Seniors take on Civic Responsibility

by Christine Whyde, staff writer

OCTOBER 2020 — Millions in the United States will be casting ballots Nov. 3 to elect a president for the next four years. This year, a number of Bio-Med Science Academy seniors will be eligible to vote for the first time. While many high schoolers have had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election in the past, this year is no ordinary circumstance. The current election has put many Americans at odds as strong opinions have formed about the potential candidates and issues at hand. 

Seniors at Bio-Med are choosing to vote for multiple reasons. Some feel that they are fulfilling their civic duties while others hope to sway the course of the election. Madison Gibbons says, “I think it is important. Our country has fought hard for the rights we have and I’m going to make sure I use them.” 

Being eligible and making the choice to vote does not mean that every senior is comfortable voicing their opinions. Each senior interviewed stated that they were only willing to detail their views in the right situation. 

For Jacob Fergis, this is mostly due to his political leaning: “I only talk about my political beliefs when asked, and only in smaller groups of people. Among people my age, conservatives are often just automatically viewed as racist, sexist, and insensitive. I’d rather not be seen that way, and I think that it’s ridiculous how political beliefs can divide people. I’d rather not be known for my politics.” 

When asked why others are choosing not to vote even though they are eligible to do so, many believed that it was partially due to dislike of the candidates. Suzie Krauss also suggested that some have actually been silenced by those with opposing views: “One of the presidential candidates has an extremely aggressive following and other voters could be targets for harassment. “ 

A few seniors strongly felt that others should be voting regardless of their apprehensions. Jacob Fergis explained that, “People will say they dislike both candidates, and so they just don’t vote at all. You’re surrendering your say in the matter. If you want things to change, you have to pick, even if that decision is the lesser of two evils.” 

As the election nears, the candidates are making their final efforts to sway voters. Most recently the televised presidential and vice presidential debates allowed millions of Americans direct access to the perspective of the major party candidates. Third parties were excluded. Many viewed the presidential segment as a particularly chaotic display, including Stephanie Kover. 

When reflecting on the debates she stated, “I watched some of the debate, but eventually decided to turn it off as it wasn’t really worth watching. Just by the way the candidates talked to each other, I knew nothing beneficial was going to be talked about. I feel as though the vice presidential debate was a lot more informational on how each candidate felt on certain topics.” 

The debates were not the first time that the presidential election was covered through the media. For many months, there have been dozens of news segments, magazine articles, and radio shows put out daily to give Americans the latest updates. For some, these interactions have altered their political beliefs and decision making. Many of the seniors expressed that they try to steer away from mainstream media due to bias. 

When asked if the media impacted his decision to vote, Kevin Akers replied, “No, I’ve purposefully only done my own research and found my own beliefs…” 

Madison Gibbons acknowledged the impact of bias on her personal views: “I would say I normally lean one way no matter what, but I’m sure the information I receive from the media makes me feel positively or negatively towards certain political beliefs.” 

Although the seniors were in general agreement on various topics, their political leanings and candidate choices are wide ranging. Some did not feel comfortable naming their candidates of choice while others got straight to the point. 

Jacob Fergis, for example, plans to vote for the re-election of Donald Trump. He explained, “I’ll be voting for Trump. First, he’s the Republican choice. Being Republican/conservative, my stances align with his more. Not only that, but I’ve seen all of the great things Trump has done in his time as POTUS already. I support what he’s done in Israel, as well as his Middle Eastern peace treaty. I also believe he’s done very well for the economy. Biden on the other hand is in clear support of leftist ideas that I disagree with, and it seems clear to me that Biden is really just a puppet. When you get sheltered in your basement for the whole campaign and only speak with the help of scripted questions and teleprompters, I don’t trust you to be president.”

Other students, such as Stephanie Kover, are choosing to vote for Democrat Joe Biden: “I will be voting for Biden. Not necessarily because I support him, but because I don’t want Trump to get re-elected. I hope in future elections there will be a candidate that aligns with my views more, such as Bernie Sanders.” 

Two of the seniors have yet to decide who will earn their ballot, but have very different perspectives. Kevin Akers is presumably deciding between the two major party candidates, “waiting for the final debate” to make a decision. Suzie Krauss on the other hand, is considering third parties. She stated, “I’m not sure who I will be voting for just yet, but it will absolutely not be Donald Trump. I feel he threatens many of America’s core values and should not be in office.” 

Regardless of their choice, each of the seniors is embarking on a new journey. Many feel nervous to be given such a responsibility. Others are disappointed given the current political climate but hope for something better. Stephanie Kover says, “For this being my first time voting, I am disappointed in the candidates that are running. The choice is between a very moderate Democrat and a far right Republican. I’m just hoping next election I will be able to vote for a candidate I’m actually proud of.” 

Senior Madison Gibbons at her home, after voting for the first time. By Owen Baird.

Even though there may be downsides, there are still positives to find in the experience. Each of the seniors is excited to be opening a new chapter into adulthood. Some also feel that voting will allow them to learn more about the government, politics, and even themselves. Madison Gibbons looks forward to the experience, stating, “I feel nervous yet excited and proud to be voting.” 

No matter the outcome of the election, each of the voting seniors can be proud of the fact that they fulfilled their civic responsibilities and took part in a moment of American history.

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A Second First Day of School

Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola
View of the newly constructed wing, which houses grades 7-8 and new common area.

by Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

OCTOBER 2020 — For students attending Bio-Med Science Academy, Sept. 28 was the first time they physically attended school since last March. In response to safety guidelines and an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the school implemented what is known as a hybrid schedule.

The hybrid schedule separates students in two groups: purple and green. The groups run on a rotation in which one week, the green group goes to school, and the next, the purple group does. On the weeks they aren’t school, students attend virtually.

Each color group is broken up into smaller groups called cohorts. Each cohort consists of about 15 students who all share the same schedule. This way, the number of people students come in contact with is limited. While at school, students are required to wear a mask and keep at least a minimum of three feet distance from their peers. Desks are also cleaned after every class to prevent the spread of the virus.  

After students were given the option to return, many shared their excitement upon their arrival. When being asked about their first week, many students initially felt unsure how things were going to operate due to the safety protocols in place. 

However, students were pleasantly surprised by the welcoming and collaborative environment the school had to offer. “It’s been very fun and very interactive lately, and I think to be honest, we are going to have a lot of fun,” said Natalie Hammerschmidt, a current 9th grader at Bio-Med Science Academy. 

From a teacher standpoint, the cohort system is also appreciated for the most part. When being asked about it, Mrs. Mihalik commended, “The cohort system, I actually really like. Before when they were trying to do hybrid with our original schedules, it was all mixed up and this way I can at least try to make it even.”

Despite the safety protocols, students still feel that they are receiving a good educational experience. When asked about her opinions on the new schedule, Chloe Cook, a current 8th grader, offered some insight on her first week back. “Being here on Monday definitely did feel like the first day back at school, even though we had been in school for like three weeks already,” she said.

When asked about the hybrid schedule, Cook responded,  “I like being back at school. It’s definitely easy to learn that way, and I love the new building. And just like being here; it’s a great environment but I mean I am pretty sad I won’t be here next week. But I understand why and how they are doing it.” 

While students are generally pleased with the in-person weeks, online weeks are a different story. Many students shared their concerns about struggling while completing assignments online. 

Hailey Mills, a 10th grade student, said of her first few weeks at Bio-Med, “They have been good at school, but at home it’s hard to understand what the teachers expect from us and it’s hard to stay focused.”

Despite their concerns with the digital weeks, students at Bio-Med are happy to be back in school, and are enjoying the positive community it brings. By implementing the hybrid schedule and following these safety precautions, people attending school are able to receive a learning experience that is enjoyable, while also staying safe. 

bio-med journey general

Senior Class of 2021: Preparing for College

Pictured is the University Pavilion at the University of Cincinnati. University Pavilion is home to Undergraduate admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Cincinnati.

by Kaden Starkey, staff writer

The college application process is underway for the current senior class of 2021. As deadlines approach, the students are tying up any loose ends, with the hopes that it is good enough for acceptance into the college of their choice. 

A college application is a sort of form that one fills out when they are planning to attend college in the next year or so. The application can be filled out on what is known as the common app (short for common application). Some universities have their own application that the student has to fill out and submit directly to the institution. 

Applying for college can be a lengthy and stressful process because there are many different sections and components to an application. The timeline to start this process also varies widely from person to person. 

Chloe Boyden, a 2020 Bio-Med Science Academy alumna and freshman at Kent State University said, “I think you should start trying to apply around fall, November at the latest.” Another 2020 BMSA alumna, pre-med freshman, Skylar Cole, who attends the University of Cincinnati, started her essays and personal statements the summer before and had her applications submitted by late October.

The application requires personal information about the student, their parents, and their sibling(s). It also asks what the student plans to attend that college for. 

“The common app had a bunch of standard questions that I already had the answers to,” Cole explained. 

There are also academic sections with places to fill out grades, classes, teacher recommendations, and test scores and extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, jobs, volunteering, and internships. To wrap up the application, there is an optional student essay section that they write on one of the few given topics. 

The academic section can be the source of some anxiety in the process. Some schools are strict with GPA, ACT, and SAT acceptance numbers. Schools, too, could be vague on the accepting scores, giving only an average range. High school transcripts are usually a mandatory part of the college application. Because of recent circumstances with COVID-19, a handful of colleges are becoming test-optional. This means that the student does not have to submit their ACT or SAT score when applying. Whether or not one chooses to submit a score, it will not make or break the student’s application. The score, in the end, can help to make one’s application stand out more than before. 

Aside from scores and grades, there are also teacher recommendations that most schools require. The letter does not have to be from a teacher. It could be from a counselor, someone a student has volunteered with, a family friend, or a coworker or boss. More often than not, that letter is written by an academic teacher or adviser. It is up to the student’s discretion as to which teacher(s) or other personnel they choose to write the letter. Cole states that “the teachers that I had gotten to know and teachers that had gotten to know me past the classroom” were the key factors in choosing the teachers to write her letter of recommendations. 

When asking a teacher to write you a letter of recommendation, asking in person is usually the route to go, but email works fine as well. Considering the current Coronavirus Pandemic, most students do not have the ability to ask their teacher in person. So they have to email the teacher. One should aim to give them as much time as possible to write the letter. Usually around the first couple months of senior year students reach out to their teacher of choice. Be sure to inform them when the letter needs to be completed by. If the students do not, the letter might not be completed in time for the application deadline. Something most students do not realize is the person that they ask, does not have to accept the student’s letter request. 

Often, people are unaware of the financial factor behind college applications. It can be quite surprising for many. 

“You definitely have to plan for how much each application is going to cost because some of them are only going to cost twenty bucks; some of them are eighty,” explains Cole.  

On top of application fees, students also have to pay to have their ACT scores sent to individual colleges, as well as any prior transcripts from any CCP classes (such as Stark State). Although it could be financially challenging for families, there are multiple ways that one could be assisted. There are a plethora of independent scholarships out there for students to apply to. Alongside the independent scholarships, there are scholarships that the university gives out to students. Some high schools also offer scholarships for their prospective college students. 

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a form that all college students are urged to fill out. It opens every year on October 1st of the year before one plans to attend college. It is a free application that is a government assistance program for the financial portion of college, usually referred to as financial aid. The funds in this program are determined by one’s financials, such as income and federal taxes. Funds are given out on a first come first serve basis. The funds given can be seen as a grant, a government loan, or a work-study opportunity for the student.

The amount of schools that one applies to is specific to the individual. Some people apply to only one school while others apply to over ten. The schools that one applies to varies among the student and their future outlook. Many apply to schools that their family approves of while some apply to colleges abroad or one that sits close to home. 

When asked what advice she would give to current seniors going through this process, Cole responds with, “For seniors specifically, what you want is going to matter most in the end because you are the one going to that school.”

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After Graduation Alternatives to a Traditional Four-Year University

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

Fifty-nine percent of teenagers plan to attend a four-year college course after high school, according to 2020 statistics. A lot of careers do require a college degree, but that is not the only option. Community college, technical or trade school, apprenticeships, the military, mission trips, and gap years are all paths that can be a better fit for some people.  

One of the many options students have after graduation is joining the military. Pictured is the U.S. Airforce Recruiting Office in Kent, Ohio. By Owen Baird.

Community College

At a community college, students can earn an associate’s degree or a certification in only two years. The programs at community colleges are often directly related to the needs of the current job market. Sarah Sipek, author for careerbuilder.com, says students can get a degree or certified “as a veterinary technician, a dental hygienist, web designer or even a winemaker,” as well as many other possibilities. Receiving an associate’s degree also gives students the option of transferring to a university to get a bachelor’s degree. 

Take Taleah Cline for instance. Cline is a Bio-Med Science Academy 2020 graduate taking a gap semester to work and save money. In the spring she plans to take an EMT class at Stark State College. 

“I did originally plan to go to Med school, but I quickly realized that’s not the best idea,” Cline said. “But I still wanted to go into the medical field.” 

Then Cline met Andy Miller, the husband of Bio-Med ELA 11 teacher Ms. Bates, when he came into their lunch one day to tell them about his job as a firefighter/paramedic. 

“I was instantly interested,” recalled Cline. She talked to Ms. Bates about volunteering with the Tallmadge Fire Department. “After volunteering for just a day, I knew that was something I wanted to do,” said Cline. However, before someone can become a paramedic, they have to be an EMT. “So that’s where I started,” Cline concluded.

Here is a list of community colleges near Rootstown, Ohio from Google Maps. 

Technical School

Technical schools, also known as trade schools, are another career avenue, especially if a person already has a career that they want to go directly into. These schools specialize in courses that teach skills applicable to specific careers, such as carpentry, electrical work, culinary arts, etc. Unlike a four-year university, “you aren’t required to take classes that aren’t related to your career focus,” according to Sipek. 

Here is a list of technical schools near Rootstown, Ohio from Google Maps. 

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are a way to learn a trade and skills relevant to an in-demand field while also getting paid from day one. These programs consist of on-the-job training from experienced professionals and classroom instruction. Apprenticeships are available for many different occupations, such as health care, internet technology, manufacturing, and construction. To learn about apprenticeship opportunities in Ohio, visit ohio.gov.  

Military

Joining one of the five branches of the military is another option. According to Sipek, there are several benefits: competitive salaries, free health care, little-to-no living costs, retirement with benefits after twenty years of service. If you choose to go to college after your service, the GI Bill can be used to pay part of your tuition. 

The five military branches include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The first step to joining is researching and deciding which branches are most interesting. Then contact a recruiter for those branches. The recruiter will provide information about that service. 

To enlist, report to a military entrance processing station (MEPS), where pre-enlistment steps will be completed. This includes having a physical exam and taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test to determine what job specialties would be best for an individual. Once accepted, orders for basic training will be given. To learn more about the military branches and how to contact a recruiter, visit usa.gov/join-military

Mission Trips

According to volunteerhq.org, mission trips are “an international volunteering opportunity focused around collaborating with local communities to provide support where it is most needed.” Short-term mission trips can range from one week to twenty-four weeks long, and there are several travel destinations around the world to choose from. Some churches also have their own mission trip programs for an added religious component. 

Gap Year

According to gapyearassociation.org, a gap year is defined as “a semester or year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and prior to career or post-secondary education, in order to deepen one’s practical, professional, and personal awareness.” This can involve expanding your comfort zones, having a cross-cultural experience (such as traveling), reflecting on your experiences and possible career interests, and working to save up money (possibly for school). It should be noted that the purpose is not to do nothing for a year. 

For example, Ben Morgan is a BMSA 2020 graduate who is taking a gap year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has kept himself busy. He’s currently studying French with a tutor, practicing carpentry, working part time, and hopes to begin studying astronomy. 

“More or less I’ve put together my own college curriculum taught by friends or associates,” Morgan said.

In addition, Morgan has also been working with Staughton Lynd, a historian and social activist. Lynd has been assigning readings on social movements, labor history, economics, and moral injury to Morgan. The two also collaborated on an article that was published in Dissent magazine last month. 

“It feels very satisfying to have that piece published. Since my freshman year at Bio-Med when I participated in National History Day, I’ve wanted to get an article published,” said Morgan. 

This time before college has allowed Morgan to grow as a student and as a person and has given him many valuable opportunities and experiences. Morgan had this to say on the topic: “I believe that there’s a lot to be said for not jumping into the world of higher education at this specific point, as it seems one learns just as much from their peers and from the experience of being on a campus as from the actual taught information.”

Jacob Rude is another BMSA 2020 graduate who is taking a gap year to work and determine a best-fit career for himself. So far, he has had three jobs in food service where he has learned important lessons. 

“Taking accountability for mistakes or misunderstandings [that] may not even be your own fault is an incredible tool that is refined by those who work in jobs such as these,” said Rude. Also, one of his life goals is to write books, so Rude has been using his free time to write whatever comes to mind in order to nurture his creativity.  

Rude has been looking into many possible careers. Teaching, movie making, entrepreneurship, and skilled trades such as carpentry and masonry have all gone into consideration. However, he is still undecided, and he wants to take his time in order to avoid making what he believes is a common mistake. 

“When they prioritize return on investment over any and everything else, they tend to get stuck in an occupation they have no passion for and lead a dull, unfulfilling life,” Rude stated. 

Rude gives his respect to his peers in college who are struggling during these difficult times. He also recognizes that he needs to sort out his own thoughts before he can make a final decision. On the topic of his gap year, Rude offers a final thought: “I knew that I just needed more time to figure out what I want to do with my life and what I want to give back to the world, and that’s okay too.”

bio-med journey

Shake off Senioritis! Stay Motivated Senior Year

By Aliscia Phillips, Staff Writer

Note: This article was written prior to the state’s stay-at-home order.

Senioritis is a common phenomenon in students nearing graduation. It’s typically classified as a lack of motivation and occurs because students get caught under the false assumption that they don’t have to try as hard since they are so close to the finish line. Other times, students just stop caring because they’re ready to move on to the next step of their lives. Because of this, they often fall behind and miss out on opportunities their senior year. 

Other symptoms of this “affliction” may include procrastination, loss of interest in class subjects, a drop in grades, and a lack of effort. Students here at Bio-Med are already noticing and feeling the effects, which is why it’s important to learn how to ward it off before it becomes too late. 

According to senior Gage Kuszmaul, “Come March, April, May, these kids are accepting offers to colleges and then think they are in the clear, but they are not. They may lose out on many scholarships just because they blew off their last few months of school, tanking their GPA.” 

If this affliction can’t be kept under wraps, the consequences could cost students. Gage also explains, “If I do not get a scholarship because of [senioritis] I will quite literally be ‘paying’ the consequences.” 

Colleges can take away scholarships and even acceptances if the applicant no longer meets the requirements upon graduation.

Senioritis can be a serious issue if not dealt with, but not to worry as there are plenty of ways to avoid it. It isn’t always easy staying motivated, but a simple first step is for people to remind themselves of their goal and the progress they’ve made. With an objective in mind, it’s much easier to stay on track and avoid slacking off. 

For example, Eryka Lund says, “There are a lot of important things I need to do and I’m going to do them, but I just have such a strong sense of apathy at this point.” 

She gets by with short bouts of motivation, but if motivation can be better maintained, stress can be minimized and students will be less likely to fall behind.

Even teachers feel the effects of senioritis and want to see their students succeed in their final year. Ms. Berry describes how it drives her “absolutely crazy” because, especially in her math classes, students spend the year “building their toolboxes” so that they can understand the complex topics towards the end of the year. However, students are checking out before the big finish and they’re unable to properly fit the pieces together at the end of the year. It causes students to be unprepared because they haven’t fully grasped the building blocks of math. Ms. Berry advises that students be mature enough to have personal agency over their schoolwork, saying, “It’s hard to completely ignore the feeling of senioritis because you’re ending a stage of life and entering a new one which is something to be celebrated and enjoyed, but you need to stay on topic when necessary.”

If a student is struggling, it can also be helpful to talk to teachers or a guidance counselor who will help students set goals and give tips on how to follow through with them. One strategy is to create a reward system and set up checkpoints so that a student is always incentivized to keep going. Taking breaks is also important if seniors are feeling overwhelmed, but be sure that students hold themselves accountable and don’t allow small breaks to develop into procrastination. 

Gage offers this piece of advice: “It seems fun to blow off school and just have fun but you have made it this far; just hold out a little longer and then you can have fun. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun now, just know when to be serious and when not to be.” A healthy balance between school and recreational time is yet another essential piece in avoiding burnout so close to the end.   

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Dreams Taking Flight: Dominic Russo With the Akron Aero Design Team

By Jacob Rude

Senior Dominic Russo’s internship at The University of Akron reflects his eccentric soul and eclectic personality. He was finally able to obtain his internship after contacting fifteen other companies, where none attempted to work with him or even respond to him. His brother, Robert Russo, himself a Bio-Med alumnus, helped Dominic out by asking some of his friends on The University of Akron Aero Design Team if his younger brother could be an intern there, to which they agreed. Russo the younger then got in contact with the team himself, and the members of UAADT loved the idea of having him on board. 

The Aero Design Team is a competition design team for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly subdivision, which Dominic describes in this way: “Each year an organization gives rules to a competition that is designed to be impossible in many ways, but it’s real-world problems that companies are trying to solve.” He said, for example, that last year they had to build a scale model bomber designed for an aircraft carrier. This year they have to design a passenger plane that can take off in a very short distance, have a small profile, and have much more power than it necessarily has any reason to have. To test it, they had to carry as many “passengers,” as possible, with passengers being replicated by four-ounce payloads, as well as trail a banner that is as big as possible. According to Russo, the main challenge for the team was to have the plane be able to take off in twenty feet. 

The team built its plane before Thanksgiving, and invited family and friends to a field to see the first and only test flight. The week before the set date for the flight, Russo found himself sleeping on a couch across the hall from the other members of the team for four hours a night between periods of work. On the day of the test flight, they had a plane. To Russo’s surprise, it performed much better than he had thought. They were still working on the plane up until the last minute on the day of the test flight, but it exceeded all expectations. They were able to make the plane fly straight up, and still, it continued to accelerate. Instead of twenty feet, it was able to take off in just five feet. Russo said the plane’s fifteen-minute mandatory flight at full throttle could have been extended to an hour and a half in the air. 

Russo commented on watching the plane take flight for the first time: “It’s a mix of absolute terror and stress, seeing what you’ve been working on for six months in the air, knowing it’s probably not gonna come down in one piece, and just pure amazement and enjoyment seeing that knowing I built that in six days.” 

Russo is planning to attend the University of Akron this fall and looks forward to becoming an official member of the Akron Aero Design Team.

bio-med journey

Generation Z Spearheading Social Change

By Benjamin Morgan and Skylar Cole

Generation Z is preparing to enter the adult world en masse, and the recent wave of student activism shows that many members of this group aren’t willing to sit back and wait for change. Across the world, teenagers have gone on strike in opposition to the injustice they see in the world around them. The activism of this group differs greatly from that of past generations due in large part to the tools that many teens and other young adults have grown up with and have ingrained into their collective culture. Handheld computers, instant access to social media users around the world, and the greatest database of human knowledge ever accessible have all contributed to the strength and scope of Gen Z taking a stand.

One of the first and most covered American events in the new era of student protests was the response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Following the deaths of 17 people in this school shooting, thousands of students walked out across the nation to protest gun violence and support gun control. After the national walkout in March of 2018, the New York Times reported that “the emergence of people not even old enough to drive as a political force has been particularly arresting, unsettling a … debate that had seemed impervious to other factors.” 

Many Bio-Med students participated in this act, constituting the first real concerted effort of student activism in our school. 

“[The shooting and walkout] made me want to do more, but I didn’t know what else to do… Not all of us can be Greta.” said Eryka Lund, a participant in the walkout. 

At the time of the writing of this article, students in Hong Kong are continuing school strikes that have lasted almost two months in the face of continuing police brutality and violence against the people. 

The student-led components are a part of that city’s opposition to increased rule by mainland China, most notably a now-retracted extradition treaty. These students are standing against increased aggression by the Chinese military and local police and defying the recent mask ban, a measure instituted by Hong Kong’s government to ban the wearing of face masks that obscure identity during demonstrations, protecting their right to protest with anonymity. Protesters have managed to send hundreds of videos, photographs, and messages to the outside world, piercing the web of censorship that China has attempted to cast over them to stifle their voices. As the violence has intensified, students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong built barricades on the University grounds and fought the police as government forces attempted to regain the campus. Though they face arrest, government-sanctioned beatings, and even death, the students are willing to accept any fate if it means a future of freedom and democracy for their city.

Perhaps the most striking recent example of global student solidarity came in late September of 2019 with the Global Climate Strike. While working people around the world participated in the strike, the event was inspired and organized by a group of Swedish teenagers, most notably Greta Thunberg. 

August 20, 2018, was the first day that fifteen-year-old Thunberg sat outside the Swedish Riksdag, the national legislature and decision-making body, with her now-famous sign reading, “Skolstrejk för klimatet,” which in English reads “school strike for the climate.” From that day until the Swedish general election on September 9, Thunberg sat outside the Riksdag during school hours every weekday in protest. Her demands came after Sweden experienced the hottest summer in 262 years, in which the country was overtaken by wildfires and heatwaves.

Between September 20-27, 2019, she helped to orchestrate the Global Climate Strike. Independent sources estimated that over six million students voided going to school on the final day in solidarity with Thunberg.

Thunberg’s action caught international attention, in part due to her blunt language about the climate crisis. She continues to call out world leaders and the public to take action and address climate change. For her actions, Thunberg has received and been nominated for many awards including being named one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine and being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. 

bio-med journey general

Abigail Longstreth Gets her Hands Dirty with Soil and Water Conservation

By Jacob Rude

Abigail Longstreth’s senior internship is at Portage Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Ravenna, where she is able to make connections with government officials and gain experience with environmental science. The Portage SWCD is an independent division of the Ohio Department of Agriculture that provides support for issues including soils, streams, wetlands, drainage, ponds, wildlife, plants, and forests. While her work changes day-to-day, she says she enjoys the change of pace and is grateful for all of the life skills and knowledge she is gaining. 

“I get to go outside a lot. I go on site visits with them, we drop off rain barrels; that’s one of the projects that I helped organize,” said Longstreth. 

She is interested in helping areas that are lacking in water resources: “I have a specific passion to go and help people in developing countries get water because that’s a really big problem,” said Longstreth. 

She is currently starting a project to quantify plastic waste at Bio-Med, where she is trying to find out how much plastic is recycled in proportion to how much is thrown away at the school, and hopes to expand it to other schools as well. 

“I feel like I’ve been able to make a lot of change already just through all of the stuff I’ve been doing and I’ve been given the opportunity to further what I want to do,” Longstreth said. 

Longstreth recommends that any students interested in environmental science try and get an internship at the Portage Soil and Water Conservation District: “It’s only been two months and I’ve already had so much valuable experience. They’ve been really, really accommodating with helping me accomplish my SMART goals that I set out. They’re making my goals a priority, and it’s awesome.” Longstreth is hoping to major in environmental science, but is currently undecided on a college. 

To learn more about the Portage Soil and Water Conservation District, visit portageswcd.org.

bio-med journey

Educational Models of Civic Institutions Offer Crucial Experiences to Students

By Ben Morgan

Bio-Med offers multiple student-run organizations that provide our community with experience and education in real-world institutions. Some of the most crucial lessons students take away from school are those on civic responsibility and the structure of the real world. These lessons are taught by allowing students to participate in mockups of some of the most critical institutions in society: elected government and free journalism. 

As Americans, we are given the freedom these institutions provide, but without a well-informed and engaged public, they cease to exist. While it may not levy taxes or regulate federal law before the eyes of the world, the opportunity to vote and experience representative democracy that student government provides is critical for the preparation of well-informed voters. 

Similarly, school newspapers allow students to not only learn, but also participate in the journalistic process while simultaneously informing their fellow students about important happenings and ideas. These are formative experiences for students to have that will impact their view on the institutions of our society and their connections to them. At present, people’s faith in these columns of our culture is eroding. 

According to statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 53% of the eligible population turned out to vote in the 2018 elections, about a 12% increase from the last midterm. Similarly, the Knight Foundation reports that 69% of Americans state that they have lost faith in the media in the past decade. Perhaps the most distressing of these results comes from the Pew Research Center, which claims that only 40% of the U.S. population is satisfied with our democracy. 

It is crucial, at this time perhaps more than ever before, to support these organizations which form the basis for hands-on education in the fields which we all rely on for the functioning of day-to-day life in a free country. If Generation Z is to have an informed and engaged electorate, we must aid and work with student democracy and news resources. 

bio-med journey general

Bio-Med Senior Turns Next Page with Internship

By Jacob Rude

Stephanie Ijoma’s senior internship is working with author James Renner, where she has been tasked with finding “true crime stories,” as well as supernatural stories on the social media website Reddit. Renner has written several non-fiction books as well as a few novels, mainly encompassing true crime and supernatural fiction. He started his career as a reporter and covered the story of Amy Mihaljevic, which transitioned him into the world of creative writing with his first book, Amy: My Search for Her Killer: Secrets & Suspects in the Unsolved Murder of Amy Mihaljevic. Stephanie was referred to Renner through Ms. Bates, the 11th grade language arts teacher here at Bio-Med. “We’ve known each other now for 17 years.” Ms. Bates recounted. She worked with his wife at the previous school she taught at, Coventry Highschool. Renner’s wife was the choir teacher there, and met Renner through her. Shortly after, she got in contact with him and worked out the internship. 

Renner needed help researching his new book about “scary stories on Reddit.” So far, Stephanie has scoured Reddit for qualifying stories, but her success rate has been relatively low. She said that only about one out of ten people she contacts actually gives her their information. Ijoma explained: “Basically, he gave me a little prompt of how I could practice sending messages to people, and I went through a couple Reddit threads, sent a couple letters to people, asking them if they would like to be part of the book. Then they would either say yes or no, or they just wouldn’t respond.” 

Renner currently has one of his books in the works to be adapted into a television show, as well as having a podcast called “The Philosophy of Crime.” 

Renner has one piece of advice for those students who may be interested in writing in a professional setting: “The first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with publishing, and if you want to make money at it, I would stay away from self-publishing and go the traditional route. To understand how the process really works, the best book out there is Stephen King’s On Writing. That’s a good place to start.” Stephanie hasn’t done much more than research as of yet, but says that she is looking forward to the work she will be doing later on in the process. 

Renner’s future plans for Ijoma include showing her the process of turning those stories into chapters in the book, as well as the layout, cover art, copy editing, and publishing. Ijoma talks about what she is anticipating for her future: “I’m just looking forward to learning how to write better and learning what the publishing process is like because I’ve never known what it’s like, but with this internship I have the opportunity to learn that.” 

He is also planning to have Ijoma help him finish editing his recently written gothic horror novel, as the main character is a young woman in her twenties. He hopes that Stephanie can give him some perspective regarding that character.

bio-med journey