VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2 (DECEMBER 2004)

UTADA HIKARU OR HIKARU UTADA?

Olivia Lin

For many years, Asian music has been in the background of the American music scene. Not many people can name more than one or two Asian music stars, regardless of what backgrounds they come from. That’s because there are virtually no Asian music stars on the scene! The most mentioned include Coco Lee who did “Reflections” on Disney’s Mulan soundtrack and BoA, but neither of these stars are ever interviewed or appear on the covers of newspapers in the United States. Very few people can actually say that they know much about Asian music aside from knowing the names of these two artists. 

Though this might be the case, when music from overseas begins to be aired during prime time viewing hours, it becomes hard to ignore. The groundbreaking music of Utada Hikaru has arrived in the United States and struck a chord with both loyal fans and new devotees. Her much-anticipated English album, “Exodus,” was released on October 5th.

Don’t be expecting broken and forged English on this one! Utada is actually a native New Yorker. From a young age, she traveled from New York City and Japan, learning to speak English before starting her recording career in Japan at the age of 12. Some of her favorite artists include Bjork, Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, Craig David, Garbage, No Doubt, Enigma, Blink182, Miles Davis, Mozart, Blue Man Group, Erykah Badu, and Jimi Hendrix. These American influences are present in her album. At age 16, she became the best-selling artist of all time in Japan and her second album, “Distance” became the fastest-selling CD in its first week of release. Utada has also contributed to the gaming world with songs like “Simple and Clean” and “Hikari” to the game Kingdom Hearts 2. She is worth a listen. 

Slowly, but surely, this artist is getting a second look from the industry. Many would describe Exodus as “experimental” and “taking some time to get used to.” It has a different feel to it than American records do. Even though she has been compared to Britney Spears she humbly states, “I’m not like a gorgeous bombshell or anything like that. It was just always my music at the front.” 

As if that isn’t enough to pique interest, her new album has collaborations with the Neptunes, one of the industry’s hottest producer teams, and Darkchild. She also worked with Foxy Brown on the single “Blow My Whistle,” for the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack.

In Japan, she is known as Hikaru Utada. (In Japanese culture, the surname of any individual is always listed first). In America, however, she wants to be referred to as “Utada”. “I just figured it’s a good way to separate my English and Japanese personas.”

Remember it, because Utada will be a name that will be hitting the airwaves soon. She currently attends Columbia University. “I can never really enjoy being famous. So when I can just take a walk and go grocery shopping in New York, it takes a huge load off my back and I feel great. I feel human again, almost.” With the release of Exodus however, this might change soon for this twenty-one-year-old artist!

 

NEWSPAPERS FACE EXTINCTION

Daniela Caraballo

If you are reading this article, take heed, it may be one of the few newspaper articles you will voluntarily read until you are thirty-five. Research has shown that there has been an alarming decline in readership in the 18-35 age group. The findings are startling in that the people in this age group are expected to be the main newspaper readers in the coming decades. Without these readers, the newspaper industry risks extinction.

In 1990, a Times Mirror survey revealed that only 24% of this age bracket read “yesterday’s paper” compared to a remarkable 67 % nearly 25 years before. In October of 2004, a focus group organized by NewspaperIndustry.com found that young people are not willing to pay anything for a daily newspaper. These statistics have struck fear into the heart of American newspapers, which are counting on today’s youth to develop newspaper reading habits that will keep the industry thriving. It is extremely important that newspapers capture the attention of young adults because, as the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes, the habit of reading newspapers is usually established by the age of 30.

Journalists have begun to take these warnings seriously by looking into why today’s youth seem less interested in newspapers than past generations. Cathy J. Cobb Walgren, author of “Why Teenagers Do Not Read All About It,” claims that, “adolescents’ growing apathy toward newspapers” stems from competition from other news mediums such as television, internet, and magazines. She also believes that, what was once family tradition to read the morning paper at the kitchen table has now become less common in most households. Therefore, youngsters are not habitually learning through example to pick up and read the morning newspaper.

There seems, however, to be a more pertinent reason that explains teen reluctance to read the news in print. A 2002 MTV study found that young people feel that there is a widening gap between their interests and what is presented in newspapers. Teens, it seems, cannot identify with the classic style and content found in these news sources. Today’s youth are not approaching the newspaper stand because nothing is drawing them to it. A Cobb Walgren’s survey has also made similar conclusions that teens view newspapers as “old fashioned” and “adult-centric.”

Others, such as Marylaine Block, author of “Bastards of Young,” expressed concerns with newspaper’s “pervasive contempt for young people” due to the all too common news articles about the “failings of the younger generations.” She believes that constantly reporting on the “ignorance of the young” sends the wrong message to adolescents who do not want to be bombarded with such discouraging articles. Block argues that newspapers rarely show how teens are becoming increasingly influential and helpful in their communities in a myriad of ways. Positive teen news stories are too few and far in between, creating estranged readers. Daniel Choi, author of “Why Don’t Teens Use Major News Sites?” also agrees and adds that, “little in newspapers, both print editions and online, is tailored for teenagers, leaving teenagers a largely untapped market and a forgotten audience.”

With all of this negative feedback, it seems that newspapers will slowly begin implementing some changes. Capital-Journal Online’s Rob Curley asserts that “it’s irresponsible to ignore these readers.” Therefore, their online site is catered to young adults. As far as the actual print process is concerned, many newspapers have begun the process of adding color, more graphics, and photos to draw in the more “visually oriented youth,” writes Steve Hoenisch, author of “The Future of American Newspapers.” Some journalists are even considering making newspapers smaller, tabloid size, to capture the attention of magazine readers, as well as make the papers more convenient and manageable.

Only time will tell whether these strategies will increase adolescent readership in the United States. Perhaps contacting American newspaper editors about your concerns or with advice, as a teenage reader, might help them make positive changes to engage teens in the future. In the meantime, pick up a newspaper! It is your responsibility to be an informed citizen. Only by being educated and actively involved in your community can you truly make a difference in the world.

 

BOOK REVIEW: “READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN”

Sujith Baliga

“Reading Lolita in Tehran,” a memoir by Azar Nafisi, is a profound and comprehensive story of the Iranian revolution from the viewpoint of an American schoolteacher born in Iran. At the heart of the novel are a vivid portrayal of the Islamic revolution in Iran and the inevitable consequences of such a conflict. The story revolves around Azar Nafisi, who resigned from her job as a professor in the University of Tehran, and seven of her former students. Nafisi and her students were constantly attacked by authorities for offenses such as not wearing a veil, reading western literature, and adopting viewpoints separate from the accepted norm.

Although the members of her Nafisi’s group came from different social and religious backgrounds and were initially reticent about expressing their opinions, they slowly came to see their meetings as repositories for self-expression. The women soon learned to identify with novels such as Nabakov’s “Invitation to a Beheading” and “Lolita.” Whereas the former novel depicts the powerful force of the existential hero whose towering convictions set him apart from a society in which conformity is the status quo, the latter novel, “Lolita,” discusses one’s attempt to seduce and confiscate another individual’s life. Both novels, according to Nafisi, provide a powerful artistic portrait of a harrowing reality subjugated by the forces of society.

Although the novel focuses on the lives of Nafisi and her former students, the larger concept portrayed is a socio-political analysis of the Iranian regime and its injustices. Throughout the novel, Nafisi critiques the various injustices of Iranian society. Nafisi discusses how the age of legal marriage was lowered to nine and how prostitution was punished by stoning. The severe brutality of that time period cannot be ignored and Nafisi does a commendable job of interweaving two sides of the story- the social and personal. Anyone who has struggled to find individuality in an age of oppression and chaos will love this novel of profound aesthetic force. All in all, the powerful voice of Nafisi’s lyricism makes this novel of bold conviction and poetic beauty a sure winner.

 

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE DIFFERENT

Arielle Cireseanu and Daily Espinal

So far, as incoming freshmen we have felt welcomed by the Bard High School Early College community. We were interested in knowing, however, what other ninth grade students felt about their experiences thus far at BHSEC and what suggestions they had. 

After asking some of our fellow ninth graders what they thought about the school’s positive aspects, we received a range of responses. The majority agreed that they felt embraced by the BHSEC community. Some commented that they appreciated the positive attitude of the teachers and their apparent enthusiasm for teaching. For many students, the teachers in their previous schools were not as enthusiastic or caring.

Many students also said that the small class sizes were beneficial. One student however, Zoë Noyse, said that while she likes the extra attention she receives from the teachers, it can feel “socially degrading” at times if all eyes are focused on you. She also said that, while the workload is light, she thinks it will probably become more challenging towards the end of the semester. Commenting on the workload and students’ responsibility, she stated that “The more you work, the less you sleep, the less you sleep, the more of a b***h you are.”

On the other hand, students also seem to respect that the teachers are demanding, because it lets them feel comfortable that they are getting adequate preparation for the future. Students feel that the teachers at BHEC are unlike their previous teachers because of their approach to teaching. One student said, “The teachers in this school don’t give us answers, they teach us how to go and look for the answers on our own and that’s a great thing.”

Another thing the students liked were the clubs at BHSEC. Some of the clubs available to students include: the newly founded Dance Dance Revolution club, The Horizon newspaper club, the Philosophy club, Q-word, A Deep Breathe (the literary magazine club). On the other hand, many students also complained that there still are not enough clubs. Diocelyn Batista, a 9th grader at BHSEC, said that he would like to found a math club. 

When asked what she would suggest to a prospective student considering enrollment at BHSEC, ninth grader Briel Gradinger stated that “one must be prepared and willing to work, be open to learning from both teachers and students, and be active in class.” Another student answered that students and faculty alike at this school are open to sharing new thoughts and ideas. This element seems to be what the ninth graders value the most. It’s the fact that everyone has diverse opinions and they feel comfortable sharing them with their classmates that makes BHSEC unlike other schools. “The environment in this school is very liberal and I can express my opinions without fearing that other people will reject them,” says another ninth grade student.

Not having enough clubs and sports teams, along with the small size of the gym room, seemed to be the main complaints. One student also mentioned that the long commute to school is bothersome. Even this student though, insisted that since this school is exceptional, he is willing to make the commute. Other than these minor concerns, complaints did not dominate the opinions of the new ninth graders.

Overall, it can be concluded that BHSEC is successfully satisfying the expectations of its newcomers.

 

A NEW BITE ON THE OLD CLASSIC “SHAUN OF THE DEAD”

Emily Schrynemakers

“Shaun of the Dead,” a new comical twist on the classic B-movie “Dawn of the Dead,” (1978) stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Kate Ashfield. “Shaun of the Dead” adds a new British flavor to gore. Shaun (Pegg), working in a P.C. Richards-type store, is introduced to the audience as a guy making minimum wage at the age of twenty-nine. Living with Shaun is his large, gross but loveable childhood friend, Ed, (Frost). Ed spends his time on the couch playing videogames and eating. Also living in the house is Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), Shaun’s ambitious college buddy, who is tired of Ed’s antics, and puts the pressure on Shaun to speak with his lazy friend. On top of everything, Shaun’s relationship with his girlfriend Liz (Ashfield) is deteriorating quickly, due to the fact that Shaun can’t seem to get his act together or take her anywhere other than the local pub.

Liz finally ends the fuzzy relationship after Shaun fails to book dinner reservations for the two. Shaun, devastated, spends his night getting drunk at the Winchester, the local pub, with his ever-faithful friend Ed. At this point odd things begin to happen. Shaun, over occupied with his own problems, fails to notice that zombies are walking the streets. Even after watching several news broadcasts rambling on about zombies, it takes two bloodsuckers limping around the backyard of his home and Pete trying to take a bite of out of him, when Shaun and Ed finally notice that something’s amiss. From here on, the rest of the movie portrays Shaun, Ed, Liz, and two of her friends (Lucy Davis and Dylan Moran) attempting to avoid being lunch for the walking dead. 

“Shaun of the Dead” successfully combines horror and comedy. The movie, filled with several situations that are so funny it hurts, (among these are Shaun and Ed “rapping” to electro music), appeals to all ages. The humor is not of an immature sort seen in most teenage movies like the Scary Movie trilogy, but is, instead, more subtle.

Aside from humor, “Shaun of the Dead” also has well thought out dialogue and serves up pretty chilling scenes. There are several dramatic scenes in the movie, where characters, now closely bonded due to their situation, must endure the loss of loved ones in the cruelest of fashions. Dianne and David, (Davis and Moran) unravel a shattered relationship through a crisp and bitter exchange of words. Liz’s friend David puts on an extremely realistic show of panic during one of the most dramatic scenes in the movie.

All in all, “Shaun of the Dead” is definitely worth seeing in theaters. Shaun’s funny moments lighten up an otherwise gory and chilling movie. The audience ends up cheering for Shaun, the loser. Though the movie really deserves praise, the end was sad and disappointing. Given the circumstances of the movie, however, one can see how it was the best ending possible. Check out “Shaun of the Dead” – and while you’re at it, watch your neck in the theater.

 

ADIVICE COLUMN

Briel Gradinger 

Question: I do not understand my math work. My math teacher does not give that much homework but it takes me forever to do it. Most of the time, I don’t even get the answers right. I don’t want to talk to my teacher about the work because I don’t feel comfortable talking to a teacher about my problems in the class. What should I do?

You should talk to your math teacher. The faculty at BHSEC is very understanding. Your math teacher will probably be very willing to sit down with you and help you with your concerns and your problems. You can also go to Room 512, the Learning Center, where on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is a very qualified math professor who will answer any questions you have about your math work. The Learning Center provides a very friendly and warm atmosphere where you can feel free to discuss your math problems. The professors at the learning center are very willing to listen to you and help you with your work. 

One other option you have is to ask another student in your class if they could help you clarify your understanding of the math material. This is a great option if you don’t feel very comfortable talking to an adult about your problems. A student who is learning these math skills for the first time could help you since they may understand a part of the material which you are confused about.

It can’t hurt to get help from a variety of sources, since many ideas together may further clarify your knowledge.

Question: During my free periods I do not know where I can go and do some work. Can you please tell me where some of these places are where you may go and study?

There are many places to go during your free periods. One place is the auditorium. Here there are many seats to choose from and it is relatively quiet. The auditorium, however, may be used by some scheduled classes during some periods during the day so you may not always be allowed in there. Other places you can go are the cafeteria and the schoolyard. Many people go to the yard to study, as well as to play ball. If you are looking for a quiet place to go in the school you may want to check out Room 512, the Llearning Center. There you can also receive help from a math tutor as well as from an English tutor.

The latest addition to BHSEC’s campus, the new fourth-floor library, is of course one of the first places you should try studying in. You can go there during your free periods to study and use the laptops that may be checked out at the beginning of each period. The library is a quiet zone, so you will surely be able to get your work done there. If you want a more individualized study area, you may be able to find a classroom that isn’t being used during a certain period. With the permission of the instructor, you can usually study in an empty classroom as well. These are the places you can go to study if you have a free period.

 

EXPLORATION OF THE EAST VILLAGE 

Emily Edahl

The Lower East Side has a reputation for being rough, dangerous, and cheap. It is stereotyped as being home to starving artists, drug dealers, and people with really scary tattoos. So what makes this neighborhood so darn endearing?

Upon first stumbling into the East Village at Second Avenue and Fourteenth Street, it doesn’t really seem to explode with life and art and danger the way everyone says it does. But taking a closer look (and walking a little farther towards the river), one can see little hints of culture: anti-Bush gay pride flags flapping brightly from brownstone windows, community gardens sparkling with coffee can sculptures, and, even farther East, murals splashed brilliantly onto brick buildings with vivid colors. So the neighborhood is aesthetically pleasing and open-minded. Lots of places are. What really makes the East Village the place that it is are the people.

“Junkies. A lot of junkies,” laughed the guy at the punk-rock t-shirt store “Freaks” when asked what kind of people he sees coming in. “Too many junkies, and scary tourists. Like that guy,” he added, pointing at an out-of-place-looking middle aged man who had just entered the premises. The shop was on St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue, a more mainstream location in the neighborhood (which would explain the confused non-New Yorker).

Needless to say, druggies and tourists are not the only people who occupy the East Village. In fact, the area has become quite a bit more upscale in the last couple of years, as the very helpful worker at the East Village Bookstore described. “There used to be the stereotypical drug dealers on every corner, and you don’t really see that anymore. The crowd at this store is pretty good-pretty scholarly. We used to get some really strange people.” He went on to describe a former customer who would parade into the store decked out in four-foot wide black angel wings. “The aisles were too narrow for them, so he would have to walk in sideways!” Little oddities like that really add to the charm of the community.

Beyond the funky red fire escapes and agreeable occupants, however, there lies a very strong sense of diversity and community. People in the East Village are racially, financially, and socially diverse. There were well-off college kids chatting carelessly in restaurants, earnest young women who talked actively about fund-raising that they’re doing for a Girl’s Club on the Lower East Side, and middle-aged, middle-class parents running a miniature street fair on Avenue A and Third Street.

“It’s an interweaving of two cultures,” Phil Hartman, an influential figure in FEVA (Federation of East Village Artists), said. “For over a hundred years, it’s been made up of immigrants and artists. It’s always been a very community-oriented place.” Mr. Hartman, who also commented on the improved safety in the East Village in the last fifteen years or so, works on FEVA to honor the culture, artists, and community of the neighborhood. The organization works towards getting health insurance and professional services for the artists of the East Village, bringing local artists to local schools, implanting art into the lovely community gardens and city streets, and building art institutes, such as a Lower East Side Performing Arts Center and the Museum of Counterculture, which will be dedicated to the rebel artists sprung from the East Village. It is also responsible for the annual HOWL! festival; a ten day event celebrating alternative arts, counterculture, family, and the community. “We want it to be safe, but we don’t want it to turn into just a generic neighborhood like any other,” Mr. Hartman explained. So far, it seems as though they are succeeding.

A father in Tompkins Square Park, who is raising his little girl in this charismatic neighborhood, said “I love it. There’s so much diversity. The people are great. It’s convenient. There’s just so much to do. It works.” He finished with a smile.

“It’s artsy-fartsy,” a resident from Queens chuckled. “That’s why I like the East Village. It’s artsy-fartsy.”

 

RESTAURANT REVIEW: CAFÉ LALO

Liz Vulaj

With its huge variety of desserts and pastries, it is no wonder Café Lalo, located on West 83rd street between Broadway and Amsterdam on Manhattan’s upper West Side, is one of the more popular places to dine in New York City. Many people go to Café Lalo before or after attending a movie or the theater. The excellent desserts and cappuccinos are popular. The café was named after the original owner Haim Lalo. Opened in 1988, one can definitely say it is still going strong.

A lot of people go to Café Lalo at night for its heavenly desserts, which are what the café is most famous for. With over one hundred different assortments, one has a wide selection to choose from. The café has cakes, tortes, pies, cheesecakes, brownies, biscottis, ice cream, cookies, and canolis, to name just a few. Favorites that stand out with waitresses and customers are the “chocolate lover’s torte,” “raspberry chocolate truffle cake,” “apple brown betty,” and the “chocolate lava cake.” Café Lalo also offers lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, cider, cocoa, cocktails, sodas, lemonade, milkshakes and smoothies.

For brunch, one can order breakfast pastries, oatmeal, fruit, eggs, grilled sandwiches, or yogurts. What makes this place unique is that they also offer breakfast entrees from different cultures such as Jewish breakfast, Irish breakfast, Greek breakfast, Viennese breakfast, along with many others.

Admittedly, because of all of the great choices that they have to offer, this place is generally busy. A waitress who has worked at Café Lalo for a year, says “It’s busy, it’s not boring. There’s always a lively scene going on.” The busiest times during the week are Saturday nights and Sunday brunches. With the expansion of their new bar, they now stay open until 4am on some nights.

Café Lalo can attract almost anyone who walks by it. It is decorated with Christmas lights all year round and has patio benches and chairs on the sidewalk, right in front of the café. It is considerably small for its size, but impossible to miss. 

New manager Carolina Klauck proudly said that they “get everyone…people from the neighborhood, teenagers, elderly people, celebrities…” As a matter of fact, it was actually the setting for one of the scenes in the 1998 movie “You’ve Got Mail.”

Café Lalo looks good from the outside, but it also looks really great on the inside. The brick walls are covered with posters and pictures. There are tiny tables and chairs spread throughout the space, and you can even sit at tables near the open windows. The specials of the day are written on a white board, and the cakes and pastries are visible through glass shelves, so the choices can be easily viewed. 

Café Lalo is never dull, especially at night. The waitresses are very friendly, one can sit there as long as one wants, and the ambience is great. Of course there is also the main reason to go to the café, the food!

The schedule for Café Lalo is Monday through Thursday, 8am-2am; Friday, 8am-4am; Saturday, 9am-4am; Sunday, 9am-2am. Remember, you can order food via phone, or you can get your food delivered.

If you’re interested in eating at Café Lalo, it is on West 83rd Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway. Take it for granted; you may be there for a while, as it takes forever just to decide what to order. Bon Appetite!

 

HAILING DEATH CAB

Sarah Marlow

Before buying Death Cab for Cutie’s “Transatlanticism” CD, I was a bit skeptical. I had only heard one song by Death Cab for Cutie, an indie quartet from Seattle, and the song wasn’t even on this album. All of my doubts faded when I heard the first song, “New Year,” which is far from the normally quiet and melodic style of Death Cab for Cutie. It may be the band’s heaviest song. As soon as I heard the first words- “So this is the new year/And I don’t feel any different”- I was hooked.

Next, I listened to “Expo ’86” and “The Sound of Settling.” “Expo ’86” offers a pessimistic look on life, whereas “The Sound of Settling,” with its happy drum beat and a chorus that makes one want to sing along, is a catchy tune. It would definitely top the pop charts if given the chance.

I was moved by seven-minute title track, the simplicity of the piano ballad. The simple melody coupled with the haunting refrain of “I need you so much closer” was emotional. Even after hearing the song repeatedly, it is still incredibly touching in its sincerity and vulnerability.

At this point, I was concerned that the rest of the album would be dark and gloomy, but then I heard “Passenger Seat.” (Normally, two piano ballads aren’t placed back to back, but in this case, it works). “Passenger Seat” is beautiful not only musically, but lyrically as well. The song is essentially a thoughtful contemplation of a meaningful friendship, all of which occurs in a car ride. The song, and the friendship itself, are summed up in the last two lines: “When you feel embarrassed, then I’ll be your pride/When you need directions, then I’ll be the guide, for all time.”

Having heard all these energetic songs, I was confident that this CD was a classic. The final song, “A Lack of Color,” confirmed my sentiments. This song is about a bitter break-up, and while normally songs like this are overly melancholy for me because I’ve never been one to lean towards extremely sad songs filled with sorrow and regret, this song is an exception. Maybe it’s the simple yet elegant melody, or maybe it’s the regretful and heartfelt lyrics: “I should’ve given you a reason to stay.”

Death Cab for Cutie has been around for seven years and has four albums under its belt. The band generally improves with every record, and this CD is its best to date. With its poetic lyrics and heart-wrenching vocals, both provided by front man Ben Gibbard, with music from Chris Walla, Nick Harmer, and Jason McGerr, Death Cab for Cutie is worth listening to. Recently, the band has been getting more recognition, due to references on popular TV shows, such as The O.C. Their songs have also been featured on the soundtrack of this TV show, which has opened up an entirely new fan base for Death Cab for Cutie. “If 14 or 15 year-old kids are getting into our band-well, I think that’s a very good thing,” says Gibbard.

Death Cab for Cutie is not yet popular in the “pop-culture” entertainment world, but after listening to its music, one knows that the band has potential to appeal even to mainstreamers. If there’s anything to propel rock’s best-kept secret into the mainstream, it’s this album.

  

TEACHER PROFILE: DR. LENNON

Bardvark Staff

By the end of a regular school day, the students and faculty are exhausted and are looking forward to heading home. Surprisingly, Dr. Lennon, a new teacher at BHSEC, is still full of energy and open to questions. During the seventh period I spent with Dr. Lennon, I noticed her warm personality as she willingly and gladly answered a ninth grader’s questions. She welcomes the BHSEC community into her classroom at all times and is a friend to her students. “Dr. Lennon is an especially nice person who really understands you when you have a problem,” states ninth grader, Diocelyn Batista. Dr. Lennon is definitely a teacher you can talk to and not feel afraid to open up to and discuss your experiences with.”

Dr. Lennon as well, has many experiences to share. Dr. Lennon grew up in Queens, New York and has lived here for most of her life. She attended Harvard College in Boston where she earned her PhD in American Studies. She has also taught at the University of Iowa as a substitute teacher. Dr. Lennon spoke highly of Iowa: “A lot of farms, but a lot of great music.” Last year Dr. Lennon taught Literature and History at Harvard. So how did this teacher end up at BHSEC? She came across an ad for the job and her advisor suggested that she come and work here. During her interview, she was given the opportunity to teach a class. She absolutely loved the students; they asked great questions and the faculty was welcoming. She is very excited to be teaching at this school and believes the students are extremely talented and excellent writers. She is now a college professor at BHSEC and teaches the “American Voter” class. It is also her first time teaching ninth grade students in “The Americas” class.

While asking other students for their opinion about Dr. Lennon, I heard nothing but positive comments about her teaching style. “Dr. Lennon is very laid back, very friendly…” says a student who prefers to remain anonymous. Others state that Dr. Lennon is “an exceptionally great teacher and so energetic, which consequently makes the students active as well. She treats all students equally and explains everything clearly in order to make us comprehend her lessons,” says ninth grader, Tsering Tenzing. Others are more concise: “I love Dr. Lennon,” says Natalie from Dr. Lennon’s ninth grade “Americas” class. Dr. Lennon has a very interesting style of teaching. She absolutely loathes the usual history textbooks. Instead of using these, she connects music, paintings, and novels to history. She wants her students to participate, discuss issues, and listen to each other in order to learn. Dr Lennon states: “I want students to look out the window and wonder why it looks the way it does, and if it could look any different.” These questions reflect her two main goals when teaching her class. She also values the opinions of students. In her class, one does not have to be afraid to speak up and say what one believes. “You have to work for your opinions, you have to investigate, research, and back them up with examples. I want my students to watch the news and do more homework than the people they see, so they can learn,” Dr. Lennon reminds us.

Dr. Lennon is also very interested in politics, the elections, and the news of the day. She loves to jog and will be participating in the New York City Marathon. Although she says she has no musical talent, she is currently learning the Irish Tin Whistle and loves to listen to music. Dr. Lennon is very open to experiencing adventure. In August of last summer, she traveled to Washington to climb Mt. Rainier. When asked what it was like, she replied with a laugh and described how she had an ice pick, ice goggles, and was linked with rope to other climbers. She recalled experiencing a sudden ice storm while climbing. She was not accustomed to the conditions but was excited to be a part of this new challenge.

This sense of adventure is clearly reflected in her work as a teacher. She loves to try new things and teach her students the same positive outlook. It was extremely enjoyable to spend a period with Dr. Lennon. Personally, I was able to speak with her in a comfortable manner and ended up laughing quite a few times. She is an exceptional educator and one can tell she is absolutely happy to be a part of our community. Dr. Lennon and her students are excited to continue this school year of growth and learning at BHSEC.

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