Gap year grants self reflection



While some students at the Bay are sending college applications and preparing to further their education at a university, other students have decided upon another route in the form of taking a gap year. Senior Mikayil Verdiyev said he opts to experience life outside of a classroom after graduation.

“I want to take a gap year to take a break from formal education such as sitting in a classroom,” Verdiyev said. “I want to increase self-awareness about myself versus learning about something.”

When taking his year off, Verdiyev said he wants to visit France and other countries. Rather than learn in a traditional class setting, he said he wants to gain knowledge by travelling the world and meeting new people.

“I love France and everything it has to offer,” Verdiyev said. “I want to travel around Europe and [its] neighbouring countries to see what’s out there such as scenery and history.”

Verdiyev said he also wants to utilize this year off to explore career paths and alternate opportunities for his future.

“My gap year is not the end of my education,” Verdiyev said. “I want to thrive as a person and learn about myself, then I plan to come home and study whatever I end up falling in love with.”

Since Verdiyev intends on moving out of the country, he said he must grapple with the idea of leaving his life in Florida behind.

“There’s a lot out there in the world, you just have to find it,” Verdiyev said. “Moving to France will allow be to expand my horizons at least in cultural experiences.”

Guidance Counselor Melissa Boorom said taking a gap year can be beneficial depending on the student. She said gap years can open the doors to many opportunities if the time off is used wisely.

“Gap years can lead to success in oneself,” Boorom said. “It can lead to many opportunities and experiences, but college can also.”

According to Boorom, while some students are ready to go to college and start their future careers, it’s okay for students who are undecided to explore.

“Some students need time to decide what they want to become,” Boorom said. “College isn’t for everyone, but there is always something out there for every person.”

Whether it’s attending a college or travelling the world, Boorom said all of the graduates will be learning something new.

“It’s beneficial if taking the year off of school to work in your desired field for a year,” Boorom said. “This is a gain either way, students go and they come back learning something new.”

While gap year students are not enrolled in classes, Boorom said students typically take this year off for exploration and self-realization wherein they are learning beyond what a general classroom can teach them.

“Travel is a great thing because there is no rush for a college education, especially if you have a great opportunity waiting for you,” Boorom said. “No matter what, I would definitely recommend finding your passion.”

While Boorom said she believes college right after high school graduation is a logical path, she said any route the students embark upon will further their knowledge and aid them in future careers.

“No matter what path you follow, there will always be a gain in the experience,” Boorom said.

When it comes to her future, senior Naiara Amarante said she is not ready to commit to anything. She said she wants to leave her options open and travel the world.

“I’d like to take a gap year because I don’t feel ready to commit to one major, one school and one schedule just yet,” Amarante said. “I want to find out what I really want in life first.”

Taking a gap year, Amarante said, seems like the perfect time to decide what she wants to do for the rest of her life. She said there is no need to rush or make a final decision on something she is unsure about.

“During my gap year, I hope to get out there on my own and volunteer for a few organizations here in South Florida, the Caribbean, Canada and Brazil that work with animal health and research,” Amarante said.

With her year off, Amarante said she hopes to further explore her true passion: animals. She said she wants to focus on the caretaking of animals and study their environments.

“I believe this [experience] can benefit me by giving me more exposure to a field I might want to pursue later in life,” Amarante said.

As she will not only explore the animal world during her gap year, Amarante said she will mature greatly by delving into an independent lifestyle and a load of new responsibilities straight after high school.

“I want to gain the experience I need to feel confident on my own in the real world,” Amarante said. “The doubts about what I want to do in the future go away within that time.”

After her gap year, Amarante said she plans on going to college. Once a year passes, she said she hopes to have a clearer view of her future and in what she plans to major.

“My gap year isn’t because I am tired of education,” Amarante said. “It’s a continuation to finding my life’s purpose and my road to success.”



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Mrs. Nascimento

The Outlet: Danielle Nascimento

In this issue’s recurring segment that gives students an opportunity to learn more about the teachers they see every day, staffer Rachel Supnick interviews Student Government Association (SGA) and Interior Design 3 and 4 teacher Danielle Nascimento.

How did you first get involved with SGA?

I’ve been involved in [SGA] since third grade. I was super involved through elementary school, middle school and then high school. I held officer positions throughout [the time I was involved]; it was my high school passion. After college, I became a teacher and started teaching [DECA] here at Cypress. When I started, I was very interested in SGA and was always asking around about the program because I did not see that it was very active; the adviser just had a different way of running things than I was used to. Fortunately for me, the adviser retired and the position became available. I spoke to Mr. Neely about it and I was fortunate enough to get the job.

How did you begin teaching Interior Design?

Interior Design has always been a hobby of mine. About ten years ago, the county decided to start Broward’s first Interior Design program here [at the Bay]. I am in the current technical department and I had heard of [the program], so I went and got certified in it and here I am teaching it.

Is it ever difficult to transition teaching back and forth between the SGA and Interior Design?

Actually no, because [both classes] are similar and different in many ways. They are both creative, which is my favorite part about both of them, but Interior Design is not as stressful as SGA. For me, [Interior Design] is a nice change from the fast pace of SGA.

Before you decided to become a teacher, what was your dream career?

I wanted to be a doctor for many years, until I went to college. Then I realized with that job I was not going to be able to be creative and that was really important to me. For a while after that, I saw myself being an entertainment publicist.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

[My favorite part of teaching is] that every day is different. Every day is a new lesson and a new experience with the students and each day is what I make of it. Obviously teaching SGA every day is going to be different because every day we are planning something new, which I think is different than traditional teaching.

Outside of school, what is your favorite thing to do in your free time and why?

Shopping is my favorite. Retail therapy does wonders. I love walking around Target and the mall. Usually by myself is my favorite because I can spend as much time in any store that I want.

Who is your number one role model and why?

My grandfather [is my number one role model]. He has always been somebody who prides himself on having a very strong work ethic and doing things the right way all the time. Even if it takes more time [and] effort, you should always do things right and give it your all.

What do you want students to take away from your classes?

I want [my students] to take away some leadership skills. In SGA, I would like them to walk away feeling like they are organized and prepared to handle and plan anything in their life, whether in their future jobs or personal lives. In Interior Design, I would [hope that] those of them who are going off to be Interior Designers feel like they are light-years ahead of people their age who also have that same dream.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

[The advice I would give to my high school self is] don’t freak out about the bigger picture because it all works out. As a kid, you think everything is the end of the world, and as you get older you realize it is really not. When you are stressed out, it is going to be for a moment in time. [My advice would be] do not freak out and make a plan and attack it, versus thinking that the world is caving in, because at the end of the day, everything is going to be okay.

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Personality Profile: Annabelle Arteaga


As a child, junior Annabelle Arteaga said she was the only person in her family who liked watching political debates. As a result, she was always well informed about politics and current issues and believes she could be the person to solve society’s problems.

Because of this passion, she joined Model United Nations (MUN) two years ago. MUN is an extracurricular activity at the Bay, where student’s role play as the delegates of certain nations and discuss current world issues.

“I love Model UN here and it makes me feel like I am a part of the community and family at the Bay,” Arteaga said. “It gives me a feel of what daily work would be like if I studied international relations, and that is one of the reasons why I love the club so much. It not only has allowed me to meet great people, but I also have learned about current and social skills.”

Arteaga attended Saint Thomas Aquinas from sixth grade to freshman year. When she started attending the Bay, she joined MUN after she read an article about how clubs could change students’ high school experiences.

“The article was kind of an eye-opener. I never had been part of anything like that and I started to feel like I was missing out,” Arteaga said. “I just had to join something. I began looking into clubs, and I had a feeling that MUN would be a good choice. It allowed me to become friends with people who liked things that I did too.”

Arteaga said changing schools has been one of the best decisions she has ever made. She said she met amazing people and found some of her best friends.

“The people at the club helped me grow accustomed to Cypress. They were all really welcoming and kind to me,” Arteaga said. “I felt really comfortable being around people who wanted to do the same thing as me and pushed me to work for it.”

In addition to the friends Arteaga made in the club, she said she formed a strong relationship with MUN’s advisor Timothy Petritis. Petritis said he appreciates all that she does for the club.

“We found Annabelle in a box in front of the classroom, wrapped up in blankets and we took her in. Eventually she became secretary,” Petritis said. “She is the messenger between the club members and me.”

According to Arteaga, she felt like she could do more to help.  As a result, she decided to run for vice president of the club. However, she did not get the position she wanted and instead got secretary.

“At first I was not sure if I wanted to be secretary [because] it was not the position I wanted,” Arteaga said. “[However], it has allowed me to always keep in touch with people in the club and [make me] feel like I am doing something for the club that has done so much for me.”

Arteaga said being secretary has taught her to manage her time better and become more involved in the club. Moreover, she said she wants to study International Relations and that this position looks good on college applications.

“The club has helped me expand my knowledge of International Relations,” Arteaga said. “It allows me to know more of what is going on in the world and helps me learn how to deal with all kinds of people.”

Like Arteaga, Petritis said being part of MUN helps students to better shape their futures.

“The club allows students to become well-rounded in diplomacy and learn how to solve issues without violence, which is the whole point of the United Nations,” Petritis said.

Petritis said intelligence agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency as well as the state departments also like to recruit and train students who come out of MUN, as these students have been involved in diplomacy.

“If a student wants a career in the intelligence field, MUN would be a good place to get a background on how all these state and foreign departments work,” Petritis said.

Arteaga said she hopes to work in a foreign agency someday, but for now, she said she would love to attend the University of Florida (UF) because they have an outstanding International Relations and study abroad program.

“There are a lot of school options for International Relations and some of them are really great,” Arteaga said. “Being in the club allows me to gain more opportunities to get into such amazing programs and make all of my dreams come true.”

According to Arteaga, International Relations will allow her to travel to parts of the world that are unrepresented and need to be helped. She said she is the right person to go to for anything, and she loves to help.

“I am one hundred percent focused on continuing to be an officer for Model UN and learning other languages such as Portuguese and Italian,” Arteaga said. “If I want to get into a great program, I’m going to have to work for it. I am not worried, however, because I am such a hard worker.”

Without this club, Arteaga said she would not have been able to settle into the Bay as easily as she did. She said she looks forward to continuing being a member of the club for the rest of her years here.

“Joining Model UN was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Arteaga said. “I know for a fact that I have gained friends for life, and it has helped me feel included [by] doing something that I genuinely love.”


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Out of state colleges offer new opportunities


For junior Pat Ponza, he said it has always been a dream to attend the University of Dundee (UD) in Scotland. While he knows this college is far from home, he said he has wanted to live there throughout his whole life.

“I would like to leave Florida because I feel like I am better suited for the lifestyle in [Scotland],” Ponza said. “[Scotland’s] way of living is more practical [and] their spirit makes me feel welcomed and as if I am in the right place.”

In addition to enjoying Scotland’s atmosphere, Ponza said attending UD would give him the opportunity to more frequently see his family that lives there.

“[My family in Scotland] are third cousins and I want to know more about what part of my culture comes from,” Ponza said.

Besides seeing his family more often, Ponza said he enjoys the various cultural differences between Scotland and Florida and would like to experience them.

“[Scotland’s] landscapes are gorgeous, the attractions and type of architecture are rich, the food is good and the people are kind and welcoming,” Ponza said.

Unlike Ponza, sophomore Olivia Turner said she would like to return to her home state of Pennsylvania for college. Turner would like to go to Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.

“I am originally from Pennsylvania, so I already have an idea of the northern environment,” Turner said. “Pennsylvania State University (PSU) is also a large school and I like larger schools.”

As a football fan, Turner said PSU also appeals to her, as its football team is a part of one of the five major college football conferences.

“PSU has a lot of school spirit, especially for football. Having done cheerleading for seven years, this level of love and support for a team is appealing,” Turner said.

Academically, Turner said she is interested in PSU as the school offers many biology research programs that she would like to try.

“PSU offers a huge variety of research projects. This is good for anyone on a pre-med track because it gives offers some insight into more complex studies in the process of finishing medical school,” Turner said.

College Adviser Shari Bush said she believes about 40 percent of students want to leave Florida for college. However, she said only about 25 percent actually follow through with this.

“For some [students], they want to go back home or to an area where they grew up in,” Bush said. “[Students] have aspirations to try a different culture and experience different types of people.”

While Bush said many students have a desire to attend an out of state college, she said this can often be financially unrealistic. Nonetheless, she said if students have the opportunity to, they should consider the option.

“I think [going out of state] is a great option to explore,” Bush said. “Ultimately, whether it is in state or out of state, I want [students] to be at the place that will make them[students] most happy.”


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Weekend plans ease stress on students



To forget about the stress of the week, junior Sofia Prieto said she counts on weekend concerts. The last one she attended was Shakira’s El Dorado World Tour concert.

“When I go to concerts on weekends, I feel more relaxed because my mind is on the concert and not on the stresses of school work,” Prieto said. “I get to have more fun knowing [that] I do not have an exam the next day.”

Prieto said she never gets tired of going to concerts on the weekend, as she said she makes new memories at each one. She looks forward to collecting souvenirs from the concerts so she can always remember them.

“Whenever I collect my souvenirs, I think back to certain moments when I went to that particular concert,” Prieto said. “For the Shakira concert, I will always remember the line I had to [wait in] to buy it.”

According to Prieto, when she is able to see her favorite artists after school, the experience becomes the highlight of her day. Therefore, knowing she has something to look forward to, helps her get through the week.

“When I [plan to] go to concerts at the end of the week, it makes me want to work harder,” Prieto said. “When I do [work harder], the next thing I know, it is the end of the week.”

Like Prieto, junior Juan Amador said he aims to make memories during the weekend, participating in activities like paintball. Amador said his last paintballing excursion was spent saying goodbye to his friend who was moving away.

“The reason for the party was sad, but I was happy to say goodbye to him on a good note,” Amador said. “[Participating in] paintball was like a real life video game because you have to work with your teammates to accomplish a goal.”

Amador said he likes paintballing on the weekends, as he said he is normally flooded with work during weekdays.

“There is more freedom timewise [on the weekends], since you do not have to go to school the next day,” Amador said. “[Also], on weekends, there are some parks that will let you play in closed stadiums.”

Like Amador, United States History teacher Javier Calderon said he spends his weekends doing outdoor activities, such as playing soccer with his close friends.

“I like playing soccer because I get to bond with my friends,” Calderon said. “Soccer is a physical sport and it takes me back to my youth.”

Additionally, Calderon said playing soccer during the weekends helps him relax after a long school week.

“Soccer is a perfect way to destress on the weekends because it is a physical sport, so it helps keep my mind off of work,” Calderon said.

Although Calderon said he attempts to unwind from the week through physical activity, he said he occasionally becomes stressed when thinking about his workload. He said students undergo a large amount of stress as well and should utilize the weekend to relax.

“[Students] should be allowed to have the weekend to socialize and reduce their stress levels,” Calderon said. “Students should worry less and enjoy the weekend.”


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Dual enrollment enhances learning experiences


Through the dual enrollment program, junior and senior students at the Bay have the ability to take college-level courses outside of school instead of in school. Many students, such as junior Sydney Ure, take advantage of this opportunity.

“I [am taking] United States (U.S.) History online because I want to learn how to study online with a virtual teacher,” Ure said. “I know that there will be a time in college when I have to take a class or two online, and I think this will prepare me.”

Due to her dual enrollment, Ure gets her fourth period off as a privilege period.  She said she takes advantage of the extra time in the afternoon by going straight home and getting her homework done.

“I do not like to slack,” Ure said. “I get my homework done first, and then it allows me to have time in the later afternoon for things like exercising or extra study time for an upcoming test.”

Because Ure has taken all of her classes at the Bay for the past two years, she said switching it up this year meant adjusting to new changes.

“Enrolling in this class has tested my organization skills a lot. You don’t have a teacher reminding you of what and when something is due,” Ure said. “[Therefore], if you do not plan right, then you can end up having mounds of work to do at once.”

Although Ure said dual enrollment has been great so far, she said there are some disadvantages. Without having a physical classroom, she said it can be difficult to stay on track.

“What is really cool about the class is that it finishes in October, but a huge disadvantage of it is that you have to teach yourself everything,” Ure said. “It is challenging to teach yourself a topic that you don’t yet know, but I meet up with other friends who are also taking the class and we learn it together.”

College adviser Shari Bush said she works with many students that dual enroll each year and recognizes the advantages of it.

“I think [dual enrollment] is a good fit for some students,” Bush said. “They can dual enroll and use it to help their grade point average, and some students will take numerous college classes to try and achieve their Associate of Arts degree.”

Dual enrollment has been available at the Bay for at least ten years, as Bush said the school wanted to give students the opportunity to take classes not offered here. She said it is a great program because it teaches students more than just the class itself.

“Dual enrolling teaches students how to be an adult in a college class and [about the] responsibilities that then go with a college class,” Bush said. “Specifically, it is showing up to class on time, turning things in on time or if it is an online class, it means being diligent about checking their class often.”

However, Bush said there are certain issues students need to be able to handle to have this opportunity, including time management, organization and commitment to the class.

“These classes do concern me a bit because sometimes students are taking them while they are taking multiple classes here at the Bay. They do not pay attention to [the dual enrollment] classes as much as they should,” Bush said. “If they end up doing poorly in any of these classes, the grade goes with them to college.”

Like Ure, junior Katalina Enriquez is also dual enrolling in U.S. History because she said she enjoys learning material at her own pace. Moreover, she said she wants to have more available time after school for her other rigorous courses and for dance.

“Having extra time in my schedule leaves me more wiggle room to be flexible with my time,” Enriquez said. “It has taken such a huge amount of stress off my shoulders.”

Because of her positive experience with dual enrollment, Enriquez said she recommends that upcoming juniors and seniors dual enroll and that other schools adopt the program.

“Students that will be juniors and seniors next year should definitely look into dual enrollment. It has been so good for me this year. I feel so much more relaxed and relieved now that I have this extra time to fit everything into my day,” Enriquez said. “Dual enrollment has given me the opportunity to learn from outside sources and I think that other students at different schools should have the same opportunity.”

Whether it is extra time for dance or for herself, Enriquez said dual enrollment has been nothing but beneficial to her.

“I am thankful that The Bay offers dual enrollment because my time taking it so far has been so much more valuable than I initially thought it would be,” Enriquez said. “I seriously cannot imagine going back to a school schedule that does not have dual enrollment.”


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College Circuit: Olivia Gott

Olivia Gott is a student athlete at the prestigious University of Virginia (UVA), located in the town of Charlottesville. 2015 alumna Olivia Gott is currently a senior at the university. She plays softball and is majoring in English. She spoke to The Circuit’s Abbie Ballard.

What is it like being a college athlete?

Being a college athlete is an experience that I wish everyone had the opportunity to fulfill. The people you meet and the relationships you create from softball and other activities are ones that will last forever. I applied to a UVA program called I Am More (IAM) that helped me strengthen my resume and networking skills and make connections to others. Along with all of this, I have had the opportunity to play for an institution that is ranked as one of the most prestigious in America time and time again.

What makes UVA unique?

The community here is very welcoming, spirited, loving, kind and to say the least, happy. I think the reason why I fell in love with Charlottesville so quickly is because it is real life. There is a lot of history here that I do not get to experience when I visit my hometown of Weston, Florida.

Is being an athlete and a student hard to handle? Why?

Being an English major, there is not a lot of outside studying. At times, yes, it is tough. However, if you have a strong foundation that wakes you up every morning ready to attack the day, you can remain athletically eligible. Then, you will find a way to pull your weight in the classroom.

What is your advice to incoming freshman?

My incoming advice to freshman would be to advocate for yourself. You should understand that adaptability is the key to survival and that leadership is a lonely place; however, it is okay to separate yourself from the pack.

What do you love the most about UVA?

At UVA, I am more exposed to what the world is really like. UVA allows me to step outside of my comfort zone and get involved. I am a different person, and for that, I am grateful. Charlottesville is also a very diverse city, which I love.

Why did you choose UVA to continue your athletic and academic career?

I chose UVA because it was the best fit for me academically and athletically. I wanted a school that was very spirited. Yet, in the event that a softball career does not work out, I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree from a school that is well known for academics as well.

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The Outlet: Eric Adzima

In this issue’s recurring segment that gives students an opportunity to learn more about the teachers they see every day, staffer Gowri Abhinanda interviews American History and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) European History teacher Eric Adzima.

What inspired you to become a teacher?


I have always had members of my family that were teachers, so I was born into the profession. From an early age, I was told I would be good at it, and I have always liked academia and working with children.

What interests do you pursue out of the classroom?

[Out of the classroom, I am interested in] music. I’m a big musician. I just cut a third album, Landfill Novelties, and that is what I do with my spare time. I also follow my eight-year-old around.

How has music influenced your life?

Music has influenced my life because of musical appreciation, my love for music and wanting to be involved in something that speaks to me. Writing music helps me focus on the world around me in a different way. I tend to zero in on things in music because I want to express myself in such a way where I can communicate easily. It’s shown me to rethink things.

How have any students impacted your teaching?

I have had many great students that have rewarded my efforts and made me feel like I am accomplishing things. [On the other hand,] I have some students that have given me a hard time; [this has been] a challenge, but they made me figure out how to do things better, such as getting a point across to them which will be important. [The students have] all kinds of personalities. Just like in the real world, you have to bend and flex and make sure you are doing right by a lot of different people. It makes you a better person.

What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?

Every time students write to me and tell me the class has affected them and [that they have] taken the things they have learned in class and used it in the real world, it makes me feel really good.

What would you like your students to take away from your class?

[I want my students to learn] hard work. These classes are not easy. If you want to achieve something, you have to put a lot of effort into it. I want them to take away appreciation for where they come from and their culture. If they are from my American history class, I want them to take away appreciation from their heritage.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is if you do not get something, keep plugging away. Keep working hard. Reinforcement. Reinforcement.

What are your goals and expectations in and out of school this year?

This year I would like to increase my passing rates for my Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) European history class. I would like [my students] to do really well on the test this year. Outside of school, I would like to write the greatest song ever written.

What is your personal outlook on the institution of education and some advice for students out there?

Schools should not be looked at as some boring jumble of courses that you need to survive to succeed; it should be something to enjoy as much as possible. You do not get a whole lot of years in your life to spend with no other reason than to educate yourself. I understand school has a role in preparing you for a potential career, but school and education make you better and well-rounded. Enjoy it while you can and work as hard as you can to be the very best that you can. [It is] pretty simple.

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In Honduras

Alumni Strike: Katherine Fernandez


Alumna Katherine Fernandez, who graduated from the Bay in 2014, went to Honduras this past summer to aid people through a foundation called Humanity and Hope. While there, she said she built homes, taught children at schools, worked on farms and took part in different activities, depending on the village.

“I’m originally from Honduras and I go back to Honduras at least once a year to help out with the communities through other foundations,” Katherine Fernandez said. “When I was helping out in Humanity and Hope, I really enjoyed going back to my home country and helping my people. I know if I were in their position, I would appreciate someone helping me when my situation is as bad as theirs.”

After hearing about Humanity and Hope from her friend, Katherine Fernandez said she was eager to assist. Humanity and Hope assists by funding schools for children and adults to teach them how to work. Recently, the foundation partnered with a coffee factory and came to the aid of the adults in the villages get better jobs to support their families.

“When I first helped the foundation, I was surprised by how many people in Honduras needed our help; but at the same time, I was glad to be a part of something like this that would help change the world,” Katherine Fernandez said. “After this experience, I want to do something bigger than helping one country. I think from now on I want to continue in this foundation and help multiple villages across the world.”

Katherine Fernandez said this experience was amazing, as it opened her eyes to a whole new world.

“This was such a rewarding and an eye-opening experience,” Katherine Fernandez said. “I’ve always been trying to help the community but being in these villages for a week and first- hand experiencing how millions of people live really makes me want to keep doing it as much as I can.”

Through her participation in color guard at the Bay, Katherine Fernandez said she developed many traits that benefited her during her time in Honduras.

“Being in color guard really helped me learn more about my community which helped me during this experience since I had to get out there and help strangers,” Katherine Fernandez said. “We always helped each other and people in other schools out and were there for each other in the good times and the bad.”

Katherine Fernandez said being in color guard forced her to come out of her shell and become more comfortable with talking to others. She said this supported her form better bonds with the villagers while in Honduras.

“At first, I really didn’t want to be in color guard because I felt like I didn’t belong since I wasn’t talking to anyone,” Katherine Fernandez said. “[However], once I got to know my peers, the club really helped me become more comfortable talking to people.”

Katherine Fernandez wasn’t the only one who thought going to Honduras was a good idea. Fernandez’s parents, Hector and Kathe Fernandez, said what their daughter was doing was amazing.

“I think that Katherine doing something like this is amazing. My husband and I stayed in Honduras as well, we helped with other foundations while Katherine worked with Humanity and Hope,” Kathe Fernandez said.

In addition to Color Guard, Katherine Fernandez took Spanish classes and participated in National Honors Society (NHS) while at the Bay. She said out of all her classes, those were the ones that really assisted during her time spent in Honduras.

“For NHS, we did a ton of community service and I loved it which also lead me to want to keep pursuing community service after high school,” Katherine Fernandez said. “As for the Spanish classes, it helped to develop my skills in my native language and it’s always fun to help improve it especially since it’s a language I want to use in the future.”

While working with Humanity and Hope, Katherine Fernandez said she heard stories of how she changed the villagers’ lives. She said she is impressed by the progress Humanity and Hope has made and she hopes to continue positively impacting lives.

“I definitely feel a sense of fulfillment after realizing how much of an impact even small actions can have on these families,” Fernandez said. “Hearing the story of how one family can now go into town with no worries really made my heart smile because I know that I helped them achieve that.”


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Teachers find ways to make class more interesting


Sophomore Jack Ross said he spends most periods glancing at the clock eagerly awaiting the bell to ring, signifying the end of the period. He said he attempts to pay attention to his teachers’ lessons, but if he finds the teacher boring, this is very difficult.

“I’ll have the urge to use my phone or daydream instead of actually learn the lesson,” Ross said.

In earlier years of teaching, Chemistry teacher Elefteria Halivelakis said she could utilize different styles and lesson plans in order to engage students and allow them to be creative. However, now she said many teachers, including herself, have to teach to ensure that their students pass the mandatory exams. She said this can lead to students losing interest.

“When I see my students lose interest, it is my cue to switch things up,” Ms. Halivelakis said. “I like to incorporate other types of learning other than just note taking. This is a great way to redirect their attention.”

According to Ms. Halivelakis, teachers play an essential role in the education of children and the future of the world.  She said she believes that if the students are bored, it results in a poor education. Ms. Halivelakis said it is a good day for a teacher when they see that their students are engrossed in the lesson.

“I typically ask questions in order to maintain satisfactory levels of classroom engagement,” Ms. Halivelakis said.  “Interactive teaching methods are a successful way to connect with students who are accustomed to continual stimulation. If I am having a good time, I know my students are too.”

Like Ms. Halivelakis, Earth Science teacher Katherine McDonald said she tries to incorporate new and fun ways of teaching into her lesson plans.

“Brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory,” Ms. McDonald said.

While Ross said some teaching methods bore him, he said when teachers use a variety of styles, he enjoys class more.

“When teachers switch up their teaching methods, it keeps me much more engaged,” Ross said. “Teachers are preparing us for the future and the less boring the lesson, the more I want to learn.”

Sophomore Esteban Lamar said many of his teachers tend to be boring, similar to the disinteresting way teachers are portrayed in movies and books.

“There are teachers that deliver lessons in a monotone voice and read loudly from the textbook. This truly makes school painful and not as enjoyable,” Lamar said.

Studies from Washington University have shown that most students learn better when the lesson is a discussion or a group activity rather than a power point or speech by the teacher. Sophomore Spencer Levine said he believes this type of active work is beneficial.

“Having a discussion creates involvement by many students, which in theory, means that the students are focused on the current topic or unit,” Levine said.

According to Levine, working in groups is an effective way of keeping students stimulated. Ross said he agrees that he remains more in-tune when engaged in a group project.

“Doing group work helps me stay focused and I feel that I retain the information better,” Ross said.

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