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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The Importance of Valentines Day

The Importance of Valentines Day

by Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

FEBRURARY 2021 – Originally, Valentine’s day was created to celebrate St. Valentine, according to the History Channel. However, there is controversy about which St. Valentine the holiday celebrates and is based on. The most popular legend of St. Valentine comes from Christian and Roman tradition, with Valentine being a priest during 3rd century Rome in a time when the emperor believed single men made better soldiers and outlawed marriages for younger men. In response to this, Valentine allegedly held marriage ceremonies in secret and was caught and sentenced to death. 

St. Valentine, A holy Roman priest.

Other versions of the story include Saint Valentine of Terni, who supposedly fell in love with a woman while he was in prison. According to legend, he sent a letter to the woman saying it was “from your valentine.”  Then he died. According to Smithsonian magazine, the holiday could have also originated from a feast that celebrated a Christian martyr’s decapitation. It is also believed that there were multiple people named St. Valentine’s who died on February 14th, and while some gained more popularity than others, no one seems to be quite certain on the topic.

Regardless of the origins involved, Valentine’s day had been celebrated for many years, and was a celebration of love in Rome where it was otherwise outlawed. Since then, the holiday has transformed from a feast of celebration, into a more intimate celebration of love and relationships in a general sense. 

The Valentine’s Day Debate: Why Do We Celebrate It?

Through being interviewed, each Bio-Med student was asked the same question: “Do you think Valentine’s Day is an important holiday?” The responses varied between students.

Dante Duluc believes Valentine’s Day is an important holiday. This year, he is going to spend Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend watching movies. When being asked about if the holiday was important to him, he responded “well the reason that we’re doing plans for Valentine’s day I guess it’s just it’s important to show how you care for one another.”

Generally, when being asked about what they liked about Valentine’s Day, the majority of students shared that they liked the fact they were able to show that they cared and spend time with important people in their lives. Mostly, students that were in a relationship thought that Valentine’s Day was more important than those who didn’t.When asked if the holiday was important, Kaytlin Haylett, a junior, responded that “my only reason to say yes is because it’s my first year being in a relationship so it’s like a big deal, but no.”

Other students, like Keira Vasbinder, stated they liked Valentine’s day because of “how happy it can make other people when you give them something even if it’s small.” In previous years, Vasbinder shared that she would attempt to get small gifts for her friends and family, and really only celebrated it if her friends planned events. While most people associate it with romantic relationships, Vasbinder noted that “it doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic holiday, and it’s fun to make others happy.” 

Some people view the holiday a bit differently, and see it as less important than other holidays. When being asked if he thought Valentine’s Day was important to him, Emmet Bakos replied that “I’ve never really been a big fan of Valentine’s Day.” He then elaborated to say that “It just seems, pressuring to say the least. Especially for people who aren’t in relationships.”

While some students may feel pressured to buy expensive gifts, or plan a date, others revealed they did not really think Valentine’s Day was that important to celebrate. Tessa Wood, another sophomore, noted that “it’s not super important,” as other holidays. “I like to text the people in my life to remind them that they are important to me. I like the holiday, but I think it’s kinda insignificant,” Wood remarked.

Mayla Bregant is a 7th grader at Bio-Med, and shared that she was generally a fan of the holiday. “I really like Valentine’s Day because obviously you get a lot of candy and chocolate and teddy bears and that’s good and stuff.” She elaborated on this by saying that “I just wish people would be more open to loving everybody everyday.”

Instead of just showing our affection to others on one holiday, Mayla thinks Valentine’s Day should be celebrated, yet parts of it should be practiced every day. “We should still remember to love everybody everyday and not just on holidays,” she concluded. 

Ella Wright, a freshman this year, is planning on spending the holiday baking and giving gifts to her neighbors. While she has plans for the holiday, she stated that “to me, it isn’t a super important holiday,” and shared similar thoughts to Mayla as to why she didn’t think the holiday was that important. “I think we should be appreciating people all of the days of the year, and not just one,” Wright concluded.

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A Disease Free Valentine’s Day: Safe Ideas to Spend the Holiday

A Disease Free Valentine’s Day: Safe Ideas to Spend the Holiday

By Alyssa Cocchiola, Staff Writer

FEBRUARY 2021 – Instead of boxes of chocolates and heart shaped cutouts, most people recommend prioritizing items like masks and hand sanitizers for this Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a holiday typically associated with spending time with others. However, with safety precautions regarding COVID-19 in place, the holiday is likely to look a lot different than previous years. Members of the Bio-Med Science Academy community shared their ideas on safe ways to spend the holiday.

Zoom Parties

“So far this year, we’ve used Zoom a whole lot of times so that’s one way,” Nicholas Cross, an 8th grade student, commented. Zoom has been commonly used to host events in the digital space, with Bio-Med, and other schools in our area using it to aid in virtual lessons. “If you already have most of the family you wanna spend Valentine’s Day with around you, with the people you don’t you can just like facetime them and stuff like that,” they concluded. 

Skyler Earl, a sophomore at Bio-Med, noted that “sometimes my friends would have parties or get-togethers, but this year I most likely won’t attend any of them.” She described the alternative of “zoom parties,” where her friends would get together on zoom and host events that way. 

A laptop with Zoom open, a digital communication application.

Other students shared that Zooms are not a new concept for spending time together on holidays. 

“As someone who has family all over the country, family Zoom calls for the holidays have been the thing for quite some time,” Emmet Bakos commented. “They’re a fun and easy way to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while.”

Even if students don’t have family out of state, most students agreed that doing something with others in person is not the safest option. Bakos continued by saying, “If you really wanted to do something for Valentine’s day, the safest thing to do is call them on any video chat software and talk for awhile.” Other video chat softwares could include things like Skype, Facetime, and Google hangouts, all of which provide a way of communicating in times where in-person is not a viable option.

 “Seeing someone virtually is much better than risking the chance of giving them covid for Valentine’s day,” Bakos concluded. 

Watching Movies

Tessa Wood is another sophomore, and shared her opinions on Zooms as well. She commented that “movie Zooms are always fun! They are easy to execute and you can talk during them.” The ability to screen share, and use features like Netflix Party are enabling people everywhere to enjoy different media with their peers in the digital space. 

Dante Duluc is a freshman this year and shared his plans for the holiday. When being asked about his plans, he said “for Valentine’s day me and my girlfriend are going to the movies.” However, it was not an actual movie theatre he was referring to. He followed this up by saying that “for the movies what we’re actually doing is we’re just sitting in my room watching movies on TV and like eating snacks.” With watching movies either via Zoom or another socially distanced way, it still allows others to spend time watching movies with those they love, and in a way that reflects the safety regulations in place currently. 

Virtual Dinner Dates

Kaytlin Haylett is a junior and plans on spending Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend. When being asked about ideas for socially distanced dates, she brought up the idea of “a dinner date over Zoom.” With this, it would enable others to go on dates and eat food together in the virtual space. “I did one of those with my boyfriend while we were actually quarantining,” she concluded. 

Baking

Kitchen equipment for baking Valentine’s day treats.

With the safety guidelines in place for COVID-19, most people will not be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day the same way they did the year prior. While some people celebrated the holiday with some sort of party, Ella Wright, a freshman this year, stated that she likes “bringing cookies or something to school to share with people.” However, due to contact tracing, social distancing, and other guidelines, sharing treats in school is likely not an option this year.

To find a solution to this problem, she suggests that one way to show our appreciation for others is to “make something, and leave it on someone’s front porch.” This idea would enable people to share their gifts and treats like most years, while limiting contact with others.

 Wright added on to this by saying, “I am planning on making some cookies, or cupcakes, or something and taking them around to my neighbors.” Even if students do not live close enough to friends and family where they can give them gifts, mailing them is always a viable option as well.

Reaching Out

“I think others can do things for the holiday if they want to, as long as they are staying safe and doing their best to distance,” Keira Vasbinder, a 10th grade student advised. Whether it’s a Zoom meeting, virtual movie party, a virtual dinner date, watching movies, baking for others, or simply sending a thoughtful text, there are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day safely, and follow the guidelines in place.  “You’re still connecting,” Vasbinder continued, “just in a different way.”

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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.”

bio-med journey Uncategorized

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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January is a SOUPer month! The National Month of Soup

January is a SOUPer month! The National Month of Soup

By McKenna Burchett, staff writer

FEBRUARY 2020 – According to a survey conducted by The Hive, only 12.9% of students at Bio-Med Science Academy knew that January is National Soup Month. National Soup Month was started by Campbell’s Soup Company in 1986 to promote the company. Campbell’s is a multinational food company headquartered in Camden, N.J., with annual sales of approximately $8.69 billion. It was founded in 1869 by Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson. The company initially started selling only soup, but have since expanded to other foods. 

However, is there more to soup than just selling it? 

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

“Soup is a very relaxing food,” said freshman Nathan Jimenez. “It’s for calming.” 

Eighth grader Zachary Hamilton agreed, calling soup “warm and comforting.” 

Meanwhile Kali Crawford, a sophomore, recalled a very emotionally charged experience involving soup. “One time I burnt my entire hand making soup, but the soup was good. It didn’t feel that good, but the soup was worth it. Soup is one of my favorite foods, so it makes me happy.”

Soup itself came about around the development of clay pots, as the waterproof pots allowed for boiling of ingredients. The oldest evidence of soup dates back to 20,000 BCE. The word originates from French’s word for soup, which is “soupe.” This in turn came from a Latin word, “suppa,” meaning bread soaked in broth. This is also where the word “sop” comes from.

As for the big question, “Is cereal soup?” a variety of answers were given. 30% of students said yes, 46.7% said no, and the rest said “sometimes.” Students said things ranging from “Soup contains broth, milk is NOT a broth,” to an entire rant about how “Soup is a job killer for inner mouth and jaw muscles. ”  

Further elaboration was gathered from a few students. Hamilton says that cereal is soup. “Soup is a liquidy substance with things in it that you can drink. Some cultures heat cereal up and make it warm, so that makes it soup. I think that if it’s thicker than runny, then it’s stew.” However, on the topic of gazpacho, a cold soup, he says “I don’t know, what is soup? It’s almost like a conspiracy theory…”

Crawford, however, disagrees with that notion. “I feel very strongly about cereal being soup, just like hot dogs being a sandwich, because soup is defined as a liquid dish with stuff in it.” When further probed about other solids within liquids, she clarified “If it’s not edible, it’s not soup.”

Here are a few soup recipes provided by Bio-Med students: 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk, or more, as needed

1 cup chicken broth (no salt added preferred)

5 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 green onions, thinly sliced

1 small clove garlic, finely minced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Evenly lay the bacon on a 2-3 ply paper towel- lined plate, cover with a paper towel and microwave until cooked and crispy– about 6 minutes. (You can also do this in a skillet, and remove and blot on paper towels.) Coarsely cut most of the bacon, finely chopping 2-3 tablespoons, as a garnish. Set aside. If using a pressure cooker, place the prepared potatoes in a steamer basket, on top of a trivet, with 2 cups of water. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes, do a quick release and remove the lid. Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds; add the green onion. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, and chicken broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If not using a pressure cooker for the potatoes, add them in at this time and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, add the steamed potatoes, stir in cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately, garnished with green onion, cheese and bacon, if desired.

Taco Soup

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil

1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef

1 medium yellow onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional)*

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 (14 oz) can low-sodium beef broth

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp chili powder**

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp ground paprika

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, or 1/3 cup chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (see notes***)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5 oz) can can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Shredded Mexican blend cheese, chopped green or red onions, diced avocados and corn tortilla strips/chips

Directions:

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle lightly with oil. Add ground beef in a large along with chopped onion, crumbling and stirring occasionally until browned. Add jalapeno and garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Drain excess fat from beef mixture.  Stir in tomatoes with chiles, beef broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, ranch dressing mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot with lid and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in corn, black beans and pinto beans and cook until heated through. Add 1/2 cup water to thin soup if desired. Stir in cilantro and lime if using. Serve warm finished with desired toppings.

Creamy Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/3 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)

1 1/3 cups diced carrots (about 3 medium)

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup unsalted butter, sliced into 1 Tbsp pieces

1/3 cup flour

2 1/2 cups milk

9 oz refrigerated three cheese tortellini

4 oz fresh spinach (4 cups)

1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and mushrooms and saute 3 minutes then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add in chicken broth, chicken, oregano and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot with lid and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly 1 minute. While whisking vigorously slowly pour in milk. Season with salt and pepper and bring mixture just to a light boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove cooked chicken from soup and transfer to a cutting board, let rest 5 minutes then cut into pieces. Meanwhile, add tortellini to soup in pot, cover pot with lid and allow to boil over medium heat about 7 minutes (or time directed on package) adding in spinach during the last 1 minute. Stir in chicken, white sauce and cream. Serve warm with parmesan cheese.

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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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Black Students Matter

Black Students Matter

by Havann Brown, staff writer

FEBRUARY 2021 –The phrase “Black lives matter” was first shared by Alicia Garza in a Facebook post on July 13, 2013. Her post was in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. The phrase was instantly turned into a hashtag and spread to every social media platform. Alicia Garza was joined by activists Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi to create a network of community organizers dedicated to fighting racism and police brutality. 

In 2014, Black Lives Matter protested against the deaths of numerous people at the hands of the police. This rallying cry garnered national attention and further cemented itself as a movement. Six years later, a new peak was reached in the Summer of 2020. The death of George Floyd on Memorial Day set in motion a global reckoning that amassed millions of protesters fighting against police brutality and injustice.

Black Lives Matter protest in New York on June 9th, 2020. 45% of Black students attended high-poverty schools, compared with 8% of white students.

The calls for racial justice within the policing system have brought attention to other systems and institutions that may contribute to inequality. The education system has been the focus of some of these investigations. Over the summer, Bio-Med Science Academy released a statement detailing its commitment to helping students “develop a broader and deeper understanding of the long-standing inequities that are present in our society and to work to solve our country’s inequalities through a moral, humane and challenging curriculum and culture.” With Bio-Med being a predominantly white school, some Black students have expressed their thoughts on the racial environment surrounding them. 

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Among Black students from families living in poverty, 64% have parents whose education level is less than high school. 45% live in mother-only households. 35% live in father-only households.

Two students have felt an extra burden placed on them in the classroom. “At times I feel that other people think it is my responsibility to educate them on race or slavery,” said Junior Marinna Atanmo. 

Taylor Brown, an 8th-grade student, expressed a similar view: “Sometimes I feel that my classmates expect me to know everything about Black history, but I don’t and that’s mainly because it isn’t taught in schools.” The United States does not have federal requirements for teaching Black history in school curriculums, and only a few states have mandated it. Ohio is not among those states.

According to the Civil Rights Data Collection, Black students are more likely to receive suspensions or be placed into special education programs.  Cedric Sarfo, a current senior, discussed overcoming judgment: “People definitely have set low expectations for me in the past. However, I tried to prove them wrong in any way I can. Particularly academically people did not believe I would be where I am today,” he said. Cedric went on to express what he hopes people consider going forward: “I wish people understood how hard it is to change preconceived notions about a person and that sometimes they need to leave their biases and prejudices at the door and examine someone for who they are.”

Blessing Mupinga, another senior at Bio-Med, has been the only Black girl in her grade for the past nine years. “I feel like I have to be on my best behavior at all times and hold myself to a certain standard, so I don’t get labeled with certain negative stereotypes,” she said. 

When asked about how the Black Lives Matter movement affected her school life she said, “When the [Black Lives Matter] movement was at its peak, I felt mentally distracted because I was constantly trying to refute the false attacks that people were making. It made me stop focusing on school for a little so I could figure out what I could do to spread the movement in a positive way.”

According to the students who were interviewed, the education system, like many other institutions, still has a long way to go to fully address and correct its errors.

Cedric Sarfo said, “While I feel Bio-Med has layers of diversity in its own way, a more ethnically diverse environment would be amazing to experience. The more backgrounds one can reach from can ultimately enrich your total experience. This applies not only to school but life in general. I believe that diversity in anything will always result in something positive, what that positive aspect is will be dependent on the situation one may find themselves in.”

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2020 Election Results

2020 Election Results

by Aliscia Phillips, editor and chief

NOVEMBER 2020 – At the writing of this article, Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States. Despite numerous recounts in states like Georgia and Wisconsin where the results were close, Biden has maintained a significant lead with a current total of 306 electoral votes versus Trump’s 232. The election has been officially called by the Associated Press in favor of Biden and it is unlikely at this point that any major changes will occur state-by-state.

Jarrod Cummings, a junior at Bio-Med explains that the results were not incredibly shocking to him. “I am honestly not surprised as President Trump has lost a good amount of support this past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and other major issues. I am surprised, however, by how many votes Joe Biden was leading by. I thought it would be much closer, to be honest.”

The way the pandemic was handled by the Trump Administration likely played a role in his loss. Bio-Med Science Academy senior Avery Coates describes, “Personally, I felt that President Trump’s COVID-19 response was lackluster. The strategies that took foreign nations and local cities weeks to implement took months for the President to enforce, if at all. Even then, these efforts were not consistent, and have led to several spikes and periods of lockdowns. However, not all of these failures can be attributed to Trump. The executive branch, while powerful, cannot create many policies and mandates (such as cash stimuli) without support from Congress, and both the Republican Senate and Democrat House have refused to work together and with President Trump on meaningful solutions to the pandemic. Countless Americans remain sick, hungry, and at risk of eviction due to petty differences and political party lines. While many can argue that the COVID-19 virus is overblown by the media and government, the crisis would have ultimately been resolved, or at least reduced, if Trump created a consistent, bi-partisan effort. Other nations, such as Australia and Japan, have returned to some sense of normality as the US must re-enter lockdowns once again.” 

Another hot topic this election has been voter fraud. Bio-Med senior Jacob Fergis expresses his worries about possible voter fraud: “As far as the elections themselves, especially the general election for POTUS, I have no doubt that there was some foul play going on, most likely on both sides, but I’ve seen videos of people going through and filling out multiple ballots, and I’ve heard reports of there being ballots found thrown out or discarded.”

The United States does struggle with election fraud according to The Heritage Foundation database which holds a sampling of 1,285 proven cases of voter fraud within the last four years. However, this year’s results have not been disproportionately affected by voting fraud, and President Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election aren’t backed by evidence. The New York Times called election officials from many states who said there has been no evidence to support the claim that fraud has influenced the election results. In fact, the process has gone very smoothly considering complications due to the pandemic, according to both Democratic and Republican officials. In a released statement, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”

While the results of this year’s election should not be doubted, it is important to students that the United States continues to keep voter fraud under control. Jacob Fergis says, “I was hoping that because of more public knowledge about the fraud, it might actually be exposed and dealt with. I know Trump will be and already is taking legal action to get recounts and investigations, but there’s a lot of resistance against it, and I just want the fraud exposed, no matter what side it’s on.”

At the writing of this article, however, most of the legal motions filed have been withdrawn by the Trump campaign or dismissed or denied by the courts.

Other students are less worried about what is to come. “While people say the election is scary, I don’t see much change happening,“ says Coates. 

Despite his political worries, Fergis also believes that his personal life won’t be majorly impacted. “Most likely, my day-to-day life won’t change much. I think it’s likely that things like taxes and gas prices could go up, maybe Biden/Harris will try to raise the minimum wage, which would get me more money as a minimum wage worker, but I am against raising the minimum wage. Another thing that could change is more restrictions due to Covid. Other than some of those things, I don’t think my everyday life will be affected much.”

Younger students at Bio-Med are showing interest in the election as well. Seventh-grader Molly Phillips was happy about the turnout. “The results were unexpected, but turned out to be good. I didn’t like Trump’s treatment of POC, the LBGT community, or women.”

It’s never too early, or late for that matter, to get involved with politics and practice civil duty by voting. The next presidential election will take place in 2024. 

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Captivating Students’ Interests with Clubs

Captivating Students’ Interests with Clubs

By Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

November 2020 – Instead of completing projects and writing papers, students participating in clubs are able to learn new skills and enrich their learning experiences in ways they are passionate about. Whether it’s through volunteering, participating in competitions, exploring future career opportunities, or a form of self expression, Bio-Med Science Academy’s 14 clubs allow students to learn new things while exploring their interests. 

Science Olympiad

Pictured is an invitation flyer for Bio-Med’s Science Olympiad club, which focuses on researching and learning about more advanced aspects of science.

“My favorite part of Science Olympiad is all of the exciting knowledge we get to learn as well as our team’s atmosphere. We don’t always do well in competitions, but we always have fun doing it! We have a good bond and lots of inside jokes!” commented Kelsea Cooper, who is a junior in the club. 

Science Olympiad is a competition-based club that focuses on displaying knowledge of scientific concepts through competitive events. The club itself is supervised by Ms. Mino and Ms. Varner and meets on Wednesdays in room 3005 (or on Zoom). Anyone from grades 7-12 are able to participate.The events students are able to compete in are based on their division, with one division for high school students, and the other for middle school students.

Due to COVID-19, the club is not going to any official competitions this school year. Instead, they are dedicating this year to developing their skills and preparing for the competitions in the 2021-2022 school year. However, despite not being any competitions, students still seem to enjoy the educational environment of the club. More information regarding the Science Olympiad can be found on their website https://www.soinc.org/.

Quiz Bowl

Quiz Bowl is a trivia-based competition club that competes against other schools in tournaments and is advised by Ms. Hisey. There are no tournaments this year, so the club is dedicated to practicing for future tournaments and building on those skills. Tryouts are not being held this year due to this circumstance, and practices are held Tuesdays after school in room 405. An interest form was sent out recently, and some aspects of the club are still being figured out. 

Esports

Esports is run by Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Ettinger. Anyone from ages 13+ in grades 7-12 are able to participate in the esports Ohio League. There are two leagues: the high school esports league (HSEL) and the middle school esports league (MESL). Games that are offered are Fortnite, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Smash Bros Ultimate, and VALORANT. 

The club itself meets from 3:20-4:00 every other Friday via Zoom. In order to participate, students must have at least approaching mastery in each class, be able to play and practice once a week, and participate in matches.

Tyler Williard, a member of the esports team, said, “There are large-ish fees that you’ll have to pay to participate, but it’s really fun!” In order to participate in esports, students are required to pay a membership fee of $25. The fees go towards equipment and materials, as well as fundraising. Additionally, students participating in the HSEL are expected to pay $40 per season, while students in the MSEL pay $20 per season. 

Relay for Life

Relay for Life is a club run by Mrs. Rickel and Mrs. Aronhalt that helps fundraise money for the American Cancer Society. Because of COVID, they are not doing days of relay and instead are primarily focusing on fundraising. 

The club itself meets every other Tuesday after lunch B on the learning staircase. Anyone from grades 7-12th are able to participate!

Cyber Patriots:

Cyber Patriots is a team-based competition where students work in small groups to try and solve problems and secure virtual computers and networks. Students are given four different situations, and specific instructions in order to secure a computer and make it difficult for outside users to receive information. 

“I really enjoy the environment that we created and the actual content itself,” says Irene Scherer, a Freshman in the club.

The club is still participating in competitions, and most things about the club are similar to last year. When being asked about how the club is running this year, Keira Vasbinder responded, “We really don’t have set meetings and the competitions are held almost the exact same time as last year. I personally prefer not having any meetings but this may be more difficult for those who are new who want to join.”

For some students, joining the club has had a very positive influence on their learning experience. Tessa Wood, another 10th grade student commented that “Thanks to this club, I am seriously considering cyber security as a career option. Clubs can help students make connections and learn more about themselves,”

Competition information for this event can be found at https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/

An invitation flyer for the FFA club (Future Farmers of America) hangs on in a hallway.. This club focuses on agricultural practices, and teaches leadership skills.

Future Farmers of America

Future Farmers of America (FFA) is run by Ms. Sass and Mrs. Aiken. The club’s main focus is to provide students with enhanced knowledge in agricultural education by participating in events that build leadership skills and in community projects.

In order to participate, students must pay a membership fee of $25. The club itself meets on Tuesdays in room 306 from 3:15-4:00. For students attending school virtually that week, Zoom meetings are also available.

 Anyone in grades 7-12 is eligible to participate. Due to COVID restrictions, the school will not be competing in any FFA competitions. Because of this, the club is focusing on preparation for future competitions. 

HOSA

Health Occupation Students of America, or HOSA, is a career-technical student organization that helps students interested in health care learn leadership skills and helps them make realistic career choices in the healthcare field. The club is supervised by Ms. Fusco and Ms. Bradley. HOSA consists of 6 categories for competition: Health Science Events, Health Professional Events, Emergency Preparedness Events, Leadership Events, Teamwork Events, and Recognition Events.

Any students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in the club, regardless if they are completing school virtually or in the hybrid model. Meeting days and times for in-person and virtual meetings are still being decided, and will be determined at a later date. 

For the club, students have to pay a fee of $25. Students in the club are participating in the Fall Leadership Conference for Ohio Hosa, which will be held virtually. The conference is available though the 21st of December. More information about HOSA can be found on their website. 

Drone Racing

This is an invitation for the BIO-MED drone racing club, a relatively new club that focuses on racing remote-controlled drones.

Drone Racing is a club that focuses on building and racing a drone, and is supervised by Mr. O’Mara. Any student from grades 7-12 is eligible to participate in the club, with separate divisions for high school and middle school divisions. The club meets every Tuesday in the engineering lab in room 3006 at 3:30. Students are able to compete in teams of six people, so there can be multiple teams from one school. 

For competitions, students construct a small drone and design, model, and print a frame for it. Along with this, the teams also have to create a display board, interview with judges, and complete in race and capture the flag events. 

When being asked about robotics, Mr. O’Mara described what the different events were like: “In Capture the Flag, two team pilots work together against two opposing team pilots to “capture” pylons by hovering over them for about five seconds. This is harder than it sounds as the drones are difficult to control in a hover; and the camera does not allow the pilot to see directly beneath the drone. In Head-to-Head, one pilot races against another team for both a timed score and an overall lap score. Three laps must be completed that consist of flying through gates and around flags in a predetermined course, while viewing the flight through the drone’s camera.”

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, many safety precautions are being taken, like assigning equipment instead of sharing. Along with this, virtual competitions are also behind held using a simulator called Velocidrone. 

The YSU Book Club and Creative Writing Club

The Bio-Med Literary Center (formerly The Creative Commons) sponsors both the YSU Book Club and Creative Writing club, with Mrs. Mihalik as the advisory of both.

The YSU Book Club welcomes anyone from 7-12th grade. Students participating in the club meet in room 3016 every Monday. Students in 7-9 meet at 12:30, while grades 10-12 meet at 11:50. The club focuses on reading books for the YSU English Festival. 

The books for the YSU English Festival this year for students in grades 10-12 are Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science by Bridget Heos, Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, and March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. 

For students in grades 7-9, students are reading Between the Shades of Gray by  Ruta Sepetys, The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science by Bridget Heos, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson eds, March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla, and Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson. 

The Creative Writing Club is based on National Novel Writing Month, or as it is commonly referred to, NaNoWriMo. The club meets every Tuesday in room 3016. Students in grades 7-12 are encouraged to join. Much like the YSU Book Club, different grade levels have different times they show up. Students in grades 7-9 meet at 12:30, while students in grade 10-12 meet at 11:50. The club’s goal for the year is to reach 50,000 words!

NHS

National Honors Society (NHS) is supervised by Ms. Hammond. Unlike other clubs, students are inducted into the club based on their grades. The club meets twice per month, with one meeting being used to plan events, and the other to volunteer.

To be eligible to apply to the NHS chapter, students have to be either sophomore or junior and have High Performing in all of their core classes, and be at least proficient in elective courses. 

Ms. Hammond, the advisor of the club offered insight on being inducted to NHS, “One must act in a fashion that conforms with one’s position, and with the reputation that one has earned.  Being inducted into National Honor Society is a privilege. It is an opportunity for students to challenge themselves and continue to develop their characters, service skills, leadership skills, and scholarship.  It is not only a privilege for students to be members of NHS, but it is also a duty to continue to uphold the pillars and be models for their peers. Those pillars include: scholarship, service, leadership and character.” 

The NHS motto is “noblesse oblige,”which can be translated to “whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly.”

Student Council

“I love everything we do in this club. While it can be taxing at times, it is always great to see what we can accomplish as a group. I have served in the council all four years of my high school career and I wouldn’t have it any other way!” says Cedric Sarfo, the student council president. 

Student Council is supervised by Ms. Varner and Ms. Brook. The club helps make decisions in our school, like planning spirit week, fundraisers, and dances. Student Council also allows students to let their ideas be shared about what happens with our school and meets in the morning on Wednesdays from 7:50-8:25 either on zoom or in the classroom. Any students from grades 9-12 are able to join this club. In order to be a part of it, members are selected after completing an application. 

Despite the impacts of COVID-19, the council is still finding ways to continue to run and plan things for our community.

 “This year has obviously been a bit different due to the current circumstances we find ourselves in. With most things now, our meetings are mostly on zoom. However, students who are participating in the Hybrid style of learning this year can meet in person following the COVID-19 guidelines. Outside of that change our operations have been virtually the same. We continue to try and find ways to engage the student body irrespective of the current conditions,” Cedric concludes. 

SkillsUSA 

Skills USA is an organization that provides competitions for students to help them develop career skills and look for future opportunities and is supervised by Ms. Hughes and Ms. Hill. Anyone in grades 7-12 are able to participate in the club, and there is a registration fee of $25. The first meeting was held on Nov. 20th from 1:05-1:40 in the cafeteria.

GSA

The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is supervised by Mr. Ullinger. In the past, the club would offer a safe space to talk about things going on in students’ lives. With the impact of COVID, the club is planning on sending out an interest form to see how it can run this year. Concerns about providing a safe space for students at home, who may not want to talk about personal topics in front of family members are also being taken into consideration. 

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