The Asian Experience at Bio-med Science Academy

The Asian Experience at Bio-Med Science Academy

by McKenna Burchett, staff writer

A map of Eastern Asia hangs on the wall of a Bio-Med classroom. Asian students make up less than 3% of the Ohio student population.

November 2020 – According to Ohio.gov, only 2.6% of enrolled students were of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in the 2018-2019 school year. So, what is it like to be a racial minority of Asian descent in a predominately white school? While the exact statistics for Bio-Med Science Academy are unknown, three Biomed Students of Asian descent went on record about their experiences. Generally, all three of them said that although they haven’t experienced any discrimination at Bio-Med, they would like to see more diversity in the student population and in the curriculum.

One of the students interviewed was Marina Levy. She is of mixed heritage; her grandmother is Taiwanese, and the rest of her family is white. 

“People don’t normally aim [jokes] towards me unless they know I am Asian, usually because they make a joke and I tell them it’s offensive. I am also Jewish so there is a mix of jokes surrounding being smart as an insult. Sometimes because since I do not look Asian they think I will join in on stereotyping until I don’t,” she says.

Another student, Lucas Hagen, who is Japanese, also says that he hasn’t experienced any discrimination at Bio-Med. Actually, being the only racial minority in the room makes him feel special, he said. Any discrimination he’s previously faced was mostly about his eyes, or how he looks different than most people. While he is fine with the racial representation in the curriculum, he thinks “it would just be cool to see a lot more people from different backgrounds and cultures.”

Mona Bondoc is Filipino, and new to Bio-Med this year. “I used to feel pressured to speak when my schoolmates were having discussions about race, as I was one of the only minorities there,” she said.“My old classmates thought that I was super smart and knew everything, so when I didn’t know something, I felt a little guilty.” 

One story of discrimination she shared was of her and an old friend who was Indian. People would get them confused, despite the two of them looking “nothing alike.” She’s also had her achievements undermined due to being Asian, getting told that she only got a good grade on a test because she was Asian.

Overall, at least according to the students who were interviewed, Bio-Med seems to be a friendly environment for people of Asian descent, despite the general lack of diversity in the student body. There seem to be far fewer issues regarding racial discrimination for these minorities, and the students said that the curriculum is generally more inclusive than other schools.

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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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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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The Ancient and Bizzare Biochemistry of the Platypus

By Colleen Bungard, staff writer

Most people know them for their peculiar appearances, but the platypus has more than just looks: a 2018 study conducted by the University of Adelaide revealed the presence of a protein in their venom and gut that could revolutionize the way we treat type 2 diabetes. It’s a fairly recent discovery, so even though further research is funded, clinical trials and a marketable drug are still a thing of the somewhat distant future. 

The protein, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), is a slightly different version of a hormone found in the human intestinal tract. In the digestive systems of both people and platypuses, GLP-1 is part of a complex system of chemicals that regulates blood sugar. It’s released when glucose passes through the digestive tract and stimulates the pancreas to release insulin and lower blood sugar. However, male platypuses also use the hormone as a component of the venom they secrete during mating season. They use this venom and the spurs on their hind limbs that deliver it to fight for mates. Among other unsavory effects such as extreme pain, hyperventilation, and convulsions, the GLP-1 in platypus venom serves the same function as in the gut and lowers the blood sugar of the unfortunate creature on the receiving end of a sting. 

So if GLP-1 serves the same function in human stomachs as it does in platypus venom, why is platypus GLP-1 so much better for treating diabetes than human GLP-1? The answer lies in the differing lifespans of the two kinds of hormones. Human GLP-1 is very short-lived, mostly because we also produce an enzyme called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) that rapidly denatures GLP-1. Current diabetes treatments based around the blood sugar lowering properties of GLP-1 focus on inhibiting the production DPP-4 rather than increasing GLP-1. 

However, platypus GLP-1 isn’t affected by DPP-4. This resistance to human enzyme stems from the massive biochemical differences platypuses have due to the sheer age of the species. The subgroup they belong to, monotremes, diverged from the main mammalian phylogenetic line over 160 million years ago. In comparison, primates split off only 55 million years ago. They’re still mammals, but they’ve been evolving separately from most mammals for a long time. Consequently, most of their organs work roughly the same way mammals’ do, but many of the biochemical systems used by their organs have evolved to be identical in function but composed of differently structured molecules. Platypus GLP-1 is no exception: it totally lacks the cleavage point that DPP-4 latches onto in human GLP-1. Platypuses developed a structurally different version of DDP-4 to denature their GLP-1, thus human DDP-4 does nothing to it. Yet, the platypus hormone is similar enough to its human counterpart that (at least according to preliminary testing) it activates the same receptors in the pancreas as normal human GLP-1 

Platypuses are unique: they are similar enough to mammals that their biochemistry and features are mostly comparable to that of humans, yet they contain a multitude of key differences. GLP-1 structure is one such example, but there are others that are useful to humans. Platypuses and humans both produce milk to nurture their young, but only humans have nipples. Platypuses diverged from mammals before they evolved nipples to prevent bacterial contamination by reducing the surface area involved in feeding. As a result, platypuses developed an alternative way of preventing infection: a unique protein discovered in 2010 with highly antibacterial properties that could potentially help us fight bacterial resistance. Keep in mind, these two compounds are just the discoveries we’ve made since the platypus genome was sequenced in 2008. Who knows how many more amazing and unique compounds platypuses contain?

Unfortunately, we may never get the chance to explore this question. Playpuses are threatened by land development and predation by feral dogs and cats. They are especially vulnerable to droughts and bushfires like those recently plaguing Australia because of their water-dwelling nature. They have already disappeared from 40% of their former range, and a joint study conducted by the University of New South Wales and the University of Melbourne estimated that climate change could cause up to a 73% decline in the platypus population in the next 50 years. 

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Behind the Scenes of COVID-19

by Aliscia Phillips, staff writer

With the spread of coronavirus, front line workers and first responders continue to risk their lives to help those in need. One registered nurse takes on the hardships of a pandemic head-on. This nurse, who has requested to remain anonymous, works primarily with digestive disease but, because of her line of work, has been in contact with patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

She explains that her field has primarily been impacted by the personal protective equipment shortages. Masks and cleaning supplies are kept locked up and strict policies have been put into place to avoid running out of essential equipment. Employees that require them are allowed one N95 mask per day. When not in use, the masks are draped over brown paper bags with handles despite being labeled single-use. 

“No one understood the full scope of things,” she said. 

 Society as a whole was not prepared for this pandemic as shown by the PPE shortage, but our nurse admits that not even she expected the magnitude of its effect on the country. She explains that Ohio was lucky; it was able to control the spread quickly with the stay-at-home order. 

Many of the nurses she works with are still fearful of getting the virus. She describes how her coworkers send their children to other families to avoid potentially spreading the pathogen to them. 

“Earlier this week I had taken care of three COVID-positive patients and I walked through the door and my daughter just wanted to hug me and I had to be like ‘Get away.’” 

The strain put on front line workers’ relationships is a hard one to bear. The virus also makes for long, stressful days in uncomfortable conditions. The masks hospital staff wear are tight, often causing headaches and bruising. She says the one thing she misses the most, however, is the hands-on care for patients. Everyone has to be much more careful to avoid harming patients so maintaining distance is a necessary sacrifice.  

The long-term effects of the pandemic will hopefully show growth within the healthcare industry and the way it’s managed. Our nurse explains that she sees hospitals being run by different people. She believes that because hospitals are run by administrators who lack patient contact, there is a general disconnect that could have even contributed to the PPE shortage because they don’t see what’s going on at ground zero. She also thinks that virtual visits may become more popular even after the pandemic because they are convenient and avoid bringing patients into areas with a high risk of contamination. 

Life in quarantine may be rough, but the future always brings the possibility of change and a positive outlook. This pandemic is yet another opportunity for society to hopefully learn and improve upon itself.

Note: It is usually The Hive’s policy to not publish anonymous interviews, but we are honoring the request of this front-line worker to remain anonymous because she is afraid of possible repercussions from her employer.

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Diabetes affects more than 100 million Americans including Bio-Med staff and students

By Evelyn Berry, staff writer

According to the CDC, in America today 30.3 million people have diabetes. That’s about  9.4% of the population. Further research suggests that 7.2 million people (23.8%) have the disease but are not diagnosed. Diabetes is caused when the immune system attacks insulin cells, which causes the body to no longer produce the correct amount of insulin to regulate blood sugar. For people who have the disease, it affects every part of their lives. A few Bio-Med teachers and students know this firsthand. 

At six years old,  senior Ashley Pawlowski was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. 

“I went to a normal pediatric check-up … and they tested my urine for ketones,” she explained. Ketones indicate Diabetic Ketoacidosis, but it can be an indicator of other issues as well. “From there the doctor ordered that I go to the hospital.” 

Ashley described the painful process that then occurred at the hospital. 

“I got an IV, the worst pain in my whole life, because I was so little. I had to get my blood sugar checked every 15 minutes, and that hurt,” she said.  “After about two hours of that, they took me to an overnight unit.” 

At this point, Ashley hadn’t eaten for 12 hours. 

“I was so weak due to me not eating, and they constantly came in to take my blood.” Ashley said that she was afraid of the prospect of the nurse giving her a shot, but the nurse said, “This is happening for the rest of your life, dear; you have to get used to it.” 

Reflecting on how her diagnosis changed her life, Ashley said, “Becoming diabetic was a big eye-opener for me. I had to become more responsible at a young age. I was fully taking care of myself two months after. That includes giving myself shots, carb counting and more.” 

There are other challenges as well, like the increase in the price of insulin. 

“It’s not even in insulin,” she said.  “It’s everything that has to do with Diabetes. For example, about a month ago Insulet, the makers of my insulin pump, decided to up the prices and not even tell us. My order used to be like $150 per mail order (three boxes of ten pods) and now they are $200 per box. That is outrageous. I am on Generic Insulin now. We can’t even afford the real kind! They make it for like $8 and sell it for like $600. It’s ridiculous. We even have two insurances covering my stuff, and my parents still have to pay out of pocket for meds. It’s not just the prices, it’s the insurance companies too. ”

Insurance coverage isn’t something that most teenagers have to worry about.

“With the new pre-existing conditions rule I might not even be able to get covered,” she explained. A pre-existing condition is when a patient already has a diagnosed condition prior to getting insurance. Some insurances will not cover costs associated with these pre-existing conditions. “Who knows what life has in store for me. Let’s just hope things work out.” 

In 2015 a teacher here at Bio-Med, Mr. Ulliger, received the same diagnosis of Diabetes, but at the age of 32. He described the symptoms that lead him to his diagnosis. 

“I wasn’t really sleeping and I wasn’t really eating. I also didn’t understand; it felt normal that I was mysteriously losing 40 or 60 pounds over the course of four months. Then I started noticing things, like I always had to go to the bathroom, I was sweating a lot, you know. I started finding myself on Kent State campus walking across campus and suddenly stopping and wondering where I was going. Just forgetting where I was at. Because like, your brain function is affected by [Diabetes].  I was a lot more irritable; my wife started noticing that.” 

He also remembers the confusion and fear that was brought with this diagnoses,

“It was finally on Thanksgiving of 2015. We were at my wife’s grandparents’ house [and they commented] about how skinny I was looking. And finally I was just like, I am going to get this checked out, and they told me I had type one diabetes. Adults usually don’t get diagnosed with it. I had problems with insincere people believing me. It’s kind of a scary thing. You don’t know what the cost of healthcare is going to be. So it was kinda scary.”

The increased cost of insulin affects Ullinger too.

“Luckily, I have been pretty decently insured. I have my insurance and my wife’s insurance, so it costs me about $25 to $30 for a one month’s supply of my daytime insulin and $55 for my night time medicine, something like that.”

Not everyone is so well insured, according to Ullinger.

“The biggest thing,” he explained “is one of the few people who had it like I have … passed away last January because he couldn’t afford his insulin. And many of us knew he was struggling; like we were trying to give him extra insulin pens and this and that. And you know he was rationing himself; he was cutting himself off from insulin on certain days or only doing it at certain times.”

Ullinger explains that if a person with low pancreatic function waits until later in the evening to administer insulin, his numbers might be too high or too low, which makes it hard to administer the right amount of insulin. That person then runs the risk of injecting too much insulin.

“And that’s pretty much what he did,” Ullinger explains. “He gave himself too much insulin and died on his kitchen floor. His girlfriend came home in the morning and found him like that. That kind of stuff has been hard, but you know I have been lucky.” 

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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.   

bio-med journey Uncategorized

Kicking it Outside of School: Elizabeth Morisak

Elizabeth Morisak (left) poses on the field with friend Kassidy Hirst.

By Christian Watkins, contributor

To explore the diverse and interesting lives of Bio-med students outside of school and highlight the talents and skills of our peers, The Hive will spotlight athletes throughout the year. Elizabeth Morisak agreed to share her time and talk about her time as a goalie with the Streetsboro’s soccer team and the different experiences and favorite memories in her career so far. 

Q: Why/how did you start playing soccer?

A: I played soccer when I was in elementary school for three years (Shepherdstown Elementary in WV) and I hated it; I hated every single second of it because my parents forced me to do it, and then I quit. Then I moved to Ohio, and after the move when I was in middle school, I decided to run track in 8th grade because I still wanted to be active, you know? And then someone suggested that I should play high school soccer and I thought, “Well, I played in elementary school so why not give it a shot?” And then I fell in love with it again.

Q: What do you enjoy most about playing soccer?

A: I enjoy being a team with everybody, and I also just enjoy playing and the feeling I get after having a good game and just feeling good about my skills and improving my skills.

Q: Did coming to Biomed make playing any harder?

A: Yes, it made like every single possible scheduling conflict that could ever exist happen. But what helps is my coach was a teacher here so he understands the schedule and is flexible with it because he gets it. 

Q: Have you made a lot of new friends because you play soccer?

A: No. Well I mean a couple, but not a lot. I have a couple of girls on my team in my grade that I’m really close with, and then I’m close with a couple of the other girls but not with all of them. And I also don’t see them any time other than soccer so that doesn’t help. But I can tell that if I went to Streetsboro and played for Streetsboro, then I would probably be a lot closer with more of them.

Q: What is one of your favorite memoriesof your time playing?

A: My favorite memories are during our most recent season, we won our PTCs for the first time in Streetsboro’s history. And that night was really awesome because, well, first of all it was raining, like pouring. It was like forty degrees and it was awful out. But then we won and nobody cared that it was cold and rainy; nobody in the audience was upset about it because we won something that was like, substantial for the school and we all went out for dinner afterward and that was a lot of fun. My worst memory is probably all of the nights that I would play really bad and then go home and cry because I played so bad, just all of that like collectively.

Q: Is this something you are considering making a career out of?

A: It’s just a high school thing; I’m not thinking about playing in college just because it’s not that big of a priority for me, but it’s a lot of fun for now.

Q: What has been your biggest take away of your time playing soccer?

A:  That sometimes the competition is not the fun part. Sometimes having fun does not involve the competition, and sometimes the competition just makes it worse. I think it’s so much more fun when the score doesn’t matter and you just get to play; it’s so much more fun that way.

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House Bill Raises Question of Religion in Schools

By Benjamin Morgan, staff writer

Will Ohio students be allowed to answer homework and test questions according to their religious beliefs rather than what they learned in class? That’s the question on the minds of many students, educators, administrators and parents who are wondering what impact a new Ohio House bill would have if passed in the Ohio Senate. 

HB164, officially short titled “Regards student religious expression,” is the third attempt to pass similar legislation that has been repeatedly revoked due to time restrictions in the Ohio State Assembly. On its face, HB164 seeks to extend student religious expression to class time and define both student religious expression and how said expression may or may not be regulated.  

Supporters of the bill believe that it will help preserve student religious liberty and will expand protections for students to demonstrate their religious beliefs. Opponents, however, are wary of the vague wording and lack of explicit definitions contained in HB164. Many are concerned that this lack of definition could cause confusion regarding what the bill really means, who will enforce it, and what the effects on education might be.  

Rep. Timothy Ginter (R – Columbiana), the bill’s sponsor, stated his intent in his sponsorship testimony, namely that “[t]his legislation removes the section of law allowing a school district to limit religious expression to lunch or other non-instructional time.” 

Rep. Diane Grendell (R – Portage), who voted for HB164, stated that it would “give our young people the freedom… to talk to each other and give themselves a chance to communicate to each other for their own religion.” 

When asked whether these rights were not already protected, Rep. Grendell said that “apparently in some schools they weren’t allowed to talk about religion… if they just wanted to meet in the morning and say a prayer together or after school.”

By the time this article was published, the National Prayer Caucus had not returned the reporter’s phone calls regarding such instances.   

Upon reviewing the bill, Bio-Med senior Nadim Awad stated that “I think that (the section regarding how assignments will be judged) is kind of vague… where do we draw the line with that?” He went on to say that despite this lack of clarity, he supports the religious freedom proposed and believes that, especially for people of different cultures, religion is an important part of one’s identity.

Others are wary of issuing a one-size-fits-all policy. One common concern regarding HB164 involves the teaching of certain topics that have been characterized as “controversial,” such as evolution or geologic timelines.

Bio-Med biology teacher Laura Sass said that “(t)here have been several headlines that give the impression this would also include students being able to address scientific concepts and questions with religious reasoning and it be counted as scientifically correct.  However, the more I read into the bill, this did not seem to be the case.”

This concern arises from a section stating that schools shall not “prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments… (g)rades and scores shall be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work.” 

This passage is where most of the debate over this bill stems. When asked about why she voted against HB164, Rep. Randi Clites (D, Portage) said the section concerning academic work was too “murky.”

She went on to say that her worry was that “if you believe differently than what you’re being taught in public school, based off of your religious beliefs, it is not clear in this language that your grade could be reflected based off of what you learned in class.”

Christian Watkins, a Bio-Med junior, agrees, saying that “if it’s what’s being taught in class and that’s the question and that’s what you should have learned, and you answered [according to your personal beliefs], you should be marked wrong.”

He went on to say that during a project his freshman year focused on evolution,“A lot of the religious people were indifferent about it, but they dealt with it.” 

  Stephanie Lammlein, Bio-Med CEO,  said, “It’s good to allow students a space where they can feel safe to express their religious views at school, as long as they’re being mindful that not everyone is going to agree with them, and that’s alright.” But she is also careful to note that   “there could be a big change (to the bill), so if we get too far ahead of it, we’ve just spent a lot of time talking about what is now a moot point.”   

Update: Since the original publication of this article, HB 164 has been passed in the Ohio General Assembly and is set to become fully effective as of September 18, 2020.  

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