ASL hold Valentine’s Day social for members


American Sign Language (ASL) Club held its annual Valentine’s Day social filled with ice cream, games and activities, in portable 33 on Feb. 11. The 25 members of the club attended the social and received snacks along with further information on upcoming events.

“I feel like the club has really taken off this year. We have so many more members now,” senior Samantha Fanells said. “It’s nice to have a social like this because we really get to meet everyone and make more friends.”

During the social, ASL Club played Valentine’s Day-themed games such as having to balance candy hearts on a stick as they traveled to place their hearts in the cup. The team with the most Candy hearts in its cup won the game.

“This allows the members to bond and if they can bond and create friendships now it makes it so much more meaningful when they work together on other projects the club does,” ASL club sponsor Allison Coombs said.

After the games and ice cream, ASL officers talked about ways to get involved in the deaf community such as deaf community service and book readings.

“The best part of learning the language is getting practical experience,” ASL adviser Allison Coombs said. “Going out to deaf events gives students the opportunity to practice the language.”

Junior Sophia Hrassnigg, president of ASL, said this event was held because it is a fun way to show the club’s appreciation for its members along with informing them.

“The event was something the officers and I wanted to do,” Hrassnigg said.

“We wanted something fun for the members to show that they did work really hard.”

When members walked in, they were greeted with an ice cream bar set up with chocolate and vanilla. They could chose from toppings such as hot fudge, candy and whipped cream. Club member, freshman Madison Liebman said the desserts were appreciated and brought a fun atmosphere.

“I really like ice cream, so it was a lot of fun to be able to come and enjoy it with other club members.” Leibman said. We all had a great time eating and hanging out.”

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beach cleanup

Wildlife Protection Club attends beach cleaup


The Wildlife Protection Club (WPC) went to John U Lloyd Beach State Park on Jan. 16 for its second beach cleanup of the year and to spread awareness about the environment. Ten people attended the event, which was open to members and nonmembers.

“Cleaning up the beach was really rewarding because not only did we have fun at the beach, [but also] we were helping the environment,” said club president Hannah Gutner.

Gutner said it’s important to clean up beaches, because people litter without realizing how it affects the animals.

“People don’t realize how severely a small piece of plastic can harm an animal when they throw their trash on the ground,” she said.

Club sponsor Amy Lupu said turtles eat the trash people leave behind and choke and often times die.beach cleanup

“Going out and cleaning the beach sets the example for others to care for the environment as well,” Ms. Lupu said.

WPC Vice President Camila Lim Hing said she always attends beach cleanups because she is very passionate about being an active member of the community.

“This is not my first beach clean up, and I’ve participated in many other beach clean ups with other clubs not affiliated with WPC,” Lim Hing said. “Not to mention I take a trash bag and pick up any trash when I go to the beach on my own time.”

Unlike the last beach clean up, WPC hosted a barbecue after as a reward for cleaning up the beach and a bonding experience.

“The barbecue is something we have never done before, and it was a really fun way to get club members and nonmembers acquainted,” Gutner said.

Club member Caitlin Mirabella said this was her first beach cleanup, and it was an eye-opening experience to see all of the litter at the beach.

“The beach was mostly littered with plastic bottle caps, plastic bags and Styrofoam,“ she said. “I didn’t realize how poorly people treat nature, and I was shocked to realize how much trash was around me as I cleaned up.”

Mirabella said she is glad she attended because she had a great and memorable time with the club.

“Even though I couldn’t stay for the barbecue, I still had a lot of fun cleaning up the beach, and I can’t wait to attend the next one,” she said.

Like Mirabella, Club member Mason Eiss said he had a great time cleaning up the beach, the barbecue was his favorite part of the event.

“The barbecue was a great addition to the event because it provides delicious food, a great atmosphere to meet the members and a nice reward after cleaning the beach,” he said.

WPC plans on having another beach cleanup in March.

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Short story contest offers monetary prize to students


As the English Honor Society’s (EHS) annual short story contest began its 12th cycle, so did students creating short stories to the set theme. Several students had the opportunity to write a short story under the topic “I opened the door and out came…” with the chance of winning the first place prize of $100, the second place prize of $75 or the third place prize of $50.

“The purpose of the short story contest is to allow Cypress Bay students to showcase their talents in a competitive, yet friendly atmosphere,” EHS sponsor Cecilia Fonseca said. “At the same time, they are able to reap a monetary reward.”

EHS Vice President Jacob Wilentz came up with the theme. He said he chose this because he wanted the writer to continue the topic by filling in the blank with any idea he or she desired.

“In my creative writing class, we wrote a story around the theme, ‘I opened the box and out came…’” Wilentz said. “The topic was very successful and we saw a lot of great ideas. It will be cool to see people express themselves differently through the same sentence.”

Although EHS ran the contest, any student was eligible to enter.

“As much as I love EHS students entering the contest, I would love to see students outside of EHS enter as well,” Mrs. Fonseca said

Sophomore Rotimi Odewole, who is not a member of EHS, entered the contest because he enjoys creative writing.

“I’ve been writing since I was young because it’s something I thoroughly enjoy,” Odewole said. “I thought, why not give it a shot.”

Even though there was a cash prize, Odewole said he was not competing for the cash prize.

“I hope to win not only for the recognition but also for people to know that this is something I can do and something I am good at,” Odewole said.

EHS continues to host these writing contests, such as an upcoming poetry contest, to allow students to profess their love of writing.

“We encourage and want to see how one line can be interpreted in a million different ways,” Wilentz said. “Everyone in Cypress Bay can use that line in a different and unique way to make a really cool story.”

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Debate team shines at Sunvite tournament

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 2.27.01 PMBY MARISSA BABITZ

The debate team traveled to Nova Southeastern to compete against more than a thousand students from Jan. 8-10. Twenty-six competitors made it to the finals rounds and seven students placed in the top five in their respective categories.

“We had a fantastic time and brought a very young team to a national tournament, and everyone stepped up to the plate,” debate coach Jesus Caro said.

Mr. Caro said he was impressed by the success of the only two freshmen, Noah Rabinovitch in Impromptu Speaking and Ambreen Imran in Congressional Debate, to compete with the team at Sunvite since they had to go against varsity members in their events.

“There weren’t any novice rounds, so breaking to finals as freshmen sets them up for success in the rest of their debate careers.”

Rabinovitch said he learned a lot from watching other people at the tournament.

“People from different schools around the country have different speaking styles, so it was really beneficial to get the chance to watch them,” he said.

Rabinovitch said he plans to compete in Sunvite again next year in Impromptu and Oratory.

“I want to improve in Oratory the rest of the year and hopefully break next year when I compete,” he said.

Juniors Michael Valladares and Emily Wen won first place for their Duo Interpretation performance about homosexual abuse and discrimination.

“We started practicing about a month in advance and we acted out a scene portraying how love trumps hate.”

Although Wen competed at Sunvite last year, it was the first time for Valladares.

“It was nerve-racking because it’s a national tournament, but we practiced a lot, so we were pretty prepared,” Valladares said. “We both do theatre and drama, so we are comfortable performing in front of a crowd.”

Valladares said he enjoyed watching teams from other school because he got to learn about different debate styles while being entertained.

“Duo is different because it’s not confined to humor or drama, so it’s always interesting to watch,” he said.

Sophomore Hannah Kang broke to finals, winning four out of the six rounds in Lincoln Douglas debate. She said although it was her second time competing at Sunvite, this year was a completely different experience since she competed as a freshman last year. 

“This year I competed against sophomores, juniors, and seniors; so it was a lot more difficult.” she said. “Last year when I competed I was considered a novice, so I only competed against freshmen.”

Kang said even though it was difficult, she plans to compete again next year.

“I really like going to Sunvite because our team typically does really well, and I like meeting debaters from other teams,” she said. “Next year I want to strive to do even better and eventually try to win first place.”

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Photo Club holds ‘Photo Phun Night’ for students and parents


The Photo Club hosted its annual “Photo Phun Night” fundraiser on Nov. 18 in room 160 to raise money for art and photography supplies. More than 30 students and parents attended, and the club raised over $200.

“’Photo Phun Night’ is a great fundraiser because the club can raise money for art and photography supplies while teaching specialized techniques to attendants,” senior officer Angelica Herrera said.

Since October, members of Photo Club have been preparing for “Photo Phun Night”.

“To prepare we have to choose which stations would be the most interesting and easiest for new members,” said Elizabeth Jenkins, photo club adviser.

During the event, there was a photo booth set up where people could decide between having a space or beach background.

“I thought the photo booth was a great idea. It seemed like everyone put a lot of effort into it,” said Judy Inhofe, mother of junior Erin Inhofe.

In addition to the photo booth, the club set up Photoshop tutorials, transfer images, darkroom photography and mobile photography stations around the classroom to teach students.

“We decided which stations to set up because they were the most interesting and easiest activities for new members,” senior officer Jesus Rojas said.

Different officers of the club were at each station to demonstrate how each type of photography is used and to show participants how easily they can create their very own art.

“I love to see people’s faces when they see the pictures they have created” Rojas said.

Restaurants like La Toretta, Pei Wei and Starbucks donated food for the night for everyone to enjoy.  Each Photo Club event, officers ask for donations from restaurants in Weston; they typically get four to six sponsors per event.

“The food turned out wonderfully and we are very thankful for the generous donations from the restaurants,” Herrera said.

Ms. Jenkins said she is proud the event turned out very well.  She said she considers the night a success.

“The turn out for ‘Photo Phun Night’ was great, and I was very glad to see everyone having so much fun learning about photography,” Ms. Jenkins said.

The next Photo Club event is it’s photo expo, where the club members go to the Broward County Library and put up pictures they have taken. This will take place in March.

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Dance Club Ally Polner

New Dance Club helps build self-esteem


Dance Club Ally PolnerIn an effort to help build confidence and to teach members to become better dancers, freshmen co-presidents Jordan Pelegrin and Kim Orelus started Dance club.

“This club helps build self-esteem by showing people that if they have a desire to dance, they can fulfill that desire in Dance club,” Orelus said.

Members learn a new dance combination every meeting. It also focuses on community service projects such as helping underprivileged kids and teaching students from other schools how to dance.

“It’s not only a great benefit to the school, but also to the community,” Pelegrin said.

Students are not required to have any prior dance experience to join. Pelegrin said the club provides a chance to learn how to dance and improve the member’s dancing skills.

“All the board members are trained for at least four years and will work together to make a dance combination easy and fun for the whole club,” Pelegrin said.

Each month during all four lunches, the members will be participating in a flash mob to get the school energized and keep the school spirit going.

“We do not have all our ideas for the flash mob yet, but we are hoping everyone can come out and join us in all of our activities because it is a great bonding experience,” Orelus said. “It’s not only to learn for fun, but also to show off dance moves and use them.”

In addition to working on flash mobs every month, members will go to Children’s Harbor Place to teach underprivileged kids dances and play games with them.

“The children’s Harbor Place will be a good place to volunteer,” Pelegrin said. “The children there don’t really get to do a lot of extracurricular activities, and this is a good way to just have fun with cute kids and make them happy.”

Orelus said she is looking forward to the upcoming year.

“I hope to have fun and dance all types of dances with our club members and be able to teach people dances they want to learn,” Orelus said.

Freshman Danielle Rudolph said she cannot wait for the next meeting and to learn a new dance routine.

“I love to dance and I want to be a larger part of the school,” Rudolph said. “This is a great way to meet new people that like the same things I do.”

Sponsor Hope Fisher said that the club is going to grow and become very popular.

“The dance club will be popular because all students who have an interest in dance may enhance their self-expression through movement on a regular basis,” Mrs. Fisher said. “Participating in our community outreach program will give underprivileged children the opportunity to explore their individuality through dance.”

Mrs. Fisher said she is excited to share dance all around the school.

“My daughter has a passion for dance and, as a club advisor, I have the opportunity to share her love of dance with others,” Mrs. Fisher said.

The Dance Club meets every Wednesday. The next meeting is Dec. 2.


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Interact club holds ‘Polaroids for Polio’


IMG_0484Members of the Interact club held a “Polaroids for Polio” event during all four lunches to raise money to help fight polio on Oct. 30. “Polaroids for Polio” allowed each student to donate a dollar in exchange for a Polaroid picture.

“I think ‘Polaroids for Polio’ really catches people’s attention so you can get a good memory. It is good for an organization and it is out of your normal territory,” senior Ariana Serrano, historian of Interact, said. “It is just mutually beneficial.”

The goal of “Polaroids for Polio” is to raise money for research to eliminate polio around the world. With every dollar, two vaccinations are provided to someone in need.

“This idea is extremely successful, and we are hoping to expand it to other schools,” sponsor of Interact Brandon Boswell said. “By donating, the kids can help out a lot.”

The club raised $70 and Serrano said she considers this a success. Interact plans on doing this event again next year.

“We wanted to bring it back this year hoping to create more funds to give to Rotary [ Interact’s country-wide sponsor],” Serrano said. “Honestly we’re just happy to raise as much as we can raise. We hope to promote more next year.”

Serrano said it was a long process to plan the event. However, in the end, she said it was worth it.

“We had to first get project approval, and then we moved on to creating signs to grab people’s attention,” Serrano said. “After getting all the supplies for the event we were finished.”

Along with getting a picture, students also received an insight on the polio disease.

“Before, I wasn’t really aware what exactly polio was, and honestly, I didn’t really care,” freshman Mariel Pulido said. “I just wanted a picture with my friend. But when I spoke to the officers of the club I realized how big of an issue polio is, and that we can help do something about it.”

Mr. Boswell said he is proud of the “Polaroids for Polio” campaign, because it will make a difference in the long run to end polio.

“Although the kids don’t understand that they are supporting polio, they really are,” Mr. Boswell said. “Indirectly, it’s a kind of win-win [scenario].”

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SGA hosts BCASC meeting


The Bay’s Student Government Association (SGA) was selected to hold a monthly Broward County Association of Student Council (BCASC) meeting on Oct. 15.

At the meeting students from the different schools discussed future projects such as homecoming and Honor Flight, where SGA sends World War II veterans to visit the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.

Sophomore Emilie Vargas said the meeting was more of a business-oriented meeting than a fun one.

“These meetings are an essential part of how SGA runs around the county. In these meetings, we are able to discuss what topics or ideas the BCASC officers would like to inform the schools about,” she said.

The Bay’s SGA hosts the meeting once every three to four years. Executive Director of the Florida Association of Student Council (FASC), Michael Roland, selected the Bay’s SGA to host the meeting out of 36 schools in the district.

“The meeting was informative and helpful to the SGA members of Cypress Bay and the other schools of this county,” said Asher Michelson, SGA member.

Like Michelson, Vargas said the meeting allowed for schools to share ideas and improve upon current projects. Vargas also believed the meeting was helpful for newer SGA chapters to share ideas and improve upon current projects.

“The meeting was very productive,” Vargas said. “Not only were we able to elaborate on what our school is doing, but also we were able to hear and compare it to what other schools were doing.”

There were two guest speakers: one from the Red Cross and the other from the Humane Society. The Red Cross hoped to get the different chapters of student government to get CPR certified, and the Humane Society wanted the schools to donate supplies to the foundation.

SGA member Katie Keene said at the end there is a part of the meeting in which each school says what they do.

“The ‘At My School’ segment’s topic was homecoming, in which each school sends a representative up to the stage to give a brief summary on what they are doing for their homecoming week and dance” she said. “I love this part of the meeting, because we were able to hear the variety in what each school was doing.”

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Debate team succeeds at Bulldog Invitational tournament


Fifty-five members of the DeBayte team traveled to G. Holmes Braddock High School in Miami to compete in the Bulldog Invitational on Sept. 12. The policy team won first second and third place in competitions.

“This was a local competition, so while the stakes weren’t as high and the competition wasn’t as tough, it still served as great practice for future competitions,” junior Shawn Hatchwell said.

Hatchwell has competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years, and he said he feels that there is something to be learned from this competition.

“I need to pay much more attention to the amount of time I spend in my speeches responding to certain arguments and how I allocate my speech time in general,” he said.

Hatchwell competed in five rounds of Lincoln Douglas debate, winning three to two.

“While I did well in the tournament, I feel like there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Ms. Fiebrantz, the Bay’s newest debate teacher said she is always excited for a good competition, and Braddock was no exception.

“They give students an opportunity to show their strengths; they’re very competitive,” she said.

The team prepared for competitions at debate camps over the summer at Dartmouth College for policy and Boston University for public forum.

“They were anywhere between two and seven weeks,” Ms. Fiebrantz said. “They went to a university and just worked on debates. It shows their dedication, which shows that they’re determined.”

Practices for the teams covered everything expected to come up during the season, and how to better themselves to work toward their common goal.

“We focused on individual responsibility, what they’re doing, how it’s happening. The captains had practices every week. We do practice debates and speeches,” Ms. Fiebrantz said.

Howard Ki and his partner Alice Viera won first place in policy debate.

“I felt great, it was a good start for the year,” Ki said. “We set a good precedent.”

Ki attributes his success at the Bulldog Invitational to the skills he gained at Wake Forrest, a prior competition.

“Wake Forrest was like a testing ground and we were able to get some arguments down to do well at Braddock,” he said. “We learned how to work with your team, how they help you, you help them.”

Viera said Braddock helped her emphasize the importance of being proficient in one’s argument.

“Success in debate depends on how well you’re able to adapt to another team’s other arguments and come up with your own out of scratch, even in the fact of arguments that you have no prior experience with,” Viera said.

Viera committed hours of research to come up with arguments and anticipate opponents’ arguments. She and Ki collaborated with one another in coming up with what they would present to the judges at Braddock.

“My passion for debate pushed me to put in a lot of work into winning this tournament because local tournaments, especially ones this early in the year, serve as good indicators towards how the rest of the year is going to play out,” Viera said.

Viera said that she wants to get into the mindset that will allow her to achieve national success later on.

“Braddock served as the kickoff for this year’s debate season, and therefore I knew that doing work and being able to place would get me ready to work more,” she said.

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Juan Paniza

Mu Alpha Theta excels at National Convention



After weeks of practicing, members of Mu Alpha Theta (MAO) placed fourth overall at the MAO National Convention from July 17-24 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Students competed in three rounds of competition indifferent math subjects ranging from geometry to statistics.

“Our team members work so hard throughout the year individually and in a group setting,” MAO sponsor Jessica Stillman said. “Students spend a week doing math and building friendships Juan Panizawith other members of our school and other schools.”

Senior and president of MAO David Li was proud of his accomplishments in the competitions, especially statistics. Li won second place.

“It felt great winning,” Li said. “I competed because the subject was one of my favorite classes.”

Participating in the MAO National Convention was an unforgettable experience for junior Jalen Jiang. He participated in the pre-calculus division, took tests in algorithms, trigonometry and applications. He also contributed to a team round.

“It was amazing to be with these several hundred students who share a passion in math with me, to be surrounded by the beautiful Utah landscape and make many lasting memories and friends in a single week,” Jiang said.

Students prepared for the MAO National Convention by taking released tests that were given in previous years at the National Convention.

“Practicing makes a huge difference in performance,” Jiang said. “We can be sure of what to expect on those tests.”

Jiang said entering competitions is more than just about winning trophies.

“I’ve come to realize I have a competitive spirit but also a growing appreciation for meeting new people and making friends,” Jiang said. “There are few things that combine competition and camaraderie as well as Mu Alpha Theta.”

Next year MAO anticipates on going to the MAO National Convention once again at Washington University in St. Louis from July 10-15.

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