Saying goodbye as siblings leave for college


Junior Drew Marsh walks through his house and looks into his brother’s vacant room. His brother Jake recently left for Syracuse University leaving Drew as the oldest of the three remaining siblings in the house.

“It’s weird because I’m so used to him being the one going to school with me every day, and now the tables have turned where I’m the older brother taking my younger brother to school every day,” Marsh said.

[caption id="attachment_5493" align="alignleft" width="200" class=" "]Freshman Gaby Gorwitz poses with her older brother, Matt, who left for the University of Florida this fall. Freshman Gaby Gorwitz poses with her older brother, Matt, who left for the University of Florida this fall.[/caption]

As older siblings go off to college, students learn to cope with the changes in their families.

“Since I only had one brother at home this year, because the other one was already at college, I’m going to miss having my only other sibling around,” freshman Gabi Gorwitz said.

Gorwitz’s brother Matthew left for the University of Florida while the other one is already a sophomore at Duke University.

“I never really noticed how fast time goes by and how to appreciate all the little things. I’m going to miss spending so much time with my brother,” Gorwitz said.

Other students went out of state for college instead of staying in Florida.

“It kind of sucks because over the years we got closer as we both grew up, and now that were at that age where we’re finally closer he left for college,” Marsh said. “At the same time I’m really proud of him that he got into the Newhouse school of Public Communications at Syracuse and he’s doing what he wanted to do.”

Guidance counselor Sheryll Wilson said the effect of a sibling’s departure is affected by many factors including if they go in state or out of state.

“I’m sure it’s hard on younger siblings because they’re used to their older siblings being in their lives and then they’re gone.” Mrs. Wilson said.

Freshman Taylor Lessem said that her parents had mixed emotions towards their son Justin’s departure to the University of Florida.

“They were really upset because he was their first child, but at the same time they’re really happy for him because they know that he’s really happy, and he loves UF,” Lessem said.

Marsh said although it was tough to say goodbye to his brother, he knows that college will help his older brother in the future.

“We’re super proud of him and all he’s accomplished over the past few years and we’re just happy that he’s at college doing something he wants to do,” Marsh said.

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AP Psychology department welcomes three new teachers



The AP Psychology department introduced Lynda Lorie, Dr. Sheryl Sugerman, and Cecilia Fonseca to its team this year, in addition to David Geller, who has already been teaching the course.

Not only is it Ms. Lorie’s first year teaching psychology, but also teaching in general.

“Last year I was here, but I was a sub in the Dell lab, and I just started reading about it and I felt like I would be good in that area,” Ms. Lorie said. “It’s really interesting, and all my students seem to be really interested in it, so it makes the whole overall experience more interesting for everybody.”

[caption id="attachment_5478" align="alignleft" width="300" class=" "]AP Psychology teacher Lynda Lorie AP Psychology teacher Lynda Lorie[/caption]

Before working at the Bay, Ms. Lorie used to produce concerts with Gulfstream Park. She said the artists she worked with mostly came from the classic rock genre and included the Goo Goo Dolls, Pat Benatar, the Who, and America.

Dr. Sugerman worked in the Exceptional Student Education department at the Bay, and decided to teach AP Psychology last year in order to help high school students understand themselves more.

“There’s a lot of interacting and being with students who are able to think at a critical level and have discussions about topics, which is different than what I had previously because I would talk to my kids, but at a different level,” Dr. Sugerman said.

Dr. Sugerman has a degree in Psychology, (in addition to Child Development, Special Education, and Elementary Education) and has also taught psychology to college students at Nova Southeastern University.

“I like the understanding of how and why we do what we do, and I really thought teaching psychology to high school students would allow them to understand themselves better and understand how they learn, how they think, and why they do what they do,” Dr. Sugerman said.

[caption id="attachment_5386" align="alignright" width="300" class=" "]AP Psychology teacher Cecilia Fonseca AP Psychology teacher Cecilia Fonseca[/caption]

Ms. Fonseca is also new to the psychology department, yet she has taught and still teaches English 2 Honors in addition to being the sponsor of English Honor Society at the Bay.

“After we changed schedules, teaching six sections of English 2 Honors became not only difficult to manage, but repetitive,” Ms. Fonseca said in an email interview. “Having the psychology classes allows me to shift my work mode. It’s like doing housework and then suddenly going outside and walking the dog. Both are chores, but the break, the difference, allows for enjoyment. Psychology is fascinating, and it offers me the ability to grow as a professional.”

Mr. Geller has been teaching AP Psychology at the Bay for 11 years. He said he enjoys his new colleagues and is most looking forward to seeing the exam scores this year, as they dipped lower than normal last year.

[caption id="attachment_5484" align="alignleft" width="300" class=" "]AP Psychology teacher Dr. Sheryl Sugerman AP Psychology teacher Dr. Sheryl Sugerman[/caption]

“I really like the new psych teachers that Mr. Neely has hired to teach the subject,” Mr. Geller said. “They’re all very motivated, very capable.”

Social Studies department head Scott Selvidge said he is also enthusiastic about the new psychology team.

“I think the new members of the Social Studies department are going to be fantastic. I think they are going to be enthusiastically embraced,” Mr. Selvidge said. “I think their students are going to appreciate what they bring to the table, and I suspect they will have a great, successful pass rate come test time.”

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Teen volunteers at wildlife center


[caption id="attachment_5467" align="alignright" width="168" class=" "]Exotic animals like the Sugar Glider (above) find refuge in the South Florida Wildlife Center. Exotic animals like the Sugar Glider (above) find refuge in the South Florida Wildlife Center.[/caption]

After years of loving exotic animals, junior Harumy Sanchez decided to dedicate her extra time to the non-profit organization South Florida Wildlife center.

Needing volunteer hours, Sanchez looked into many animal rescue programs, but she decided on the wildlife center located in Fort Lauderdale because of her hope to one day be a marine biologist.

“I feel this chance will help me experience day to day activities a marine biologist or wildlife veterinarian would go through,” Sanchez said. “I already signed a paper dedicating 40 hours to this center and I’m really excited to learn as much as I can.”

Amber McPherson, who is in charge of the volunteers at the center said that this program offers many possibilities.

“There are three different internship opportunities available to be involved with including Rotational, Wildlife Nursery and Animal Care,” Mrs. McPherson said. “We also have three full time veterinarians on staff and have ambulance drivers that rescue injured wildlife in the tri-county area.”

Sanchez said that because the center is a rehabilitation program, there are nearly 13,000 animals a year and 255 different species at the facility. Being that there are so many animals, Sanchez said she always gets the opportunity to work with different species daily.

“New animals are constantly coming in and going out, so I always get to see and learn about unique animals,” Sanchez said. “Currently, I have looked after squirrels, parrots, pigeons, raccoons and ducks.”

Sanchez has a normal routine at which she follows to make sure she gets all her responsibilities done.

“I make sure to keep track of everything I do and balance my time,” Sanchez said. “I first give the parrots food, then I fill up all the water cups and after everyone is fed I clean all the dishes.”

Sanchez said she enjoys working in the nursery section of the program, where she feeds and maintains the growth of all the baby animals.

“A really cool job I was assigned to do was syringe feed 27 baby squirrels,” Sanchez said. “I also had to look after baby raccoons, which I never had seen until this day.”

Working at the center for three months, Sanchez said that

she loves how she is able to watch the animals in the nursery grow up.

[caption id="attachment_5470" align="alignleft" width="225" class=" "]Junior Harumy Sanchez Junior Harumy Sanchez[/caption]

“I start with animals when they’re so young, that they can’t even eat by themselves,” Sanchez said. “I then watch them go through different stages of life, the last being when they are released.”

The hardest part about working at the center Sanchez said is not being allowed to talk or play with the animals.

“When I started the program I was really excited to be able to interact with the unique animals present,” Sanchez said. “I was quickly told by staff on sight I was not to excessively touch or talk to any of the animals because I could imprint on them.”

While working with animals Sanchez soon learned she had to be very emotionally stable, because of the occasional deaths that occurred throughout the animal’s process of rehabilitation.

“Any animal can die at any given moment, and usually it will be very unexpected,” Sanchez said. “Animals usually pass away not because of an injury, but an internal illness we aren’t able to catch right away.”

After completing 50 service hours, Sanchez will have the opportunity to intern with a veterinarian on site.

“If I do continue volunteering here, I will have the opportunity to follow around a veterinarian throughout their day. This includes surgeries, checkups and any releases of animals he or she has planned.” Sanchez said.

Mrs. McPherson said this program is taken very serious and is only targeted for people who are ready to work, such as Sanchez.

“We only allow volunteers with drive and dedication to come in weekly and assist staff in the daily care of these patients,” McPherson said. “Volunteers must work, both independently and as a team, to help provide the best care we can for the patients.”

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Current students welcome freshmen siblings


As freshmen move into a new chapter in their lives, some have older siblings already at the Bay to help their transition into high school. Freshman Gabby Tirado said she is very glad that she has her sister Natalya Tirado to help her around the school.

“Having an older sibling really made things a lot easier because she showed me all around the school,” Gabby said. “It’s a lot easier to get around because I have her and her friends to sit with at lunch in case I get lonely or bored of my friends.”

[caption id="attachment_5451" align="alignright" width="331"]Senior Natalya Tirado welcomes her sister Gaby to her first year at the Bay. Senior Natalya Tirado welcomes her sister Gaby to her first year at the Bay.[/caption]

Gabby said she is thankful for many things, one of them being that she doesn’t have to take the bus because she gets rides to and from school. She also talked about having the same teacher as her sister.

“I have ceramics with my sister’s old teacher, Mr. McKnight, so that was pretty cool that he had her and now me,” she said.

Senior Natalya Tirado said that she enjoys having her sister go to the same school.

“It’s nice being able to walk in with her, meet in between classes and talk about the same things that happen around school,” Natalya said. “I like being able to help her pick her classes and guide her in a good direction for the remainder of her years.”

Senior Juandi Yanez also has his brother Nico at the same school for the first time.

“It’s sometimes annoying having him here because he texts me all the time asking where the bus is and where his next classes are,” Juandi said.

Freshman Nico said it’s comforting to have someone here to help him out.

“My brother is president of the fashion club so I know that you can get service hours really easily,” Nico said. “A lot of my friends talk about my brother and know him, so being here with him is pretty awesome.”

Freshman Hannah Vargas’ older sister Emma is a senior.

“The school is so big that I really never get to see her,” Hannah said, “but it’s cool having a senior as a sister because she knows so much about the school and so many people in it. I get to see her friends and it’s comforting to see familiar faces in such a big school.”

Emma said she doesn’t see her sister that much throughout the day but loves having her on campus.

“Although I don’t really get to see her that much during the day because our classes are so different, it’s nice knowing she’s here with me and can enjoy high school with me for one last year,” she said.

Junior Dani Urrea helps her younger brother Alejandro throughout the day.

“It’s kind of sad to watch my brother grow up so fast, but at least I’m here and know that I can be there for him if he needs help with anything,” Urrea said. “People swear we’re twins so it’s also fun to see people’s reactions around the school.”

Alejandro agrees it’s a benefit.

“I know some of her friends so they helped me around and explained all the things I needed to know,” Urrea said. “I’m happy she can help me with my first two years at this school.”


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Personal connections to foreign lands keep students globally aware



[caption id="attachment_5434" align="alignright" width="251"]Seniors Yuval Shmul and Lauren White meet up in Israel this past July. Seniors Yuval Shmul and Lauren White meet up in Israel this past July.[/caption]

Sirens blared through the streets of Eilat, Israel as senior Yuval Shmul darted to the nearest bomb shelter. A rocket shard hit her building, shattering the window of a room of girls from her program.

Shmul, a native Israeli, did not have the summer she expected. The bombing in this Middle East warzone affected her and her family.

“You are not scared for yourself,” Shmul said. “You are scared for your friends, your family and for the country. I never felt personally scared. I never felt like I was in danger or would be killed by a rocket, but the whole conflict is nerve-wracking.”

Over 4,500 students on one high school campus equates to a diverse student body. From Venezuela to Russia, students at Cypress Bay are affected by global conflict.

Six weeks in Israel, two with family and four training with the Israel Defense Forces, led Shmul to form a stronger relationship with her hometown.

“The experience we have unites us,” she said. “I feel more connected to the people there and more connected to the land itself. It is not a religious connection, but more to the culture of Judaism and to the culture of being Israeli.”

As the conflict in the Gaza Strip escalated, Shmul and the people at her program shied away from problematic areas such as Tel Aviv.

“It was chaotic,” she said. “My best friend Lauren White was also there at the same time. One night the escalations got really bad and she called me very upset on the phone, which made me upset. You don’t know what to do in the moment or what is going to happen tomorrow.”

Since it was her first time in Israel, senior Lauren White called Shmul for comfort when she sprinted to the bomb shelter.

“The first thing that came to my mind was Yuval,” said White who attended the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program. While all of my friends were crying and calling their parents, I called her and it was reassuring to know I wasn’t alone.”

Instead of hiding from bombs in Israel during the summer, senior Maria Marin was on the opposite end of the world seeing first-hand the struggles and disparity in Venezuela when she visited her family and friends. She said people were desperate for basics like rice and milk.

“It was very sad to see such a beautiful country get to where it has at such a fast pace,” Marin said. “All we can do is help my family who is still there and supply them with goods that can’t be found anymore.”

For years, Marin feared going to Venezuela.

[caption id="attachment_5429" align="alignleft" width="449" class=" "]In Venezuela, senior Maria Marin poses with her country's flag. In Venezuela, senior Maria Marin wears a gas mask to protect herself from gas bombs in the area.[/caption]

Her father was kidnapped for 16 hours at Maiquetia International Airport when she was 6-years-old. The kidnappers also threatened to harm Marin and her brother.

Despite the political unrest and security concerns in Venezuela today, Marin travels every other month to visit family and friends. She said she can travel with comfort since she has learned to live on alert.

“When you’re there you always have to think of every possible thing that can happen and just be as low key as possible,” she said. “We always have someone watching over us and we have bulletproof cars just in case.”

Sophomore Alexa Schummer ventured to Caracas, Venezuela this summer to see her family who is living in fear.venezuela3

“My family no longer feels safe in such a dangerous city,” she said. “They want to leave the country and I feel angered more than anything that the beauty that Venezuela once had has basically been demolished and by the lack of human rights given to the citizens.”

With her mom from Belarus and her dad from Uzbekistan, senior Samantha Gedihovich has a strong Russian background, causing her to keep close watch on that part of the world. Although she wasn’t born in Russia, Gedihovich stays up-to-date with the disputes in Russia through her television screen.

“I can connect to the issue in Russia on a deeper level because I know that in a different reality, I could easily have been born there and be suffering right now,” Gedihovich said. “I am so thankful I was born in such an amazing country, but I can still empathize with the people that reside there.”

#SOSVenezuela and other trends on Twitter relating to international conflicts have helped to spread awareness of these global happenings, Marin said.

“People can see how Venezuelans are desperate for help,” she said. “Hopefully, the Chavistas, the people who work for the government, realize that it’s not all about money and power, but it’s about their kids’ futures and security. If we stay the way we are now, things will get worse and there will be much more chaos.”

Instead of tweeting, Shmul created a blog called Every Voice, Every Conflict to spread awareness.

“My friends and I started a blog for people dealing with conflicts in Israel and Syria if they want to share their perspectives as teenagers,” she said. “It is not what you hear on the news or from adults.”

Although social media outlets can help spread global awareness, Shmul said she avoids it because it is controversial.

“I shy away from using social media for political purposes,” she said. “I see people post articles about Israel. I enjoy reading the articles, and it is interesting to see other perspectives, some of which I obviously do not agree with.”

Seeing news updates and posts on her Twitter feed about the changing conflict in Israel, Shmul worries about her family.

“My aunt in Israel has four kids, the youngest being a year old,” she said. “It is scary because she usually doesn’t have them for the majority of the day, so she doesn’t know what will happen if a siren goes off. My grandma lives there too and is over it. She knows how to deal with it. It is scary but they know they are protected and nothing will happen to them.”

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Seen On Campus: Garbage



The Circuit takes a closer look at a trend seen on campus through still photography and video footage.

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Dressing for success on test days



For freshmanLauren Bodden, test days are a day to dress down into sweatpants and a hoodie. Sophomore Arianne Eskenazi, on the other hand, likes to dress up for tests in order to be more inspired.

Either way, after students have finished all their studying, they have one more thing to think about: what to wear.

Eskenazi is one of the students who would rather dress up for tests.

“I feel lazy if I wear, for example, sweatpants and a tank top,” Eskenazi said. “I feel it helps me do better on the test.”

Eskenazi’s outfit for a test day includes jeans, a nice topand lots of jewelry. She said she will always wear earrings to a test, and that having rings on is especially important to her.

“I dress up for myself. I really think it helps me do better in school,” she said. “I feel better when I dress up nicely. Most people think the exact opposite, but it works for me.”

Eskenazi said dressing classy is the best thing to do. She said if she were to wear a sweatshirt to school then it would feel as if she were supposed to be at home sick.

“The saying ‘dress for success’ describes me perfectly,” she said. “I feel and look better when I dress up. I do better on tests this way.”

Sophomore Ricardo Lacruz said hechooses to dress in his lucky clothing, which usually consists of his black t-shirt and khakis.

“The way I dress is comfortable, and that allows me to focus on my test,” he said. “I do better on tests when I wear my lucky clothing.”

On days when Lacruz does not have tests, he said he will try to dress fancier. He started wearing his lucky outfit when he did well on a difficult test at the beginning of the year.

“I don’t know many people who have a lucky shirt, but I think clearer and feel more relaxed on tests when I am wearing it,” he said.

Contrary to Eskenazi, sophomore Martin Abasto said he chooses to dress down for tests. His outfit for a test consists of cargo shorts, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt.

“It’s comfortable and sometimes, most of the time, it’s really cold in classrooms, so not only is the hoodie comfortable but it keeps me warm,” he said. “I could never take a test if I was freezing cold.”

Mathematics teacher Harry Marshall is one who has noticed this trend.

“I’ve come to realize that on test days the majority of students come in comfortable clothing, which is understandable,” he said. “It tends to be cold in the classroom, so students will come in wearing sweaters.”

Abasto said his wardrobe for a test does not vary much from what he wears on a day-to-day basis. His everyday outfit will consist of shorts or long pants and a shirt.

“It’s really important to me that I have a hoodie for the test. I dress the way I do for tests because it helps me do better,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessary to dress up for a test. My main focus that day will be the test, so I might as well dress comfortably.”

Bodden is like Abasto in that she believes that dressing down for a test is ideal. She said her outfit for a test will consist of a sweatshirt and sweatpants.

“I feel more comfortable in sweat pants and a hoodie because it feels like I’m at home instead of at school,” she said. “Test days are the type of days when right after I just want to sleep, so dressing the way I do allows me to do that.”

Bodden said she will not wear any jewelry for test days, and that she will dress fancier for non-test days. She said that she does not have to impress anyone the day of a test, so she can dress how she likes.

“I think that dressing comfortably plays a big role in how I do on the test,” she said. “I think that the way I dress does help me do better.”

Although Bodden and Abasto believe that the way they dress for a test influences how well they do, senior Rebecca Kravitz believes the opposite.

“I don’t dress differently on test days,” she said. “I only dress differently when I’m tired, which is not necessarily a test day.”

Kravitz’s everyday outfit will consist of shorts and a nice shirt and this does not vary on a test day.

“I don’t think that they way I dress plays a role in how well I do on the test,” she said. “It doesn’t change anything.”

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Battle of the beverages: Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks



It was a bright Monday morning and just like always, junior Stephanie Moreno needed her caffeine boost to start the morning. As she walked into Starbucks, Moreno happily waited in line to order her drink before school.

Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are among the two most popular hot spots for students to get coffee and some students at the Bay display strong opinions of their favorite choice.

“Starbucks has much more of a variety of drinks, which is why I would choose Starbucks over Dunkin any day,” Moreno said. “The atmosphere is just of a typical coffee shop, which is why I love it. Dunkin has a few different types of coffee, but Starbucks has so many more different specialty drinks, not to mention the secret menu.”

Moreno said she goes to Starbucks at least three times a week and gets her favorite Java Chip Frappuccino every time.

“The creativity of the drinks and all the different flavors is just mind-blowing,” Moreno said.

On the other hand, junior Morgan Adler said she prefers Dunkin Donuts because Starbucks drinks are simply too fattening.

“I hate coffee and that’s literally all Starbucks has, not to mention that each drink there is so many calories,” she said. “It’s just gross.”

Adler also said she likes how Dunkin Donuts doesn’t just focus on drinks but also serves pastries, bagels, donuts, sandwiches and muffins.

“Even though Starbucks has some foods and sandwiches, the choices are so limited that it just doesn’t compare to Dunkin,” she said.

Sophomore Luisa Rodrigues said even though she likes both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks, she prefers Starbucks.

“I actually go to them both, but I prefer Starbucks over Dunkin,” Rodrigues said. “Starbucks is just such a great little cafe because you can go to get a drink and then stay to do school work or have a study session with friends.”

Rodrigues also said she really loves how Starbucks has an appreciation for their workers, animals and environment.

“Starbucks is a fair trade company, which means they respect the workers and animals that are used to give Starbucks the materials they need to make their products,” she said. “They’re treated fairly and are paid and treated respectably. Knowing that, it makes me want to go more.”

Rodrigues said she still rotates every morning between Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks but is satisfied wherever she goes.

Junior Natalia Angel said Starbucks is also her preferred place because of the specialty drinks.

“I’m not really a coffee lover, but my favorite drinks are from Starbucks,” she said. “I always get the Vanilla Bean Frappucino with the lemon cake.”

Angel says even though she likes Dunkin Donuts as well, she really likes lemon, and Dunkin Donuts doesn’t really have any lemon-flavored products.

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Senior pursues passion of playing harp



Senior Olivia Aleguas discovered one passion through the inability to perform another.

Although ballet is an important part of Aleguas’ life, constant injuries three years ago forced her to stop and take a longer break period than usual. She took advantage of this time out and began a new journey into the world of playing the harp.

“There are just so many things about playing the harp that make it the best thing. Just getting to have the opportunity to perform for others, for example,” Aleguas said.

The larger-than-usual instrument comes in a variety of sizes and costs. Harps will often range from a price of $3,000 to $189,000 depending on the model. Aleguas’ harp weighs about 45 pounds and stands three inches taller than she. Her instrument is considered small enough to carry; however, other harps often call for specialized carts for specific models.

Even though the harp is a cumbersome instrument to carry around, Aleguas chose the harp due to a unique song done by a singer under the stage name of Gregory and the Hawk.

“Meredith Godreau’s song ‘Landscape’ was actually the song that inspired me to play,” Aleguas said. “I ended up playing for the talent show this year. It was a really big accomplishment for me to be able to play the song that inspired me.”

Playing at the talent show for the Bay Factor also turned out to be one of the most important moments for Aleguas since she originally was not going to perform due to a car accident earlier that week. Knowing that the performance was for a good cause, Aleguas decided to continue with the show despite being shaken by the recent car accident.

“The energy from the crowd was amazing. Their reaction to my performance was just the motivation I needed after the accident,” Aleguas said. “It was a great night filled with friends and encouragement. Definitely a night that I will never forget.”

Playing for the talent show at the Bay has not been her only performance. Aleguas has also done volunteer performances at community centers.

“I always try to do volunteer performances when I can because I think it’s important to spread music,” she said. “I just want to continue playing for as long as I can and hopefully teach others.”

By playing at places in the community such as retirement homes, nature centers, and libraries, Aleguas said new people become exposed to her music and instrument.

“I think it’s really important to get it out there and try to inspire others,” she said.

Aleguas is not alone in these beliefs. Her harp teacher Charlene Conner performs with Aleguas at the American Harp Society’s community concerts. Ms. Conner, also president of the South Florida Chapter in the American Harp Society, exudes pride in Aleguas’ skills.

“Olivia is a very dedicated and fine harpist and a well rounded person with many strengths,” Ms. Conner said.

Aleguas has also spread inspiration and emotion into her family with her playing. Aleguas’ sister, sophomore Marisa Aleguas, said Olivia exudes raw beauty in her playing.

“Olivia’s playing inspires me to work hard and rise up to my full potential as she demonstrates she has done with each and every song,” Marisa said.

Marisa said her sister is able to portray intelligence and a bubbly, genuine personality behind every note. As she listens at home, Marisa is able to feel Olivia’s attitude, cheerfulness, and concentration behind every note during any practice.

Aleguas is able to deliver lyrical performances, which involve singing as well. In the end, she said her disadvantage in ballet created a new advantage in the unusual instrument of the harp by expressing herself in a way other than words.

“There are just so many things about playing the harp that make it the best thing. Just getting to have the opportunity to perform for others,” she said, “that’s probably the biggest thing that I like about playing the harp.”

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Bitcoins get mixed reviews as online currency

BY COLE WINTONbitcoingraphic

A new form of virtual currency known as bitcoins has become more widely used. Bitcoins don’t physically exist. They have to be purchased from a computer.

“It’s a form of virtual currency that you mine with your computer,” sophomore Jordan Press said. “The faster your computer, the quicker you can mine them.”

With a stronger computer and better Internet connection, bitcoins can be added to an account, which functions similarly to a PayPal account, at a faster rate.  Someone looking to buy bitcoins simply has to go to and click on the “create a wallet” button.

“People use their computer’s processing power to get this currency from a program,” Press said.

Bitcoins don’t function and aren’t supported like normal currency.  They aren’t heavily regulated, as an unknown amount of them exists, and they are exchanged for objects, not necessarily cash.

“It’s a decentralized currency that doesn’t have a main bank. It’s created by users,” senior Omer Bensaadon said.

Junior Justin Krumper pointed out that the Sacramento Kings basketball team currently accepts bitcoins as payment for tickets and merchandise.  The bitcoin store can be accessed at  From there, checkout is completed normally, using a bitcoin account rather than a PayPal account or credit card number.

People don’t just use bitcoins to buy items online.  They also can make money strictly off of investing in the company.

“I think it’s a good way to invest,” Bensaadon said. “I was about to buy some bitcoins. I thought they would go down, but the next day they shot up to $1,000. I had the account set up and everything but they became too expensive.”

Bitcoins provide a certain benefit that normal currencies don’t: users can buy and sell bitcoins anonymously, as the currency can’t be traced due to its encryption.  Crypto-currency has no central bank and can’t be easily traced.

“I think they’re good,” Bensaadon said. “I think everything that doesn’t require government regulation is probably a good thing so I can do whatever I want with it.”

Due to the fact that its movement can’t be tracked, users exploit the currency in illegal ways.  The Silk Road, an online drug market, accepts bitcoins as payment. The currency was also in the news recently because of the theft of bitcoins.

There are mixed opinions on the impact of bitcoins. While some students say they are beneficial, others argue that they are misused.

“It’s both good and bad. They are a form of currency that is available to you all the time, but if you need to pay for something cash-wise, it’s going to be hard considering you invest all this money in an online currency,” Krumper said.

Even though Press recognizes the dangers of bitcoins, like people using them for illegal purposes, he still thinks there can be benefits.

“They can be good because some people like having their privacy and security,” he said.

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