PTSA hosts Lightning Award of Excellence ceremony

PTSA hosts Lightning Award of Excellence ceremony


The auditorium was filled with 106 students on April 23 for Parent Teacher Student Association’s (PTSA) Lightning Award of Excellence and Scholarship Ceremony. The award honors students of all grades who show dedication to their schoolwork and community service.

“We have the award ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge students that really shine in our community through nonprofit organizations and helping people in need,” PTSA president Maricel Mayol said.

For a student to win the award, he/she must be a member of the PTSA, be active in the community, have a minimum core GPA of 3.0 and be involved in two or more extracurricular activities.

“The students who win all work hard from ninth grade on,” said Natasha Samagond, who serves on the PTSA Executive Board as the Lightning Award Chair. “It’s not a one-time thing. Students will not get the award if they don’t put their heart and soul into their academics, extracurricular activities and community service.”

Seniors Raavi Singh, Taylor Duarte and Jesse Segaul were awarded the Lightning Award of Excellence Scholarship. In order to receive the $1,000 scholarship, the students had to have an academic core GPA of 3.5, 250 service hours, two leadership positions and a clear disciplinary record. In addition to these requirements, the scholarship winners had to be PTSA members and be registered to the university they are attending.

“When I received the scholarship, I felt shocked, super happy and any other positive adjective you can think of,” said Singh, who won the award for her volunteer work for blind and disabled women in India.

Sophomore Samantha Staropoli was one of the recipients of the Lightning Award. This was her second year receiving it.

“It’s an honor to receive the Lightning Award again,” Staropoli said. “It’s great that the PTSA gives this award to students. It encourages them to work hard in school and community service projects.”

Staropoli said she will keep applying for the Lightning Award each year and that she wants to win the Lightning Award scholarship in 12th grade.

“Winning awards such as these makes my hard work in school and the community worthwhile,” Staropoli said.

Ms. Samagond said the PTSA spent three months planning the ceremony. This process included uploading the applications online, receiving applications and choosing the winners for the awards and scholarships.

“This event is only an hour, but we’ve been planning the Lightning Awards since January,” Ms. Samagond said. “As the PTSA, we feel we must do something to honor the students.”



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American History EOC exam is made mandatory this year



For the first time, the End of Course (EOC) exam for U.S. American History has become mandatory this testing year for AP students enrolled in the AP U.S. American History class. Honors and AP students will be taking the exam on April 24. By taking this EOC, students come one step closer to scholar recognition on their standard high school diplomas. The other needed items for this recognition are: EOCs for Algebra II and Biology, two credits in the same foreign language, and at least one credit in an AP, IB, or AICE course.

“It was the school’s decision to make AP U.S. American History students take it,” assistant principal Marianela Estripeaut said. “We did not realize or think about the AP students taking the EOC until the beginning of this year, but most high schools in the area are having their AP students take the EOC.”

Assistant principal Jeff Nelson, who is a part of the administrative team helping with the end of the year testing, believes that the EOC will show the hard work the students and teachers have put into the class.

“There is a team concept that exists at Cypress Bay High School,” Mr. Nelson said. “When taking the EOC exam, AP students will do exceptionally well, as will all of our students, which will be a reflection of how well this school is doing, as well as our dedicated teachers.”

AP U.S. American History teacher Eric Adzima said he recognizes the AP U.S. American History students are a strong crowd of students, but has mixed feelings about their taking the EOC.

“On the one side, I recognize that it is an additional test at the height of the study season. In that respect, it serves as a bit of a distraction,” Mr. Adzima said. “However, the EOC test has an upside, giving the AP students a chance to work with a test that will allow them to work with primary documents.”

Mr. Nelson said he believes all of the students tested will go into the test with a positive attitude.

“I know they will try their hardest,” Mr. Nelson said. “They love this school and they appreciate their teachers and the great job they do. Everyone is dedicated and we know that this is a hard time of year.”

Mr. Adzima said he has not heard much feedback from his students about having to take both the EOC and the AP exam.

“No kid enjoys taking extra tests,” he said. “But I haven’t heard any revolutionary upheavals over it.”

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PTSA recognizes students for character


Selected students gathered in the media center for the Kids of Character breakfast on March 6. Students were chosen for the complimentary breakfast presented by the PTSA for showing character traits valued by Broward County.

“The PTSA works with the Broward school district to bring out kids that excel in responsibility, citizenship, kindness, respect, honesty, self control, tolerance and cooperation,” PTSA president Maricel Mayol said.

DSC01121Junior Stephanie Jacobsen, a recipient of the award, said the award recognizes people for their good work.

“Kids of Character is about kids who do their best in school,” she said. “It’s about kids who teachers think do their best and try to achieve as much as they can.”

Students don’t only have to exemplify these characteristics on a school campus. They can be recognized for their showcasing of these traits outside of school as well.

“Students can be selected for almost any kind of work that they’ve done. Many students do their service outside of school,” Ms. Mayol said.

There were 56 students nominated for the award from Cypress Bay. If a teacher feels that a specific student deserves the award, then he or she will be nominated.

“Teachers nominate students in different categories,” Ms. Mayol said. “Not everyone has an obligation to nominate a student. Teachers only nominate someone if they see a person displaying a characteristic.”

Teachers have to go out of their way to nominate students, PTSA board member Natasha Samagond said.

“A teacher has to request a form so he [or she] can nominate someone for the award. So the person really has to impress a teacher,” Ms. Samagond said.

Ms. Mayol said the award accomplishes its goal in creating a better community.DSC01131

“The award was started to promote moral development,” Ms. Mayol said. “It’s important to show students care about others. Even though they are kids, they can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Ms. Mayol said that not everyone is a stereotypical teenager.

“When a student does something good in society, we need to recognize that,” Ms. Mayol said. “It promotes confidence to keep going and do better things. We always hear about teenagers doing bad things in the news, but it’s not always true.”

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TOMS Style Your Sole event


Art Honor Society hosted its main event, TOMS Style Your Sole, on March 14 in the cafeteria.

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UNICEF Club has big fundraising year


The United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) club has raised about $7,000 after a year of fundraising for the organization. Compared to last year, when the club raised $4,000, club sponsor Rosalia Sachs said she is floored with the results.

“I’m extremely proud of all the students and all the members,” Ms. Sachs said. “The $7,000 is by selling everything for $1 per unit. For me, I think it’s incredible. It’s an amazing chance and increase from last year.”

unicef2013Currently, the club has over $6,500 in its account and the officers are still waiting for club members to turn in money before sending the money to UNICEF.

“Seniors have a service project that they need to do for them to be able to receive the cord, and it’s to go out to the community and talk to businesses in Weston and they request donations and the donations go straight to UNICEF,” Ms. Sachs said. “We’re still waiting for seniors’ fundraising to come in, so we will have $7,000 and a little bit more.”

Each chapter of the UNICEF organization collects money for a specific cause organized by regions of the United States. This section of the country collects for the purchase and installation of water pumps in third world countries, Ms. Sachs said.

“This section of the United States goes for water. They will buy pumps, and each pump is $500,” Ms. Sachs said. “One pump of water will feed a village, like a street, ‘12 little huts.’ The installation and the pump is $500. That’s where most of the money from this area of the United States goes for. It also goes for food, mosquito nets, vaccinations, etc.”

Club vice president Hannah Levinson said she was also impressed with the amount of money UNICEF has raised.

“It’s such a great accomplishment that we could almost double the amount of money we made last year, and this is such a new club and that we can raise so much money,” said Levinson, a sophomore.

Through the use of bake sales that occur every Thursday under the catwalk and snack/pretzel fundraisers, the group was able to collect money for the cause. Ms. Sachs said the club’s size also greatly contributed to the charity.

“We have over 250 members and every fundraiser at least 185-190 of them work for the cause,” she said. “It’s a big effort.”

Donations director Rona Wang said both local businesses and club members were offered an incentive if they donated money to the club.

“We’ve done a couple of fundraisers and we told juniors and especially seniors, because they need to get the cord, that if they get businesses to donate or if they personally donate X amount of money, they will get X amount of service hours,” said Wang, a sophomore. “If their parents were doing a business or if they asked a business, if they donated $250, they would get advertising space on the back of next year’s shirt.”

Although Ms. Sachs said she is elated UNICEF has raised so much money, she is already starting to think about next year’s goal.

“Now the only problem that we have is we don’t know what to do next year because if we close the year with $7,000, then how are we going to get $8,000 next year? We would love to hear opinions from the community to see what you want us to do in order for us to be successful again,” Ms. Sachs said. “Everything goes to them. We keep $100. Every year we start from scratch. That’s why it’s so stressful, because we need to raise everything again.”

Ms. Sachs said the main reason she sponsors the UNICEF club is because of the difference it can provide in people’s lives. She hopes members of the current club will continue to work with the organization in the future.

“I started sponsoring it last year and I was looking for a club that made a difference in the world,” Ms. Sachs said. “I’m from Puerto Rico. I’m from another country, and I wanted something that would make a mark and would teach the kids how to run a club and go to college and open a chapter there with an organization that is legitimate and will help them at the same time.”

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Media Center has new printing system


The administrators and staff have provided a new option for printing papers in the media center, which started in February.

The new pay-and-print system can print in color, but now the prices have risen. The new prices to print are 15 cents per page for black-and-white and 30 cents per page for color.

useUnlike the last system, where students would have to pay the media staff personally, this system allows students to insert money directly into a machine and gives students the opportunity to hold money on a personal account to print papers.

“This new system is called the pay-and-print system,” said Carol Brown, who works in the media center. “It is more efficient than the last system because the media staff doesn’t have to handle the students’ money.”

The new system has its benefits.

“It is convenient for when I need to print papers and I don’t have any money on me. I can just use the money I have on my account,” sophomore Bradley Krotowski said.

The new pay-and-print system can print in color, but now the prices have risen. The new prices to print are 15 cents per page for black-and-white and 30 cents per page for color, also a new option.

The pay-and-print system requires students to type in a username and password to access their personal accounts.

Terri Nelson, another media staffer, ordered the new print system because too much paper was being wasted because students weren’t paying the fees to print. Students can insert coins or $1 or $5 bills, but it cannot take $10 or $20 bills.

Security has been added for students to access their personal account. Some say this causes a delay.

“It is more complicated and also it takes a long time to sign in and if I’m in a rush it takes too long,” freshman Pia Gonzales said. “I would rather have the old system back because it’s less confusing, and I can print and pay quicker.”

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Sign language students observe Silent Day


ASL students participated in Silent Day on March 12, as a remembrance for a protest that took place at Gallaudet University in the 1980s.

kayla mazine senior“It’s to get an idea of deaf culture,” American Sign Language teacher Stefanie Love said. “It kicks off Deaf History Month, which starts on March 13.”

Ms. Love said there are difficulties in not being able to communicate on a regular basis as hearing students normally would with peers and teachers.

“The higher level ASL students wear ear-plugs which don’t take away all the sounds but they muffle a lot. They get an idea of what it would be like as a deaf kid sitting in a regular mainstream classroom,” Ms. Love said.

Junior Julia Strum said she had a fun experience on that day. She said it was hard not to talk but she managed to get it done.

“It only made my day different because I couldn’t talk to my teachers,” Strum said. “To students it was kind of fun to mess with them because you can sign whatever you want and they don’t know what you’re saying.”

Students wore a paper hand around their necks. If they talked, they would get a finger ripped off.

“It was a really fun day overall and I’m happy since I didn’t lose any fingers,” Strum said.

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Marine Science Club to host final beach cleanup of the year


The Marine Science Club will be taking part in its third and last beach clean up of the school year on April 12 at Hollywood Beach. Club members and nonmembers are invited. Field trip forms can be picked up in Room 210 after spring break. Nonmembers are required to pay $5 to attend.

Club president Gabriela Carrillo said members get first priority and nonmembers who sign up on a first-come, first-served basis will fill the rest of the spots.

“The bus has room for 40 people but we prefer to take around 25-30 so it’s more organized and efficient,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo said she is very excited to do another beach clean up with the club because they always have a lot of fun.

“Not only do we have a good time cleaning the beach, but we are also helping out by keeping the environment clean for everyone including marine life,” she said.

Vice president Christopher Chin, a senior, said cleaning the beach potentially saves marine animals’ lives.

“We find a variety of things on the beach like cigarettes, food wrappers and plastic items and by cleaning them up we are preventing the animals from swallowing them,” Chin said.

Chin said that cleaning up the litter on the beach not only benefits the marine animals but the people as well.

“Cleaning up the beach creates a safer and more enjoyable environment for people as well,” he said.

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Auto Club continues to host events


Co-presidents of Auto Club Michael Reymond and Dylan Luxenburg, hosted the club’s second car meet on March 12. About 40-50 cars participated in the car meet with an entrance fee of $3 per car. Some of the money raised will be donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the rest will go toward the repairs of a project car that was donated to the club.

“The car meet went great. There were lots of nice cars and the turnout was good,” said Luxenburg, referring to the 60 people who attended.

useA 1995 Jeep was a donation from a close friend of Reymond’s and will be upgraded and used as a teaching tool for club members learning how to fix cars. Reymond and Luxenburg plan on teaching about parts, how the engine works and how to paint and upgrade a car. They hope for the car to be a mascott for the club.

“Some people might be a little more experienced than others and we can help others out and also it is something cool to do in general,” Reymond said.

Luxenberg said the next event will be a car wash in early April and the next meeting will be after spring break.

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Nine seniors named National Merit Scholarship finalists


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of the finalists on Feb. 27, placing nine Bay students on the next step to receive one of the Merit Scholarship awards. These seniors are: Carlos Benitez, Mikala Cohen, Tyler Gibbs, Jordan Iannacone, Yeh (David) Lin, Samantha Norman, Laura Romero-Suarez, Benjamin Sandler and Michelle Yu. All will be eligible to receive a $2,500 scholarship and be able to apply for further scholarships for achieving the top percentile in the PSAT/NMSQT.

For a student to be selected as a semifinalist, he or she must have taken the PSAT/NMSQT during the first three years of high school and must be planning on attending college full time. Once the semifinalists are announced, they must submit a report with their grades throughout their high school career and an essay.

“But they have to have the academic grades and the background to get promoted to that next level,” guidance secretary Cyndie Silliman said.

Ms. Silliman said the award recognizes students who test well and have high academic achievements.

“It brings their names to the forefront when colleges look at applications,” she said.

Finalist Iannacone said being a finalist has already opened many doors for him, like a full ride to UCF.

“I hadn’t realized how important the national merit scholarship is,” he said. “I didn’t even know what it was. I just knew there was a scholarship test.”

Guidance director Marlene Sanders said college admissions officers look for students who have achieved this award.

“Colleges use it as a marketing tool,” Ms. Sanders said. “They’re proud to have them attend their university.”

BRACE adviser Shari Bush said when the students receive this title, most colleges automatically waive tuition completely or, depending on the school, give the student a reduction.

“It’s something very strong to have in an application because they have competed against top students in the country and their scores were among the highest,” Mrs. Bush said.

Senior Michelle Yu said since she has won the award, more colleges have been paying attention to her and have been offering deals for her to attend the school.

“They send you more package deals, like ‘oh come to our school because you’re a semifinalist, you get laptops, free whatever’,” Yu said. “They’re more interested in you because of that title.”

Iannacone said although he had forgotten about the test by the time he received the award, he remembers having studied for it his junior year.

“My mom knew there was a scholarship and sat me down at the table and said ‘you’re doing this practice test’,” Iannacone said.

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