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Friendsgiving social provides thanks

BY LUCIANA GARZON

Interior Design Club members gathered for a “Friendsgiving” social on Nov. 15 in room 323. Students socialized while eating Thanksgiving-themed foods and took part in activities such as decorating picture frames. Junior Valentina Vigliarolo said the purpose of the social was to facilitate bonding between members of the club and reward members for their hard work thus far.

“My favorite part about the social was talking to the Interior Design 1 students and seeing what their favorite part about the class is,” Vigliarolo said. “I loved being able to bond with [the new Interior Design members], encouraging them to continue the course and giving them advice about certain things like certification exams and certain skills.”

Vigliarolo said the Friendsgiving social incorporated elements of both Thanksgiving and Interior Design. Club officers provided holiday food as well as the picture frames and supplies to decorate them. Vigliarolo said she enjoyed this aspect of the event because attendees were able to meet other members and have fun while working on the frames.

“We always have themed socials, and since this one was Friendsgiving, the picture frame was such a good fit,” Vigliarolo said. “We also had lots of food which again fit the Friendsgiving idea.”

Design Services Core and Principles of Interior Design teacher and club adviser Denise Jacks was responsible for overseeing the social. She said the officers did an amazing job preparing for the event.

“I like to see how the officers run things because [Interior Design] is a student run class and club,” Jacks said. “Though I give approval to everything that’s done, [the students] make all of the decisions. I enjoy watching them be leaders, taking action and running these events.”

Senior and Interior Design Leadership Council member Sabrina Ure said projects and socials like “Friendsgiving” have provided her with useful experience in the area of planning events. She said she enjoys interacting with students who are also interested in the field.

“I love the hands-on experience students get to participate in,” Ure said. “I also love how [Interior Design] is a universal aspect of art that can be utilized in all different parts of the world.”

Vigliarolo said Interior Design does an excellent job in ensuring students are learning new concepts. She said it also incorporates fun projects and events like the Friendsgiving social to foster a sense of community among club members.

“The purpose of the social was for everyone to get to know each other better so that in future socials we can see the members interacting with as many people as possible to really bring everyone together as a class,” Vigliarolo said. “This is why we had a Friendsgiving theme to it.”

Ure said the Friendsgiving social took place before Thanksgiving, so attendees could make picture frames to use as gifts. She said she was happy with the turnout of the event because members bonded while also exploring their creativity.

“The social took place to unify our club since it’s really big while trying to include Interior Design aspects with the frames,” Ure said. “Interior Design can let your own personal style reflect on a space and in the process a lot of creativity is involved.”

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The Current: Road to Change

BY GOWRI ABHINADA

A new initiative was prompted following the March For Our Lives (MFOL) movement after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida, driving students to fight for change. On March 24, an estimated 200,000 people congregated in the nation’s capital and demanded change in gun reform for the nation. Over 800 sister marches took place around the nation in sync with the main event.

Senior Jason Tache, attended a sister march in Parkland, Florida. He said seeing MFOL move further with Road To Change, new community initiatives and the new novel Glimmer of Hope makes him more hopeful in the way young people are involved.

“It’s ingenious the way they’ve shifted it from gun control to political involvement,” Tache said. “It has been day and night with how young people care about politics. A large part of why is because of what MFOL has done and what they’re doing moving further.”

MFOL’s new initiative Road To Change is scheduled to visit cities around the country and have new dates for this summer. They have specifically travelled to college campuses to register young people to vote. The tour involves student activists, gun violence survivors and community leaders.

A founder of the MFOL movement and senior at MSD Jackie Corin said it is empowering to continue fighting for this cause. For this reason, Corin is promoting Road To Change.

“It’s been a privilege registering people to vote and holding these conversations,” Corin said. “Building the infrastructure to protect civic engagement for all people is essential.”

The young activist said she also encourages Get-Out-The-Vote efforts such as the Chapter Program. Corin also advocates the MFOL founder’s new book Glimmer of Hope and the ways MFOL plans to spread nationwide. 

“[Speaking on behalf of the founders of MFOL,] we want [the nation] to get involved and give them tools to do so [with the Chapter Program]. Glimmer of Hope is a novel of the first couple months [after the shooting] and highlights that we are normal teenagers that gathered together in the living room floor to [start this movement],” Corin said. “Communities still mobilize, even if gun violence hasn’t personally affected them, and it makes me happy to know that people understand that this is important to solve before something happens to them.”

However, freshman Max Levinson said he disagrees and is protective of his second amendment rights. He said the efforts of the new tour, the book and the community involvement efforts are a threat to American ideals.

“I think people with MFOL have the right to do what they want; however, they can’t infringe upon my right to own any gun,” Levinson said. “Also, the problem stems much further and I feel this problem of gun violence won’t be solved by this whole new thing.”

Tache said he is a firm believer in the positive impacts of these efforts such as the youth involvement and gun safety conversations.

“It’s too easy to obtain guns to do harm and restrictions need to be placed,” Tache said. “Loopholes need to be closed. Voting for people who support this and raising awareness about [gun control] issues is the way to go.”

Also in agreement is Florida House of Representatives member Richard Stark said he sees this as a good way to get people engaged in voting, while at the same time, spreading the message for a need to resolve the gun violence issue. Stark said this movement, especially living in South Florida, has brought about a great deal of citizen involvement in the Midterm Election process.

“The movement has been very successful in generating grass roots efforts by citizens all over the United States to address gun violence,” Representative Stark said. “This affects both sides of the issue as those opposed to any gun safety reform must defend their position of increasing gun ownership and not addressing safety for so many years.”

Representative Stark also said there is a need for reaching out to Americans to encourage voting which is something Road To Change accomplishes.

“Unfortunately, too many Americans do not take advantage of voting,” Representative Stark said. “Getting people educated to vote and understanding the basics of the issues is important.”

Corin said she hopes the sparks for change will soon be ignited into action as a community. She encourages the new efforts to spread the message and keep the cause growing until a reasonable solution has been made.

“[Everyone] should get involved in the community, vote and buy Glimmer of Hope. It’s a good intel of what we’ve experienced and how this began,” Corin said. “It’s an empowering story which shows young people that anything can grow if they truly believe in it and put effort into promoting the cause.”

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Clubs congregate in courtyard to attract student body

BY GOWRI ABHNANDA

Student Government Association (SGA) organized Club Love Day on Oct. 4 to introduce students to the various clubs offered at the Bay. Thirty-five clubs were showcased with activities to tap into students’ possible interests. Clubs shared information including how to join, their goals for the year and the benefits of being part of their club as they congregated in the courtyard during all lunches.

SGA and Inter-Organizational Council (IOC) adviser Danielle Nascimento said associating with clubs can help students make new friends and build resumes for college. Club Love Day shares this information to give students insights.
“It’s a great day to celebrate clubs and it allows [them] to promote themselves to the student body,” Nascimento said. “Students [in SGA] pitched the day to the IOC and clubs were able to sign up [to be featured on this day].”

Nascimento said she viewed Club Love Day as an outlet for clubs to educate students at the Bay and tout benefits each club offers.

“I think this was a great way to allow clubs to promote themselves. It was done in a fun way and there are so many benefits,” Nascimento said.

Sophomore and SGA Executive Board Member Sophia Niño was Club Love Day Chairperson and said it was held at the start of the school year to inform students about the clubs at the Bay with enough time to allow them to have a chance to sign up before membership was closed. Nino said she is pleased with the work members put in to bring this informative day to fruition.
“I’m really happy with how this all played out,” Niño said. “So many clubs got involved and brought their A-game to attract people.”

Clubs held activities which promoted their goals and at the same time encourage student engagement. Nino said SGA’s activities aimed to portray an idea of leadership to display the key trait students must have to be successful in the club.

“For SGA, we had a tossing game which represented leadership: the bean signifies moving forward and it’s fun for people to give it a shot,” Niño said. “All of the clubs had really cool activities here today and it was lovely seeing them all come together.”
Senior and Literary Club Vice President Ana Mendez said Club Love Day was beneficial to portray an idea of what Literary Club means to her. A colorful “Love is…” poster was taped up at its booth.

“We write a lot in Literary Club and [engage] in creative thinking so [our ‘Love is…’ canvas] was really cute,” Mendez said.  “It made students think, got them writing and allowed them to admire the beautiful artwork.”

Mendez said she was enthusiastic about students being exposed to their club and that they received attention from students at the Bay.

“It was very wholesome and fulfilling to see people take a taste of this amazing club.” Mendez said.

Freshman Allie Crothers said she received a lot of new information about clubs by visiting a variety of booths that day. Additionally, she said she was able to see different clubs that aligned with their interests.
“Political Awareness Club had cool props to take pictures with and the Literary Club was cute and simple with the sticky notes which made things colorful,” Crothers said. “The effort the clubs put to display their goals is creative to look at.”

Crothers said the event allowed her to witness and participate in activities catered by the clubs as the clubs were enjoyable to her; however, she found it a lot to take in due to the number of clubs presented.

“I enjoyed all the booths each club displayed; it helped me understand what they have to offer,” Crothers said. “[The Bay] has a large variety of clubs to choose from. It’s overwhelming, but in the end of the day, whatever club that’s chosen here at the Bay is great.”

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Student government social fosters member relationships

BY ILYSSA MANN

Student Government Association (SGA) held the Big Little Speed Dating social on Oct. 25 to pair experienced members with new members. SGA adviser Danielle Nascimento said the goal of pairing “vets” with “newbies” gave older and younger members a chance to learn about each other and meet their new mentors.

“I think the whole mentor program is great because it gives the younger, new [students] someone to talk to,” Nascimento said.

Students spoke in pairs for one minute then switched partners. Nacimiento said this allowed everyone to have a brief conversation with one another and see who they felt they related to well.

“This social is basically speed dating,” Nascimento said. “I definitely think it is an important event for SGA because once we pair them together, we can do a bunch of [activities] where we offer opportunities for bigs and littles to hangout and bond.”

Once everyone had the opportunity to meet each other, the bigs and littles wrote the names of three people they believe they could learn from the best. Nascimento said the pairs usually match up, since people tend to easily acknowledge when they form a true connection.

“I think it’s great and I like the speed dating concept of the event,” Nascimento said. “The students have a lot of fun doing [this speed dating game] and it allows them to talk to everyone.”

While rotating around the tables, junior Samantha Brodsky said she met all of the “newbies” andfigured out with whom she worked the best. She said it was exciting knowing one of these people would be her future little.

“I like how [the social] ran on the idea of first impressions. You get to briefly meet someone and you only have a short amount of time to figure out how you feel about them,” Brodsky said. “From there, you decide who you would like to mentor and spend more time with in the future, all based on your first impression, which can be scary but is ultimately very exciting.”

Nascimento said during the social the students choose their top three picks, and then SGA will pair the students together based on the results received. Brodsky said she formed instant connections with some students which made it easy for her to make her three choices of littles.

“There were a few people who I thought I just got along with really easily; the conversation just flowed without trying,” Brodsky said. “There was also a girl who reminded me a lot of myself when I was a freshman, so I knew [I was interested in] her being my little.”

Brodsky had a little last year, but said she was eager to go meet this year’s SGA “newbies” and find another little. She said she loved the experience of teaching them the ropes of SGA and was excited to have the opportunity to do it again this year.

“I was so excited because I always see cute things littles and bigs get for each other [and do together], and I can’t wait to be creative and spoil my little,” Brodsky said. “I’m looking forward to becoming good friends with them and helping them with anything they need.”

Freshman Noah Benson attended the social seeking a big. He said he’s been looking forward to the event ever since the day he got into SGA, since he knew it would be a good opportunity to meet people who could be helpful to him and make some new friends.

“Everyone was different and had so many stories and pieces of advice to give me, since, I’m a freshman. Every time the buzzer went off to switch tables I felt like I still had a ton to talk about with the person and I didn’t want to leave,” Benson said. “Each conversation was only about one to two minutes, but, I managed to learn so much about each person in those short windows of time.”

After talking to approximately 55 potential bigs, Benson said it was difficult to narrow it down to three people he felt he could connect with best, since he believed he connected with many people with whom he spoke.

“It was really hard to choose who I [think I could learn best from] by the end of the social [since there were so many amazing options],” Benson said. “The process was really cool, and as I got to know the older students, I started to hang around a couple of the same tables more and learn even more about the bigs that I had really liked.”

Overall, Benson said it was a fun way to spend the afternoon, and it gave him insight on the older students in SGA, since he hadn’t met most of them.

“It was definitely important to have this event because it was a chance for us ‘newbies’ to meet the older SGA [members] in an organized, friendly way,” Benson said. “It was a lot of fun because I had my friends there with me and I was also making new ones.”

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French Honor Society raises money for Together We Rise

BY CAMILA ESPINOSA

Members of the French Honor Society (FHS) held a car wash on Oct. 13 for Together We Rise, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the foster care system. Senior and FHS co-president Maya Rojas said the purpose of the event was to raise money for the organization to help them make care packages.

“There’s honestly a lot of teamwork in getting the cars clean, and it allows members to get together and pull something off as a club,” Rojas said. “Events like these also show our members the importance of giving back to the community.”

With the money collected, the honor society will purchase supplies including hygiene products and toys, which members will package and send to the organization. Rojas said volunteers at the car wash felt motivated to work hard because all proceeds went to Together We Rise.

“We want to make sure that the bags will be full of [supplies] they need and want, because kids deserve to have both.” Rojas said. “Not all kids get the same chances that some of us do at school and at home.”

French teacher Lisa Chelle said although FHS focuses on the French community, members want to help non-French speakers as well. She said the car wash was a successful event because it helped members bond and earn money for an important cause.

“From being there, I can say the car wash was a great fundraiser,” Chelle said. “A lot of people were coming in and out; it was very busy, and it seemed fun.”

Chelle said she is proud of the amount of $520 raised at the car wash. She said she looks forward to seeing how FHS will continue to impact the community in the future.

“The members of the club in past years have really outdone themselves,” Chelle said. “I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for everyone in the club.”

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PTSA holds annual breakfast to welcome new parents

BY RACHEL SUPNICK

Parents in the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) were invited to the annualPTSA Volunteer Breakfast in the Wave on Sept. 25. At the breakfast and general meeting, parents were able to sign up to become members of the Bay’s PTSA and register to be school volunteers.

PTSA President Latoya Stucke said the event was held to pass the annual PTSA budget in order to plan financially for the upcoming year. She said it was also important to introduce new parents to the PTSA.

“For the first general meeting, we [invited] all parents because a lot of them have never been to a meeting and they don’t know the process,” Stucke said. “This [meeting] is a way to kill two birds with one stone.”

Volunteers wore name tags and were encouraged to socialize while eating the breakfast provided at the event. Additional information about the PTSA’s plans for the upcoming school year was shared at the meeting. School Volunteer Liaison Conchita Rodriguez said more parents came to the function than ever before.

“I’ve been [at the Bay] since 2002 when the school opened and this is the largest group that we’ve had. It’s awesome,” Rodriguez said. “I hope to see all of [the parents] come back in the future.”

At the event, Rodriguez assisted the parents in filling out their online applications to become Broward County Public School volunteers. Computers were available for parents to use during this process.

“It’s basically a background check that you do to get cleared for level one or level two [of volunteering],” Rodriguez said. “Level one is everything except being alone with a student or chaperoning an overnight trip. Level two [requires] fingerprinting, and involves teachers picking from a pool of parents to chaperone an overnight field trip, or [allowing a parent] to mentor a student one on one.”

Stucke informed parents about the teacher appreciation project they are holding in October called Mid-Month Pickup, in which teachers are given free pastries and snacks. She also reintroduced the second annual diaper drive which will be held in February to help homeless mothers and children in need.

“We will be asking parents to drop off pastries because not all parents can volunteer their time,” Stucke said. “I figured this is a way for them to participate without being here every day.”

Stucke said the PTSA will have many new volunteer opportunities available this year. Parents are now allowed to make copies and answer phone calls in the Wave and help teachers in the classroom.

“It’s not just about proctoring [tests] anymore,” Stucke said. “Parents can now come in and help out in a classroom, almost like when I would help out at elementary school.”

Administrators and PTSA board members were invited to attend the breakfast, and some even spoke at the event, including Rodriguez, Assistant Principal Kassandra Fried and Principal Scott Neely. Stucke also stood to thank the parents for attending the event. Stucke said she was emotional during her speech and was grateful for all of the active parents that want to be involved in the PTSA.

“As president, I am always blown away by the parents,” Stucke said in her speech. “Often we hear [that in high school] the parents don’t show up, but here in this room, you have proved them wrong.”

Parent Marina Sage, who moved to Weston with her son a few months ago, said she came to the meeting to learn more about the PTSA and see how she could get involved at the Bay and in her new community.

I was a drama teacher in New Mexico before moving here, and I had to give that up when we moved, so I thought it would be nice to volunteer and help out at the school,” Sage said. “I would love to help out backstage for some of the productions.”

Sage also said she would like to volunteer at the activities in which her sixteen-year-old son, a junior, chooses to participate.

“We’re new to the area, but once my son [settles in] I’d like to help with whatever he decides to get involved in,” Sage said.

Mother Bertha Navarro has four children that attended the Bay, and she said she has been helping at the school for ten years through proctoring exams and assisting staff. She said she came to the breakfast to be updated on any new volunteer opportunities.

“I love being involved. I love the children and I love every activity the school has to offer,” Navarro said. “My favorite thing to do is help the staff, but that may change this year.”

Stucke said she has high hopes for the PTSA calendar this year and hopes for students to become more actively involved, too.

“We’re not just moms in yoga pants,” Stucke said. “We are here helping the teachers, so they’re not as stressed out. I want the students to know that last year we raised $8,500 and we took all of that money and gave it back to the students. The $10 to join [the PTSA] goes very far.”

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The Current: Conservative views defund public school system

BY SOPHIA HANDLEY

In this issue’s recurring segment that explores current event topics affecting the student body, Staffer Sophia Handley speaks to students and teachers about Betsy DeVos, United States Secretary of Education.

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her ideas have sparked conversation across the nation, especially in the public school system. Recently, DeVos has encouraged parents to send their children to charter and magnet schools. Charter schools receive funding from the government but do not have to follow state regulations because they are independently run. Magnet schools are schools that specialize or have specialized programs that are offered nowhere else. To make these programs possible, DeVos intends on taking funding away from public schools to further fund and develop the charter and magnet school systems. This action will leave public schools with less money, supplying charter and magnet schools with more resources that only selected studentshave can access. Senior Tyler Nejame says he disagrees with DeVos’s ideas and he said he does not think her ideas will be beneficial for all students.

“Public schools are supposed to be a place for all students in the [U.S.] to be able to get an education and DeVos shouldn’t be promoting against them,” Nejame said. “I find it [wrong] how DeVos is trying to promote solely charter and magnet schools.”

Nejame said DeVos’s intentions for the school system could be harmful because it would deplete resources that public schools are already lacking.

“Public schools are already lacking necessary supplies and it is not right that they are taking more money away and adding to the current problem,” Nejame said.

Debate teacher Nick Montecalvo said DeVos’s new plans leave a lot of students without the necessary help and support of the school system.

“DeVos is beholden to all of the students of U.S., and I think that singling out charter schools for financial help leaves a lot of students in the dark,” Montecalvo said.

Montecalvo said he understands why DeVos sees potential in this plan but believes it is not the best idea considering it will solely benefit charter and magnet school students in the long run.

“I understand people want to revamp the public school system because it has a lot of issues, but there are other ways to drive innovation that doesn’t involve leaving inner city schools in the lurch,” said Montecalvo.

Junior Raquel Walton said that by promoting charter and magnet schools are not giving students and equal opportunity for a high education because some people aren’t able or eligible to get into these schools.  

“If someone [has a hard time] getting into a charter school due to their abilities, it’s not fair to them to be forced to attend a poorly funded school as well as not be eligible to get into the school with the better funding,” Walton said. “[Students’] intelligence should not be the determining factor of what type of education they receive.”

Walton said DeVos should not promote these schools over regular public schools because these schools are supposed to be the focal point for education.

“Though charter schools may give a different style of education to students because of their curriculums, it isn’t right for the [U.S.] Secretary of Education, who is supposed to be leading the public school system, to be promoting charter schools over regular public schools,” Walton said. “Public schools are supposed to be open to the public and are supposed to be a consistent, reliable good source of education to students, and it surprises me she wouldn’t promote them considering the job that she [holds].”

Nejame said he hopes DeVos will change her opinion and believes that taking money away from public schools is not beneficial to the overall student body of the United States.

“Public schools are extremely important in the United States and need all the money they can get,” said Nejame. “Hopefully, more money will be given to public schools where all students can benefit from it rather than giving the money to charter where only selected students can.”

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DECA Day inspires future entreprenuers

BY ALEXIS EPSTEIN

Students enrolled in DECA courses were exposed to all the club has to offer during the fifteenth annual DECA Day on Aug. 21 and 22 in the auditorium. Throughout the day, topics ranging from competitions to travel opportunities and community service were discussed. DECA teacher Jamez Williams said the purpose of DECA Day was to familiarize new members with the program and introduce them to the various opportunities available within DECA.

“At the start of the school year, we are all so excited to kick off the [initiation] process for DECA members as we know the unlimited opportunities they will be given to grow and develop,” Williams said.

Junior and DECA President Sarah Lewis said this sets the tone for what members could expect for the future. Lewis and the other advisers planned the presentation shown to classes throughout the day, as well as a scavenger hunt held during the allotted period allowing members to begin bonding early in the school year.

“Our goal is to open students’ eyes to all the options DECA can offer them,” Lewis said. “DECA is a great opportunity for students to be exposed to the business world so we really wanted to get them enthusiastic about joining.”

During the presentation, the advisers informed students that the Bay’s chapter attends competitions and leadership conferences where various chapters travel the country to bond and build management skills. Junior Natalie Medina is new to the Bay and said all of these activities piqued her interest.

“I love traveling, and seeing all the amazing places that DECA has gone [has] made me excited about joining the club,” Medina said. “Through leadership workshops, discussions and community service, I will be able to network with other DECA students from many different states.”

Members were also introduced to many leadership positions available to them, such as the DECA Leadership Council (DLC). DLCs are junior officers that help run the class and assist the teachers in planning events. They were able to apply on the Bay’s DECA website Aug. 20-24 with short essay questions on the topic of if they have been previous DLC’s, how many years they have been involved and why they would want to become one. There was then an interview process for individuals who applied and proceeded to hire them. Medina said she is planning on applying to become a DLC as she sees this as an ability to gain business exposure early on.

“I have always had an interest in business and can tell the Bay’s chapter is one I want to be as involved in as possible,” Medina said. “This is an opportunity to get closer as the contacts I will make will help me for a lifetime.”

Medina was in DECA at her old school, Sagemont, and she said she is interested in continuing to be a part of the organization at the Bay as the Bay’s chapter is extremely involved and well run.

“DECA Day really opened my eyes to this wonderful program, so now that I’ve actually been given more information, I’m excited to have such an amazing opportunity to join this club,” Medina said.

Lewis said DECA’s main goal this year is to recruit new members. Lewis and the other officers wanted to create excitement in order to increase membership and saw DECA Day as the perfect opportunity to do so.

“The more enthusiasm we build, the more members we gain,” Lewis said. “As President, this is my ultimate goal as I want to expand the club and make it the best it can be.”

Medina was given the opportunity to meet other prospective members as well as returning DECA members during DECA Day.

“It was super cool being able to talk with all the other students in the program,” Medina said. “I actually didn’t know what to expect; leaving the auditorium that day left me even more enthused [than I initially was].”

Lewis said she hoped to make this year’s DECA Day even better than before by using feedback from previous years.

“We wanted to try to be as interactive as possible and engage the students in the information,” Lewis said.

Williams said he hopes to successfully describe the organization to the students and allow them to see all of the dynamic activities DECA does.

“The excitement grows each year, but the expectations stay steadfast,” Williams said. “It is heartwarming to see the students’ development throughout the year.”

After organizing and running her own DECA Day, Lewis said she reminisced back to when she was introduced to the competitions available at her first DECA Day. She said finding out and learning more about these competitions immediately confirmed she made the right decision by joining the club.

“After hearing about the competition opportunities at DECA Day, I was even more enthusiastic about joining,” she said. “My competition experience is one of the things I am most passionate about. You meet new people, learn different business aspects and create memories [that last] a lifetime.”

Even though DECA is just a club, Williams said DECA Day allows prospects tosee the family bond that is formed as members grow, help each other and learn together.

“I love the energy, opportunities and students’ futures and goals that originate during DECA Day,” Williams said. “It’s important that members know we provide a place for them to take their creativity, energy and grit into a package and give them something to go out into the world [with] and be successful.”

 

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Class expands to club due to surplus of students

BY RACHEL ALEXANDER

Latinos in Action (LIA) has been a class offered at the Bay for many years which entails bi-weekly visits to local elementary schools, including Eagle Point and Manatee Bay, to empower Latino youth through college and career readiness.

Students must apply to be accepted into LIA; due to the overwhelming amount of applications in years prior, the class extended to form an affiliated club called Latinos in Action Beginnings. Students in LIA have been promoting the new, service-centered club through the use of social media.

“The vision for this year is to take advantage of the resources we have in our community,” Senior, LIA and LIA Beginnings President Leyla Feiz said. “We provide a platform for people to put themselves out there and have the opportunity to change to change the world.”

Class members get assigned an elementary-aged student that needs help in the classroom. Class and future club member junior, Carolina Garcia said she worked with a student that was struggling in school last year, so she felt inspired to reinforce the idea of the importance of school and tutored him until he improved.

“For this boy, focusing and paying attention in his class was difficult and this caused him to not enjoy school,” Garcia said. “Helping him, showed me that I have a passion for helping kids succeed in the huge world they live in.”

LIA expanded to accommodate 40 students in each period since only four periods are available and there has been an even greater amount of students interested in the course than in previous years.

“Speaking another language gives you a huge benefit and allows you to help so many people by listening to new perspectives,” Feiz said. “By extending the class we have more hands on deck and more opportunities to take advantage of what LIA has to offer.”

In addition to visiting elementary schools, the class and club organizes toy drives to raise money for various causes to give back to the community.

“Two years ago, we did a toy drive and it opened my eyes to the direct impact I can have on my community,” Feiz said. “It showed me from that day forward that this is what I wanted to lead and it was amazing to see how we all came together as a community to donate toys.”

Feiz said when she originally joined the class two years ago, she didn’t know what it entailed and only ended up joining after a meeting she went to because she had noride home from school that day.

“I listened in on the meeting and loved what they stood for and it was a class that would push one’s limits in the aspects of self-growth,” Feiz said. “I was always very shy and had so a lot to say but didn’t want to voice them because I didn’t know how until I joined LIA and later became President.”

Three years ago, LIA teacher and adviser Sgt. Maj. Cruz said he heard about LIA being an initiative from the White House to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic community. Sgt. Maj. Cruz said after finding out only 16 percent of Hispanics graduate from college in the U.S., he was motivated to take action and evoke a change in the lives of Hispanic community members.

“I decided to teach LIA [at the Bay] and become the club adviser because it seemed like a great opportunity to help my fellow Latino brothers and sisters,” Cruz said. “[LIA] is a unique club because they are geared to not only do community service, but also mentor and tutor [other students].”

Garcia said she joined the class and club because she loves helping the kids and the club gives her additional opportunities to help individuals.

“LIA has impacted the way I view other cultures,” Garcia said. “[It] has taught me who I am and who I want to be. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities the program provides to give back [to my community].”

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Mu Alpha Theta members compete in statewide competition

BY RACHEL GREENBERG

Members of Mu Alpha Theta (MAO) attended the math state competition on April 19 and 20 to compete against teams from all of Florida.  Around 1000 students from all Florida high schools met at the Double Tree Hotel in Orlando to compete in a total of 41 events. Out of twenty-two topics, each student chose two “Topic Tests,” or 60 minute individual tests in specific categories like “Matrices and Vectors,” “History of Math,” and “Sequences and Series.”

Freshman and member of MAO Mahadev Josyabhatla said this was a new experience for her that made her both nervous and excited.

“I was definitely intimidated to compete in the state competition,” Josyabhatla said. “I was afraid that I wouldn’t do better than the students who competed before me or live up to the legacy that our amazing seniors have left for us.”

Each student participated inch four events and took a 60-minute individual test in either calculus, precalculus or algebra II/geometry. An event everyone participated in was called “Ciphering,” a series of ten questions where students race to complete each one as quickly as possible. The Bay placed 5th overall at the state convention.

“Everyone is proud of the history of Cypress Bay Mu Alpha Theta and wants to contribute to our future success,” math teacher and MAO adviser Ari Novick said. “Almost everyone who competed is in one of Mr. Farmer’s ‘competition math’ classes. They have practiced in class throughout the school year in addition to practicing after school.”

Novick said neither he nor Mr. Farmer need to do much to encourage students for competitions because everyone was already well motivated.

“The strongest thing that encourages members to prepare is a sense of teamwork,” Novick said.  “Everyone is proud of the history of Cypress Bay MAO and wants to contribute to our future success.”

This was the first time competing in a state-wide competition for freshman Allison Comite. She said this was a learning experience for her and that she learned about areas she needs to improve on for upcoming years.

“These tests can be hard,” Comite said. “I thought I did horrible in one and I ended up placing. Being my first state competition, I was a little nervous, but I was excited as well.”

Comite said upcoming competitors should not be discouraged if they don’t do as well as they expected because practice makes perfect.

“Incoming students interested in competing should focus on memorizing formulas that make seemingly harder questions easier,” Comite said. “If a problem seems long, there is probably a shortcut that will solve it so much faster.”

Josyabhatla said even though Cypress placed 5th in the competition, there are other aspects to focus on such as the turnout of the event and recognizing how each student improved.

“We may not have won first, but we all had some pretty great achievements individually, which is what really matters.”

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