PTSA hosts annual Lightning Award of Excellence


The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) hosted its annual Lightning Award ceremony in the auditorium on April 27 to recognize students’ academic and personal achievements thus far in their high school career.This year, 158 students applied for the Lightning Award and 28 for the Lightning Scholarship.

“PTSA decided many years ago that we wanted to recognize and celebrate student accomplishments,” board member Natasha Samagond said. “This award is recognizing their hard work, amount of service hours, and can even be placed on their college resume.”

In addition to the award, PTSA also offered scholarship money to nine students based on several factors such as their GPA, extra-curricular activities and well-roundedness.The scholarships ranged from $500-$1000.

“We made sure all students had met the scholarship criteria,” Samagond said. “Our goal is to increase the amount of scholarships each year because the students deserve it.”

Fundraising Vice President Colleen Laurent said that this year’s applicant turnout was unlike any other year.

“We received a record number of applications this year, up 25 percent, in large part due to our success in spreading the word to students through clubs, particularly the PRIDE club,” Laurent said.

In order to receive the award, students had to be a member of PTSA.

“The $10 membership fee makes the scholarships possible,” Samagond said. “I encourage families to join so we can continue hosting the ceremony and also give out more scholarship each year.”

President of PTSA, Silvia Novelli, said students should be encouraged to apply for the Lightning Award in the years to come.

“Lightning Award is an academic award that can be mentioned in a student’s resume and it is well considered by many colleges,” Novelli said.

In addition to the award that students received at the ceremony, they also get a Lightning pin.

“When the names of winners are announced, students go on stage to collect their certificates,” Laurent said. “They are also given a pin, which they can wear to their graduation ceremony.”

Besides honoring students for all of their hard work, the ceremony showcased other talents as well.

“This year we had a Cypress Bay jazz band and a singer which was very entertaining,” Samagond said. “PTSA likes providing these performances because parents don’t get to see that aspect of the school too often.”

Members of administration, as well as Mr. Neely, attended the ceremony.

“Administration is there every year because they are supportive of the Cypress Bay community and PTSA,” Samagond said. “It is nice to have their presence at the event supporting the students who work so hard.”

Samagond says that applying for the award is also beneficial when applying for colleges.

“When colleges look at your application they look at it in the entirety,” Samagond said. “The award shows colleges that they were active in school and involved in the community.”

Sophomore Kayla Fernandes enjoyed the award ceremony for her second year in a row.

“I thought that the PTSA did a great job in planning the ceremony,”Fernandes said. “It was nice to see all of their accomplishments this past school year and how they’ve really helped our school.”

Fernandes also thinks that accepting the award was an honorable feeling because it shows that you stand out in such a large school.

“I felt that the award was a big accomplishment considering there were so many applicants who were eligible to receive it and I was chosen,” Fernandes said.

Senior Justin Wyman was one of the seven students who got the $1000 scholarship.

“I’ll never forget when they called my name,” Wyman said. “I always thought I had a chance but it’s one thing to believe and it’s another for it to actually happen.”

Wyman said that it was an honor to be the first student called up to the podium to shake hands with Mr. Neely and accept such a prestigious award.

“I don’t think anyone was quite as joyful as I was,” Wyman said. “Except for maybe my dad in the stands because $1000 means less money he will have to pay to send me to the University of Florida.”

In addition to applying for the award throughout all four years of high school, Wyman hopes that underclassmen do the same.

“There is nothing better than the feeling you get, knowing someone chose to give you a scholarship out of so many others due to your achievements and hard work,” Wyman said. “I hope underclassmen realize that it can help them in the future.”

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Storify: School elections trump social media



As the 2015-2016 is coming to an end, new class officers and student government officers are elected. Candidates took to social media to broadcast their campaigns from April 11-21.

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Storify: Record-breaking prom brings many promposals



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National Art Honor Society hosts annual ‘Style Your Sole’ event


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Junior Night provides college information, advice


Broward Advisors For Continuing Education (BRACE) adviser Shari Bush hosted the annual Junior Night on April 19 in the auditorium. Students and parents were informed about how to complete a college application and fulfill all requirements such as enough service hours and taking a foreign language class.

“I hope I cleared everything up and made things less confusing for the students and parents,” Mrs. Bush said. “I want students go into the summer more prepared and have less anxiety during the whole process.”

During the event, Mrs. Bush explained the entire college application process from essays to letters of recommendation to financials and different college options for everyone.

“If I could tell the incoming seniors one thing, it would just to be thoughtful about the schools they are applying to,” Mrs. Bush said. “Apply to the schools that are the right fit and not the ones they think they should apply to because grandma told them to.”

Mrs. Bush said the most important piece of information that students can take out of this night is to start getting college applications completed early.

“It’s really important that this time is as stress free as possible because students have a lot of stress as it is during this whole process,” she said. “Parents are amped up and it starts to pile on the student. The earlier you start, the calmer they are making the process that much easier.”

Junior Maria Violante went to the event with her parents to get more informed. She said she learned valuable information such as how to find a teacher to write a letter of recommendation and the new ways to apply for such schools like University of Florida.

“Mrs. Bush covered everything my parents and I needed to hear,” Violante said. “She definitely taught us strategies about how to make the whole process less complicated and stressful.”

Like Violante, junior Logan Uricola said he went to Junior Night with his mom to find out what the college process entails that way he could get better prepared and be ahead of schedule.

“I wanted to hear more about what colleges are looking for and what they want to hear about me,” Uricola said. “The night let me set a goal for myself in terms of what I need to score on my ACT and SAT and to improve my GPA during this last quarter.”

Uricola’s mother, Marci Uricola said it was important for her to go to Junior Night so that she can help as much as she can during the process.

“I want to be a helping hand to Logan and help him make the whole college application process more stress free,” Marci Uricola said. “I think it’s important for the parent to know what’s going on during this time.”

Junior Rodrigo Moreno said it is very important not only for him, but for his parents to learn about the information he needs to do for the college admission process.

“I learned that colleges are becoming more and more competitive as the years go by,” Moreno said. “After Junior Night I feel like I know exactly what I need to do and what I can do to start the process ahead of time, and I can get into the college I desire.”

Violante said she learned that there are more things besides grades that are important when it comes to applying to colleges like having leadership positions and having community service hours.

“I learned that there are several factors when it comes to applying for college,” she said. “Its not just my test scores and my grades, it’s me, all around.”

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CBTV wins STN Broadcast Excellence Award


IMG_7644Aftershock, the weekly show of Cypress Bay Television (CBTV), received the Student Television Network (STN) Broadcast Excellence Award, naming it the best weekly show in the nation.  Aftershock received this award at the STN Convention in Atlanta, which took place from March 10-13.

“We spend a lot of time doing our show, so it was really great to know it paid off in the end and to finally receive this award,” junior Jenna Leval, Executive Producer of Aftershock, said.  “We’ve never gotten it before, and it’s been a contest for a really long time.”

For the Broadcast Excellence award, the nation is divided into six regions: Intermountain, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and West.  The winner of the whole nation was selected out of the winners of the six regions.  Aftershock first won the best weekly show in the Southeast and then won first for the whole nation.

“We were truly happy to just be in the top six,” Leval said.  “When we got top six, I knew we had a chance to win the whole thing, but I didn’t think it would actually happen.”

At the STN Convention, students participated in competitions, attended workshops and interacted with television students from around the country.

“The convention is my favorite thing in the world, and I wait all year for it every single year,” senior Gaby Olivera, news producer of Aftershock, said.  “You learn so much and meet so many kids from all around the country that are interested in the same thing as you.”

Last year, Aftershock also won best in the Southeast, but this was the first year it won best in the nation.  Olivera said she wasn’t expecting to win the award.

“I didn’t really have high expectations going into it,” Olivera said.  “I was in disbelief when we won the award, and I still think it’s crazy.”

CBTV adviser Kurt Doster said Aftershock has won many awards, but none of them compared to this.

“It was very exciting for us to win this award after nine years of trying,” Mr. Doster said.  “This award is the biggest we’ve had for the entire organization of CBTV.”

Mr. Doster said this is a significant milestone for Aftershock.  He said he is amazed at how far this show has come.

“Over the years, Aftershock has developed from a show that didn’t exist, to some kids screwing around with cameras, to real journalists and filmmakers,” Mr. Doster said.

Leval said the award made her feel more pride in Aftershock. She said she thinks this win will provide extra motivation for Aftershock members.

“I think it will make us work harder since we know everybody is watching our show now,” Leval said.  “We know that all eyes are on us, and we want to be able win again.”

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Students recognized for writing talents at Literary Fair


Literary Fair adviser, Cecilia Fonseca, received more than 100 submissions for the annual competition. Students who placed in the Literary Fair were recognized at a ceremony held on Mar. 3 in the cafeteria.

IMG_2196 (1)“The Literary Fair is so important because it provides students an opportunity to come together and showcase what they have accomplished throughout the year in terms of creative writing,” Mrs. Fonseca said. “These students deserve to be recognized.”

Mrs. Fonseca was chosen to organize the Literary Fair by English Department Head Joyce Seigel. Together, the two English teachers encouraged as many students as possible to enter by spreading the word to their students.

“Because I am in charge of the English Honors Society, Mrs. Seigel asked me to run the Literary Fair, so I have been running it for three years now,” Mrs. Fonseca said.  “I really enjoy reading the different submissions, so I’m glad I was chosen to help organize this competition.”

All students were eligible to enter and could submit their writing in as many categories as they wished. There were many options of categories to choose from like Free Verse and Rhyming poetry. Mrs. Fonseca said that most students who entered are a part of the Creative Writing class or the English Honor Society (EHS).

“As vice president of EHS, I entered the Literary Fair in hopes of inspiring the other members to do the same,” junior Jacob Wilentz said.  “Winning third place in the Rhyme Verse category made me feel really accomplished, considering this category is one of the most popular ones.”

Choosing the winners is a collaborative process that includes a majority of the English teachers in the 800s building. The top five to 10 submissions in each category are isolated for the teachers to reach a consensus of their favorites; the names of the students cannot be seen through this process to ensure that it is fair.

“I felt such a sense of accomplishment through this competition,” junior Maria Machado said. “Working so hard for something I really believe in and then placing second in the Two-Voice Poem Category is so invigorating and amazing.”

Sophomore Theresa Fonseca placed in five of the categories that she submitted pieces in, including first place in Ekphrastic, Satirical and Cinquain poetry. She is striving to keep up with her goal of continuing to write and becoming more successful.

“I’m always exposed to writing because of my mom, so I think she is definitely a reason as to how I became so interested in writing,” Theresa Fonseca said. “Being in contact with writing so often helps me improve a lot as a writer.”

The students who placed first in their category through the school-wide Literary Fair will be moving on to the County Literary Fair.  This competition will take place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on May 10.

“I was so surprised to hear I placed first in the Myth category,” sophomore Eric Si said. “This is really exciting because now I get to take my piece to the county. I’m really hoping to continue with my success.”

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Debate team conquers at Varsity State tournament



The debate team attended the Varsity State tournament from Mar. 4-6, hosted in Orlando. The team competed in different events, such as Congressional Debate and Lincoln-Douglas Debate, qualifying overall as number 33 out of the state.

unnamed“This competition was amazing,” junior Sterling Wertanzl said. “It was such an unpredictable tournament, so watching my fellow teammates win big trophies was great.”

The team received more than 10 awards for categories such as Extemporaneous Speaking, Duo Interpretation and Policy Debate.

“I am so excited for the team’s overall success,” debate coach Alyssa Fiebrantz said. “I am always proud of our debate team and their success both in and out of rounds.”

Juniors Brian Bosem and Alice Vera competed in Policy Debate. They were both recognized in front of an audience and were co-champions along with sophomores Tyler and Lance Kotler.

“All four of us were called up and handed two huge wooden trophies with metal eagles on the top,” Bosem said.  “Holding something so prestigious was an amazing moment for all of us.”

Wertanzl competed in the Oral Interpretation category and Dramatic Interpretation Category, dropping in the preliminary round.

“It had so many competitors per round and required many skills,” Wertanzl said. “I competed so well this season that it did not matter to me that I dropped, but I was still able to see my boyfriend [Faizaan Sadruddin] make it to finals.”

Bosem said it was the first time in three years that he made it to elimination rounds and he finished with a record of four to one.

“It was amazing being able to compete at states,” Bosem said. “It was the third time I’ve been to this tournament and this is the best that I’ve done. Being a state champion is no small feat, and all of the hard work my partner and I did paid off.”

Even though Wertanzl did not compete as well as she had hoped, she said she still considered the competition a success because she learned how to improve on her skills.

“There was a lot to see this weekend and we learned a lot,” Wertanzl said. “It was really cool to compete in Orlando and travel to Disney with other schools. We forgot about the competition and came together.”

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DECA team excels at state competition


IMG_3304The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) team traveled to Orlando on March 3- 4 to compete in the Florida Career Development Conference state competition.

“In addition to the goals we were able to complete, the tournament was a blast for every single competitor,” DECA adviser, Rachel Dubrow said.

The team received recognition and a plaque for being a gold level chapter. This meant that the school’s chapter completed four designated goals from its annual business plan.

“I’m super proud of what our team was able to accomplish in such little time,” Dubrow said. “I can’t wait to see what is in store at the [International Career Development Conference] (ICDC).”

Since it was Freshman Lorena Rodriguez’s first time competing at the state level, she said she did not know what to expect. However, Rodriguez was able to place sixth overall at the tournament and qualified to the ICDC.

“I was nervous at first, yet all club members were so supportive and encouraging,” Rodriguez said. “Once I talked to my teammates, my nerves just faded away. Overall, the test was okay, but the role-play was much more complicated.  I am still so shocked I qualified to the ICDC.”

While at the competition, chapter President Anya Berry won the title of Florida State Executive Vice President. Berry now gets to be on the DECA board for the state of Florida where she will be making executive decisions for DECA statewide.

“Being nominated as the Florida State Executive VP is probably the greatest honor I have ever received,” Berry said.  “I am at lost for words.”

Senior and director of the Bay’s executive DECA council, Maria Jamarillo said she had a great time on the trip not only competing, but also making new friends.

“We had the opportunity to bond with so many people,” Jamarillo said. “I personally made so many new friends and strengthened some friendships with people that I already knew.”

During the trip, the DECA members attended a chapter dinner. Jamarillo said this dinner was bittersweet because it would be one of her last times with the team.

“It was a very hard thing to sit through,” Jamarillo said.  “ A lot of my teammates and I went through some really tough times together working hard for the chapter, but we made it.”

Twenty-seven students from the Bay will be attending nationals on April 23, in Nashville, Tenn.

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Photo Club hosts annual Artography Expo



IMG_6448Student-made photographs, paintings and short films filled the cafeteria’s walls on March 2 for the annual Artography Expo. This event, hosted by Photo Club, promoted the arts and encouraged students from all grades to display their creative abilities. The $500 raised, will be used to buy photography supplies for the club and class.

“It is wonderful to hear the responses from people when they are looking at the artwork,” Photo Club adviser Elizabeth Jenkins said. “It is fun for me to look at what the kids are making on their own that aren’t teacher-directed projects and see the creativity and how well they did.”

Students entered their art in a variety of categories that included drawing, painting, 3D art, multimedia, short film, digital imaging, digital photography and analogue photography.

“This year I incorporated a short film category, and it turned out to be amazing,” President Vicky Luzuriaga said. “We only had two submissions, but they were both fantastic.”

To pick the winners from each category, the Photo Club designated four judges. One judge is a professional photographer and the other three judges all work for an art gallery in the art district in Fort Lauderdale.

“They cohesively judged our eight categories of art,” Luzuriaga said. “Although there are only a certain amount of winners for each category, we displayed all of the art that was submitted.”

During the event, the Photo Club presented a varietIMG_6470y of food from eight different vendors. These vendors included Substantial Subs, Pei Wei and Uncle Louie G.

“Our sponsors are usually the same each year and they are wonderful,” Mrs. Jenkins said, “Each year we type up a letter and the students go out themselves to get the local sponsors.”

In addition to viewing the artwork, the band Vincent Mango performed its original songs.

“(Vincent Mango) performed this year to add to the idea of music also being an art form,” Luzuriaga said. “All of the sets and performances while playing are also essential to [the band members] as artists and musicians.”

Mrs. Jenkins said she considered the night to be a great success because of her officers’ hard work and the artwork submitted.

“We had a great turnout that night, and the kids did a great job planning the event,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “There was amazing artwork, and there is a lot of talent in Cypress Bay.”

Senior Daniella Salazar attended the Artography Expo to support her friends and to see how her own submission in the film photography category fared.

“I really like this event and being here tonight because it is a way to showcase my work,” Salazar said. “I loved seeing the variety of art, the different mediums and being able to socialize with others and talk about art.”

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