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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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SHPE combines gaming with engineering to fundraise for the club

BY JAKE MILLER

To raise money for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) club, members hosted a Mario Kart Tournament on April 13. Tickets were sold during all lunch hours for students to watch and compete in the tournament.

“These competitions seemed to be valued by students,” SHPE adviser and biology teacher Brandon Boswell said. “There is a strong social component to these games and these events support those social elements in a positive environment for these students.”

Junior and SHPE Vice President of Marketing Sofia Serna said members of the club thought playing Mario Kart corresponds with the basic principles of the SHPE club, such as engineering and coding.

“Our club revolves around STEM based projects and activities,” Serna said. “Mario Kart, being a very successful video game, shows a great example of the power of coding and video game design.”

The room was set up with four TVs with Wiis, and competitors played against each other in brackets. The winner of each bracket was given a $20 Chipotle gift card.

“We had four TVs set up with Wiis. At first, groups of four would play and the two people with the top scores after two races moved on the the next round. We repeated that same process for another two rounds until the final [round],” Serna said.

Senior and SHPE President Andrea Vallenilla contributed in the creation of the Mario Kart tournament fundraiser. Valenilla said she became inspired when she heard another club at the Bay host a “Super Smash Bros” tournament, so she decided to host a “Mario Kart” tournament.

“[The officers] were discussing fundraising ideas, and after hearing about other club’s fundraisers combined with the popularity of Mario Kart, we thought this would be a perfect idea that could attract many students,” Valenilla said.

Mr. Boswell said the event was great exposure to the student body because many people who were not a part of the SHPE club were able to participate in the fundraiser.

“The students who were there had a great time,” Mr. Boswell said.  “I hope we can do more of these events in the future since everyone seemed to really enjoy it.”

Serna said the club was happy with the large amount of people who showed up to the event. She said due to the event’s success, SHPE club plans to host similar events in the future.

“Attendance was amazing, and it ended up attracting way more people than expected,” Serna said. “Due to the success of the event this year, we plan to hold it again in future years.”

 

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Waitlists have a negative effect on possible collegiate futures

 

BY SHANTY FIERRO

MANAGING EDITOR

As college decision day quickly approaches, students all across the country are committing to a school for the next four years. However, as some students prepare their lists of dorm necessities, other students are still anxiously awaiting a response back from their dream school. Why? They have been waitlisted. The amount of applicants that were waitlisted this year was at an all time high, and it is because of these waitlists that students are passing up great collegiate opportunities. Thus, being waitlisted could actually be worse for an applicant than being denied.

To start off, the actual point of a waitlist, according to The Prospect, is for colleges to reserve students to “fill in gaps in the enrolling class.” Basically meaning that these students are backup for the school. While a majority of colleges did not do this before, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling found that 48 percent of colleges are now using them. This is an increase from 2009, where only 39 percent of colleges used waitlists. The increase in these waitlists mean that more and more students would be stuck waiting for answers instead of planning their future.

Students nationwide are being affected by the rising number of universities that use the waitlist system. Instead of picking out classes, they sit anxiously and await a decision from the school. Keeping students waiting is worse than just denying them in the first place. If an applicant is rejected, they have time to cope and accept the rejection, to later move on to other schools. However, if the applicant is waitlisted, it just prolongs their suffering. The waitlist could go on for weeks or even months, and the student is just left to hope and pray that the college gets back to them on time. I have many friends who are still waitlisted by the school of their choice, and they are growing more irritated by the day. This is not healthy for the student, and it is worse if the student is waitlisted for a long time, and then denied.

 In my personal experience, two of my closest friends are currently waitlisted for their dream schools. While they have been accepted to other schools, they refuse to look into any other options because they are still clinging to the hope that they will get accepted. This is one of the more serious negative effects that waitlists have on students. Although waitlists are beneficial for the colleges, since it is easier for them to diversify their incoming class, they have a detrimental effect on the students on that list. There is a high possibility that my friends will lose the opportunity to go to their back-up schools because they are still waiting for a response that may never come.

One positive aspect of waitlists is that it allows students a second chance at being accepted. Students that had a rough year prior to college application season have the chance to redeem themselves while on the waitlist. However, for the most part, the students that are put on the list are qualified students that do not have much improving left to do. Hence, the waitlist is once again rendered useless.  

Overall, the increasing number of applicants on the waitlist is causing worry among the future generation. The more that colleges adopt this method, the more students are going to be put through the grueling and unnecessary experience. There should definitely be an end to waitlists for the sanity of the applicants. They are already stressed out enough in May with final exams and graduation, they should not be worried about what college they are going to attend.

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Mu Alpha Theta succeeds in regional competition

BY JAKE MILLER

Members of Mu Alpha Theta (MAO) competed in the Cypress Bay March Regional competition at the Bay on March 3. Over 1,000 members from a variety of different schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Charles W. Flanagan and American Heritage, competed in a variety individual and team strategy competitions.

“I enjoy participating in the tournaments because to me they are really fun,” freshman Mahadev Josyabhatla said. “I get to hang out with people who share similar interests as well,” Josyabhatla said. “The competitions are mentally exhausting, so it is fun to go out to lunch once, the competition is concluded.”

Josyabhatla said he was proud of his accomplishments at the competition and happy with the goals he accomplished.

“I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but I learned a lot from my errors,” he said. “I feel next time I can do a lot better by learning from my mistakes.”

Students prepared for the competition by taking practice tests based off previous competitions. Many students in MAO are enrolled in courses that are specifically tailored to preparing them for competitions. Josyabhatla said that the more experienced seniors help by giving him advice and further practice.

“I attribute my success to Mr. Farmer and all the seniors who have to put up with us freshmen at practice,” Josyabhatla said. “They all help me become better.”

Freshman Allison Comite said although she performed well this competition, she plans to continue practicing to do better in future competitions.

“I will probably do more practice tests from competitions in the future,” Comite said. “Even though I was nervous when first competing, all of this experience is helping me enhance my competition skills.”

Comite said she enjoys participating in MAO competitions because she said she feels she is strong in math and competing helps her strengthen her math skills even further.

“[I joined MAO since] math has always been my strongest subject and [my sisters friend] said I would enjoy the club,” Comite said. “I am also really competitive, so it made me want to take a competition class as well as join the club.”

Math teacher and MAO adviser Ari Novick said his role at competitions is to provide support to all the students competing.

“My most important role at MAO competitions is to be an advocate for my students,” he said.

Mr. Novick said he learned a lot from this experience of running and planning a competition of this scale and he is eager to use this knowledge to improve the competition for future years.

“I have a lot of goals for the club; the [largest goal is] to help the officers create a quality club,” Mr. Novick said. “We feel like we’ve met a lot of [our goals] but we’re already looking ahead to how we can do even better next year.”

 

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Model UN members compete at Florida International University

BY CHLOE WAIN

Members of Model United Nations (Model UN) represented the Bay at a conference hosted at Florida International University (FIU) from Feb. 23 to 25 in Miami. The members competed in their own committees which involved playing the role of different countries that come together in forming diplomatic solutions to global issues. The Bay won “Outstanding Large Delegation” as well as numerous individual awards.

Senior and Model UN Public Relations Director Blake Repp partnered with junior Raphael Cevallos representing China in the Model UN committee; they discussed the legality of unmanned combat aerial vehicles. The partners received the award for “Best Delegate,” which equates to first place.

“As a senior I am sad this is my last conference,” Repp said. “But these past three years have truly been wonderful and I have really changed as a person because of Model UN.”

Prior to the conference, Repp said he was confident in himself throughout the committees and felt he performed well. Repp said he wishes to further his career in international relations and politics after participating in Model UN for three years.

“Joining the team has been one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Repp said. “[Model UN] has allowed me to be more aware of international affairs along with being a better speaker and learning to compromise, all skills that I believe are needed to compete in a job market that has increasingly become more global.”

Sophomore Pearse Koch and junior Emma Dilly won “Honorable Mention,” which is equivalent to third place, representing Honduras. Koch said that he enjoyed the experience not just because of winning the award, but meeting new individuals as well throughout the conference.

“The feeling of finishing the conference is a relief,” Koch said, “yet sad to know the experience is over as all the people I have met are going back to their normal lives.”

Repp said his favorite part of the conference was the award ceremony because it was exciting for the new members to receive their first award.

“After the conference, I felt more excited for everyone else who won an award rather than for myself,” Repp said. “It is really refreshing to see people take their passion, put the effort in and get an award.”

Koch and Dilly worked together before the tournament to agree upon a solution to their issue. Koch said it was stressful to choose between different solutions that other members would agree to provide funding for.

“Preparation is key in order to perform well at Model UN conferences,” Koch said. “It takes time and effort to propose effective solutions that other members from different schools will support and provide funding.”

Koch said meeting new people as well as learning more about the world motivates him to keep participating in Model UN. Koch said he encourages students to join Model UN as it provides students with important knowledge about the world that can be beneficial to people throughout their lives.

“My favorite part of the conference was meeting new people as well as leading others with the help of my talented partner,” Koch said. “It was also amazing to be praised by those we worked with.”

History teacher and Model UN adviser Timothy Petraitis has led the organization into conferences for the past five years. Mr. Petraitis said that he is proud to see the accomplishments and developments of Model UN throughout the years.

“The students did a wonderful job this past weekend. They did a great job defending their proposals and pushed themselves to win multiple awards,” Petraitis said. “Seeing new members win individual awards and stepping out of their comfort zones is what motivates me to continue to assist these students.”

Petraitis said how he does not interfere with the members during the research aspect of the organization and how the members and students are cooperative in keeping the club organized in a peaceful manner.

“The officers and members do a fantastic job on their own while researching,” Petraitis said.  “I only provide a place to meet and ensure and resolve any issues that may be occuring within the club.”

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Chinese Culture Club honors Chinese New Year

BY JAKE MILLER

To ring in the new year, members of Chinese Culture Club and Chinese Honor Society transformed the courtyard into a Chinese night market with bubble tea stands, karaoke, Chinese yo-yo, calligraphy lessons and traditional Chinese games. This was held on Feb. 8 during all lunches to help bring awareness of Chinese culture.

“Some students might have had a general knowledge of how the Chinese New Year is celebrated but not the full understanding of it,” Chinese teacher Jia Li said. “[Students] can understand a lot more about the culture, how the event is celebrated and the importance of the Spring Festival.”

Students were invited to watch traditional Chinese performances in the auditorium during eighth period. The performances included a traditional fan dance, Kung Fu Martial Arts, an instrumental music performance, and a Pipa solo, which is an instrument used for playing traditional Chinese folk music. Senior Jianing Wang said she feels as though it is her responsibility to celebrate Chinese cultural events, especially through the work of her traditional dance.

“Many people are unaware of the Chinese culture or mistake it with other eastern Asian countries,” Wang said. “Since the Chinese culture is underappreciated, I joined the performance to bring awareness of my culture in this diverse school.”

At the end of the performance, Ms. Li picked raffle numbers and invited members from the audience to come to the stage to receive prizes. The prizes included hats, candy and other traditional Chinese toys.

“In the Chinese New Year, it is a tradition for the elders to hand out a red envelope filled with money to their children,” Ms. Li said. “So, we tried to relate it to the raffle by having the raffle numbers in the red envelopes.”

Wang helped with setting up and decorating for the Chinese New Year Event. She said she tried to make the decorations seem as authentic as possible by including a lot of colors and lights.

“My partner in organizing and decorating, Hannah Kim, and I thought of the best way of bringing China to Cypress,” Wang said. “With bright bolts of red and gold, we definitely brought a beautiful and bright look of China to light.”

Immediately after the performance, audience members were invited to a reception in The Wave for the remainder of eighth period, where they could enjoy a traditional Chinese dinner served by the members of the clubs.

“In many celebrations in all culture, a feast is often provided,” Ms. Li said. “This resembles family sit together to celebrate the new year with a big feast, and that is why we includedthe feast.”

Junior Brandon Chin took part in the martial arts and kung fu performances. Chin is in neither club, however, he wanted to participate in the event, anyways. He said he tried to make the performance as thrilling as possible to keep the audience at the edge of their seats.

“To be prepared for the event, I have been practicing my routines at home and at my martial arts academy,” Chin said. “The Chinese New Year is very important to me; in fact, I would say it’s my favorite holiday.”

Chinese culture is very important to Chin, and he said he was very glad it was celebrated at the Bay.

“I feel that Chinese culture is very forgotten and cast to the side. There are also many negative stereotypes that obscure what Chinese culture truly is,” Chin said. “I was eager to participate in this event, so I could educate our school more and I showcase just how beautiful Chinese culture is.”

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