Editorial: Anti-bullying campaigns should continue throughout year

Throughout every high school in the US, some students pretend to be “tough.” They push and shove their way through the halls. They don’t apologize or even care who they hurt.  Instead, they just demand that other students turn over their lunch money, or worse, their dignity. This type of behavior must not be allowed to continue; as a school we must come together.

On Oct. 15, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) conducted their annual “I’m Against Bullying” campaign.  Using the social media app Snapchat, students and others were asked to use a geo-tag to share the message with everyone they could. Celebrities, including Demi Lovato and Ellen DeGeneres, tweeted and posted videos promoting the hashtag “Spirit Day.” Most of the time, however, we just post or scroll numerous messages without considering the true meaning behind the post, or even thinking about the vast resources that social media offers.

While having an “I’m Against Bullying” Campaign is a fantastic first step, just one day of “awareness” is definitely not enough.  This momentum must be broader and expanded to the other 364 days of the year.  Bullying takes place everyday and has become a widespread issue that should be stopped.

The “I’m Against Bullying” Campaign must do more than posting pictures or getting people to retweet catchy slogans and wearing purple on the third Thursday of October every year.  This is simply not enough to stand up to bullying.  Through peer counseling programs or a positive word at a key time, our fellow students must know that they are not alone. By giving our fellow students our support, they will have the confidence to report incidents to the proper authorities.

A notable case of bullying was with teenager Brittany McMillan, whose bullying case received much attention. She turned being a victim into being a victor after she realized what was going on in her life was wrong and wanted to make a change.  Since then, she started the “I’m Against Bullying” program in 2010.

According to stopbullying.gov, 20% of high school students experienced some form of bullying; this includes physical mental or cyber bullying.

Not only do people bully in person, but people also bully behind a screen. Now, rather than hiding behind big muscles, bullies hide behind their computer monitors.  “Cyber bullies” use their keyboards to type mean things to hurt others.  They post unnecessary tweets about them or even pictures of them.  Bullies even make fake profiles to hurt teens.  One example of this was Amanda Todd, who was a cyber bullying victim.  She was forced to expose herself online in a provocative manner and was personally humiliated. After posting a YouTube video describing her experience with flashcards, she could not live with the humiliation and committed suicide. Since then, over 17 million people have viewed her video, which received international attention.

The United States Center for Disease Control reports, “suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year.”

Teens need to feel safe while going to school and should not have to worry about what a bully might say or do to them. They need to be aware of a safe environment and this can be accomplished by defending others when witnessing bullying.  Being a bystander is just as bad or worse than being the bully.  If we just watch these situations, they will keep repeating themselves.

If we “Stand Up Against Bullying” every day instead of just once a year, there will hopefully be change.  Wearing purple for one day is not enough to take a stand against bullying; people need to start taking more of an action every day to end bullying once and for all.

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In My Opinion: Online gambling websites ruin sport culture



Football has become more than a sport to just watch these days.  While people still sit around the table with food and binge watch games all day on Sundays, they are not just watching to cheer on their favorite team.  They are intrigued by the risk and sometimes reward that comes with the betting aspect of football.  The exchange of money is ubiquitous, especially with the recent creations of one-week fantasy leagues through Fanduel and DraftKings, the driving forces in a multi-billion dollar industry.

These online one week “duels” are becoming increasingly popular among the younger population.  Although the age restriction requires users to be of at least 18 years of age, I don’t think it is effective.  Underage users are common because there is no way to police the age of an online gambler.  Betting in a casino, for example, is monitored by the process of checking and scanning IDs, but with these sites all users have to do is get a hold of mom or dads credit card information, tie it to their account, and agree to a consent saying they are at least 18 years old.  As a matter of fact, I see 8-year-olds walking around with their iPhones drafting their teams and setting weekly lineups.  Do they realize what they are doing?  The answer is no.  I don’t think that today’s generation of kids understand the seriousness and danger of gambling, and these sites are only worsening that problem.

Besides easy access from underage users, there is a major cause for concern regarding scandals, unfair advantages, and the close tie between these sites and the National Football League.  Recently, a DraftKings employee, who had private DraftKings data, won $350,000 in a FanDuel matchup. It is a major issue if people have inside information on how to ultimately win match-ups on the site which leads to them winning money.  These sites can also lead to potential bribing of professionals in order to change outcomes for average people.

Most online gambling is illegal, so the real question is: why are these one-week fantasy leagues legal?  Well, these sites aren’t definitively described as Internet gambling.  Professional leagues are in favor of these sites because it helps to gain more viewers and a larger “fan base.”  Furthermore, big networks are investing in these sites because their stations will get more attention.  It is a win-win for the corporation side of things, but a total loss for the culture of sports.

Sports used to be about cheering for the hometown team, or staying committed as a “die hard” fan, but that has all changed.  Now, people root for the quarterback on one team and the wide receiver on another team.  True fans are gone.  Standard fantasy leagues, such as ESPN were the start of this, but the sudden popularity of one-week fantasy leagues has taken it to a whole new level.  As a result, more than 56 million people in North America will play fantasy sports this year, up from 12 million in 2005.  These sites must be banned.

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Flash of Brilliance: Is junior year really as bad as it is said to be?

Yes junior year

Junior year consists of college visits, standardized tests, and a balance between good grades and a social life. With all of these responsibilities, the myth is proven to be true. The transition from one or two Advanced Placement (AP) classes to three or four is definitely a huge wake up call. Strained eyes, tense muscles, and countless nights of insomnia keep many juniors at the Bay stressing out and counting down the days until they are seniors. A very prominent difference between other years compared to junior year is the overbearing amount of ACT and SAT testing and the pressure of college. Junior year is known as the year that counts the most for college; therefore, these words leave an imprint on students to push themselves to try their hardest and be the best that they can be. Although some students can maintain a balance between their responsibilities, other students find it harder to multitask and get everything done. At the end of the day, junior year has definitely earned its reputation of being the most stressful.

-Franki Rosenthal



High school is a time to work hard and succeed to try to get into the best college possible. Yes, high school is an extremely stressful and hectic part of life, but junior year is no harder than any other year. Colleges look at three components of a student’s application: class grades, test scores and extra-curricular activities. Students should be working equally as hard every year to achieve and maintain a well-rounded life. Although junior year is the year to take the SAT and ACT, this should not add on too much stress, because the dates of these tests are always on the weekend and studying should mainly be done over the summer before 11th grade. It’s very important to be able to manage time and high school gives students the opportunity to learn this skill. Time management is something that is learned in freshman and sophomore year and applied to junior and senior year as well as later on in life. So even though junior year has a lot of work, it should be manageable and feel just like all the other years of high school.

– Jenna Rabinovitch

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Suicide awareness needed in schools


Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). There is one death by suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes. Suicide takes the lives of more than 38,000 Americans a year.

September is Suicide Awareness Month. Accordingly, many organizations are fundraising and working together to promote and advertise the importance of suicide prevention.

However, schools are not doing enough to call attention to this important issue.tl-opinion-suicide-awareness-needed-in-schools-001

“Unfortunately, we do not do enough here at our school for suicide prevention, and over the last several years, we have had several students who have committed suicide,” said AP Psychology teacher David Geller. “We need to make students more aware that there are people and resources available to them.”

Because suicide is the “elephant in the room,” schools would much rather have parents worry about their student’s mental health.

“With the increase of more and more students being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, and many times they’re being misdiagnosed, more has to be done,” Geller said. “But the school board and the people in government would much rather push mental health aside and focus on testing.”

Geller said students’ rigorous schedules and course loads definitely contribute and are a link to depression.

“I think seven academic classes puts more pressure and anxiety on the student, and that can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts: ‘I’m not good enough to make the grades,’ ‘I’m not good enough to go to college,’ ” he said.

Guidance Counselor Rosa Mazzocca said suicide is becoming more prevalent in society; therefore, schools need to implement preventive education.

“Schools need to increase awareness due to the fact that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24,” she said. “Students who have been directly impacted by suicide are six times more likely to die from suicide.”

At the Bay, teachers receive a list of warning signs to look for. Guidance counselors encourage teachers to be aware of these signs.

“If a teacher or staff member has any concerns that a student is a threat to himself or herself, the student should be referred to his/her assigned Guidance Counselor as soon as possible,” Mazzocca said. “All suicide threats need to be taken seriously. Students who make suicidal comments are crying out for help. Suicidal threats and suicidal ideation are not about attention seeking.”

Junior class president Max Morales said a lot more can be done in schools for students with depression and suicidal thoughts.

“I think we need to establish a community in a spider web of love and compassion for all these students going through hard times,” he said.

Morales said that we are all humans, and it is important to look out for each other, care for each other and be there for one another.

“There is always that option to take your life. Shakespeare said, ‘We always have the key to unlock this cage of life.’ Some people take that leap over the great cliff, but others take their lives, and it’s killer, because for each time a peer or a friend does that, a part of me dies as well,” Morales said.

Sophomore Madison Jakob said it is important to be there for not only her friends, but for anyone dealing with tough situations and going through difficult times.

“I would talk to my friend and listen to what they had to say no matter what. If what they said was concerning, I would go straight to their parents and make sure they were aware of the issue,” Jakob said. “I’m always there for my friends, and I think more people need to be made aware of a problem that can affect so many. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

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Flash of Brilliance: Are textbooks or tablets better for studying?


Mobile computers, better known as tablets, have revolutionized the way business and work is done. Recently, tablets have been apart of the discussion for replacing textbooks for students. Tablets replacing textbooks have many benefits. The biggest one is how tablets significantly reduce the amount of backpack weight related injuries in students. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, over the course of one school year there were 13,700 kids who were treated for backpack-related injuries. Also, school districts spend more than $8 billion dollars a year on textbooks. With tablets, this reduces this cost dramatically because everything is digital and does not have to be physically printed. The funds saved could go to supporting clubs and improving the school. Along with saving the school money, tablets actually help the environment by saving paper. There is also an effect on the student’s learning. Students learn material much more efficiently with tablets over textbooks. According to the US Department of Education, students who are given technology-based instructions take 30-80 percent less time to reach an objective. All the benefits of tablets make them an obvious choice for school resources over textbooks.

-Jeffrey Cohen



Although the idea of switching from textbooks to tablets may seem smart and innovative, it is not worth the trouble. The main issue of using tablets is the cost because schools would have to pay for the tablet itself, the class material, Wi-Fi infrastructure and training for the teachers to learn how to use the devices. If this were considered a useful enough change by school districts the wealthy ones would make the switch, while the ones who could not afford it would stay behind, giving the wealthy districts an advantage. Even if schools could afford it, tablets are extremely unreliable. There are often technical difficulties when schools try using electronics. During the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) testing last school year in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, the exam was postponed because of issues involving the computers. If technology isn’t consistent enough to work during a statewide test, it shouldn’t be used for homework every night. The students, on the other hand, handle textbooks, and it is their responsibility not to lose them, rather than relying on technology to not lose the stored information. Going from textbooks to tablets is an unneeded change with no benefits and many complications.

-Drew Siskind

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From My Perspective: Permanent birthday present stays a lifelong memory


In regards to birthdays, most people would typically ask for the latest technology, new clothes or money. However, I was more interested in something a bit more permanent than an iPad or a Sephora gift-card. I talked with my mom and to my excitement; she said she would allow me to get a tattoo.

I’ve loved tattoos my whole life, and I hope to have at least one sleeve when I’m older. I’m fascinated by the intricate designs and creativity that come into play with tattoos. A lot of time and contemplation went into choosing my tattoo and the tattoo shop; considering someone would be lightly stabbing me with a bunch of needles, I wanted to check out the space in which they operate and look into their reputation as artists. Choosing something to be on my body forever required a lot of thought and perspective.

Since my mom decided she wanted to get a tattoo as well, we sought to find a subject we both liked. I searched online for inspiration and came to find a honeybee tattoo that I loved.

A week after my birthday, we went to Babylon Tattoo in Ft. Lauderdale, after already visiting once before to check it out. We showed the tattoo artists reference pictures so they could make the stencils and clean their stations before asking us to sit on the black, fold out piercing table. The tattoo artist cleaned my arm and applied the stencil.

My heart started to beat a little faster and picked up its pace. I couldn’t help but admit I was nervous. I really had no idea of what to expect apart from my mother, who now has a total of four tattoos, saying, “It’s going to hurt, it’s kind of like someone scratching you.” The tattoo artist reassured me that I would be fine and to just relax. The millisecond before the buzzing needles hit the skin on the inside of my wrist I knew exactly what it would feel like.

Tattoos hurt, unfortunately, there’s no real way to get around that. As someone with a fairly high pain tolerance, it was painful but definitely bearable. There isn’t really an accurate way to describe the pain due to the fact that it was quite unlike anything I had felt before, yet the pain was not enough to bring me to tears. Perhaps it was the relatively small size of my tattoo that enabled this, but it just didn’t hurt enough to cry.

photo 2The whole tattoo took about an hour, and in that time I chatted with the tattoo artist, asking about her first tattoo and lightly discussing what it’s like to be a tattoo artist. I browsed social media and listened to the rock music being played over the harmonious symphony of pulsing tattoo needles.

When it was done the tattooist cleaned my arm of any stray ink, applied a generous amount of Vaseline ointment and wrapped the tattoo up in plastic wrap. She informed me on the proper after-care that included avoiding submerging my wrist in water, keeping it out of the sun and cleaning it well for a few weeks.

After getting my tattoo, my wrist was sore for a few days and the whole texture of the tattoo changed. It went from rough and defined to smooth and soft, blending with the feel of the rest of my skin. The color of the tattoo lightened overall, transitioning from black and dark grey to a lighter black and grey.

This experience has absolutely gotten me hooked; any pain involved with getting a tattoo is completely worth it for me to be able to have a piece of art on my body. I’m looking forward to my next tattoos, and I am anxious to see my progress in the future. My first tattoo will always be special to me, and getting to share this moment with my mom made it even better.

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From My Perspective: Biking the west coast in twenty-one days


Cars are overrated, why not just bike?  Summer is two months of no school, so in that time I made the completely rational decision to bike all the way from Eugene, Ore. to San Francisco, Calif.

This summer, I spent three weeks on a bike trip with 11 other teens. We slept in tents, made our own food and brought only what we can carry on the back of our bikes all the way to the Golden Coast. Teens from all over the United States were on this trip.

After a total of eight hours on a plane and a connection, I arrived in Oregon.  I was really nervous because I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. Right when my plane landed all of my electronics were taken away for the duration of the trip. This was extremely weird because, as spoiled as it sounds, I am used to having my phone with me all the time. I actually caught myself a couple times checking my hand for my phone and then realizing after a few minutes that I did not have it. After a little while I met up with the group I was going to be traveling with for the next three weeks.

Everything except my clothes and supplies were taken away and would be given back at the end of our journey.  We then took a bus from the airport to the campsite, which was our starting point. Once I arrived, I was given the bike that I rented. By that time it was almost nightfall, so we made dinner, set up our tents and went to sleep in our sleeping bags. The first night was rough, although the gnats were having the time of their lives. For the first couple of nights sleeping in tents was extremely fun, but after a while it got to be more of a burden.

In the morning we would wake up, get dressed, take down the tents and then set up the bikes for the day.  We would then ride anywhere from 30 to 70 miles a day, depending on the day, with a lunch break in the parking lot of the nearest grocery store around midday each day.  After that we would just continue on riding. We usually rode down US1 on the coast of California.

At night, we would set up our tents and sleeping bags and then cook the food that we would carry on our bikes each day on a portable stove. Having to set up everything was hard because I was exhausted after an entire day of biking. Most nights we did not shower, because we had to pay to do so. We also could only shower for a limited amount of time. Because of this through the entire trip everyone reeked! But toward the end of the trip I became immune to the smell and it just smelled normal.

We were only allowed to bring three shirts and three shorts for the three weeks because you had to carry it on your bike, and the less weight, the better.  There was one laundry stop throughout the whole trip where we were able to wash our clothes. So our clothes were, for the most part, always dirty.

The total distance of the bike trip was roughly 630 miles. The hills throughout the ride were extremely tiring and long, which resulted in a lot of grueling rides. When we had a couple days off from biking we got to visit the beaches and go surfing. These days off were amazing because biking over time can get repetitive, so not being on a bike for a day was something new. By that time also my legs were extremely sore; walking for long periods of time felt strange.

There was another day where we had the opportunity to volunteer at a free food market for people in need. This was a really rewarding experience, because helping people without anything in return is an amazing thing.

The culmination of our trip was when we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge.  It represented the end of our trip and just knowing that I was able to complete this trip astounded me.

The views throughout the whole trip were gorgeous and this was a once in a lifetime experience.  I came onto this trip not knowing anyone, but left with friends that I will keep forever. I also could say that I did it! I could say that I spent three weeks sleeping in a tent and biking across an entire state. Not only were my legs stronger as a result of the trip, my mind was stronger too. I feel like I can do anything now and that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. As they say, “no pain, no gain.”

My summer was anything but ordinary, which made it all the more extraordinary.

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Flash of Brilliance: Are AP or AICE classes more beneficial?

AICEAICE vs. AP graphic

The Cambridge AICE Program provides an incredible learning opportunity for students by offering a wide variety of classes. Although the courses may be challenging, they reward the students with two extra points to their grade point average (GPA). Also, students who take AICE courses are more likely to succeed later on in school. In a report done by Bill Kolb, the University of Florida’s former Director of Admissions, from 2000-2002, the average first year GPA of students who had graduated from a Florida high school AICE program was 3.46. Before AICE came to Florida, a report done on AP students found that their average first year GPA was 3.02. Furthermore, there are 20 total AICE courses offered at the Bay in three different categories: Mathematics and Science, Language Arts, and Arts and Humanities. This makes it easy for students to find a class that pertains to their interests. Students who earn six AICE credits, at least one from each category, receive the Cambridge AICE Diploma, which is required for the Florida Academic Scholars award. Overall, AICE offers a great variety of classes at the Bay, and it has succeeded AP as the best program in high schools.

-Drew Siskind



Advanced Placement (AP) classes offer college level curriculum to high school students. AP has a wide variety of classes including 3D Art, AP Chinese, AP U.S. History, and AP Psychology. Every AP class has an exam at the end of the year. If a student scores a three or higher on the exam he/she will receive college credit for that course. This means some students can have time to take other courses or electives that they are interested in during college. Gaining enough credits from AP classes will reduce the amount of classes a student has to take in college, therefore saving that student money. Most universities in the United States accept AP credit, while only a handful of colleges accept the AICE credits. Also, the AICE curriculum comes from Cambridge, England, which means a lot of the information is based off of English standards and ideas, not the United States. So most of the information isn’t as relevant to Americans as it would be to people in England. AICE only offers 20 courses, while AP offers 37 courses. With a larger number of AP classes than AICE, students have a larger selection of choices and possible career paths to choose from. So, if a student has to choose between AICE and AP, they should go with AP classes. The benefits and freedoms of the Advanced Placement classes outweigh those of AICE classes. AP classes prepare students for college while helping find what path to take in college and beyond.

-Jeffrey Cohen

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Flash of Brilliance: Should there be an NFL preseason?

YesFOB Graphic Lara Finan

I absolutely believe the NFL should maintain the standard four game preseason. I believe the preseason is crucial for NFL teams in order for the players to get back into playing shape. Practices are valuable, but they do not give the players the full effect of actual game speed. The preseason also allows for rookies to get acclimated to NFL speed and for veterans to get rid of the offseason rust. Although some bring up the issue of injuries occurring in the preseason, I feel that it is imperative to ensure that the quality of the first few games is at a high level. Preseason can additionally benefit others outside the players. Referees and coaches need this time period as much as the players do to get into mid-season form. Coaches have to get familiar with their new players, either acquired through trade or the draft, to give the team the best chance to win each week. Most importantly, teams need to make roster cuts based on the performance of players in these preseason games. Teams start with as many as 90 players going into the preseason and eventually end with 53. If not for the preseason, these cuts would be based solely on practice performance, which might not indicate a players’ full potential. Preseason allows teams the much needed time period to get into game speed, and to give the fans the quality of football they deserve.

-Jake Levy



I believe that there should not be a preseason in the NFL. The NFL preseason consists of every team getting to play four games before they start their regular season games. These four games are allotted for the teams to develop their roster and see who is best fit to be on their team. Though the preseason does help teams construct their roster, they should be able to do this on the practice fields. As an NFL team the coaches should be able to determine their roster during practice and training camp. Injuries are likely during the preseason, which can break down players and affect the regular season. The risk of getting injuries during a time that does not matter or count for the regular season is not worth it. For example, Jordy Nelson, the wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, and Phil Loadholt, the offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, both got hurt during their preseason games. Nelson and Loadholt are expected to be out for the entire regular season. These players and their respective teams seasons are hurt due to these injuries. Overall, there is no point in having a preseason as injuries ruin the quality of football for the regular season.

-Spencer Rheingold

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In My Opinion: Too much weight placed on tests for college admissions



Malala Yousafzai won a Nobel Peace Prize at age 17 for defending women and children education rights. She is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate and was was named one of “Time Magazine’s” 100 most influential people in 2013, but if she wants to get into Stanford, she’s going to have to take the SAT’s first.

SAT’s and ACT’s have always played an integral role in the college admission process, yet too much weight is placed on an exam that does not show every student’s ability to succeed in college. There are so many extraordinary students who are deterred from applying to their dream school simply because their SAT score does not meet the requirement, even if their GPA does.

A high GPA shows a student’s commitment to education and the hard work they have put forth in school. On the contrary, most of the time, a high SAT score shows that a student is a naturally gifted genius or that they have the affluence to afford hours of SAT tutoring. Aren’t colleges looking for diligent students? How can one test, provided just once a month for seven months of a year, possibly show a student’s dedication to learning?

The weight of standardized tests is also a financial burden to students and a disadvantage to those of low-income families. More affluent students have an advantage over those who don’t come from money. They can afford to spend thousands of dollars on SAT and ACT tutoring, not to improve their critical thinking skills, but to learn the tricks to get them a high score on the standardized test of their choosing. The standardized test have become just another way for companies such as College Board and ACT to take money from students desperate to get into a good college.

The cost of these standardized tests quickly adds up. Not only do students have to pay more than $20 each time they take an SAT or ACT, they also have to pay a fee to send their scores to the universities of their choosing. On top of this, many students will spend thousands of dollars on tutors due to the importance of these exams. A 2009 report from Eduventures calculated that about 2 million students spend $2.5 billion a year on test preparation and tutoring. Therefore, students with low incomes tend to have lower scores, for they cannot afford the absurd price of SAT and ACT tutoring.

However, some universities have realized the benefit of making test scores optional on their applications. About 850 schools and counting do not require test scores, and this has led them to attract a strong and diverse pool of applicants. It encourages minority students and low-income students to apply to that university. After making test scores optional, Wake Forest University saw an immense change in diversity in their student population. Since making test optional in 2009, their percentage of non-white students has shot up from 18 percent to a now 30 percent.

I believe that every university should allow sending test scores to be optional. There are so many academically talented students who are penalized by their test scores in the college admissions process, whether it be because they cannot afford tutoring and preparation books, or because they are not strong test takers.  The truth is not all students can get a 36 on their ACT while maintaining straight A’s and participating in thousands of extracurricular activities. Yes, the SAT and ACT test do display student’s knowledge, yet weighting them the same as a student’s grades is unfair.

If earning a Nobel Peace Prize at age 17 isn’t enough to get an acceptance into college, then something is clearly wrong with the college admissions system. Yousafzai’s humanitarian work and passion for education should be enough to get her into any university, even without the inclusion of standardized testing scores.

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