Robotics team qualifies for World Championship



After a long year at work, the robotics team, “Greased Lightning,” qualified for the 2014-2015 First Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship. Only three percent of teams qualified for this tournament. There are 200 teams competing in this category, coming from over 30 countries, ranging from Australia to the Netherlands. The tournament will take place in St. Louis the weekend of April 22.

“It feels really good, especially since last year we made it to super regionals,” vice president Alejandro Munoz Mcdonald, a senior, said.  “We wanted go further than we had gone before.”

Club sponsor and founder Angela Ashley said the team received the motivate award which made them eligible for the world championship. This award has to do with motivating people to be interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activity.

This year’s world competition is called the Cascade Effect. Each team is required to assemble a robot that will retrieve plastic balls from dispensers in the center of the playing field. Upon doing that, the robots have to score the balls into specific rolling goals, which vary in height. In this particular event, there is a two-minute remote control portion, as well as a 30 second autonomous period.

Ms. Ashley said the robot is always being updated. It takes time to produce the end result.

“Once a year they will be given the task, and the task will be complex enough so that the robot won’t be able to do everything by the first tournament,” she said.

“We will have design goals for each tournament, and the robot will get more advanced from tournament to tournament.”

She said building a robot is a strenuous task, and without the consistent dedication of her members, the club would not have this kind of success.

“They never stop working,” she said. “It is a 365 day competition so as soon as this year ends, we already start working on next year.”

While building the final robot takes months to complete, president Savanna Lipke said there are many other factors to being successful at competitions.  Judges critique spirit, costume, and passion.

“We are ‘50s themed, and we all have costumes which intrigues judges,” she said.

Since the club was founded six years ago, Ms. Ashley said the robotics in general, as well as the club itself, has become more popular among teenagers. There were only six members when the club started, and now over 40 kids are paying members.  Over this time period, the South Florida region has grown from just three or four teams to over 40 plus teams.

Next year is the premiere of the Robotics class.  If interested in signing up for this course, see Ms. Ashley in room 838.


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Tri M Music Honor Society sells ice cream for fundraiser


Tri M Music Honor Society is selling popsicles every Wednesday under the catwalk after school until 3:30 p.m. to raise money for the club. The members are selling ice pops for $1 each and Klondike bars and Drumsticks for $2 each. All of the money is going toward helping fund events and activities for next year.

IMG_9890“We want to make as much money as possible so we can satisfy our members next year,” said president Sarah Rothbard, a junior. “We’re hoping to make enough money so our members can go to All-State if they make it.”

Member Sabrina Kim, a junior, organized the fundraiser.

“The goal is to help raise funds for next year so we can have more events,” she said. “We want to chords and pins for the seniors for graduation because they’ve dedicated so much of their time and effort to the club.”

The members must sign up to sell a week in advance. They get points toward the club for each day that they sell the popsicles.

“We’ve sold out multiple times,” Kim said. “People seem to really like having a refreshment after school.”

Tri M adviser Bradley Franks said so far the club has been successfully selling the popsicles.

“The members have been really good with volunteering to sell,” Mr. Franks said. “They’re so organized, which helps to make the whole process run as smoothly as possible.”

Rothbard said the club is planning on doing more fundraisers like this one since it was so successful.

“We have lots of plans for next year,” Rothbard said. “This fundraiser will definitely help us for the future.”

Rothbard said she is happy the club can treat the seniors.

“It’s nice that we can support the seniors this year,” Rothbard said. “Hopefully, we can raise a lot of money so we can host some special events next year, since we’re going to have a lot of seniors.”

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Auto Club fixes, sells cars for fundraiser


Senior Michael Raymond founded Cypress Bay’s Auto Club two years ago. The club is an organization where students can learn how to fix and maintain a vehicle. The club relies exclusively on donated cars. During the year, the club holds fundraisers to finance the cost of the repairs they perform on the project car. Once the car is completed, the club sells it and donates the money to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD.) auto club

“This year we got a Mini Cooper donated by the owner of the Lexus of Pembroke Pines and many other dealerships. We are hoping to be lucky enough to fix and sell this car and donate fifty percent of the money to MADD,” Raymond said.

MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization working to protect families from drunk drivers, and prevent drunk driving accidents everywhere. Raymond says it was a natural fit for the Auto Club.

“We are worried about all the underage drinking and driving kids are doing. It’s sad to see some kids being so careless and reckless.” Raymond said.

Nick Montecalvo, a teacher at Cypress Bay High School, has been helping the Auto Club since it started. He used to be a mechanic and was certified in Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Mr. Montecalvo said that he does a lot of the more rigorous work on the car while the students watch and learn.

“My goal is for everyone to learn about cars while we are working on them,” he said. “I want them to know what we’re doing, when we’re doing it.”

According to Raymond, there are about seven different officers in the club who have different specialties.

“We all know different things about cars, and we have our different areas of knowledge, so we hope to have the Mini Cooper almost done by the end of the year,” he said.

Raymond and Mr. Montecalvo know that the car has many problems and they won’t be able to make it perfect.

“All we want is to fix it up to the point where we can sell it for a good deal, and get a new project car to work on,” said Mr. Montecalvo.

Raymond says he is thankful for all the experiences he’s had since starting the auto club.

“I have learned so much more about cars and how to raise money than ever before,” Raymond said. “I have met many new people in the car business, and throughout the MADD organization. Donating money to MADD gives me a reason to continue what I’m doing. I’m not just raising money to spend on a project car, but to donate to a charity that cares.”

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French Honor Society collects plastic caps for charity


The French Honor Society (FHS) is currently holding a fundraiser, Caps of Love, in which students donate plastic caps from water bottles in order to donate an electric wheelchair to someone in need. Senior Laura Munevar, FHS president, began the fundraiser on Feb. 5.

“In previous years, officers had talked about doing more charity work, and this year as president, I took the responsibility to provide new events to service people in need,” Munevar said. “I did some research and came to know that the organization, Caps Of Love, had actually begun in France and had then spread to the United States.”use

The caps that are donated are then sold to Blue Grass Recycling. With the money produced there, an electric wheelchair is purchased and then given to someone in need of one. Munevar said the goal is to collect up to 1,000 caps.

“The organization is in charge of giving the wheelchair to the disabled recipient, but we just take the initial step of collecting the caps and sending them to the recycling company,” Munevar said.

Although members of French Honor Society would be the only recipients of service hours in return for donations, everyone is encouraged to donate caps.

“I believe members do feel as if they are making a difference,” said senior Camille Chabeneix, FHS vice president. “Once you see the pictures on the website showing kids in the wheelchairs, it is impacting,”

So far, members have donated gallon-sized bags, and officers are hopeful that more donations are to come, Munevar said.

“Although the counting process is time consuming and difficult, we have received a vast amount of caps, and we are sure there will be more donations,” Chabeneix said.

Cap donations are not only useful for the primary cause of giving a wheelchair, but also help keep a green environment.

“Not only are we helping the environment by recycling caps, but we are also contributing to those in need by providing a wheelchair,” Munevar said. “With everyone’s collaboration, we can make a difference.”

Caps may be donated to sponsor Ms. Valdes in room 456. The deadline for the fundraiser has not yet been decided.

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English Honor Society accepting entries for poetry contest


English Honor Society (EHS) is hosting a love-themed poetry contest until March 6. The first-place prize will be $100, the second-place prize $75, and the third-place prize $50. EHS will be not be accepting any more entries after March 6. 17171

EHS sponsor Cecilia Fonseca said she is excited to witness what students can bring to the table when she judges this contest. In order for a student’s work to be submitted, his or her poem must be 20 lines in length and have rhyming verses.

Mrs. Fonseca said with the theme of the contest being love, students are able to get very creative.

“From the students, I am expecting the traditional and hopefully the not-so-traditional. For example, the love of pizza, etc.,” Mrs. Fonseca said.

Mrs. Fonseca also added that almost every academic year, EHS puts on contests like the Short Story contest and other competitions that allow students to expand and test their knowledge in the field of English. These contests try to encourage students to be more involved in writing.

“This contest was formed to give students another opportunity to engage in a literary contest. We had the Short Story, so why not Poetry?” Mrs. Fonseca said.

She anticipates around 50 to 65 students will enter the contest. In the Short Story contest, there was a slightly higher number of participants, but because this contest is a new one, participation may be lower.

“The participation in this contest really depends on how interested the Creative Writing classes are,” Mrs. Fonseca said. “For the Short Story contest, all three winners came from Ms. [Joyce] Seigel’s class. Not even English Honor Society had a high number of entries.”

Freshman Alexia Young has entered a piece of her poetry into this contest. When writing, her inspiration will come to her at random times, and when an idea arises, she will utilize it to her best ability, Young said.

“I entered my work in this contest because I like to write poetry and thought it would be something fun for me to do and hopefully there will be a good result from it,” she said. “I am able to test my strengths against these students, and if I win, it looks good on my college application.”

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Tri-M honor society tutors middle school students


Tri-M music honor society holds music tutoring sessions at Falcon Cove Middle School every Thursday at 4 p.m. to help students with their music and to cultivate interest in the band program as they come to high school. There are usually around 15 tutors and students combined who attend. IMG_9522

“We help them with anything they need, whether it’s with a piece they’ve been working on or something stylistic like dynamics and articulation,” said junior Alissa Kushner, the tutoring organizer.

The members not only help the band students if they are struggling with their instruments, but also they help drama students with their productions.

“I like being a role model for the students,” Kushner said. “I feel like they look up to us, which is a really great feeling.”

President Sarah Rothbard said that a member would typically assist a younger student who plays the same instrument.

“I play the flute, so I would normally help someone if they need help on the flute, but we can all really help with any instrument,” said Rothbard, a junior.

She said she and her fellow members try to make the tutoring sessions fun for everyone.

“I know I have a good time when I go because I enjoy giving back to the students and helping my possible future band family,” Rothbard said. “The students clearly like it as well because they keep coming back each week, and they convince their friends to come too.”

Sixth grader Christopher Melman plays the trumpet. He said he enjoys learning from the mentors.

“They’re really good role models for me,” Melman said. “I want to continue with band in high school so I can be like them.”

Tri-M advisor Bradley Franks said he supports the members’ decision to help the middle school students.

IMG_9521“They’re all such great students,” Mr. Franks said. “They help the younger students so much, which is great to see.”

Tri-M secretary Sami Orlando said the experience is rewarding.

“They’ve all improved so much, and it’s nice to think that we can be a part of that,” said Orlando, a senior.

The ultimate goal for the students, especially the eighth graders, is to improve and reach a level so they can join the band at the Bay and possibly qualify for all-state and all-county competitions for their instruments.

“We’ve had a number of band members make All-State and All-County in the past,” Orlando said. “Some of the these up-and-coming middle school students definitely have the potential to make it far.”

Sophomore Julia Dwyer said she enjoys helping the younger students.

“It wasn’t so long ago when we were in their position,” Dwyer said. “I wish I could have had someone to help me with my instrument when I was in middle school.”

Sophomore Brianna Costantino said she has seen Melman and the students improve tremendously on their instruments.

“I’m amazed with how much we’ve been able to help them,” she said. “They’ve matured so much and I hope they continue on to thrive in whatever they do.”

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Model United Nations attends competition at UF


The Model United Nations (MUN) team participated in Gator Model United Nations, the largest MUN competition in the state, at the University of Florida on Jan. 30. Students from all over the country competed, and junior Kendra Blandon, one of the winners, said the Bay’s MUN was looking to get its name out in the MUN world.

“We put a lot of work into the competition, and it was just a fun time for everyone participating,” Blandon said. Submittedby Kendra Blandon

Two students from the Bay placed. Blandon, the president of external affairs, received best position paper in the Social Humanitarian Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), and senior Jesus Barker got an honorable mention representing Austria in the European Union committee.

“The competition was amazing,” Blandon said. “It was MUN’s first overnight trip, and we were ecstatic to get our name out there.”

Sophomore Julio Lemus represented the country of Syria in the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), which is a category in which students discuss nuclear power while representing their assigned countries. He said he felt like a delegate of the country after researching and learning all about Syria.

“By researching my country and learning about the history, I was able to help my country reach its full potential in the meeting,” he said.

Lemus said the competition wasn’t just about representing countries and learning about them. It was also about learning to work together and make new friends that share a similar interest of discussing ongoing events around the world.

image3“The competition was a great way to meet people from all over America. Not only did we discuss current world problems, but also we came together as a group to find resolutions,” he said. “I took part in this conference to share my ideas with students from all over the country.”

The MUN team practices weekly, but the week before the conference, the 10 members practiced almost every day.

“We put a lot of work into the competition, and it was just a fun time for everyone participating,” Blandon said. “We gave speeches, learned parliamentary procedure and wrote position papers.”

Timothy Petraitis, adviser of the team, helped the students prepare for the competition. Although he does assist the students with general information, he encourages them to run the club themselves.

“I’m not as involved as most people might think I would be. I do it on purpose because I want it to be all the kids,” Mr. Petraitis said. “The club is pretty much run by itself. I only provide assistance when I can.”

Mr. Petraitis said he felt the students would do well since they love talking about the issues discussed in MUN and taking part in the club.

“Even though the result was not what I was hoping for, I think the students benefitted from this and will always improve at the next upcoming competitions at FIU and UM,” he said.

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Literary Club encourages students to read


During Literary Week students at the Bay were encouraged to sign up for Literary Club’s Race to Read, an event that is held throughout Broward County and promotes reading.

Race to Read is an event in which students volunteered to stay after school on Jan. 28 to read for 20 minutes, with an incentive of free pizza afterwards, said Joyce Seigel, Literary Club sponsor and English department chair.

“It was more disappointing than I wanted it to be because only a handful of kids from each lunch showed up during or after school,” Mrs. Seigel said. “But, then again, other activities like tutoring were taking place at the same time.”

Lexi Stoloff, Literary Club treasurer, said students were given the opportunity to sign up during their lunches in Mrs. Seigel’s classroom; only 15 students from each lunch could sign up.

“Although attendance was small, Literary Club will probably have another race in hopes that it will inspire more students to read for pleasure,” Mrs. Seigel said.

Stoloff, like Mrs. Seigel, expected more students to participate in the event.

“I was surprised that only 24 students showed up, but maybe the next time we plan this event we can advertise it throughout the school a little more than we did,” Stoloff said.

Mrs. Seigel said that everyone who came and participated was rewarded with pizza.

“We paid for the event with the Literary Club’s funds, so there wasn’t really anything other than the pizza that we had to pay for,” Stoloff said.

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Catholics in Action to volunteer with senior citizens


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Harry Potter Club to host movie night fundraiser


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

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

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

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

All funds will go toward the Alliance.

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

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