New Beginnings! An End of the Year Wrap Up

New Beginnings! An End of the Year Wrap Up

by Aliscia Phillips, Editor in Chief

MAY 2021 – As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, so does my time as editor and chief of The Hive. Our other senior staff members will also be leaving as they graduate and move on to their post-high school lives. This year, as a staff, we wrote and published 32 articles which garnered a total of 2,574 views on our webpage, a 300% increase compared to last year. We also raised a little over $300 from our Saint Patrick’s Day Fundraiser which will be put towards our WordPress subscription, an Ohio Scholastic Media Association membership, and potentially creating printed copies of some of our issues.

The Hive began only a year ago, yet so much progress has already been made since then. “The first year of Newspaper (2019-2020) was definitely a growth year, and there were a lot of growing pains associated with it as we created and then tweaked our process. This year, however, we have found an efficient process that seems to work for everyone even with more than half our staff being online. It all works mainly because the staff has been so great this year. Our newspaper editor and reporters work pretty independently, so it’s important that they have the discipline, organization, and passion to do that, and this staff certainly does! I’m really proud of how far they’ve come since the beginning of the year; they’ve been wonderful to work with, and I’ll definitely miss the seniors,” said newspaper advisor, Ms. Bates.

The staff has worked very hard this year, releasing an issue for almost every month and covering a range of sophisticated topics as well as some silly ones too.

Ms. Bates explained, “Today, more than ever, student journalism is essential. It’s important that students — those on staff as well as those reading our publication — understand the purpose of the legitimate press. Good reporting is accurate, factual, and trustworthy, and these students are learning not only journalistic style but also the ethics associated with reporting.”

Each one of our staff members has been able to take away valuable lessons from Newspaper, despite it being the reporters’ first year.

Havann Brown was especially proud of her progress and her work. She explained, “Coming in, I did not know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it is to be a member of the staff. I was able to improve both my writing and interviewing skills while also working on my time management to meet deadlines. I love having the freedom to be able to choose whatever topic I want to report on because I can focus on current events that interest me and issues I am passionate about. This year I covered a wide range of subjects from the Black Lives Matter movement along with the Black student experience at Bio-Med to the debate on raising the minimum wage and I enjoyed every second of it. Knowing that people read your work each month and care what you have to say is an amazing feeling.”

McKenna Burckett specifically loved being a part of our fundraiser: “Being in the newspaper staff is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s allowed me to integrate with the other grades and delve into topics I’m interested in within the school. My writing has improved immensely with all of the practice, and I really enjoyed finding the rhythm of publishing. The most unique experience by far was the Saint Patrick’s Day fundraiser. There were only three of us at school, so we had to create the cards, fill the bags. and sell all by ourselves. It took up the entirety of advisory for about three weeks. Even though it was a lot of work, it was super fun! I liked hearing the younger kids whisper their crushes to us so we could deliver them an anonymous bag. I liked being recognized as “the candy lady” in the hallways. It made me feel like I was contributing to something larger. Plus, the repetitive task of filling bags and writing names felt like a nice break for my brain. I’m excited for next year, as I know there’s going to be a bigger class. That will make me feel less weird about going around looking for interviews. I look forward to helping the underclassmen if they need it and can’t wait for the other collaborative opportunities the newspaper will provide.

Our photographer, Owen Baird, was thankful for the creativity the club inspired. He explained, “Some of the things I enjoyed about the newspaper club was being a part of the process of the creation of the articles. I always enjoyed reading through the articles and learning about the interesting things in the articles. I really enjoyed making cutlines for photos that the author of the article had taken and brainstorming with the author about what images they wanted in their articles.”

Serena Gestring liked connecting with people and also saw improvement within her writing. “I actually really enjoy our staff meetings because I like hearing everyone’s ideas for what to write about and what they are interested in. I also enjoyed writing the article about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic because I interviewed one of my past teachers, so it was nice to talk to him again; one teacher who has been around for my four years but who I never had, so I got to know her a little better; and one lower academy teacher who I got to meet for the first time, and otherwise probably would not have gotten to know if not for this article. I also enjoyed writing the article because I worked with Kaden Starkey, my best friend, and we always work really well together. It was overall a good experience,” she shared.

Gestring continued, “My journalism skills have definitely improved. I am really good at writing analytical and research essays in my classes, but those styles of writing are different from journalistic writing, so it was a shift. Ms. Bates, the Hive advisor, actually told me that the first draft of my second article read a lot like a research paper, and she gave me tips on how to make it be more of an article. As I wrote more articles I think it became easier to write like that. I have also gotten better at coming up with relevant and intriguing questions to ask people I am interviewing, because previously that was a struggle.” While she enjoyed her experience, Newspaper also allowed her to come to the conclusion that journalism is not the career for her

For Kaden Starkey, the newspaper was a way for him to push the bounds of his comfort zone and become more involved in the community. “I originally joined newspaper because of scheduling logistics, though it wasn’t the sole reason. I always thought that being a part of a school newspaper was something I would enjoy, but my anxiety stops that thought in its tracks. In a way, scheduling issues allowed me to force myself out of my comfort zone to do something I was holding myself back from doing, and for that, I am honestly really grateful,” he explained.

He specifically noted the confidence he’s gained throughout his experience: “Newspaper has allowed me to not worry so much about whether or not what I am writing is good enough or not. Teachers and friends tell me that I am a great writer, but I truly do not see it. I don’t hold any confidence in the things that I write – I feel it is all terrible. When getting monthly feedback from Bates and Aliscia on my articles, I was always beyond shocked that there weren’t more errors or any negative comments. I’ve been trying to let that sink in. I’ve been trying to build some confidence in the things I write.” Starkey was also grateful for the challenge that conducting interviews posed since communication will be an important part of his future career in graphic design.

“I’m actually quite sad that I won’t be able to be a part of the Hive staff for another year. I really didn’t expect that being a part of newspaper would leave a lasting impression on me, but it did. Despite this school year being beyond abnormal, I feel I’ve left with important lessons and experiences,” he concluded.

Moving forward, the newspaper will be expanding from eight members to 17, and grades nine through twelve will be on staff for the first time. Former reporter Havann Brown will become the new editor and chief.

“I am very excited to be editor-in-chief next school year. We will be expanding our staff and making some fun changes so I can’t wait to see how everything comes together. I expect that it will be another great year for The Hive,” she said.

The Hive has been a defining opportunity for this year’s students and will go on to influence countless others, staff members and readers alike. I’m endlessly grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of such a great team and I wish next year’s staff an even better year of reporting.

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Advice for Bio-Med Underclassmen

Advice for Bio-Med Underclassmen

by Christine Whyde, staff writer

MAY 2021 – On May 21, Bio-Med Science Academy’s Class of 2021 will say goodbye to underclassmen as they spend their last official academic day on campus. Many of the seniors will be heading to college, entering the workforce, and some will become service members of the United States Armed Forces within the coming months.

As they prepare to start new chapters of their lives, When asked if they had any words of wisdom for current underclassmen, many were eager and wished they had received some advice themselves.

As graduation approaches, many of the seniors have been reflecting on their time at the academy.

Some pointed to their experience outside of the classroom. Christian Carmichael stated that students should try their best to, “Think big, dream big, and be great.”

Jacob Fergis looked to pop culture for inspiration, quoting Richard Vernon of The Breakfast Club: “You ought to spend a little more time trying to do something with yourself and a little less trying to impress people.”

Avery Coates noted that, “Oftentimes, the simplest answer is likely the correct or most realistic answer. Don’t overthink the little things in life and put that energy towards things that help you and those around you.”

Others offered short advice, specific to their time at Bio-Med and school in general.

Due to the unusual STEM+M based curriculum and focus on project based learning, it can be difficult for some to adjust to Bio-Med. This sometimes results in students leaving the academy to return to their home schools or a curriculum with which they are more familiar. One senior promises that the struggles are worth it in the end. “Bio-Med isn’t an easy school, but that makes it worth it. The headaches and long to-do lists will make you want to give up and leave, but it’s the hard work that will push you so much further,” said Kassidy Hirst.

Starting freshman year, it was made very clear to students at Bio-Med’s Upper Academy that a specific number of volunteer hours were required to graduate. Yet, some students have still struggled finding those hours. Blessing Mupinga warned, “Don’t procrastinate and get volunteer hours as early as you can.”

Many seniors stressed the importance of maintaining good grades and dedication to school work. Zane Price shared this sentiment, stating, “Make sure to do your work. Your grades freshman year set the course of your GPA, and it’s very hard to dig yourself out of that hole.”
Unfortunately, the pressure to maintain good academics can be very stressful for some students. Drake Duncan suggested that students should, “Prioritize school work first and then use free time after. That’s a great way to save a lot of stress and perform better on projects.”

Also focusing on school projects, Adriana Cooper stated, “Take each project and day one step at a time. Sometimes school can get really overwhelming, and I think it’s important to take a step back and realize the overall goal.”

Others suggested simple ways to better perform in the classroom. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand something,” stated Amani Chava.

Outside of academics, Ella Case encouraged others to,“have fun in high school while it lasts. Graduation comes sooner than you think.”

The final group of seniors needed a few more sentences to detail their experience at the academy.

Seniors shared their experiences and inspirational words.

Michala Hrusovsky stated, “I’d suggest multiple things. Never be afraid to ask questions. Some things will be difficult and it will always benefit you to ask for help. Participate in as many clubs or extracurriculars as possible. It’s a nice bonding experience and you meet some great people! Practice time management skills. It will help in the end so you are not doing everything at the last second and stressing yourself out. Some things will be difficult, but that’s okay. Your teachers are here to help you and you should never give up.”

Aliscia Phillips assured that, “It’s okay to need a break, it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to slow down. I spent a lot of my time throughout high school being stressed out. Time management has a lot to do with that so I would recommend listening to your teachers when they tell you not to procrastinate, but some things are just out of your control. School isn’t a competition (or at least it shouldn’t be) so comparing yourself and your progress to other people is pointless because they are not on the same journey you are. Focus on personal growth and know that the people around you, especially your teachers, are here to help you.”

Mario Frisone suggested that students, “Set both short and long term goals that apply strictly to academics and stay motivated by the little victories over assignments and projects. Your success is not determined by the volume of strenuous work that you can do, nor by your natural intellect. It is typically a result of how well you can apply your individual strengths to any given situation. Do not subject yourself to hours of grueling work every week. Go explore and live life as a teenager. Work hard, play harder.”

As underclassmen advance through the academy and fill the place of the Class of 2021, many seniors are hopeful that the advice they have given will help them to reach the full potential of their high school career.

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Economic Crash Brings Job Success

Economic Crash Brings Job Success

by Kaden Starkey, staff writer

MAY 2021 – Ms. Rachel Hughes is in her 11th year of teaching and her first year at Bio-Med. She teaches two engineering courses: engineering logic to freshmen and engineering logic to seniors.

Originally, Hughes went to school to become an engineer, receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Youngstown State University and a master’s in engineering management at Kettering University. Once she graduated with her bachelor’s degree, she took a job involving a lot of programming, leading her to obtaining a master’s in information technology with a focus on cybersecurity.

Ms. Hughes, who teaches engineering logic for 9th grade and engineering principles for 12th grade.

Hughes worked as a wireless communication engineer before transitioning into teaching. She would train the manufacturing team how to program and prep units for shipment. The adults she worked with were afraid of the new technology, but being able to see them “go from being afraid, to not even touching the unit, [and] to being able to do it independently” was satisfying career-wise for Hughes.

When 2009 hit and the economy crashed, her company “downsized and did away with the wireless production line” resulting in her being laid off from the job.

“I had friends who were in education and they said that I should get my math certification, go be a teacher,” Hughes says.

She went on pursuing a career in teaching and later on accepting a long-term substitute position at Trumbull County Tech Center teaching engineering. Hughes says that “when I was able to teach what I love to do, it was just kind of like a new moment for me, like a new opportunity.”

Hughes says that she came to Bio-Med because “I was just kind of intrigued with how they did stuff at Bio-Med. It was really what I envisioned education to be.”

Also, with the mastery grading scale that Bio-Med uses, “you could actually go back and correct your mistakes, learn from your mistakes,” she says, reflecting on how other schools grading systems use letter grades.

Hughes also talked about how she likes the community that is encompassed in Bio-Med.

“What they teach you students outside of the content area, how to be good humans and contribute to society. I think that that’s a huge component that is needed,” she said.

Teaching during a pandemic, especially in a new school, trying to teach the curriculum to her students was a bit challenging. She hadn’t previously taught an engineering logic class before, but she knew the material, so it was hard to pace herself in a way that was good for her students. Ultimately, she said that “I kind of had to learn to give myself some grace in the process. That it’s okay that we didn’t get through every single part with the year that we had and what I did teach them. I know that it’s impacted them and that they got something out of it.”

Outside of school, Hughes loves to travel, “I would rather have experiences traveling than like materialistic things.” One of her biggest interests is learning about different cultures and people. She also loves learning new things. If she doesn’t know how to do something, no matter the situation, she will figure out how to do it. Hughes also enjoys reading. She has a dog and two cats.

Hughes has one son, “He is 17 and he goes to Mahoning County Tech Center and he’s going for aviation. So he’ll be an airline mechanic when he graduates,” she says. He also races four-wheelers and she says that she is “tied up with his races, usually most weekends.”

Hughes hopes that her students learn perseverance from her class, “that they’re able to continue on even when things don’t go well. They don’t just give up on it,” she says. In her last words, Hughes says that, “I just think that the staff and the administration and the students here are great. It’s a great place to work.”

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From Tutor to Teacher

From Tutor to Teacher

by Kaden Starkey, Staff Writer

APRIL 2O21 – Mrs. Madison Cambria is a new face at Bio-Med Science Academy. She teaches science to seventh grade students and is in her first year of teaching.

Initially, Cambria’s plans were not to become a teacher; she went into college as a biology major, but she transitioned into education, as biology was missing the personal connection. She graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Science Education.

Cambria says that by being a teacher, “it feels like you’re doing more for the world.”

Pictured is Mrs. Cambria. Mrs. Cambria is the 7th grade science teacher at Biomed Lower Academy.

In high school, Cambria was a cashier at Giant Eagle but quit to start her own tutoring business. She had around eight to nine students and spent about an hour with each per week. 

“I started it, and I think that’s what kind of got me into teaching,” she says. Before becoming a teacher, she was able to gain experience from working one on one with students. “I think it grew on me,” Cambria adds. 

Prior to coming to Bio-Med, Cambria said that she didn’t know very much about the school. But, she said that she “really liked what Bio-Med stood for.” She appreciated that the school is “mastery-based for learning instead of everything always being based on test scores, numbers, [and] percentages,” as well as the overall idea of it being a STEM school. 

With it being her first year teaching, Cambria says, “being at Bio-Med has taught me a lot.” When she came into the school, she didn’t have any prior teaching experience in a school atmosphere. She says “it’s taught me what kind of teacher I want to be because that’s something I came into Bio-Med not knowing.” 

“It’s taught me what a school should really look like and what a school should really focus on,” Cambria says.

Bio-Med has also helped her learn “how to branch out within the work community.” Cambria always kept to herself; she says that, “I would rather figure something out on my own than ask for help.” But she has realized that at Bio-Med, you have to reach out and ask for help, because “if you don’t understand something, it’s not gonna come to you; you have to seek advice.”

Overall, Cambria says that, “To come here and have this as a first-year experience is pretty awesome because they do things differently here.” She says that her first year is going great: “It’s going really well. I feel pretty confident.”

When Cambria was in high school, she used to be a varsity singles tennis player. 

Cambria tried to continue the sport into college, but Kent State doesn’t have a tennis program that she could participate in.

“I also really love thrift shopping.” Cambria says. She sometimes thinks to herself if she truly wants to tell someone about it because some people think of thrift shopping as weird or odd. Ultimately, she says that “I need to be true to myself.”

Cambria also loves spending time with her family. She says that, “I have a very supportive family and my family is very important to me.” 

In May of last year, she and her husband got married “during the pandemic, which was crazy,” she says.

“We are expecting our first child in April,” Cambria says. She is currently on maternity leave. 

Cambria hopes that her students “come away from [her] class learning how to creatively solve a problem instead of looking at a problem as a brick wall in front of them.” She says that most schools train students that there is only one solution to a problem. For a lot of her students, she feels that when they will be faced with a challenge, they will just stop and feel as if they cannot get past it.

“I want my students to be able to creatively find a way around the problem, or change the problem to not be a problem anymore.”

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Making College Decisions

Making College Decisions

by Christine Whyde, staff writer

APRIL 2021 – The first week of April is an exciting time for most college-bound high school seniors in the United States. It is during this time that most colleges and universities will be releasing admissions decisions online and through the mail, as many require students to make their final commitments by May 1. 

College bound seniors eagerly await College Decisions.

Acceptance letters will make it clear whether or not a prospective student has been accepted into the institution. If accepted, the letter will go on to explain how to move forward if the student plans to attend the institution. It is important to keep an eye out for any deadlines listed within the letter, such as a final date to make a decision on acceptance. It is also possible that, depending on the university, a student may be waitlisted for the time being as other accepted students make their final decision. If this is the case, the letter should make it clear how the student is to proceed. 

If a student has not been accepted, there is no need to fret. Not every applicant can be accepted, so it is inevitable that some students will receive a rejection letter or two. Some of the most famous people in the world have been rejected by their dream universities or chose not to attend at all, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, President Harry S. Truman, and Warren Buffett. In the event that a student has been rejected from each institution they have applied to, or has chosen not to apply at all, there is always time to reapply in the future. 

Those that plan on attending a college or university have many decisions to make within the next month. These decisions are especially complicated if the student has been accepted into multiple institutions. An article by US News recommends that prospective students consider enrollment size at the institution, the location, the majors and programs offered, and opportunities outside of the classroom. The article also suggests that students consider college ranking lists if they are interested in a more competitive program. 

Ideally, students should start considering what type of college they plan to attend early on. At Bio-Med Science Academy, there are multiple staff members available to help you make those decisions. One such person is counselor Stephanie Hammond. While students navigate their four years at the Upper Academy, Ms. Hammond works to provide information on volunteer, scholarship, and college information and opportunities. 

When asked about her biggest advice to students regarding the college decision process, she stated: “It is so important to start thinking about college, visiting colleges, and talking with parents/guardians early! Sophomore, junior, and the beginning of senior year is a great time to start exploring and asking questions, visiting schools, and exposing oneself to all different kinds of schools. From large state institutions to small private ones, see as many as you can and talk to as many people as possible. There is already so much going on senior year that this doesn’t have to be an added stressor.”

Luckily, Bio-Med students have the opportunity to start thinking about their future without leaving the classroom. In the College and Career Preparedness course, instructor Whitney Mihalik teaches students how to pursue not only college decisions but also most aspects of life after high school. 

College Acceptance letters are traditionally received in the first week of April.

When asked about the most important factors to consider when comparing multiple institutions, Mihalik referenced the content of her course: “As we discuss in my class, student loans can make post-college life very difficult, so for many students I usually encourage them to have the total cost of their education be a deciding factor. However, I don’t believe it should be the only factor for any student…Location is something that I believe is very important, in terms of distance from home, but also the type of setting the school is in. If a student is living on campus, a school only thirty minutes away from home can feel more like hours away. Also, many of our students have grown up in rural areas, so urban colleges seem appealing. However, it’s good to determine whether you would feel comfortable in a city setting for a prolonged time period, or if it’s really somewhere you just like visiting.” She was also sure to point out that these factors will vary from student to student, and some may not need to consider them at all given their circumstances. 

If a student can absolutely not decide between multiple colleges, even after comparing multiple factors, Hammond says financial aid is the best place to start. 

Even if a student has only applied to one institution, it is important to be certain that higher education is the right choice for them before making any commitments. It is also expected that students in this situation have done a considerable amount of research into their institution of choice, as they have eliminated other options. If a student in this situation has not done this, it may be a sign that they have applied for the wrong reasons. 

Only applying to one college herself, Mihalik explained, “All students should be determining first that college is the right move for them at this moment. Data shows us that many students go to college because it’s an expectation after high school rather than because it’s the right move for their long-term career and life goals.” 

Hammond also suggests that students consider their previous school experience: “I always encourage students to think about what made them successful in school. What about the environment contributed to their success? Now translate that to college.” A student may be surprised to find that a college does not offer those same opportunities and even that they may be offered somewhere entirely different. 

Going to college is not for everyone. One of the ways a student might discover this is through an in person visit to campus, which is highly encouraged by Mihalik. She stated, “Something else would be to consider the student body and whether you think you would feel comfortable with them. This is where visiting a college can be helpful. If you want a diverse student population, see if you can find the college’s data regarding the makeup of their student body. If it’s not as diverse as you were hoping, see what opportunities there are for growth and determine if that helps in your decision.” She also made sure to clarify that not every student will share the same experience during their college search. 

Unfortunately, many seniors were unable to make these visits this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. In a normal year, this would be a requirement during Mihalik’s course for Bio-Med juniors. Students can learn a bit more about colleges of interest at home with a simple news search. If the institution has mostly negative stories about issues that matter greatly to a student, it may be a sign that the college is not the right fit. 

Mihalik offered a final piece of advice for the class of 2021: “The biggest thing I would hope all seniors know is that this is a big decision, but it is not and will not be the biggest decision you make in your life. And it’s not a permanent one. If you make a decision and feel later that it’s the wrong one, you always have options. I also always want students to be making the best decision for themselves, not for the world, their school, or their parents. You have to think about what you want for your future, not what others want or expect. Make your decision with significant research and critical thought, but make the decision that will lead to your success and happiness, even if it doesn’t align with someone else’s dream for you.”

No matter the circumstance, each student considering college has a lot to consider in such a short amount of time. It is undoubtable that this process can be very overwhelming and confusing. Regardless of their decisions, whether they pursue further education, a year of self discovery, or go straight into the workforce, the class of 2021 can be proud of how far they have come.

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Teacher Vaccinations

Teacher Vaccinations

by Alyssa Cocchiola, Staff Writer

MARCH 2021 – On Friday, Feb 19, Bio-Med teachers and staff had the opportunity to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This was a digital day, so students could work from home while staff received their vaccinations. 

“The process was smooth and convenient,” Mrs. Borcoman, the Interventionist Specialist for grades 9-12 commented. “It was a great bonus that we were able to do it here in our building. In many other districts they have to travel outside of their district to have it done.”

Mrs. Mihalik, College, Career, and Finance teacher, shared her experience with the vaccine as well. 

“The staff was called back in alphabetical order by first name, so I was in the last group called. I was anxious because I was afraid they would run out by the time they got to me,” she explained. “When they called me back, I sat with a nurse as she explained which vaccine I was getting and what side effects I might experience. Afterward, I had to sit in a room for fifteen minutes to make sure I had no adverse effects.”

Staff members had a choice of choosing to be vaccinated or not and shared their reasoning behind their decision.

“While I was wary about the vaccine considering the rapidity within which it was created, I am a proponent of the benefits of vaccination as well as the professionalism and expertise of our medical community,” Mrs. McLaughlin, Bio-Med principal stated. “I had to practice what I preach, so to speak. I also think that mass vaccination will be the best way to work towards a sense of normalcy in our daily lives. I’m willing to do my part.”

“I am scared that there is a possibility of bad side effects but I know in the end it will be for everyone’s good,” Ms. Brook commented. When being asked about her decision to get the vaccine, she responded that “I would hate to have my loved ones wonder why I didn’t get the vaccine if I possibly died from Covid.” 

Many teachers felt a sense of morality when it came to getting vaccinated. Ms. Hisey, the sophomore language arts teacher stated, “I got the vaccination not only to protect myself, but because I feel that vaccination in general is a moral duty that we all owe to our neighbors and communities. Not everyone is medically able to get vaccinated, so it’s important that we protect the vulnerable among us.”

“As an immunocompromised person, I feel much, much safer knowing that I will have some protection. I’m grateful to all the researchers who worked night and day to get this to us,” Ms. Hisey concluded. 

Pictured is ELA teacher and newspaper advisor Ms. Bates after receiving a COVID-19

After receiving the first dose of the vaccine, staff members were asked to fill out a survey, with questions about the severity of side effects, along with their blood type. It has been speculated that there could be a link to the severity of vaccination side effects and the blood type of the recipient. 

As for COVID-19 itself, studies have speculated that people with blood type A were likely to get a higher risk of infection than those with blood type O, which was the least likely. The results of the survey were used to see if this was the case with staff members. 

Out of the 17 responses in the survey, 31.3% had a blood type of A+, 18.8% had O+, 6.3% had O-, B-, and B+, and 31.3% did not know their blood type. Staff members were asked to rate the severity of their side effects on a scale of 1-10, with one being little to none and ten being really severe. 

All participants of the survey answered a number below six, with the average being 2.4. The average for people with blood types A- and A+ was 2.4, for B- and B+ the average was 3, and for blood type O- and O+, it was 2.25. Out of this sample population data, the group with the highest severity of side effects being blood type B, which contradicts what was speculated previously. With the data collected, there was no direct correlation between the severity of symptoms and blood type.

While not severe, most staff members still experienced side effects after the vaccine.

Mr. Martau, the sophomore history teacher, shared his experience with the vaccine. 

“I did have mild side effects after getting vaccinated,” he wrote. “On Friday afternoon, I had some general soreness in my shoulder. Into Saturday evening, I felt fatigued and had chills, though my temperature never went high enough to be considered a fever. By Sunday morning, I was good as new.”

Ms. Huffman, the Bio-Med Receptionist shared that on top of having a sore arm she “ also had a headache the first day and was very tired too.” 

Mrs. Borcoman explained that her side effects did not last more than a couple days after the vaccine. 

“The only side effect I had was some tenderness in the area of the injection,”she stated. “It felt a little bit like someone punched me in the arm and walked away. The tenderness was gone within 48 hours.” 

Soreness in the arm was the most common side effect and experienced by almost all staff members that filled out the survey. The overall side effects included sore shoulders and arms from where the vaccine was injected, headaches, fatigue, itchiness, chills, and tiredness. However, most side effects went away after 48 hours. 

“As the vaccine becomes more available to people (especially younger folks), employers/schools/parents need to understand that this vaccine can cause some decently rough side effects,” Ms. Fusco, the Biomedical Engineering teacher wrote.

“I’m very very VERY grateful Bio-Med was able to have the vaccine given on a Friday, so we had the weekend to rest and recover. If not, I’m pretty sure I would’ve fallen asleep at some point during the day, since fatigue was my worst symptom,” she concluded.  

The Bio-Med staff is scheduled to receive the second dose of the vaccine on March 19th next month. 

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A Change In Schedules

A Change In Schedules

By Alyssa Cocchiola, Staff Writer

MARCH 2021 – The 2020-2021 school year at Bio-Med went through many schedule changes. The year started off with everyone learning virtually, and then switched to the hybrid schedule on Sept. 28. With hybrid, students were broken up into two groups; purple and green, and would alternate going to school physically and digitally every other week.

10th grade students Brooke Saxton and Isaiah Spaeth collaborate on a cross curricular project.

Starting on Feb. 1, both purple and green cohorts attended school every week, while students opting to complete the year virtually remained home. The schedules themselves remained the same, with the only difference being double the number of students. Classrooms still implement their safety precautions from the beginning of the year, like keeping distance, wearing masks and sanitizing desks after they were used. 

Mady Cross, a seventh grade student, shared her thoughts on the new schedule: “Going back every week when you’re being virtual, it’s like, it’s harder to do your work. Because you’re distracted by so many things but then being back in person, you’re less distracted because the teachers will tell you if you’re getting distracted and stuff,” she explained. 

Cross emphasized her preference for the new schedule, and how it helps her stay focused for longer periods of time. When being asked which schedule she preferred, she responded, “being in person.” 

She explained that while she felt more productive, she also felt that being in person was less stressful than hybrid. 

“I think that me being at home is more stressful because if you have a question, and the teachers are busy, like if you try to email them they won’t email you back right away,” she said.

Along with this, many students noticed class participation increasing. 

“I guess I do better at physical school,” Irene Scherer, a freshman, commented. “It’s brought my grade up some. But like the actual switch I guess is — there’s just more answers. People are participating a bit more.”

Other students shared similar thoughts on the schedule. 

“I like being in the classroom learning than in my room,” commented Braden Antonelli, a sophomore this year. “ Really doing in person school kind of motivated me because I was being watched by people and at home they couldn’t really monitor me and what I was doing, so it really gave me a reason to do it.” 

Many students shared that being in a classroom with a teacher present makes them less likely to get off task, because they are being monitored in some capacity. 

While most students seemed to agree that they enjoyed going to school in person some students shared their concerns on the subject. Sophomore Aidan Veney shared his thoughts on the safety precautions in place while combining the cohorts. 

“I think it’s a bit too soon,” Veney said, referencing the switch from hybrid to all in person. “I’d rather wait until the vaccine’s out before we have everybody back. I thought hybrid was working pretty well, so it’s a bit weird.”

Veney commented that “in theory I like all back better, but lately I’ve been kinda missing hybrid a little,” and shared that he liked both in person and hybrid equally, and that they both had their perks. 

The most notable split of opinion amongst students was the safety. Keira Vasbinder, a sophomore, commented that while they felt more productive during the new schedule, there was also “a lot less distancing” and that “people are a lot more lenient with cleaning things.”

Pictured above are some COVID-19 protocols in Upper academy classrooms.

When talking about her social life, Keira mentioned that it improved because of the new schedule: “Well, I have friends again so that part is nice. I actually get to see people and I’m actually using slang again.” Keira elaborated on this by saying that the social benefits could have an impact on the safety: “You know more people but that also means less distancing. So do you want to get sick or do you wanna have a friend?” This was reference to what she felt like was a choice between prioritizing one’s social life or their health. Keira stated that having more people benefited their life socially, but made her feel like the safety precautions had been impacted with more people in the building. 

In an interview, Antonelli talked about his thoughts on the safety precautions. 

“I think they did change but not a lot,” he said. “They did combine more people into a classroom, but they kept the sanitizing and all that the same, and the feet and distance we need the same. But, I think the only thing they really changed was putting more people into the classroom.” 

Despite the health concerns, most people interviewed agreed that Bio-Med was doing everything they could to keep things safe, and seemed to feel more uncomfortable with the situation itself as opposed to how the school was handling it. Out of all the people interviewed, 71.4% of people said that they thought the safety at school was not negatively impacted by the change in schedules. 

So far, the cases have not majorly increased at Bio-Med since the start of hybrid, and students have continued to learn in a familiar and welcoming environment this month. 

“I really prefer one hundred percent in person. It just feels like school,” Antonelli concluded. “It didn’t really feel like school before. We had the work but it just didn’t feel like it,”

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Teaching in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic

Teaching in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic

by Serena Gestring and Kaden Starkey, staff writers

FEBRUARY 2021 – Education is an essential part of our society, and it is the vital job of teachers to provide that to students. However, the current pandemic has been a devastating and strenuous experience for the entire world, including our community.  

The Bio-Med Science Academy school district went to 100% virtual learning back in March of 2020. While Bio-Med normally implements a few “digital days” each school year, where students complete one assignment from each of their classes at home for the day, moving to being completely digital every day was a major change.

Mrs. Brooke is the 9th-grade math teacher at the Bio-Med Rootstown Campus.

Ms. Brook is the 9th grade Integrated Math instructor. She has been teaching for 16 years, four of which have been spent here at Bio-Med. Overall, she says things were not too bad. The worst part for her was figuring out the technology, and once that happened, it got easier. From a curriculum perspective, however, it was much more difficult and strange because of the procedural way she taught math. 

“I really struggled with how to not have questions that they can cheat on on a test knowing real well that they could just copy and paste it onto the test,” Brook said. “So trying to come up with ways to ask the questions was difficult last year.” 

This year, Brook’s class switched to using a data science approach to teach 9th grade math. This approach involves group-based investigations and analyzing sets of data. 

“My midterm this year was: What’d you learn from Unit 1? Use all the investigations and vocabulary to support your explanation,” said Brook. “So, how do you cheat on that? There’s no way you can cheat on that.” 

Math is not the only subject that is challenging to teach in a virtual environment. Mr. McDonald is BMSA’s 9th grade Integrated English Language Arts instructor. He has been at Bio-Med for eight years, and has been teaching for a total of 15 years. He had many words to describe teaching in this new situation, such as suboptimal, frustrating, inconsistent, strange, annoying, and difficult. In short: “It is not good,” he said. 

Mr. Mcdonald is the 9th-grade English teacher at the Bio-Med Rootstown campus.

McDonald has been struggling to teach his subject in a way that resembles how he normally would. “We would read together in the class and we’d pause and stop and handle, like, nuances, and questions, and you could see where kids were struggling,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine reading on a Zoom or something, like reading chapters of a book like that. That sounds awful!”

Because of this, McDonald doesn’t know if he is going to have his students read any books this year. “I know if I  select a book to read at the ninth grade level, and I expect students to read at home as homework, I just know that at least a fifth or a quarter of those students won’t do it. They just won’t do it, because no one is there making them do it,” he said. “It’s a motivation problem but it’s also a class management problem.”

Another major challenge of teaching virtually is being able to control the learning atmosphere. Students are in many different places, some with their siblings or other relatives around. 

“There’s all these things happening that I have no control over, and it’s frustrating because I want to be able to control my learning atmosphere, and I can’t,” McDonald said. “I’m a believer that to get a good education, you need to first be comfortable in the classroom. That’s gotta come first, and it’s really hard to establish that when you don’t have control over the atmosphere.”  

McDonald has also had problems with establishing relationships and human connections in his classes. “The team-building and community-building aspect of Bio-Med has almost completely vanished. We would do circles, we would go outside and we’d throw the ball around, or we would work with partners, we would have clock buddies,” he said. “You cannot do that now. We can’t, you just can’t.” 

Ms. Tubbs is the 8th-grade math instructor at Bio-Med’s lower academy.

Experienced teachers are not the only ones grappling with the present situation. Ms. Tubbs is the 8th grade Math instructor. This is her second year teaching and her second year at Bio-Med. She describes teaching during this time as hectic and having a lot of moving parts. “Being a first-year teacher last year, I was already kind of learning how to teach and getting into the groove, and everything kind of flipped,” Tubbs said.

Tubbs also thinks her specific subject presents some challenges. “I think I’m struggling sometimes to teach math just because in the classroom I love to do more hands-on. I like to see the written work, and online sometimes that just doesn’t transfer as well,” she said.

However, there is some optimism. Ms. England is BMSA’s 7th grade Social Studies instructor. She has been teaching for ten years, and this is her fourth year at Bio-Med. She thinks that while this situation has been interesting and challenging, it is also workable. “You had to just be innovative in how you’re teaching and what you want to teach, and I think a little bit more selective in what you are presenting,” she said. 

England thinks the technology-prominent aspect of Bio-Med has helped. “We were lucky that every student had their technology already and that we had already done those Digital Days. That really helped to flip that switch,” she said. “Canvas is the best thing we had throughout this thing also. Everything is housed all in one place.”

While trying to find what works best for everyone, the administration of Bio-Med Science Academy has been diligently working to enforce proper precautionary measures according to CDC guidelines. All students must wear a mask, and teachers are being offered air purifiers as well as KN-95 masks. The Academy enforces social distancing in the lunchroom and students are assigned to a cohort (a group of the same students following the same schedule everyday) that allows for any contact tracing to be easier. 

The Academy created what they call the “COVID Committee” to help reinforce the rules and regulations to keep students and staff safe. 

Ms. England is an instructor who is part of the Bio-Med Covid Committee.

Ms. England is one of the teachers a part of the COVID Committee. She said that it is a group of teachers and staff members from all of Bio-Med’s buildings. Their function is to be, “the liaison between Stephanie Lammlein [Chief Administrative Officer of Bio-Med] and kind of the rest of the staff.” They make sure that all the staff understand the information given by the Portage County Health Board and that teachers and staff’s voices are heard by the admin and the same with the admin to them. The Committee also makes sure that the school days can be safe while still keeping Bio-Med’s core learning experiences, whether that be at home or in the classroom.

The Academy began the 2020-2021 school year as 100% digital. On September 28th, 2020 the school launched its blended learning program where students were given a choice to remain 100% virtual or return back to school. The students who opted to return go one week in person and the next virtual; they are divided into two groups by last name. One group is in-person while the other is digital for a week and the next week the groups will switch, so the in-person group goes virtual and the virtual goes in-person. This rotation continues throughout the year, unless Coronavirus cases exceed a level 3 threshold in the surrounding counties, where the school would return back to 100% virtual until it is safer to return. 

The blended learning model allows for teachers to continue teaching all of their students, whether they are in the school building or online. 

When asked about how she feels Bio-Med as a district is handling the pandemic, Tubbs said, “I think they’re doing a really great job, …. it’s the best that we can do given our situation.” She felt that “other districts are looking at what we are doing” due to Bio-Med’s Upper Academy location being on the Northeast Ohio Medical College (NEOMED) Campus. Tubbs added that there are “hand sanitizer stations everywhere” and “our admin has been really supportive.” 

In the classroom, Tubbs felt that, “a huge positive of the hybrid or the blended learning is the smaller class sizes.”  She said that, “we’re really getting to know some of my students in a way that is just not possible when there’s 20 or 30 kids in a room.” She added how the class size, “allows some deeper learning opportunities that wouldn’t always happen in a normal class size.”

Brook’s praise is about the schedule: “I really like how they’ve done the schedule, it’s completely manageable.” She said, “the block scheduling has made it so it’s not overwhelming to have all seven classes every single day,” and that “it’s allowing you to go deeper …. and taking the time to really understand what you’re doing before moving on.” She added, “ I love that they picked one schedule regardless of home or 100% virtual, blended, or 100% back, we’re gonna still keep the same schedule.”

However, there are some drawbacks. Brook commented that seeing students two times a week compared to the previous five times a week has given rise to a retention problem, where students have trouble remembering what they did the last time they had class. Brook also thinks she is not getting to know her students as well as she would have seeing them every day.

Brook, too, said that for in-person classes, “It’s nice having a smaller class size.” She sets up her classroom so that the students are “all doing the exact same thing at the same time, regardless of at home or in person,” Brook said. 

Overall, Brook said the way Bio-Med Administration is handling the pandemic is, “Awesome. I fully support how admin has done this.” She continued, “From people I’ve talked to in other districts, I think our school has handled it really really well.”

England expressed similar sentiments. She felt the whole community had come together, from the teachers and students to the administration, to figure out how to be successful. “I think we did an amazing job,” she said.  

She also likes the hybrid model as an alternative to 100% virtual for her students. “I think the hybrid is good because I see a big difference in the weeks that they’re here and their engagement to the weeks that their home and their engagement,” England said. “It has helped me become more organized because you have to have everything to go. There’s not that spur of the moment changing things up because it has to be ready for those kids at home, too.”

McDonald struggled to formulate words when asked his opinion on the subject matter, as he holds a high degree of hesitation and worry towards easing things back to “normal.”

“I appreciate the caution of the hybrid model,” McDonald started off. He then commented on the smaller class sizes, “the fact that we only have eight to ten kids in a class is, is safe.”  Wrapping up his comments about the hybrid model he said, “it’s doable.”

McDonald went on to talk about the virtual learning that Bio-Med utilized previously. 

“I appreciated when they went to the virtual [model] because that’s the safest model,” he said, adding that this model probably “saved a lot of people from getting this virus.” 

On February 1st, 2021, the academy’s plan to resume full in-person attendance, aside from students who opted to be 100% virtual. This means that the two groups of students who were going in-person every other week will be in one group and attend school weekly, together.

McDonald said that he does not understand the rush to resume full attendance. He also shared that he is, “shy about going back to full attendance,” due to the potential risks involved. McDonald commented on his comfort level, saying, “I can’t imagine teaching twenty, twenty five students right now. I would not feel safe.”

From a healthcare side of things, Ohio is beginning to wrap up Phase 1A of COVID-19 vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers and people who work or live in residential facilities. 

“I think for their peace of mind, they need it,” Brook said about the general public receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the week of January 19th, Ohio is planned to begin administering the first round of phase 1B vaccinations. On February 1st, the third week into Phase 1B, the vaccination will be available for K-12 Educators to receive. Teachers Brook, Tubbs, and McDonald all said that they would receive the COVID-19 vaccine when the time comes.

Ms. Brook, who caught COVID following Thanksgiving, said, “I’m afraid of getting the vaccine too early when they really haven’t been tested.” Nevertheless, she would have gotten it even if she hadn’t already been infected. 

“I’m looking forward to being vaccinated,” stated Ms. Tubbs. She mentioned how teachers are near the top of the vaccination list: “To know that we are valued, that we have the opportunity to receive the vaccine before the general public.” Tubbs said some of her friends, who are nurses, are receiving the vaccine as well. 

Mr. McDonald firmly believes that, “all teachers should be mandated to get vaccines.” He brought up a requirement in order for Ohio educators to receive the vaccine: the school must resume in-person classes or be using an in-person/online hybrid system. McDonald shared his thoughts on this: “you’re mandating that these people put themselves in a dangerous situation in order for them to be eligible to get the thing that is going to save them from a dangerous situation.” 

Ultimately, McDonald stated, “I want the vaccine!” He had been approaching the pandemic with caution as he fears for the health of his family; McDonald said that getting the vaccine is “going to help me and my family’s situation.”

England did advise that, “the biggest thing is everybody that is making the decision on the vaccine just needs to make sure they’ve done their research and talked to their primary healthcare physicians.” 

She also ends on a note of gratitude, “I am glad that we’re able to be able to have the chance to be protected so we can focus on teaching and not that background worry of COVID.”

While the past several months have not been ideal, Ms. Brook believes being at Bio-Med has made it easier for her. She thought if she were still teaching in California or at the prison she previously taught at, she would be struggling much more. 

Brook’s mother was an elementary teacher, and Brook thinks if she was still teaching she would have quit immediately after the start of this situation. “A lot of teachers I know would just not have ever been comfortable with it and so, the fact that I have been at Bio-Med for four years, I’m just grateful because this has pretty much been a seamless transition to just 100% virtual,” she said. “I’m so grateful I work at Bio-Med.” 

Ms. England agrees, and believes teaching has gotten easier as time goes on. Attendance and working with technology has gotten better for her. “I think we’ve figured out how to still do Bio-Med schooling to a point, so that got better too,” she said. 

Mr. McDonald thought this has been a learning experience for how to teach children who cannot come to school. He gave the example of a student who has a bad health condition, or one who needs to stay in the hospital for a long period of time. “It’s letting the light in on how we might do that for a kid who needs it,” he said. 

Despite the hardships, Ms. Tubbs was glad to have students back in the classroom, as interacting with the kids is why she became a teacher. She also expressed gratitude that she is still working and teaching, even though it is not the same. 

“I think teachers are really flexible people and we make it work when we have to,” Tubbs said. “We’re getting there. Eventually we’ll be all back and it’s just something that we have to get through.”

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New Senior Teacher Brings Field Experience

New Senior Teacher Brings Field Experience

By Kaden Starkey, staff writer

Ms. Bradley is a new staff member in the Bio-Med senior team. She teaches Human Pathophysiology and Biotechnology of Health and Disease.

FEBRUARY 2021 – Ms. Erin Bradley, a recent addition to the Bio-Med Science Academy staff, teaches two senior-level classes: Human Pathophysiology along with Biotechnology of Health and Disease. Becoming a teacher was not her original plan. She instead nurtured a secret passion for numbers. 

“I’m kind of a closet research nerd and love working with numbers,” she said. Bradley initially went to school to become an accountant, but she quickly learned that that career path was definitely not for her. 

After some time, Bradley discovered that she wanted to become a nurse instead. She went to Kent State University to study nursing. Not long into undergraduate studies did Bradley realize that she also had a love for teaching. That was when she decided to go back to Kent State to become a teacher. Bradley became a nurse and graduated in 2013 and earned her Masters of Science and Nursing with a Nurse Educator emphasis (MSN-Ed) about a year ago.

With her nursing degree, Bradley found herself working in various fields doing a variety of tasks. She also used to work for Cuyahoga Falls City Schools as a teacher, along with some undergraduate teaching at Kent State University. Bradley’s goal was to teach undergraduate students how to become nurses themselves, but she stumbled upon the job opening at Bio-Med and, in her words, “I love it and I’m really happy to be here.”

Bradley is drawn towards the STEM program that BMSA offers along with the passion that its students have towards their learning. She is excited to be able to take her experience in the field and share it with her students. Fifteen years ago, Bradley says she would have not pictured herself where she is now. Despite only being at Bio-Med since September, she feels she has learned and grown a great deal.

Growing as a teacher isn’t all that Bradley has made progress with. Bradley opened up about her anxiety tied with public speaking. She says that she enjoys speaking in front of people, but she just can’t shake the fear and anxiety that sometimes comes with it. When graduating with her bachelor’s, Bradley gave the graduation speech, and she said that, “I was terrified to do it, but I wanted to, I was really excited to do it.” She says that she’s come a long way with it, and luckily Bradley does not get nervous in front of her students. Most people don’t know about her nervousness and public speaking. Bradley says that in a way, becoming a teacher has helped her face this fear.

Outside of the classroom, Bradley can be found out in nature kayaking, hiking, or being with her family and friends. She also loves to take part in different races from 5k’s to half marathons and is always trying to find a new race to do. Bradley also enjoys watching sports and is an avid Star Wars fan. When she’s not participating in one of these activities, Bradley is most likely found spending time with her four children.

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Internship Spotlight: Steven Gaffney

Internship Spotlight: Steve Gaffney

by Aliscia Phillips, editor and chief 

FEBRUARY 2020 – For Senior APEX, students are required to complete either a research project or internship in order to graduate. This allows students to pursue an interest that could lead to a career or gain actual experience in a field they may end up working in. 

Steven Gaffney at his internship for The University of Akron’s Aero Design team.

As the year progresses, seniors are now preparing to share what they’ve learned. One student, Steven Gaffney, is interning with Tthe University of Akron’s Aero Design team to design and build model aircraft. He and the team of college students he works with will eventually submit their designs in a competition against other teams from different colleges. 

When asked what led him to choose this internship, Gaffney replied, “I had initially planned to intern with a company, but after going to another meeting at the university, I decided that I wanted to join the team.” He had previously been to several team meetings with his brother which let him know it would be a good fit for his interests: “I had known about their excellent teamwork [and] I knew the team was incredible at applying their knowledge to problems that face them in the field.”

His responsibilities consist of both working physically with the planes and editing footage for them. He said, “ Most days are pretty work-oriented, and we rarely will have a time where we aren’t altering pieces on the plane or filming, if not editing footage. On the other hand, we do have days where the work is slow, and that typically involves editing down pieces of footage that range hours in length.” 

His favorite part about his internship is the environment and experience he receives, specifically in CAD and video editing. He explained, “I have been in a great position, as my advisors have been really helpful and understanding, guiding me through their processes and allowing me to film their progress for my apex assignment.”

On the other hand, COVID has created road bumps for many students, including Steve. 

“Our team had been following restrictions in the months prior to the mid November lockdown,” he explained. “I had to immediately try and increase my hours to suffice for the time that I would be missing during the lockdown.” Thankfully, however, he was able to keep his internship and stayed caught up with his hours despite temporarily not being able to be at the university in person. 

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