills required to write successful essays, which would undoubtedly increase students’ confidence. It may be the case that the school utilizes some of the IBDP Counselling time slots to their advantage and hold information sessions on what makes a strong essay. While Diploma Counselling is a beneficial part of our schedule, as it offers IB updates, mindfulness sessions, and study periods, allocating certain weeks to university counselling could significantly improve the skills required to write a successful application. How does the school strike a balance between guiding students and coddling them? How much of the dissatisfaction presented is actually a product of the students’ own actions? Over 25% of students felt that the school did not sufficiently support them through the process. In addition, the same amount of students felt that they did not manage the application process with an appropriate timeline.

Some students have voiced concerns over the workload given during the application process, which usually takes place between October to January depending on institution and country. While Internal Assessment and Extended Essay deadlines were postponed for those applying early action, students still felt overwhelmed balancing deadlines and applications. Is there a relationship between students not abiding by a successful timeline and the feeling that the school did not support them sufficiently? Is it right to expect the school to coddle students who deliberately delayed starting their applications until the last minute? While the school does play a role in guiding students through the application process, it is ultimately the students’ responsibility to seek out help and take initiative when starting their applications. However, it is crucial to provide students with a period in which they can focus primarily on university requirements without the additional stress of IB or school-based assignments, both for the sake of mental health and thorough, well-rounded work. The piece of data that stands out negatively is the prompt about whether students felt prepared to choose the schools to which they applied. The students who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the prompt were well above 25%, and more than in any other area. Especially when applying to the UK, where you can only apply to 5 schools, the task of narrowing down the institutions that most appeal to you can be arduous, and requires a satisfactory amount of support, which according to 32% of students was not provided.


However, we can also see that there was a low number of “neutral” responses, while nearly 50% of the student body aligned with the “agree” or “strongly agree” answers, setting up a stark contrast between the two extremes. While the large amount of negative answers seem to reflect poorly upon ISF and its programs, the high rate of approval indicates an encompassing network of support when choosing the right institution. How can we know that those who had difficulty in this area were not simply undecided? Furthermore, choosing the right universities depends on interest, personal preference, and personality, and requires a tailored approach. This suggests that those who disagreed with the prompt did not seek much personal guidance from the school, which could have facilitated their selection.

While there is some discontentment on behalf of the senior class surrounding the university application process, the school has taken action to help guide students during the stressful period. While there wasn’t a clear-cut increase in satisfaction, which could be attributed to the recent change of college counsellor and subsequent alteration of the college counselling process at our school, ISF has been striving to reform its approach to the application process for the better. However, there still are some areas that require additional attention and improvement. We at the Tuskan Times hope that the school will be able to do so in the future with the help of the information provided in this investigation by the Class of 2020.



UNIVERSITY INTERVIEWS By Giulia Oosterwijk and Niccolò Platt As a continuation of the annual evaluation of the college application process at ISF, the Tuskan Times has chosen to interview three seniors on their own experience applying to university: Francesco Cambria:

Where do you plan on going? Although my IB score will largely impact my decision, I would really want to go to Warwick University in the UK. This is both due to the prestige that the institution has on a worldwide scale and because of the innovative teaching method and working connections in relation to my field of study. How would you describe your university application process? I would say that my university application process has been very tiring, but above all very rewarding.

It took me a lot of time to produce a convincing personal statement that would engage the readers and persuade them that I would deserve a spot in the university. Another hard decision was the choice of universities and career path that I wanted to pursue. This was probably the most difficult part of the process, since you have to really try to find something that will not only sound interesting for the time being, but that will be a continuous challenge for you, even after university. However, I feel that everything turned out for the better, so it was a successful process overall. What do you think ISF can further do to increase application support in the future? I would highly recommend ISF to add another college counsellor in order to give greater support to the students. During this process, we students have all faced difficulties with carving out some time with the current school’s counsellor. This was mainly due to the fact that he had to follow the application process of over 40 students simultaneously, which led to uncomfortable delays. I believe that with the right support system, we would have achieved the same results in a shorter time and with a lower load of stress. What do you think ISF can further do to increase application support in the future? The main tip for upcoming seniors would be to live this process with less stress than I did. I know that it is a very important milestone of our lives and that it will probably play an important role in the future, but if you constantly doubt yourself and feel like you’re not gonna be enough you will certainly fail. Just embrace the process and all the things that come with it. And you’re certainly not going to die if your first choice rejects you.


It’s more important that you end up in a good environment and that you make the most of what comes after university. Dean Bogner:

Do you have any tips for the upcoming seniors on university applications? If you think you can do well on the SAT, take it no matter what (it can help you get better offers in the UK). If you want to go to the US start studying for the SAT early -- it matters a lot. Also, start writing your American Common App and personal statement early. Kim Huijsmans:

Where do you plan on going? Wesleyan University or Georgetown University. How would you describe your university application process? It was very involved, but overall interesting. The amount of essays I had to write for the US might have made me a better writer. What do you think ISF can further do to increase application support in the future? Make sure everyone creates goals and a basic plan early junior year. The school could do a better job in explaining how involved the process is earlier on. I also think more information is always better. The school does a good job with that for UK schools, but falls slightly short when it comes to the US.

Where do you plan on going? Loughborough University as my firm choice, and The University of Sheffield as my insurance.

How would you describe your university application process? The University fairs were good to go to and organised well, it was nice to be able to talk to someone from the universities.


Using UCAS made the application process for the UK easy, and Mr Lee knows a lot about applying to the UK so he was able to help well with that. Since I applied for architecture I had to send in many art portfolios and other tasks with deadlines. It was a long process, but doable. It took me a lot of time to do all of this and for about a month I was always very busy after school. The application process for Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands was more difficult, as I had significantly less information about Dutch applications, meaning that I had to dedicate more time and effort to it. What do you think ISF can further do to increase application support in the future? Avoid putting deadlines for big assignments in the same weeks that students have to get their application together. Take into consideration that there are students who have to take extra tests or make portfolios and possibly give them extra time for some assignments.

Do you have any tips for the upcoming seniors on university applications? Figure out if the course at the university you apply to requires you to give extra work on top of just the UCAS application so you can prepare yourself. Start early. It might be a bit difficult this year, but visiting universities really helps you get an idea if you could see yourself studying there, so go to open days.



WHAT IT’S LIKE MISSING OUT 12TH GRADE By Avery Fernie This year has been an extremely strange one, full of unexpected events. For the seniors, it has affected their IB exams, their graduation, their prom and all the typical senior events. The following are interviews with Lia Cusumano and Jackie Obert, who will discuss what will come next. Lia Cusumano:

Are you planning on doing anything special instead of graduation or prom? I am not part of the graduation committee but I know that there are people organizing it and are planning for the ceremony to be in either late May or June, or later. We are certainly going to have a ceremony but it will be arranged and adjusted in ways in which we can make it safe and legal for our class, our parents, and the faculty. P.S. We already chose our graduation speakers!

Even though you don’t have the IB exams which is great, how does it feel to not be able to do all the typical things that seniors do at the end of the year? It's interesting because it's basically a benefit in disguise. Sure, we didn't get to do the IB exams which is quite exceptional and great in my opinion, but that meant giving up senior prank day, class barbeque, graduation ceremony, prom, after prom, and senior trip to Mykonos. If it wasn't for these circumstances, I would be taking the IB exams right now and that's unsettling to think about. Here's why it's actually a benefit: eventually we are going to graduate, we are going to celebrate, we are most likely going to go on a senior trip, we did have many of those special senior experiences that everyone has, clips are flooding social media congratulating the class of 2020, and most of all Barack Obama, BTS, and other renowned figures will be commencement speakers at our virtual graduation event on June 6th. Class of 2020 will be forever remembered.


How does it feel to have finished high school? The main tip for upcoming seniors would be to live this process with less stress than I did. I know that it is a very important milestone of our lives and that it will probably play an important role in the future, but if you constantly doubt yourself and feel like you’re not gonna be enough you will certainly fail. Just embrace the process and all the things that come with it. And you’re certainly not going to die if your first choice rejects you. Do you think you will get to see your classmates again before leaving? Yes, I'm 100% sure I will see my classmates before leaving for college, maybe not all of them but a great majority of them for sure. Jacqueline Obert Even though you don’t have the IB exams which is great, how does it feel to not be able to do all the typical things that seniors do at the end of the year? Although I do not get to see any of my friends, I am just happy that everyone is healthy and safe. Are you planning on doing anything special instead of graduation or prom? Nope. Just hoping to see my friends before we are all off to university.

How does it feel to have finished high school? Amazing! Although I will miss some teachers, knowing I have completed secondary school feels great! Do you think you will get to see your classmates again before leaving? Yes, I hope to see my friends.