VOLUME 7, ISSUE 2 (NOVEMBER 2009)

 

 

BHSEC’S POTENTIAL CLASS OF ‘14

Carmel Bendit-Shtull

The halls of the Center School, an Upper West Side public middle school, are buzzing with talk of high schools. There are so many great options, but eighth graders are wondering which school is right for them. Different students want different things out of high school. Some are interested in science and math, some are more interested in schools that are focused in the arts, and some want a school with a broad curriculum. It all depends on the student. Gabe Butler, who is now an eighth-grader at the Center School, is looking for a high school that has, “a great education with hard work, but along with a social life.”

Delilah Weiss, another 8th grader, says that she feels “relived and excited,” about leaving the Center School. However enthusiastic eighth-graders are about going to high school, some have mixed feelings about leaving the Center School. “I love our school, and I have so many good memories, and of course my friends. But I think its time to move on, meet new people, experience a new environment,” another eighth-grader commented. Among the many schools that these eighth-graders are interested in are Beacon, Millennium, Bronx Science, LaGuardia, Lehman, and of course, BHSEC.

Many students at the Center School have already taken the BHSEC admissions test. The test is comprised of twenty-five multiple-choice questions for math, and two, one-paged essays based on a short piece of writing. “It was not incredibly hard, nor was it very easy. For me the math was harder, just because I’m better at writing,” said Leila, who is very excited about BHSEC. “I didn’t really understand the story at first,” Weiss commented.

Although BHSEC gives an admissions test, and later interviews those who do well, other schools have different ways of choosing students. Some schools require an essay or a writing sample while others ask for portfolios. Some only interview prospective students. “I think [BHSEC has a] very selective application process. [It’s] rigorous, but necessary to get the right people,” Leila explains.

Although most eighth-graders at the Center School are applying to BHSEC, students’ opinions on the school vary greatly. “Of course I like BHSEC. I think it has everything I look for in a high school. It just has this amazing vibe,” one eighth-grader says. Another eighth-grader, who is not applying says, “I don’t think I’d be happy there, because of the commute and work. I think there would be too much of it, and I’m worried about my extra-curricular activities.” For those who are not that excited about BHSEC, the commute and the workload seem to be two of the main reasons. Another student applying to BHSEC says, “I don’t feel particularly excited about [BHSEC]. I wouldn’t say I’m never going there, it’s a good school, it has great academics, and a good art program.” This student’s current top choice is LaGuardia for visual arts.In recent years BHSEC has attracted many Center School students. Many even chose BHSEC over Stuyvesant. Nina Chausow, a Center School graduate who is now a ninth-grader at Bard, is very happy there. “I am absolutely and totally in love with it,” she says. “It’s not an enormous change in environment, because there are so many Center School students here. The work is different, but the way it’s taught is similar. There are never lectures, and I’m actually learning science now,” she said. Although she says there is a lot more work and the work is harder, she is also learning a lot. A 10th grader at Bard, also a Center School graduate, remarks that Bard has a more professional feel. “For me [BHSEC] was the right choice. It fit what I was after in terms of education,” he comments. As for the commute, he says you can get used to it.

 

 

WHO CARES ABOUT A PEP SQUAD ANYWAY?

Juliet Glazer ’12

Most reactions to the pep-squad posters recently posted in the hallways ran along the lines of “We don’t need a pep squad” or, “Cheerleading, that’s so not Bard.” After hearing many people discussing the controversial club in the library, I decided to find out a bit more.

The club was started by Year Is but consists mostly of freshman, and practices during freshman lunch (3rd period). They were inspired to start the squad to help solve the issue of apathy at Bard, which, coincidentally, happened to be the topic of the fall community day. Their goal is to support the BHSEC sports teams, and they will start going to games in the basketball season beginning on December 3rd. Perhaps BHSEC does have spirit.

What about the age-old stereotype of cheerleaders being stupid, preppy girls? Cat Schneiderman, one of the creators of the club, said that “we all go to Bard, obviously, we all have some level of intelligence.” She also pointed out that according to third wave feminism, it’s okay to do something considered feminine or “girly.” And the team even includes one boy.

Schneiderman said the club faced a lot of difficulties trying to fundraise and to get started because of the bans on bake sales and on students selling raffle tickets.

They were referred from one person to the next, and no one could help them. With barely any ways left for students to fundraise, most clubs face the same problem. However, Schneiderman seemed to think that there was particular resistance to the idea of a cheerleading club.

At first, Schneiderman told me, a lot of people laughed. But clearly there has been serious interest. They’re mostly choreographing dance routines, she explained, and putting in nearly six periods a week. A few of the girls can even do cartwheels and flips. “We want to look good and we want to look organized. We’re doing real routines,” she said.

 

 

SOME TEACHERISMS…

Dominic Veconi ’11

Dr. Schubert: “See, it’s called a half-reaction because it only tells half the story. Kinda like Fox News.”

Student: “Who were the masonella?”

Dr. Freund: “The… I haven’t the foggiest. If the answer is here,” *points to spot in front of him* “I am way over there!” *flings stool, which hits closet*

Student: “But aren’t animal cells doing fine without a cell wall?”

Dr. Cordi: “NO! Compared to other cells they are not ‘doing fine!’ What do you even mean by ‘doing fine?!’ Cells do not DO fine. They just exist. If you look at all the niches, animal cells are doing TERRIBLY! They are not doing fine at all!”

Dr. Martin: “Nudity has a very important place in Greek culture. Where is it? And ‘the bedroom’ is not the right answer.”

Student: “Wait, does [pinus] actually mean penis?”

Dr. Clark: “No… but once I made this joke about pinuses in a paper in college and my teacher wrote ‘Never do this.’ So guys, don’t play with your pinuses!” (Pinus, pronounced “penis,” means “pine tree” in Latin)

Student: “So what is going to be on our exam?”

Ms. Poreba: “I have no idea.”

Mr. Nashban: “Mr. Winn, you’d best pay attention in class, or you’ll become Mr. Lose.”

Ms. Gamper: “No, you can’t wear those. I don’t want any furry stuff; it’s highly flammable. I don’t understand… just wear long sleeve shirts, jeans and sneakers! This isn’t a fashion show!”

Dr. Youngren: “So how do you compute this?”

Student: “Well, the definition of a derivative is the limit as H approaches zero of F of X plus A minus F of X all over H—”

Dr. Youngren: “I absolutely agree with you and I absolutely don’t care.”

All Teacherisms are published with the explicit permission of the teachers quoted. To suggest a Teacherism, you can join and post to the Facebook group “BHSEC Teacherisms: The Calendar” or send via email to

dveconi@gmail.com.

 

 

MR. CASEY: ARTIST, EQUESTRIAN, BIKER

Shakib Uddin ’13

One special aspect of BHSEC is that it doesn’t just get us ready for college academically, but prepares us artistically too. At the core of BHSEC’s arts program is our highly respected visual arts teacher, Mr. Casey.

Mr. Casey grew up in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Wisconsin and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1968. He has three brothers, Steve, Patt, and Mike, whom he likes to refer to as Mad Dog.

Mr. Casey has been teaching art since 1970. Currently, he not only teaches art and Year I Seminar at BHSEC, but also teaches Writing and Thinking Workshops over the summer at Bard College. He started his career at BHSEC during the spring semester of BHSEC’s first year.

Mr. Casey continues to strive to paint as much as possible, irritate students, ride as many horses and motorcycles as possible, catch as many fish as possible, and tell cat stories. He lives alone in his self described “man-cave” in Brooklyn, with no TV and no cats. His primary activities as reading, thinking, sleeping and painting, but he also enjoys listening to jazz, country, and classical music, and frequently goes to symphonies and concerts.

Mr. Casey’s advice to aspiring artists is not to worry whether you’re good or not. Artists will be artists if they find it satisfying, peaceful, and lively. It’s one of those forces that you just cannot ignore.

Where and when did you find your passion for art? Who or what influenced you to study and master art?

I’ve been an artist since I was a little kid. It was my first grade teacher who influenced me to draw. Her name was Sister Mary Hedwig. She complimented me as an active drawer and once, she gave me this big roll of white paper, and I was to depict the life of Jesus. I drew the birth of Jesus, Jesus in the temple, in Jerusalem, Jesus’ crucified, and his after-life. It was that moment that I started seeing myself as a great artist.

Did you have any other dreams besides being an artist?

I also dreamed of being an actor or horse trainer. I love horses.

What do you do outside school?

I was a human services administrator for seven years back in Massachusetts. I’m also a bird watcher, a great fish catcher and horse tamer, and I love riding my BMW motorcycle. I have also achieved being the father of two sons and being the grandfather of two grandsons.

What was your best piece of art?

I can’t really answer that question because every artist is mostly interested in what they are doing now. They don’t really look back at which one is their favorite because a similar amount of effort and concentration was put into them. All I’m interested in now when it comes to my art is teaching others the various forms of visual art.

What skill of yours makes you stand out from other artists?

I don’t really think about standing out. I just do my best to capture those aspects that we value the most. But I recognize my ability of taking existent materials to an abstract foundation and I have a good feel for materials and paint. I enjoy making abstracts of my experience and involvement in mass energy such as light and space. The aspect of art that I enjoy the most is representing new things to students.

 

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE CUPCAKES GONE?

Hannah Frishberg ’13

This past June 29th, 2009, the NYC Department of Education issued a regulation banning student-run bake sales. From now on, bake sales are gone from the NYC public schools, except after 6 PM on weekdays or during the once a month exception for the PTA (so long as the sale takes place after lunch).

Vending machines are now being monitored as well and only approved beverages and snacks can be sold. This gives the Department of Health and the Department of Education complete control over all food and beverages sold in schools. The regulation has been met with much disagreement from students and parents.

In New York City, 3.2 million people are overweight, one in five kindergartners is obese, and the rate of diabetes increase is higher than the national average. Still, is cutting out bake sales really going to help? Public school students are still allowed to bring as many cookies and cupcakes to school as they want, as long as they don’t sell them.

A single bake sale can bring in $500 or more, allowing school teams and clubs to fund yearbooks, uniforms, trips and other activities we all take for granted. Without bake sales, students are forced to turn to the less profitable and more draining organization of t-shirt or garage sales and movie nights.

“It’s against school spirit!” BHSEC freshman Kate Gindinova said. By banning bake sales, the Department of Education is not ensuring that students will abstain from consuming unhealthy food, but only guaranteeing that none of the money spent on such treats will go to the students.

It is undeniable that there is currently an obesity epidemic in America, but a step as small as cutting out bake sales probably is not going to help. The Department of Education’s job is to educate, not enforce. While health class educates us about nutritious alternatives and helps us make good food choices, it is our job as individuals to apply this information to our lives. The government can’t do that for us.

 

 

WHY THE FREE MARKET WON’T SAVE HEALTH CARE

John Iselin ’10

When President Obama made his address to Congress on health care back in September, he outlined how his public option plan would lower costs by increasing competition in the insurance market. Competition from a public option would force other health insurance providers to lower their prices and save the average American money. On the surface, this is a perfect example of how free market capitalism could save health care. Unfortunately, this is not the whole story.

The health care industry is unique in that the normal mechanisms of the free market do not affect it. The fundamental assumption guiding President Obama’s embrace of the public option is incorrect, for more competition would not, in fact, lower costs. It would raise them. To understand why, we have to look at the workings of the health care system.

There are three components to the system—the patients, the hospitals, and the insurers. The insurers usually get paid a certain amount every month in return for paying for a portion of the medical costs of their insureds. It comes as a surprise to most people to hear that the cost of a procedure varies from hospital to hospital. This is because each hospital negotiates with insurance companies to work out how much each procedure will cost. The insurance companies want to pay less per procedure, while the hospitals want to raise prices. Large insurers use their bargaining power to keep prices low for consumers, because it is in their interest to pay as little as possible.In contrast, many small companies have very little leverage in negotiations, and often are forced to accept higher costs from the hospitals.

Since the ’90s, hospitals have cooperated in order to gain bargaining power over insurers. This allows them to set high prices, since they can afford not to do business with smaller companies. Because bargaining occurs on a case by case basis, many smaller companies get stuck with higher costs than they can afford, and end up passing on the costs to the consumer.this system, free market economics puts the consumer at a disadvantage.

In order to have a public option, or, in fact, an inexpensive insurance system of any kind, we need a program like the one in Maryland, where every procedure has a set price. Set prices prevent hospitals from overpowering individual insurers and vice versa. By setting prices, costs will drop across the board: for insurers, hospitals, and patients. It’s a win-win-win situation. The insurance businesses save because they have to pay less per procedure. The hospital wins because there is no risk that prices will be set too low by powerful insurers. Both of these groups also could stop spending massive amounts of money on huge negotiating divisions that siphon money away from patient care. Finally, the patient wins because prices will drop. Adopting Maryland’s system would even the playing field and allow smaller insurers to compete in the market.

 

 

SPORTS ARENA OF THE MONTH

Maverick Cummings ’13

Cowboy Stadium, home of the Dallas cowboys in Arlington, Texas, made its debut this season as one of the most advanced structures in modern sports history. The stadium’s architectural foundation begins with two modern arches that help support domed roof of the arena. The architect, Bryan Trubey, designed these arches to direct the gravitational force of the roof downward into the ground and away from the stadium to prevent cave-ins. To complement the arches, the arena has a retractable roof, which parts from the ceiling like a sky light. At one end of the stadium, the largest sliding glass doors can be opened to allow tailgaters outside the arena to hear the roar of the crowd.

The dome also houses a gigantic 600-ton JumboTron, which hovers 90 ft above the field. The only thing that the stadium is missing is velour covered seats that recline like your La-Z-Boy at home. Filled to capacity, Cowboy stadium holds 111,000 screaming fans.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ grand plan for the arena was to shape the future of football and give the fans, including those in the cheap seats, the opportunity to experience the game in a futuristic environment right out of The Jetsons.

Even though this stadium is pretty impressive, and certainly gives Cowboy fans something to cheer about, is it really worth the money coming out of the city’s pocket? In order to pay for the construction of the stadium, the Arlington City Council agreed to raise city taxes by 0.5%, hotel residence taxes by 2%, and car rental taxes by 5%. The City of Arlington contributed over $325 million just so the Cowboys could play eight games each year and possibly a playoff or two. Originally, the budget was $650 million dollars, but it rose to $1.15 billion dollars, making Cowboy Stadium one of the most expensive arenas ever built.

It’s not only the incredible design of the colossal arena bringing more fans to Cowboys games. The huge Guinness World Record breaking LED scoreboard screen suspended right over the center of the field has also attracted attention. It is 160 by 72 feet, has exactly 10,584,064 LEDs, and burns 635,000 watts of energy over the course of each game. During a game with the Tennessee Titans, the Titans’ A.J. Trapasso, punted the ball and hit the massive score board, raising some uncertainty about its location. Jones resolved the conflict by reminding everyone that a punt kick should not have a lot of “hang-time” and that punts should be executed off to one side of the field.

Stay tuned for next month’s review of the famous Moses Mabhida Soccer Stadium in Durban, North Africa, one of the spectacular venues for the 2010 FIFA World Cup!

 

 

E-FIERCE (AKA DR. MIRANDA)

Naomi Boyce ’10

“We are all pigeonholed,” says Professor Miranda, “We put the world in black and white. But it’s not. There are gray parts too.”

Miranda, a new addition to the BHSEC faculty, wants to break down this social flaw, and incorporates this goal into every aspect of her career. A novelist and filmmaker as well as a professor, Miranda has made the world of grays a reoccurring theme in her art and teaching.

On the first day of Sophomore Seminar (one of the three courses Miranda is teaching at BHSEC), Miranda explained the importance of using the knowledge we gain in school for something greater than our selves, to help our communities and those who did not have the opportunity to go to college. She also understands how to reach inner city kids and teens in order to send positive messages: “I write for people like my cousins. They are the type of people who need to see my films and read my novels.”

In fact, Miranda was inspired to write her first novel after seeing the film “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” with her niece. “Everyone was white, except for the one Hispanic girl, who was half white,” she said. “There were no role models for my niece. I needed to write something for young girls like her.” Miranda’s novelThe Sista Hood: On The Mican expression of her frustration with the young adult film and fiction industries.

Miranda, who has just returned to teaching after years of working as a filmmaker and artist, says thatreminds her own high school. Growing up in Los Angeles, Miranda was able to overcome the limits set for her as a Latina and as a woman. She received an undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley, and continued on to graduate school at MIT and Columbia.

While teaching at an inner city school in Massachusetts, Miranda asked the students what their dreams in life were. One student responded that “dreams are only for white people.” After explaining that everyone was entitled to their own dreams, Miranda posed the question to herself. What were her dreams? To be a filmmaker and to be a novelist, she decided. With this in mind, Miranda enrolled in film school and started her own production company, Chica Luna Productions.

Yet she still has an overwhelming desire to teach, to discuss interesting texts and to break down barriers between different social classes and ethnic groups. She returned to teaching partly because writing is lonely work. “I love to collaborate, that’s what’s so great about filmmaking,” she said.

Miranda has expanded the BHSEC art program, and on Community Day she had her students perform Guerilla theatre in the hallways. She is definitely making an impression on the BHSEC community.

 

 

A CURE FOR CANCER: AUTOLOGOUS IMMUNOTHERAPY

Nika Sabasteanski ’12

Imagine being able to utilize human cells to treat cancer. The body would be able to use its natural immune system to ward off one of the deadliest diseases we face today, including one of its deadliest forms, melanoma. This summer, BHSEC science professor Denise Gamper did research on immunotherapy for cancer during a fellowship at Columbia University. Cellular immunotherapy requires the removal of special lymphocytes, immune cells called cytotoxic t-cells. The t-cells are then manipulated to stimulate anti-tumor activity and multiplied so that they can be reintroduced in a cancer patient’s body.

While Ms. Gamper was working at Columbia she worked on genetically engineered mice that were programmed to manufacture a specific type of t-cell, OT-1. The OT-1 cells were designed to recognize a peptide sequence on foreign antigens, B-16 melanoma cells. In order to understand the “killing activity of these t-cells for melanoma cells,” Ms. Gamper grew OT-1 cells and melanoma cells in a collagen-fibrin gel, which mimics the tissues that cancer infiltrates in the human body. This process, called a clonogenic assay, allows researchers to understand the impact of treatments on cancer cells by quantifying the number of colonies of tumor cells that grow. Ms. Gamper also had to understand the cellular concentration that induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the melanoma cells. While Ms. Gamper’s research focused primarily on mice, she hopes that soon “These experiments will be directly applicable to human immunotherapy.”

In Dr. Samuel Silverstein’s lab at Columbia, Ms. Gamper determined the growth rates of the mouse OT-1 cells and the human melanoma cells in the collagen-fibrin gel. After she determined the growth rates, Ms. Gamper attempted to find the critical concentration rates of the cytotoxic t-cells because the rate at which OT-1 cells induced apoptosis in the melanoma cells had to be in equilibrium with the cell division rate of the melanoma cells in order for autologous immunotherapy to work. The ratio of OT-1 cells to B-16 melanoma cells was pivotal in understanding how the cytotoxic t-cells induced apoptosis in the melanoma cells. Unfortunately the lab samples became contaminated with bacteria and the experiment could not be performed.

Next summer, Ms. Gamper will continue her work in the lab. She will move on from studying mice to “grow human t-cells and human melanoma cells. Both were originally isolated from human melanoma patients. I will determine the killing activity of the cloned human cytotoxic T-cells versus the human melanoma cells.”

Adoptive cell therapy has affected the mortality rates of cancer. A recent study shows that autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte treatment now boasts a cancer remission rate of 50% in metastatic melanoma patients. The treatment is also promising in other fields of cancer according to a study by Steven A. Rosenberg, Nicholas P. Restifo, James C. Yang, Richard A, Morgan and Mark E. Dudley. The study included a timeline of immunotherapy progress ending in the last few years with the type of research that Ms. Gamper is working on.

 

 

MILKMAID AT THE MET

Lauren Crawford ’12

This past September marked the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in what would later become New York City. To honor the occasion, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened “The Milkmaid,” an exhibit featuring several Dutch artists of the 1600s. The exhibit prominently displays artwork by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675).

The highlight of the small exhibit was Vermeer’s classic “The Milkmaid,” a painting that depicts a maid pouring milk into basin. The scene of a woman performing a domestic chore was quite respectable amongst the Dutch during that period. However, subtle hints like a small cupid painted on one of the tiles that line the room suggest a sexual theme. The milkmaid as a subject could be considered sexual in itself, for in Dutch culture milkmaids were often viewed as the most promiscuous type of servant.

Interpretation aside, “The Milkmaid” is an excellent exhibition of Vermeer’s talent as an artist. The painting almost looks like a photograph. Every detail is in focus and there is not a single brush stroke to be seen. “The Milkmaid” projects a sense of tranquility; the steady stream of milk and gentle shadows on the wall allow it to outshine the rest of the gallery.

Although “The Milkmaid” is excellent, the rest of the exhibit is not. Closed in a series of small green rooms with no natural light, the few paintings by other Dutch artists appear lifeless and dull with no real attraction to draw the audience in. The show is worth seeing just for Vermeer’s masterpiece, but aside from its eponymous masterpiece, the exhibition has little appeal.

 

 

STUDENT UNION GOALS: BEYOND THE BATHROOM

Noa Bendit-Shtull ’10

In the past, students’ requests to the BHSEC Student Union have included nicer toilet paper, mirrors in the boys’ bathrooms, and a student center. Student Union representatives are quick to point out that while a student center is in the works, our toilet paper has never been softer.

“We’re hoping to really focus on what students ask of us,” says Year II Student Union member Katharine Glanbock, “as long as they’re within reasonable limits.”

But Student Union has a difficult job. Obstacles include limited funding, public school regulations, and an administration with a vision that is sometimes at odds with students’ suggestions. According to Year II Nick Shatan, BHSEC is different from other public schools in that schools like Beacon and Lab “have administrations that try much less to shape the character of their schools. They try to keep them intelligent and working, but they don’t try to restrict every single lateral change in the culture of the school.”

Shatan says one of biggest challenges is that it is “hard to get a fair sample of what students want.” This year Student Union has created a Facebook page in order to garner more input from the student body, but so far the only messages are from Union members. encourages students to submit feedback: “We really do have more power than students seem to think,” she said.

Are they putting that power to good use? In addition to two Community Days in October and May, Student Union’s goals for the year include three dances, a blood drive, book drive, and food drive. They also aim to repaint the mural in the yard, but they haven’t determined whether students will be able to participate.

However, not all of these projects reflect what students. “Students don’t necessarily want Community Day,” explains Shatan. He wishes that Student Union could focus more on tasks like improving the BHSEC bathroom experience, projects that are “practical and necessary, not superfluous because we have nothing else to do.”

Allegra Rosenbaum, founder of a branch of Student Union called Community Events Club, doesn’t believe all Student Union projects should be strictly practical. Community Events Club is working with Student Union to bring more school spirit to BHSEC. Community Events was supposed to be an independent club, but became a subcommittee of Student Union because the two groups shared many goals. Student Union also has enough money to subsidize events in order to make them cheaper for students.

Rosenbaum believes that “we’re a better community when we’re all together and doing something fun.” To that end, Community Events Club hosted a week of Halloween-themed movies after school, and plans a series of theme days as well as a school sing-along.

There are several indicators that this year will be a good one for BHSEC spirit. Rosenbaum explains that “Although our school is supposed to be non-traditional, and they don’t like spirit days, we just got a pep-squad.”

 

 

L.E.T.: LET’S EXCHANGE THOUGHTS

James Marlow ’12 and Shannon Grant ’12

Why do we mix religion and government when people in this state worship/practice different religions?

To answer this complex question, we asked our muse Dr. Mazie to comment. Here is his response:

“We’re no strangers to love

You know the rules and so do I

A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of

You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling

Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up,

Never gonna let you down,

Never gonna run around and desert you,

Never gonna make you cry,

Never gonna say goodbye,

Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.”

What is the past tense of smite?

Smid, Smited, Smeet? After hours of intense debate, we decided to consult the Google Gods. They passed their divine wisdom on to us, revealing that the past tense of smite is smote. Who knew?

What is the nicest city in the world?

Jmarlow thinks that the nicest city in the world is Iqaluit, capital of Nunavut Territory, Canada. With an average high of -11˚F degrees in February, it’s the perfect place to hunker down and drink copious amounts of tea. Sgrant feels that the nicest city would have to be London. Not only does it have just as much tea as Iqaluit, if not more, but it also has an awesome Ferris wheel and the pigeons there are much more courteous than they are here.

Do walruses laugh?

Walruses certainly do laugh! Unless they’re being eaten by the hungry residents of Iqaluit, that is.

Why did Obama win the Nobel peace prize?

He’s not Bush.

Where do socks go in the dryer?

Sgrant thinks that all these socks go to the mythical land of Valhalla. Once there, they are collected by Thor, who has an unfortunate sock fetish. Jmarlow believes that Vishnu uses those missing socks as mittens.

Thanks for joining us the first edition of Let’s Exchange Thoughts of the 2009-2010 schoolyear! If you want to send Jmarlow and Sgrant questions to ponder, contact them at letsexchangethoughts@gmail.com!

 

 

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Sierra Pittman ’12

In 1963, Maurice Sendak published the timeless children’s picture book Where the Wild Things Are. Max, a rowdy boy, is sent to his room by his mother without supper. While he is in his bedroom, it turns into an intriguing forest. In this forest, he meets creatures, wild things, and forms friendships with them.

Spike Jones, the director, took on the project of adapting the book into the movie. The film captures the child-like sense of adventure of the book. It portrays the characters through exceptional animation and the puppetry. The interactions between the monsters are a bit repetitive and the moral is partly hidden behind the playfulness, but the movie is still enjoyable.

The commercials of the film were not captivating; it was hard to identify who the producers of the film were targeting as their audience. Were they marketing for children or young adults? Surprisingly, the music in the film is by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O is known for her fashion sense and antics on stage. Partially as a result of the soundtrack, the movie felt like it was marketed towards 20-year-old kids. The book however, is clearly intended for traditional-aged children. The characters in the film help make it more kid-friendly. Max is relatable to many kids who are having trouble finding their own imaginations.

The movie does a great job of marketing to all ages by using different methods like the music and the characters. Overall, Where the Wild Things Are is a creative and visually effective piece.

 

 

A TREE GROWS AT BHSEC

Genevieve Fried ’13

For the first time, BHSEC is growing trees! After a few days of construction, the cement yard is dotted with patches of earth. Although the trees are bare, they will turn green come spring. This step is monumental for BHSEC’s Eco Club and parent garden committee.

Sonia Laudi, a member of the parent garden committee at BHSEC, explained how this project developed from idea to reality. A mother of two current BHSEC students and one graduate, Laudi began planting BHSEC’s garden in April of 2008.started as an assortment of odd plants collected from various gardens. Watering was tedious at first since Laudi did not have a hose, and had to carry wastepaper baskets filled with water from the cafeteria into the yard. As the number of plants increased, so did the amount of work.

In the Spring of 2009, the parent garden committee was formed, a group of about seven or eight people brimming with good ideas.

But where did the trees come from? Last year, the Eco Club wanted to plant trees in the yard, but they found out that each tree would cost at least $100 to plant. Mr. Peterson solved the problem by volunteering BHSEC as a willing recipient of trees from Million Trees NYC, an organization that aims to plant 1 million trees in the city. BHSEC’s parent garden committee happened to include a professional landscaper and architect, who provided the blueprint for the yard. Another member of the committee gave a grant for an irrigation system to water our trees.

BHSEC’s Eco club contributed by improving Bard’s attitude towards the environment and towards this project. Diana Chao, a current Year II, started the Eco Club when she was in tenth grade. She was motivated by the Global Warming benefit concert she and a friend hosted in 9th grade, raising over $1800. “It was just an inspiring experience,” she said.

The Eco Club helped plan the garden and brainstorm ideas for ways to use it. Coral Fung, a Year II at Bard who is also an active member of the Eco club, said that they strategically organized the trees so that one of the basketball courts would remain intact and the mural would not be covered if the school were to expand. The Eco club will also be growing tulips for next spring. Their ultimate goal is to make the garden a place where BHSEC students can relax and do homework and art classes can sit and paint.

As Laudi noted, “I want to thank Mr. Peterson, the parent garden committee and the PTA, for all their help…without them, it [BHSEC’s garden] probably would have remained an odd collection of potted plants…with their help, it is turning out to be a real garden.”

For updates on the yard’s progress, visit http://thewatering report.blogspot.com/a blog by one of the members of the parent garden committee.

 

 

SHARING RESOURCES WITH BHSEC QUEENS, AT A COST

Sam Levine ’10

There has been plenty of groaning from Year IIs at the prospect of having to share June commencement ceremonies with BHSEC Queens. Combining the two ceremonies is practical; BHSEC I and II only have the funds to rent out Cooper Union’s Great Hall once, and Bard president Leon Botstein can only preside over one ceremony. This argument makes sense. What is more frightening is that with New York State on the brink of a fiscal crisis and mid-year budget cuts expected, BHSEC has decided to share both CTO and academic resources with BHSEC Queens.

BHSEC Queens will graduate its first class in June, and CTO director Beth Cheikes currently works at the Queens campus one day a week to help jumpstart the school’s college transfer process. While Ms. Cheikes still works tirelessly at BHSEC during the rest of the week, her absence has been felt by the CTO advising system; college representatives who visit BHSEC when Ms. Cheikes is in Queens have no CTO point person to talk to. Last month, James Nondorf, the new Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago, visited and had no CTO representative to meet with because Ms. Cheikes was at BHSEC Queens. BHSEC works hard to maintain a strong relationship with the University of Chicago, but the CTO lost an important opportunity to connect with Nondorf.

Ms. Cheikes’s time in Queens has not only affected students in the college process, but has also impacted their parents. Last month, a parents’ CTO meeting at the Queens campus drew a meager 30 BHSEC Manhattan parents. Although they were told that the Queens campus is easily accessible, it is clear that parents do not want to commute to Queens and back on work nights.

The resources shared with BHSEC Queens are academic as well as CTO related. This year, BHSEC professors Bill Hinrichs (Year II Seminar) and Bruce Matthews (Year I Seminar, Freedom and Human Nature) have begun teaching classes at BHSEC Queens. Not only does this mean that both professors are unable to teach more classes to accommodate BHSEC’s growing population, but also that Dr. Hindrichs and Dr. Matthews have fewer office hours and less time to work one-on-one with students. Moreover, teaching classes in both Manhattan and Queens places pressure on both professors to teach one course at one BHSEC campus before rushing to the other.

While BHSEC Queens will hire its own faculty as it reaches full enrollment it will, our school cannot continue to provide it with such costly resources in the interim. This is not to say that the BHSEC campuses shouldn’t collaborate to move our unique educational model forward. Our school simply is not in a financial position to share it’s resources. Sharing commencement ceremonies with BHSEC Queens should be the least of students’ worries. Under conditions of financial uncertainty and with a growing student body and a limited number of faculty, BHSEC should be working to conserve its resources, not disperse them.

 

 

BHSEC’S GHOUL PAGEANT

Hayley Barnett ’12

Despite the midterm grade distribution, spirits were high the day before Halloween.A good number of people came to school dressed in costume, making the day even more exciting for those of us less influenced by Halloween. In the week before Halloween, the BHSEC Community Events Club hosted a rousing showing of movies, including Coraline and Beetle Juice. On Friday (October 30th) the club also hosted a Ghoul Pageant in the auditorium after school. Although the attendance was slightly disappointing, it definitely did not inhibit the enthusiasm in the auditorium.

At least twenty people showed up, and the costumes were spectacular. The Community Events club appointed four people to judge the first round of the pageant. For the first round, anyone could get up on stage and show off their costume.

Almost everyone participated; among them were the Halloween Spirit, Super Nerd, a flapper, and Captain Hook, Peter Pan, and Wendy. After the parade of costumes, the four judges were faced with the difficult task of choosing just four finalists. The crowd would then vote (via applause) to determine the winner.

The four finalists were chosen, and a stirring round of applause established the winner: Soren Dudley, whose costume was literally Trick or Treat. Half of her was decked out in handmade candy hearts and lollipop-style tights, while the other half bore a resemblance to a magic show. As the winner, Dudley received a bag of candy and a pumpkin, along with the bragging rights. No one can question that BHSEC has Halloween spirit.

 
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