Ribbon cutting ceremony opens Confucius Institute



Members of the community were immersed in the Chinese culture at the Confucius Institute ribbon cutting ceremony at Cypress Bay High School on Dec 17. The event featured food, music Chinese lion dancing, and a tour of the Confucius Room. The Confucius Room is a resource room open to students. It contains Chinese textbooks, periodicals and a large screen TV which will be used for presentations. unnamed-3

“The room is really Zen-like and beautiful,” said assistant principal Marianela Estripeaut, who planned the ribbon cutting ceremony. “It’s got typical red colors and a nice divider. I just find it to be a nice cozy room that is very beautiful for anyone in the community to enjoy.”

The Confucius Institute is a joint project between Broward County Public Schools, the College Board and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Broward County is one of five U.S. counties that contain a Confucius Institute. There are other local Confucius Institutes open in Fort Lauderdale High School, Pompano Beach High School, Sanders Park Elementary, Tradewinds Elementary, Crystal Lake Middle School and Parkway Middle School.

“We are proud to provide our students with the opportunity to participate in the Confucius Institute of Broward County Public Schools,” Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said. “By exposing our students to this rigorous and robust language program, we are preparing our students to compete in a global economy after graduation.”

The purpose of the Confucius Institute is to promote Chinese culture and language in schools. The Confucius Institute director of Broward County, Bob McKinney, is looking to expand this program to other high schools and middle schools and into elementary schools across the district. He said learning the Chinese culture is beneficial to students.

“The world is a much smaller place. If today’s students are going to compete for the good jobs it is a global marketplace, their competition is not sitting next to them in a classroom at Cypress Bay or Western,” Mr. McKinney said. “Their competition is sitting next to them in a high school in Beijing, in Helsinki or in Berlin. In order to be successful you will have to have knowledge on a global level.”

IMG_5475Cypress Bay applied for a grant through the College Board in connection with the Confucius Institute from China, and got the grant for the Confucius program last year. The grant had non-negotiables, and one of the non-negotiables included having a room designated for the Chinese community. Principal Scott Neely’s visit to China was also one of the reasons the Confucius Institute was added to Cypress Bay.

“Because of our population and diversity in South Florida and for them sending myself and Brad Mattair, the principal of Parkway Middle School, to China to work with the institute a couple years ago, they chose us and they chose a school with great diversity and the amount of children who want to learn. There’s no other school like Cypress Bay,” Mr. Neely said.

Mr. Neely was sent to China by the Confucius Institute to visit schools during the 2012-2013 school year.

“They sent us all around China to all of their different provinces starting with Beijing,” Mr. Neely said. “We saw different types of schools in the different provinces. They took us to all of these specialty schools and each place was totally different.”

For now, the room will only be open to students taking Chinese in order to see how the staff and students react to it. The students in Chinese class can use the tools to aid their learning and for independent study. The students in AP Chinese will use the room for telecommunicating with other schools that have a Confucius Institute. If the institute is a success with the students, more classes will be able to be a part of it.

The opening ceremony included a tour of the room along with many aspects of Chinese culture. There were Chinese-influenced performances, food and music. Students from Broward County Schools with Confucius programs performed at the ceremony. The Cypress Bay students performed songs and skits.

unnamed-2“Performing was a little nerve-wracking because it was a lot of people. We practiced a lot though, so we felt confident,” junior Malvin Torrens said.

Torrens performed a skit called “Old Couple Goes Shopping” with his classmates. The skit was an assignment in Chinese class last year.

“Last year, since we had an assignment had to make a skit, our teacher told us she would pick one skit to be performed at the ceremony,” Torrens said. “Our skit was chosen and we were really happy. We practiced more and added more to it.”

As a student in Chinese class, Torrens is looking forward to using the resources in the Confucius Room.

“I’m really excited to use the room to learn more about Chinese culture and experiencing more on a secondhand level further on from the classroom experience,” he said.

The Confucius Room features an abundance of information and Chinese culture for all students in Chinese.

“It’s sort of like a mini library,” Ms. Estripeaut said. “For any student that is studying the Chinese culture or the Chinese language, it’s a wealth of information because all of the current information from China will be there.”

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Catholics in Action to volunteer with senior citizens


During the holiday season, traditions include giving and receiving presents as well as gathering with family. Still, there are some people who don’t have the opportunity to be parts of these traditions.

Members of Catholics in Action (CIA) go to retirement homes every year to volunteer with senior citizens as old as 100. They usually sing to the elders and listen to some stories the elders have to tell. This year’s first visit will be Dec. 28 at Covenant Village.

President of CIA Monica Molina said the people in the retirement homes usually don’t get chances to tell stories from the past,but when CIA went last year, a 100-year-old woman got a chance to tell stories about her childhood adventures.

“We chose retirement homes because we think elders are the ones who need the most love since it’s not shown to them by others and you can see it in their eyes that they are very thankful for the attention,” she said.

Molina said her favorite part of going to the retirement homes is when the elderly receive the visits and listen to them singing with a genuine smile.

“Sometimes love is given to the wrong people, but this love is given to the people who really deserve it,” she said.

CIA member freshman Daniella Martinez said she is looking forward to this experience because she has heard that after leaving the retirement home members feel so accomplished that they did something good.

“This is the first time I’m going to go since I am new to the club, and I can’t wait to experience it,” she said.

CIA sponsor Selma Benitez said she accepted when the CIA officers asked her to be the club adviser because the officers are all such hard workers.

“The members of the club and the officers really want to make a difference,” she said. “The elders we visit at the retirement homes have really changed some lives of some kids and I’m so proud of the work and effort everyone puts into this club in trying to help others and making them happy.”

Mrs. Benitez said the officers feel accomplished when they go on trips, and she said she couldn’t be more proud of all of them. She also said she loves going on the trips and seeing the happiness happen right in front of her eyes.

“You can feel the joy and the happiness spreading all over the room,” Mrs. Benitez said.

Martinez said the older members of the club talk about visits to the retirement homes during the whole school year, and she loves listening to everything they have to say about it.

“The way that the other members of the club talk about their past experiences makes it seem a little magical,” she said.

Just like the elders tell their stories about the past, Mrs. Benitez said she has one to tell after her visit one year.

“One year when we went to the retirement homes, we met a woman who was 100 years old, and she told us amazing stories about her childhood, and it was so fascinating. It was an unforgettable experience,” Mrs. Benitez said.

Molina said going to the retirement home was her favorite activity the club does the whole year.

“It’s something not every club does, and I’m so proud all the officers and Mrs. Benitez make it happen because I truly believe it’s something life changing,” Molina said.


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Harry Potter Club to host movie night fundraiser


The Harry Potter Club is teaming up with the international organization called the Harry Potter Alliance on Jan. 9 for a screening of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the auditorium.Harry Potter ClubTickets to the event will be sold during that week during all lunches for $3 and at the door for $5.

“We originally had another event scheduled for November,” said club president Samantha Orlando. “It was a cosplay contest, but we had to cancel that because there weren’t enough participants.”

Instead of the costume contest, the club decided to show a screening of the first Harry Potter film. The Harry Potter Alliance is dedicated to promoting human rights through the power of J.K. Rowling’s powerful story. The club’s goal is to raise money through efforts by donating books to schools without any resources and getting companies to stop child labor.

“We’re an official chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, and we’re invested in their core values and mission,” said Orlando, a senior. “We wanted to do an event for a charity, so we picked the Harry Potter Alliance.”

All funds will go toward the Alliance.

With every ticket bought, four raffle tickets will be given out for a raffle that will take place before the movie, and more tickets can be bought for $1. There will be four pieces of Harry Potter raffled off.

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Published author gives writing tips to Literary Club


Published Young Adult author Meredith McCardle made a visit to a Literary Club meeting at the school library on Nov. 6. She gave tips on writing, talked about her experience getting published and offered advice to the aspiring novelists in attendance.

Ms. McCardle talked about the “Sky’s the Limit” contest that Literary Club members participated in. She is one of eight authors who teamed up with Amazon to sponsor the contest.

The “Sky’s The Limit” contest challenges students from grades 6-12 to write the first 250 words of a short story with this theme. The winning student will receive two Kindle Fires – one for himself and one for his teacher/mentor of choice – as well as help from all six of the sponsors in getting his completed short story published.

“She wrote me an email telling me about her contest, and she told me she’s available to speak. And I thought, what could be better for Literary Club than to get an author to speak to us?” Literary Magazine sponsor Joyce Seigel said. IMG_1050

Ms. McCardle, author of “The Annum Guard” series, grew up in Coral Springs and studied law and journalism before deciding on becoming an author full-time.

“The good thing about writing is you don’t need a degree in anything specific,” Ms. McCardle said.

After she decided she wanted to become a novelist to pursue her dream, she buckled down and wrote the first book in her Young Adult series, titled “The Eighth Guardian.”

“I wish I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to be way more rewarding than I ever could have dreamed possible,” she said.

A major topic she touched upon in her presentation was the revision process of writing. To her, revision is more important than writing the first draft.

“When you type the end of a story, that’s actually only the beginning,“ Ms. McCardle said. “Revision is really where it’s at. That’s where you find the real potential of your story.”

She said that most of her world-building and descriptive writing is done when she revises.

“I like to say that my first drafts are just a bunch of stick figures talking in front of a green screen,” Ms. McCardle said. “Once I have the actual plot down I can go back and actually flesh out the characters and the world.”

She then went on to introduce her personal tips for writing a novel, like her “One Sentence Cheat Sheet to Writing a Good Story”and “Three Things Not to Do on the First Page of Any Story.”

Ms. McCardle said to never start a story with mundane actions, a flashback/dream, or a prologue. These things will tease or bore the reader and discourage them from reading on.

Copy editor of the literary magazine, junior Gaby Esevern, said she feels that even though the writing advice Ms. McCardle gave was generally for beginning writers, the author did shed light on the process of getting writing published.

Ms. McCardle talked about different ways to get works published, including the pros and cons of self-publishing. She believes if a writer excels at promotion and sales, then he or she will most likely want to self-publish.

However, if a writer isn’t exceptional at promoting or selling, working with a publishing company is most likely the best way to go. Despite being more expensive, the publishing company will handle all publishing and sales finances.

“Publishing is much harder than you think,” Esevern said.

Ms. McCardle said that it’s important that novelists never write for a trend.

“Write what you want, and it’ll find a home,” she said.

As for writing the story itself, Ms. McCardle said the best way to go about producing a solid story is in asking many questions.

“My background as a lawyer has taught me to question everything,” she said. “So I’ll start with a basic plot, and then I’ll say ‘well what about this?’ And then before I know it, I have these five different subplots going and then I have to explore every single one of those.”

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NHS attends Kakes for Kids 5K



National Honor Society (NHS) members participated in the Kakes for Kids 5K event at Charnow Park on Nov. 16. Kakes for Kids is a program that ensures foster children receive a birthday party every year. NHS 5K4 USE

“I took part in this 5K because of the people that it helps,” said senior Giancarlo Musetti, NHS vice president. “I always take the chance to give back when I have the opportunity.”

Musetti said about 40 of the club’s members attended the event, and his goal was to have them help organize the 5K and assist it in running smoothly. The jobs for members included cheering on the runners and handing out food after the race was over.

“The members didn’t walk but they helped the organizers make the race better,” Musetti said. “They stood along the running route holding up posters and cheering on all the runners. That allowed for more runners to enjoy their experience and come back next year.”

Junior Beatriz Galdona is one of the members who participated in the run. Galdona said she signed up to fulfill her hour requirements, however, she also wanted to support the cause.

“I signed up for the event through NHS for more blue hours,” Galdona said. “I picked this event because I thought it would be a great experience.”

Galdona said her job was to stand along the running route and hold up a sign to cheer on runners at the first mile marker. Then, when the event was over she and the other volunteers helped to clean up all of the booths.

“Overall, the 5K was a lot of fun and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of such a good cause,” Galdona said. “It is a great feeling knowing that I made a difference in at least one child’s life.”

Musetti said this was the first year that NHS has participated in this event, and he thought it was successful.

“We will definitely continue to support this organization,” Musetti said. “It is for a great cause and I think members had a great time participating in it.”

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Literary Club creates music video for contest


Joyce Seigel’s first period Creative Writing class worked hard to create their own music video with lyrics written by the students in the class to enter the “Classroom Refresh” contest. This contest requires a class-created video in the format of a music video that is either an original song or a parody that demonstrates or envisions the use of technology in the classroom.

The first period class won a $100 gift card for being the first school to enter the contest.

Senior Madison Schwartz looked over the lyrics, which were written to the tune of the song “If I Fell” by The Beatles, and she danced with a laptop for the video. The students wrote all of the lyrics and made their own music while playing the guitar.

“Making the video was very fun and humorous,” Schwartz said.

The class was pleased with the outcome of the video even though they were not voted as finalists.

“We worked hard to write the lyrics and put together the video,” Mrs. Seigel said.

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Best Buddies holds Potluck event


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Best Buddies hosts annual Halloween Dance



The Best Buddies chapter at the Bay hosted its annual Halloween Dance. On Friday Nov. 7, over 150 members and their special needs buddies dressed out in costumes and participated in Halloween-themed activities.

“The dance is something we do every year to celebrate the holiday and for the members to be able to socialize with their buddies and have fun,” said president Erica Strum.

Some of the activities were a cookie decorating booth, a photo booth, bowling and mummy wrapping. use1

Freshman Alexa Zuckerman said she enjoyed hanging out with her buddy Gabe and decorating cookies with him.

“All of the activities were really fun, especially making Oreo spiders because we were able to get creative and enjoy the sweet treat after,” Zuckerman said.

Vice president Hannah Levinson said the buddies look forward to the dance because it’s a time to listen to music, have fun and dance with their best friends.

“The buddies have such a special friendship and events like these give them an opportunity to socialize outside a school environment,” said Levinson, a junior.

Junior Gaby Eseverri, who dressed up as a minion from the movie “Despicable Me,” said her favorite part of the dance was being able to connect with her buddy Grant and the other buddies there.

“Seeing all of the buddies smiling, laughing, dancing and having a good time was extremely rewarding,” said Eseverri, club treasurer.

For Levinson, knowing she is a part of an event that the buddies look forward to every year is truly something special.

“Seeing the buddies have an amazing time with a smile on their faces and showing their best dance moves is what it’s all about,” Levinson said. “The friendships that are created through this club are real and that’s the most important thing.”

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Drama Club prepares for Thespians


As the Drama Club prepares for the competition that brings all thespians together to compete in what they love most, all members are working hard every day to achieve their maximum theatrical potential at the annual Florida Thespian Festival.

On Dec. 6 thespians from all over District 13, which covers the southern region of Broward County, will gather at American Heritage School to perform in categories such as ensemble acting and duet musicals and submit technical works, such as scene designs and playwrighting. Club sponsor and AMT teacher Cynthia Lutwin and her students are working together to rehearse for the competition.images-1

“Everyone is working hard, going through their monologues, songs, and scenes every day,” Mrs. Lutwin said. “They all have to feel comfortable with their events, so it is important to rehearse a lot.”

Students also worked in collaboration with Tequesta Trace Middle School on Nov. 4. Students participating in the Thespians Competition from Cypress Bay and in the Junior Thespians Festival from Tequesta Trace performed in front of each other to get help on their district pieces and help others with their pieces.

Freshman Camryn Handler, who competed in the Junior Thespians Districts Festival every year in middle school, is looking forward to Thespians.

“I’m excited to do what I love with my friends and see all the other students from other schools around the district and their performances,” Handler said.

Co-president of drama club, senior Jon Batista, is looking forward to his fourth and final year participating in the festival.

“I’ve never done a solo, so I wanted to try it this year,” Batista said.

Batista is also performing in the pantomime category, which he has always wanted to do, and the large group musical category.

“I want to do well in all my performances and enjoy my last districts,” Batista said.

Mrs. Lutwin, the AMT and drama teacher, is looking forward to bringing troupe 6510 to Districts once again.

“I’m always excited to see what the new students will do,” Mrs. Lutwin said.

Senior Gillian Rabin, co-president of the club, is excited that it has many active members to participate in these competitions.

“There are always tons of people. This year we have 74 people participating,” Rabin said, which is “relatively consistent with the usual level of thespian participation.”

During the full day of theatrical festivities, thespians will be ranked by the quality of what they have been working on for months. If the students are fortunate this year with their given rankings, a select few will be able to go to the state competition in March.

“We convinced Mrs. Lutwin to let freshmen go to states if they receive a straight superior rating and if she thinks they are responsible enough,” said Paloma Leon, vice president.

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Tri-M Honor society holds induction ceremony


The Modern Music Masters (Tri-M) Music Honor society held its induction ceremony to welcome new members into the organization Oct. 20.

Nearly 80 students were selected based on their qualities of leadership, intelligence, musical abilities, creativity and character. They were required to fill out an application that was due Sept. 19 and they are required to be in some sort of music class at the Bay.

President Sarah Rothbard, a junior, said the ceremony went well. Almost all of the members attended.

“The new members enjoyed claiming their certificates on stage” Rothbard said. “Parents came and it was just really nice to have everyone together to welcome the new members to the club.”

There were also performances by members who were already in the club. Junior Sabrina Kim and sophomore Alice Lopes performed a piece on the flute. Senior Elizabeth Schwarts sang “Think of Me” from “Phantom of the Opera.” Senior Tony Li and sophomore Emily Schlorf sang and played guitar, while Jose Veliz played a solo on the piano.

“I really enjoyed performing for the audience,” Kim said. “It was nice to have people see everything I’ve been working so hard on.”

Rothbard said everyone seemed to enjoy the performances.

“It was great because the audience got to see a little bit of what this club is all about, and they got to see some of the talent of our current members,” Rothbard said.

There was a dessert reception at the end of the ceremony for all of the members and their parents.

Tri-M also held a meeting Oct. 23.

“We knew it was the end of the quarter, but there were some announcements we needed to make and we had some fun activities planned out,” Rothbard said.

The point system for the club was discussed at the meeting. Each performer earned two points. Each member needs to earn 12 points per year, and seniors need to earn 15 if they want an honor cord to wear at graduation.

Students can earn these points by going to the meetings and events, helping set up, performing, and being an active member. Those who performed at the induction ceremony earned two points each.

The meeting also included some “fun” activities being that it was the last day of the quarter. Members got to participate in a scavenger hunt and in a song game.

“We thought it would be a good ice breaker to pair the members with someone they didn’t know so they could open up show their creative sides,” Rothbard said. “Everyone in the club got to bond, and some members even became close friends with people who they didn’t even know before the meeting.”

Tri M began Falcon Cove tutoring Thursday, Nov. 7 after school. Members will go to the middle school and help students with their instruments and get set up for all-county competitions. Members will get one point for every time they go to tutor.

“If it’s successful we’re going to be tutoring every single Thursday of the year,” Rothbard said.


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