Bard High School Early College is not known for its extravagant community events, amazing resources, or large-scale student productions. During the week of May 17th our students may have changed some of these notions. As students walked into the building on Monday, May 17th this spring, they noticed a bit more decoration than usual, if you can call advertisement and publicity decoration. Huge neon green and orange letters covered the entranceway to the first floor hallway. The letters spelled out PIPPIN, publicizing BHSEC’s first ever full-fledged student musical. However, it took much longer than one week to “get the show on the road.”
It started at the beginning of the spring semester: thirty-three students working up to four hours a week to learn dance moves, song lyrics, and stage directions for each scene. Casting for the principle roles changed a few times but the production of the show, which was directed by Ms. Jennifer Grey and produced by Dr. Tania Peres, ultimately went along smoothly. Producer Jennifer Gray believed that the most difficult part of the production was, as she states, “teaching everybody how much hard work was required to put on a musical.” However, as the actors began to work on their material more at home, Ms. Gray said that “things went much more smoothly!”
The cast and crew seemed to appreciate the hard work of both Ms. Gray and the other staff members involved in the production. The show was choreographed by Ms. Marsha Parilla, music was directed by Ms. Megan Fryer, and art was directed by Mr. Tim Casey. BHSEC First Year Declan McPherson, who played the character Pippin in the show, commented that working with these staff members was a wonderful experience. Declan also states, however, that “Everyone was just as important as any other because if everyone didn’t o what they had to do the show wouldn’t have been the same.”
As the semester progressed, some participants in the production of the musical began to grow somewhat skeptical. A few weeks before the show, much was left to be done. As BHSEC first-year, Samantha Otero, who played the character Bertha in the show, states, “My doubts about us being able to produce Pippin and open on time were so tremendous! It’s beyond incredible that we made it.”
Everyone involved overcame all obstacles and on May 20th the show opened. The previous weekend, May 15th and 16th, the entire cast and crew came to school, painting the stage, fixing the auditorium and going through rehearsals. Opening night proved to be worth all of the work. As one attendee, BHSEC first-year Shibo Xu said, “The show was great. What probably surprised me the most is how much they were able to pull off with the limited materials they had.” While materials were relatively limited, Ms. Gray noted that “The administration was tremendously supportive from the beginning.” With financial support from both the BHSEC PTA and from Bard College, the show was made possible. Due to the hard work and talent of the director, the producer, and the entire cast and crew, the show was a success. And, as the director mentioned to the cast right before opening night, the audience was the final component to the show. BHSEC First Year Richard Baird, who played the Charlemagne character in the show, agreed with the director, “I loved interacting with the audience. I fed off of their energy and their responses.”
The response from the audience seemed to be very positive indeed. First Year Andrew Yoon agreed that the musical went very well, acknowledging that, “it was very impressive” and that “the acting and musical pieces were nice showcases for the student’s talents on stage.” Andrew added that the show was “funny and inspiring.”
Pippin not only entertained the audiences. One could say that the show actually strengthened the school community. Ms. Gray believes that there is “the sense of the community coming together for a common purpose.” Ms. Gray also stated that she hopes that next time, more of the “BHSEC family will get involved.” BHSEC 10th grader Jasmine Wall, who played the character “the leading player,” stated that Pippin should “serve as the standard performance for future musicals at BHSEC.”
There was a reason why Pippin was chosen as the student production. The show was not randomly chosen. As Ms. Gray stated, “the story of Pippin has great relevance to a community of students who are preparing to transition from a sheltered world to greater roles in the real world.” Pippin tells the story of a young prince in search of self-meaning. Pippin states throughout the musical, that he feels “empty and vacant” and that he wants his life to “have meaning.” Many young people can relate to Pippin’s story. Pippin was also a good choice for BHSEC’s first musical because it allowed for a large ensemble to be, in the words of Ms. Gray, “fundamentally involved in ever scene.”
The musical was publicized not only in the school community, but around the neighborhood community, as well. Young students from P.S. 188, a local elementary school, attended one of the four shows. Students saw that Pippin was a big step forward for the school, and its example will hopefully inspire future productions. As producer Dr. Peres stated at the start of each performance, Pippin was BHSEC’s first annual musical. Richard Baird believes that the show “showed everyone what we are capable of.” Richard also hopes that Pippin has “inspired other people, clubs, and groups to get involved in school activities and to push the envelope when it comes to putting on a show at BHSEC.” Pippin pleased those involved in the production and audiences. Hopefully, many more performances will delight audiences in the future.
THE EXCUSE TREND: AN EDITORIAL
Do you remember experiencing a burning sensation in your eyes as you stared at the blank computer screen, or getting a menacing headache while searching desperately for ideas, words, anything that would fill up the blank Microsoft word document? Time is quickly passing, for it waits for no one, not even a sleep-deprived student. You look at the clock and it is 6 a.m., and school begins at 9 a.m. Upon realizing this you perhaps begin to swear, but then something happens. Ideas start to take shape during a burst of creativity. It’s now 7 a.m. and your paper is complete. You sigh and smile because you have accomplished the impossible. You have finally written your paper.
As you hand in your paper the following morning, you realize that you are among the select few who have actually done the work and shown up for class. You look around at blank expressionless eyes and an almost empty room. It is the day a big assignment is due and everyone offers up excuses: I’m having trouble emailing it to myself. I had so much work last night that I couldn’t possibly finish. I’m having a very personal problem, I’ve been so stressed lately. You see and hear all of this and you become sick to your stomach. You become infuriated and annoyed when the teacher replies, “It’s okay. Just hand it in tomorrow.” You ask yourself if this is fair. It isn’t, but sadly enough it is the way things work in the college classes at BHSEC.
BHSEC has two types of college students, those that complete their assigned tasks in a timely fashion like real college students should, and those who offer the teacher excuses rather than assignments. This is a problem. Teachers are failing to eradicate the ‘excuse trend’ because they do not penalize their excuse-laden students. “I do believe that some students should take deadlines more seriously. Of course, this does not mean that across the board this is true. Some students are quite conscientious about when a paper or project is due. However, what happens when students ignore or try to push back deadlines is that they end up making things harder for themselves in the long run. Many end up with multiple papers to write at the same time, and they no longer have the support from the teachers or from their peers in the writing process. While it is difficult to keep on top of everything at BHSEC, it is important to learn how to manage your time, so that when you move to your next school (and the rest of your life, actually!) you are able to balance your work and get things in on time. Time management is a vital skill, and one that I hope BHSEC develops in its students. There are valid excuses that deserve extensions, but there are also students who take advantage of this.” This is what Dr. Lori Ween had to say about deadlines.
Granted there are and will be uncontrollable events in our lives. It is understandable that these events may hinder or delay a person, but these instances should not become a regular occurrence whenever a deadline approaches. “Deadlines are terrible but they’re of no use sometimes. Sometimes you just can’t get the work in on time,” says 2nd year Mary Enwemaya.
For BHSEC to succeed as an early college, teachers must recognize (some do) the fact that they have a responsibility to conduct their classes as if they take place in a ‘real’ college environment. Their failure to do this is one of the reasons why many people have doubts about the substance of the college program. Unfortunately, the college classes are being conducted as if they are high school classes. Teachers must create uniform standards and rules regarding deadlines, and enforce them thoroughly and unmercifully.
Mc Donald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, do these names sound familiar? They probably do, if you are a teenager and are overweight. These fast-food restaurants have become a ‘second home’ for many teens. They are one of the reasons why many teens are overweight. However, are these fast-food restaurants solely to blame? No. The responsibility of maintaining a healthy lifestyle ultimately rests on parents and kids.
When we walk into a fast-food restaurant we are fully aware of what we are doing. We are going to eat calorie laden food and take in more calories than any dietician would recommend. Many teens are addicted to junk food and don’t think about the consequences. Many teens go to work at a job once the school day ends. They wake up go to school and after school they go to work. Seventeen year old Melissa Baker (the name has been changed) says, “It is hard eating right these days. I work and go to school, and my parents also work. Every weekday I wake up, go to school and then I have to go to work, and since my parents work I have to eat outside the house.” Baker goes on to say “I know that being overweight can result in many health problems but what can I do? By the time I get home I am too tired to cook so I have to eat something from a fast-food restaurant.”
This is the case for many teens. They have such a hectic lifestyle that it is hard to eat healthy foods. Another reason why teens have unhealthy eating habits is because they are unaware of what is healthy to eat. Even if teens are aware that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good for you, when they are hungry Big Macs are so much more appealing. Fast food commercials convince us that instant gratification is better than a healthy lifestyle. When a person is hungry they eat whatever is going to satisfy their hunger quickly. It takes time and planning to prepare a meal.
The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on March 5, 2004 about a study conducted in Iowa in the 1970’s and then again during the past 3 years. This study shows that teens have gotten fatter. The study focused on two generations of people, parents and their offspring. Dr. Patricia Davis, a neurologist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, examined the body mass index, or BMI – a standard obesity measure that incorporates height as well as weight. The older generation was tracked from 1971 to 1981 when they were 15-18 years old. Their offspring were evaluated between 2001 and 2003, when they were about the same age as their parents. For boys, the average BMI went from 23.0 in the 1970’s to 24.2 in 2003. The weight gain was more pronounced for girls, rising from 21.9 to 24.4.
Obesity is a silent killer and the cause of many health problems. Being overweight can cause such problems as high cholesterol, diabetes, strokes, death and even infertility, and a hormonal imbalance called polycystic ovary syndrome. This syndrome makes the body produce a high rate of male hormones.
To prevent such diseases teens are opting to undergo plastic surgery to help rid themselves of unwanted and unhealthy pounds. In a gastric bypass surgery for example the digestive tract is rearranged and the size of the stomach is reduced. Many surgeons, such as weight-loss surgeon Dr. John Alverdy of the University of Chicago, don’t recommend this type of surgery for teens since they are still growing and developing and the surgery could have harmful effects on their development. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will only perform plastic surgery on teens if they are 130 to 180 pounds overweight (depending on height). Plastic surgery is an extreme and drastic measure that should only be considered in special circumstances.
How can teens prevent obesity? How can teens avoid the same fate that befalls many adults? Television plays a crucial role. Your average commercial break includes at least 3-4 advertisements for fast food outlets. How can we block this constant barrage of images? We have to find the time to prepare healthy meals. It is easier to take a frozen dinner from the refrigerator and put it in the microwave rather than to prepare something healthy. The best way to prevent or reverse obesity is to find out more about it. It is the responsibility of parents as well as children to make sure help is available. Consulting a dietician, planning an exercise regimen, and eating healthy, are the best weapons against obesity.
CHILDHOOD AND TEENAGE OBESITY
The number of obese people in the United States is growing at an alarming rate, according to a recent survey. As the statistics and facts pile up, all data points to teenage obesity as the sole cause of adult obesity. In fact, as fast food restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, the number of obese people has increased dramatically. Mass consumption has completely replaced sensible eating habits.
In children and adolescents, obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat. In scientific terms, obesity is present when the total body weight is more than 25% fat in boys and 32% in girls. Not all obese children become obese adults, but it often happens that way. Obesity presents a plethora of problems during childhood years. In addition to increasing the chance of obesity in adulthood, childhood obesity is the leading cause of coronary heart disease, pediatric hypertension, diabetes, and many other problems. Even though most overweight people are concerned about their external appearance, the real damage happens on the inside. In addition to health problems, childhood obesity often causes psychological problems for teens. It damages self-esteem and negatively impacts relationships with peers.
There are multiple causes of childhood obesity and no one single factor can be singled out. One cause is obesity within the family. If two parents are obese, it is likely that the child will adopt their eating habits. Family models are essential to understanding the causes of childhood obesity. Another cause is the development of a sedentary lifestyle. The average American teenager spends countless hours watching television. Obesity is greater among children and adolescents who frequently watch television, not only because of their lack of physical activity, but also because of the consumption of high calorie snacks. It has also been shown that there are hereditary factors that can influence the weight of a child. Infants who were born with overweight mothers were less active than those born with physically fit parents.
Obesity can be treated using various methods. The most important method is of course physical activity. Simply becoming active is enough to burn pounds of calories and fat. Diet management is another method of reducing the risk of obesity. Sometimes just watching what you eat can have an enormous impact on your body weight. All in all, obesity is a lot easier to prevent than to manage.
TIRED AND CRANKY: AN EDITORIAL
As I sat in the BHSEC library, I observed students reading, writing, talking, and of course yawning. Adolescent sleep deprivation is an issue often ignored. On average, teenagers should get about 8 1/2 hours of sleep every night, while on average teens only get about 6. Sleep deprivation causes a person to become overtired, sleepy, cranky, and reduces their cognitive efficiency (how well their brain works). Therefore, students who deprive themselves of sleep will not be able to learn or process information as well as their well-rested peers. You may be saying I know this already, that this is all common sense. However, many teens continue to punish their minds and bodies with sleep deprivation, and do nothing about it.
“On average I get 5-6 hours of sleep a night. I just have too much work!” said 1st year Rushaine McKenzie, as she sat in the library contemplating her next assignment. “Now, sleep is a luxury,” she added. This ‘luxury’ helps people function. According to an article by Mitru Georgios, “The biological need for sleep increases during maturation. Many adolescents are experiencing a reduction in sleep as a consequence of a variety of behavioral factors (e.g., academic workload, social and employment opportunities).”
Here at BHSEC, being tired is normal, and many blame the workload given by teachers. Some students, who feel too tired, occasionally don’t even bother getting all of their work done at night. “If I try to do all my homework in one sitting, it doesn’t work. Sometimes I wish I could get hit by a car and not go to school,” said 1st year Nnenna Adjaero. “It feels like I sleep 10 hours a week. I do my homework, but some nights I don’t.”
At the same time, there are various ways to look at this issue. Could it be that the school environment promotes sleep deprivation and lack of good work habits? People have said that they feel like they can’t study in school, which is really strange. The reason is because the classrooms are either locked or occupied and when they go to the library there is too much noise, or there are too many people sitting at the tables. Most of them aren’t even doing work.
The last week of classes is approaching and so are the dreaded final exams. Many students will pull ‘all-nighters’ and live on coffee. I plan on consuming more than a healthy amount of caffeine. Just keep in mind for next year that if we begin with an organized plan for completing work we might sleep longer and more soundly.
GOING UNDER THE SCALPEL: AN EDITORIAL
“Imagine yourself as an overweight and flat-chested teen. You open up your favorite magazine only to see its pages filled with tall, beautiful, thin, ‘perfect’ models. Before calling the local plastic surgeon, consider why you want to change your body.” (The Social Construction of Teenage Plastic Surgery)
According to Abigail Richardson, a student at BHSEC, “Not everyone is born perfect. Do we all want to look like Barbie dolls?”
Teens find themselves idolizing celebrities and are driven to alter their bodies as quickly as fashions change. More and more teenagers, especially girls, are opting for cosmetic surgery to enhance their appearance, but at what cost?
Each year, 18 years old and people even younger undergo cosmetic procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most common procedures are rhinoplasty, or nose job, breast reduction, back protruding ears, acne treatment, and scar treatment. The cost of these procedures ranges from $300 to $7,000. Most of these procedures are not covered by health insurance, unless they are deemed medically necessary. Otherwise payment for these procedures is coming from parents’ pockets.
According to “Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise for Teens” by Cox News Service “The number of teens seeking cosmetic surgery is increasing nationally, with summertime the busiest season for students. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “Surgical procedures on patients 18 or younger increased 24 percent between 2000 and 2002.”
Why do teenagers have plastic surgery? Teens struggle with self-confidence and peer relationships. By improving their physical features they become more self-confident. The media is also to blame for teenagers choosing to have cosmetic surgery. We’ve all seen television shows with some innocent looking teenager claiming to need plastic surgery to fit in, because she or he feels ugly and wants to look like everyone else. These types of shows are watched by teens. They romanticize plastic surgery and sell the idea of plastic surgery to teens. Prime-time television shows such as Fox’s “The Swan,” ABC’s “Extreme Makeover,” and MTV’s “I Want a Famous Face” portray cosmetic surgery as fun and exciting, even though some of them show the consequences of plastic surgery such as excruciating pain.
Although cosmetic plastic surgery can be used to improve people’s lives in real ways, more and more people are undergoing these procedures for the wrong reasons. A BHSEC student, Mona Erfani says “Natural is better than artificial,” but unfortunately many teens do not share this view.
THE COMMUNITY COUNCIL
The student elected community council represents the student body of BHSEC and consists of students from each grade. Members are elected to be the voice of the grade they represent. It is sad that a number of students feel that the community council has not done anything for them.
When I asked students what they thought about the community council I received questions rather than answers. The main question I was heard was, “What have they done?” Although it may seem like the community council has done nothing for us, in reality they have done a lot. The community council was responsible for the blood drive, the multicultural lunch (which was a huge success), and also the winter dance. Guess what, that is not all that they did. They also supplied the community room (when it was open) with furniture and games, and helped place the basketball team in the gym. They also helped with the establishment of the writing center and the tutoring programs.
Many students are unaware of the accomplishments of this year’s community council because of the lack of interest in it. Many students wanted to know what happened to the Town Hall meetings that used to be held. When the council was asked about them they said the meetings were terminated because students said they were not going to attend them. They also said “We felt they weren’t effective in getting any feedback from the student body as a whole. They were mostly chaotic and uneventful. We also thought the students hated them.” The community council knew that students were not interested so they stopped having the meetings.
The community council, unbeknownst to the rest of the student body, has accomplished a lot this year. They even tried to remodel the community room so that students who wanted to chill had somewhere to go other than the library and cafeteria.
Most of the students who criticize the community council would not be willing to do as much as they have done for the school. In my opinion this year’s community council has done a great job. I know there will be students who agree with me and there will be those who disagree. Students who disagree with me should know that community council elections will be held in the beginning of the school year. Step up and show us how it should be done.
BIG CHANGES FOR BHSEC
Did you ever have to wait 20 minutes or more to print out a paper? Have you ever heard someone complaining about the fact that there are never any free computers in the school? My fellow BHSEC students, hopefully in the fall we will be able to say goodbye to our computer woes!
That’s right! Over the summer BHSEC will undergo major construction. As Mr. Casey says we’re going to, “Tear it up, rip it apart, and make a lot of dust!” Our current library along with the abandoned computer room will be destroyed and made into new laboratories. The library will be relocated to the 4th floor and will take up the space of 3 classrooms including Ms. Exter’s and Dr.Vernoff’s. Where did we get the money? The School Construction Authority gave us $1.3 million. In addition to the $1.3 million, Margarita Lopez, the chancellor of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, donated $300,000 to our school. With some of this money we have already built one lab. The rest of the money will be used to build two brand new lab rooms, a prep room, and the library.
Classes will be taught in the lab rooms and students will be able to conduct experiments on their own. The library will have new furniture and a cart with 25 wireless laptops. “It will be run like a proper library, meaning I will have to enforce rules for a change. If students break the rules they will lose library privileges. I don’t look forward to enforcing the rules but I hope that it will only last for a month or two before everyone understands how things work. It will be very different from this semester,” said Mr. Gelber. Some of the rules are no eating, drinking, hanging out, or talking. The goal is to have a library that closely resembles a college library.
“If it makes the school look better I don’t really mind the construction but the only problem is where the hell are we going to have our classes?” asked Aleksandr Morozov, a Year 1 student. According to Mr. Peterson, teachers use their classrooms 4 out of 6 periods a day. This means that teachers will find that a class is in session in their room when they are not teaching. Dr.Cordi argues that the labs “will be a better usage of the available space.” The Science Department feels that the new labs will “get students directly engaged in the experimentation process and get them to actually do things and not think about them.” The Science Department is really excited about the summer construction. “We’d really like to thank the administration and Ron Barnett (engineer) and Ruth Dresdner (architect) who worked endlessly with the School Construction Authority to make sure the labs are constructed the way we wanted.”
Some students are skeptical about the positive effects the summer construction will have on our school. “The school library is best where it is. It should be in the middle of the building because it is central to our school. It is the heart of our school. The construction is going to crowd us into a high school we don’t want to become,” said Abigail Richardson, a Year 1 student. Many students agree that the school should not change.
There is no guarantee that the construction will be done by the time we get back to school. “Hopefully it will be done by late September early October,” said Mr. Peterson. “There is still a big question mark about the construction,” said Mr. Gelber.
HOME OF ARCADIA
Looking for something to do this summer? In this issue I take a look at five different arcades in New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Long Island. Each arcade offers up a unique gaming experience and is worth checking out on a hot summer day.
Name: DDR & PIU (NYDS); Location: 58-14 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, N.Y. 11377; Phone Number: (718) 898-8508. NYDS is located in Woodside, Queens. To get to this location, take the 7 train to 61st street Woodside and walk to 59th Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Express service for the 7 train to this subway station is available. This location doubles as a store. In the storefront, bootleg hats and jewelry are featured. The back of the store is a play area separated from the merchandise by a propped up grey board. The enclosed area offers 3 versions of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) side-by-side, Marvel vs. Capcom, and Metal Slug. There is also a pool table which can be rented out. Prices for DDR games are a dollar and appropriate for the residential setting of Woodside. Dollars can be given to Mr. Nam, who will activate your credits in the machine. The neighborhood is quiet, but on Sundays, NYDS can become quite noisy and crowded. There is a McDonald’s and grocery stores near the arcade. Every Sunday, ‘free play’ is offered, meaning that for only twelve dollars per person, unlimited use of the games is allowed. The locale is also known for its monthly DDR tournaments. It opens at 11a.m. Monday through Friday, and closes at 8 p.m. on weekdays. On Saturdays, NYDS closes at 9p.m., and on Sunday the arcade opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m.
Name: Chinatown Fair; Location: 8 Mott Street, New York, N.Y. 10013; Phone Number: (212) 964-1542. Chinatown Fair is Manhattan’s most cosmopolitan and unique experience. The crowd and the gaming activities are diverse. Take the 4, 5, or 6, J, M, Z, N, or Q to Canal Street. Chinatown Fair is the cheapest arcade in the city and if you’re a hardcore gamer, competition is always available and fierce. The consecutive three time Marvel vs. Capcom 2 world champion, Justin Wong, makes frequent appearances and is a celebrity in the gaming world. This medium-sized L-shaped establishment is cramped at times and because of the presence of so many sweating DDR players, things can get a bit smelly but you get used to it eventually. Arcade goers usually don’t remain inside while they wait for machines. People waiting for machines or in need of a break spend time outside on the steps. At any one time, it is not uncommon to find a litter of teenagers and young adults outside Chinatown Fair talking or looking contemplative and forlorn. The Chinatown Fair experience includes wandering to nearby restaurants for good eats, waltzing into internet cafés with friends, sharing bubble tea, and shopping. If one is low on cash Chinatown also has a number of parks you can spend time in for free. Chinatown Fair closes around 1 to 2 a.m. every night and opens at 11 a.m.
Name: Eldorado Arcade Coney Island; Location: 1215 Bowery St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11224; Phone Number: (718) 946-6642. Coney Island is the place where New Yorkers venture out to at least once every summer. One should take the D downtown to the last stop. One may also take the F to the last stop and then the free shuttle bus to Coney Island. Coney Island Amusement Park includes a variety of light-hearted and compelling activities. The Eldorado Coney Island arcade is no exception and makes for a very exciting experience. Prices of the games are fair. Tickets, spewed out by the surrounding machines, are redeemable for prizes. This arcade is one of many on Coney Island and opens only in the summertime. It is almost impossible to walk towards the arcade without one of the business-hungry vendors requesting that you “Step right up!” Despite this, the expansive arcade has a cool and mysterious chic that is enhanced by the dimly-lit atmosphere. Only five minutes away from the arcade sunbathers relax on the beach and rides. The whole area is very consumer friendly. You are constantly being asked to spend spend spend. Good fast food is always within sight, but if amusement park food does a number on your stomach, one can opt for the McDonald’s located in the area too. Riding the world-famous Cyclone can also be fun, but only before you eat.
Name: Funworld of Bruckner Plaza; Location: 1967 Turnbull Ave., Bronx, N.Y. 10473. Bruckner Plaza hosts Funworld, a family-entertainment center type arcade. You can get there by taking the 6 train to Parkchester in the Bronx and then the BX36 or 39 bus. Located in a shopping center plaza, Big K-Mart, Old Navy, and Duane Reade are nearby. Most of the games in this arcade are for young children. There is a kiddie maze, bumper cars, and an area for birthday parties. Pizza Hut is adjacent to the arcade. This arcade has a ticketing system and redeemable prizes. Funworld is moderately priced and most of its games are old school. The Funworld crowd includes young children, regulars from the local high school, and Yugi-Oh card cliques scattered around the room.
Name: Tri-County Flea Market; Location: 3041 Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown, N.Y. 11756; Phone Number: (516) 579-4500. Tri-County Flea Market’s is below street level and features mainly music games from the Japanese company, BeMani. It is not like any of the arcades that exist around New York City. Located in Levittown, Long Island on Hempstead Road, most of the crowd there are shoppers that spend their Saturday mornings looking for great buys at the flea market. New York arcade hoppers often make the long trip out to Long Island for the intense variety of music games though. Music games include DDR, Beatmania, IIDX 9, Dance Maniacs, Keyboard Mania, and Pump It Up, most of which require body motion and a good ear for rhythm. Most music games cost a dollar, but since they offer an experience unlike any other found on the East Coast, the price is fair and worth it. The gaming area is not very crowded and features lots of free space. DDR tournaments draw players from the city and the island together once every two months.
The all too familiar “when I was your age” speech is one that parents often use as a way to point out to their children how things have changed, usually for the worse, since they were in their youth. While these words are frequently met with groans or rolling of the eyes, the truth is that adolescence has changed significantly over the past few decades. The transition from childhood to adulthood has become more complex and blurred. 8, 9, and 10 year olds are now confronted with issues that 14, 15, and 16 year olds used to deal with. Additionally, many 18 to 25 year olds are not abandoning their ‘teenage phase’ until later in life. It is no longer clear when adolescence begins and when it ends.
Kay Hymowitz, author of “Ready or Not: Why Treating Children as Small Adults Endangers Their Future and Ours,” believes that there are negative consequences to young children facing pubescent issues. She maintains that “Kids who are that young have a very wobbly sense of themselves. They don’t really have a clear idea of what the world expects of them, who they are, and how to place themselves in it. They often end up following the peer group or the advice of the media.” This susceptibility effects their decision making in complex social situations.
Dr. Reed Larson, professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois, also worries that ‘tweens’ are in a difficult position because they do not know how to fit in. They are no longer children, yet they are not treated like teenagers. He notices that they are “…given very little responsibility for anything that really matters, so in a way, they’re becoming more adult-like, but they aren’t having experiences that would help them learn how to handle responsibility.” This lack of identity can be extremely stressful for youngsters with raging hormones, who are struggling to make the transition into adulthood.
Dr. Dahl, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, asserts that many teens are having problems “regulating behavior and strong emotions.” The types of problems described by Dr. Larson, Dr. Dahl, and Ms. Hymowitz perhaps explain why the rates of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and violence have doubled for American adolescents in the past 30 years.
It also appears that older teenagers are struggling with the transition to adulthood, but for very different reasons. Dr. Reed Larson claims that “the ladder required to get to adulthood is lengthening.” In the past, most people thought that adulthood began at the age of 18-21. This is no longer the case. Many “20 something” year olds are not sure where to draw the line between adolescence and adulthood. Does getting a job, getting married, becoming financially independent, or having children mark the beginning of adulthood? Alternatively, is it something more abstract such as taking responsibility for your actions? Dr. Arnett, a researcher in developmental psychology at the University of Maryland states that these ‘emerging adults’ are experiencing instability due to “changing love partners, changing jobs, changing educational directions.” There is also “a lot of exploration and a lot of optimism, too” which may ultimately help today’s youth find their way through these confusing and ambiguous transitions.
Evidently, the path to adolescence and adulthood has become blurred and more complex. While some children make the transition with ease, many do not. This raises the question, how do we adjust to these changes in society and make the journey to adulthood less arduous? There are no easy solutions, but your thoughts and opinions are welcome at the BHSEC Horizon online newspaper.
Yeah, we got you. The above title, for many BHSEC students, is probably as effective an eye grabber as the word SEX. There is possibly nothing more on the minds of BHSEC college students than the college admissions process. While the masses of frantic transfer students want more college admissions advisement, this article focuses on an issue that many outgoing BHSEC students may not care about: admissions to BHSEC itself! The admissions program here at BHSEC is without a doubt one of the most important elements of the school. Without it, the student body and the school would lose its identity. Amy Hondo, director of admissions at BHSEC, was kind enough to give me a glimpse into the admissions process.
Amy Hondo will wave hello to you if she sees you in the hallway. Why, you ask? Because she knows all about you! Upon entrance into BHSEC, Hondo learned all about every facet of your life – from your educational history to your personal passions for the future. While you may not remember much about your admissions process into BHSEC, Hondo will proudly claim, “I remember every applicant.”
Hondo states that BHSEC’s admissions policy is very similar to that of most colleges (without the SAT scores). Everything from teacher recommendations and the student’s participation in various activities will say a lot about them. While the math & writing assessments administered by the school allow admissions officers to rate academic potential, the all-important interview offers an invaluable opportunity to judge a prospective student’s ability to articulate and express their ideas.
While BHSEC has gone through myriad changes in its short lifetime, Hondo claims, surprisingly, that the criteria for selecting an incoming ninth grade class have changed very little. “The ideals of the school have pretty much remained the same,” she claimed. If the ideals of the school remain the same, so should the students, apparently. Every year, Hondo and a group of admissions staffers rank prospective students who are granted consideration from #1 prospect down to around #600. If you look at the prospects in rankings from year to year, for example, students in the #25 position would exhibit qualities somewhat similar every year. BHSEC certainly knows what kind of student is right for the school – and it’s not always the “straight A students. Understanding the difficulties that can arise due to varying circumstances, the admissions department takes many things into account. The recommended grade point average is around a B+, but there is no real cutoff. Grades are only one factor in the decision process.
Another factor of course, is diversity – and it certainly is a controversial one. However, Hondo had no problem striking down my admittedly cliché question, “What if two prospective students with the same qualifications but with different skin color…” She claimed that “Two students will never be exactly the same.” Hondo doesn’t believe that such a potential issue could ever arise. She claims that BHSEC would never have a ‘quota system’ because she believes it ‘oversimplifies’ the race issue and puts people into overly simplified groups. Essentially, no one is getting into or being refused admittance to BHSEC based solely on race. While BHSEC is making every effort to remain a diverse community, it will not oversimplify by employing quotas.
All in all, the job of the admissions director is anything but easy – scanning through thousands of applicant files can make for some very late nights during the admissions period – but the importance of the job of selecting future classes is indisputable. Formulating a successful class for BHSEC takes time and patience, but nothing is more important to this school than the presence of a bright and thriving student body. By the way, Hondo encourages students to participate in and volunteer for next year’s admissions process. “No one knows BHSEC better than its students!” Unfortunately, Amy Hondo will be leaving our school to travel to Japan next year.
BOOK REVIEW: “CLOSE TO SHORE” BY MICHAEL CAPUZZO
At long last Bard High School Early College has decided to release its students for the year, well over a month later then any other college program. Soon, many of us will be flocking towards beaches to swim, bath, and have a good time. “Close to Shore” is excellent beach reading. Everyone is familiar with the Steven Spielberg movie “Jaws”, which depicts a giant man eating great white shark terrorizing a small Long Island town. It is easy to write this movie off as pure Hollywood, a fantasy that gives sharks a bad name. Yet, “Jaws” is based on a series of events which occurred in the summer of 1916. “Close to Shore” depicts these events.
The book takes place during the Victorian Era. The Victorians held many strange views. Some of them were correct and some of them were incorrect. For instance, they believed that sharks did not attack human beings. They believed that sharks were more afraid of us then we were of them, and that they were unable to bite through human bones. The belief that sharks could not bite through human bone led to the belief that people would never be attacked by sharks. Then, a young rogue great white shark attacked and killed several people off the New Jersey shore, and three people several miles up river. This string of deadly attacks, coupled with the young sharks capture, proved to the people of the Victorian Era that humans were not the masters of the coast.
“Close to Shore” does an excellent job of depicting the time period of the Victorian Era. Michael Capuzzo’s descriptions really make you feel like you were there. The book is written from two perspectives. The first perspective is that of the people of the era. The second perspective is that of the Great White. Sharks have been attacking people ever since the first human set foot into the ocean, and it seems ridiculous that people ever believed otherwise. Michael Capuzzo helps you understand the perspective of the Victorian people. Advancements in science were being made, the U.S. economy was booming, the sky was the limit. Many people of the Victorian Era believed that the world was created for humans, and therefore it was only natural for them to think that the ocean was their own personal swimming pool.
I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history. This book makes you feel like you are in the Victorian Era. It is shocking to hear about how women were dragged off the beach for wearing “suggestive” bathing suits. I began reading this book on a Long Island beach and became entranced. I watched my friends and family swimming among the breaking waves, with out a care in the world. Very few people would venture unprotected into a dark forest, yet people swim in the ocean without having any idea of what is under the water. Needless to say, this book was not the best thing to read on a beach, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a good time period book, and covered a fascinating topic. Anyone who has some spare time on their hands this summer would be wise to read it.