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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

general Uncategorized

A Change in Weather and Mental Health

A Change in Weather and Mental Health

by Christine Whyde, staff writer

Roughly 10 million Americans are impacted by seasonal affective disorder.

FEBRUARY 2021- As we endure the winter months, many Northeast Ohioans will find themselves experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also referred to as seasonal depression. But we are not alone. Boston University estimates that roughly 10 million Americans are impacted by SAD. Although the condition is prevalent, it is not widely discussed or understood by the general public. 

When asked to define SAD, Nichole Ammon stated, “Seasonal affective disorder isn’t really its own disorder. When you classify it, it would be considered depression with a recurrent seasonal pattern.” 

Ammon has been with the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) for around eight years now. Her background in community mental health counseling has helped in her position with the university. Her work primarily focuses on bridging the gap between primary care and mental health care, helping to treat patients more holistically. Given her experience within the mental health field, Ammon is very familiar with SAD. 

Although those who suffer from SAD might experience typical depression symptoms, Ammon noted that there are some symptoms specific to the condition that will also vary depending on the time of year that a person is affected. With winter SAD, the most common type of the condition, it is typical to see oversleeping, changes in appetite, potentially leading to weight gain, and overall tiredness. 

During this time of the year, most people will find themselves experiencing SAD symptoms and some may even come to the conclusion that they are suffering from seasonal depression. To some degree this is warranted. Ammon believes that, “To some degree, lots of people experience a low-grade seasonal affective disorder. We tend to be a little bit more blue [in the winter].” However, she also asserts that the number of people who reach a diagnosable level of the disorder is considerably lower than those who say that they have SAD.  

Although the exact cause of SAD is currently unknown, there are a few possibilities. Like Vitamin D, sunlight is actually responsible for regulating some of the molecules necessary for serotonin production. As we lose what little sunlight we have as Ohioans, some will be affected by this change in serotonin levels. Additionally, during this time we often see an overproduction of melatonin. Because melatonin helps to regulate our sleep, an increased amount has the potential to disrupt an individual’s daily rhythm and can lead to SAD symptoms. In some cases, simply taking a supplement can lessen symptoms greatly. 

The lack of sunlight in the winter could be a contributing factor to SAD

The likely role of sunlight exposure, on its own, is what makes the condition so unique. Dr. Randon Welton of NEOMED has had personal experience with this element of SAD. 

In August 2020, Dr. Welton joined NEOMED as the Margaret Clark Morgan Endowed Chair of Psychiatry. With this position, he oversees the department of psychiatry and their contribution to the college of medicine and residency training. Dr. Welton has been involved in training residences and medical students for around 20 years and served as a U.S. Air Force psychiatrist for 24 years. 

During his time in the military, Dr. Welton witnessed the impacts of SAD, while stationed in England. He recalled his time there: “It would be completely dark by four and not light until 10 [in the morning]. There were a lot of people, especially from southern places in the United States, that really struggled with how dark and dreary the winter was.” To combat this, a mental health clinic lent out light boxes for the service members to use. 

Light boxes are a common treatment for SAD. When describing the devices, Ammon explained, “Light boxes filter out UV light but offer anywhere from 2,500 to 10,000 lux. Sitting in front of the light for 10 to 15 [minutes] a day seems to help a lot of people.” 

Dr. Welton touched on the efficiency of this treatment, stating, “Folks who find this effective will generally need to use the box daily from late October through March.” He also added that he regularly uses a light box himself and people can benefit from the treatment regardless of whether they have SAD. 

While it may seem that the solution for SAD is as simple as using a device, this is unfortunately not always the case. Although sunlight may have an impact on those with the disorder, some find themselves derailed by the social aspects of winter time. 

Dr. Welton explained, “While we usually think of the holidays as a fun time to get together, which really won’t be happening this year like it used to, for some they are full of sadness and depression. The holidays often remind people of those that they have lost. You see an increase in depressive symptoms and suicides around the holidays because of that. We are not really blaming the winter for that; it is really just the family connections. Lots of people may have terrible families. I’ve had patients who have told me that they hate this time of year because when they turn on the television all they see are happy families and people getting together and having a great time, when they didn’t experience anything close to that.”

These patterns of negative thinking, sometimes leading to depressive symptoms, can be addressed through talking therapy and even through a low-dose antidepressant. Ammon clarified, “If it is seasonal, it obviously would not need to be taken all year, but if a person knows that every year they are going to hit a pattern of depression then their primary care physician or psychiatrist could prescribe a low dose antidepressant and remove that in the spring.” This also would apply for the less-common spring-summer pattern of SAD. 

Even if someone does not believe they are suffering from SAD, or any other mental illness for that matter, talking therapy can still be beneficial. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service states that, “Talking therapy is for anyone who’s going through a bad time or has emotional problems they need help with.” In this way, therapy can be considered a form of support and self care. Ammon stressed that regular routines and preventative self care, such as exercise and a healthy diet can make all the difference on our mental health. She pointed out, “Exercise has been proven to be very helpful for depression.” 

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 50% of people will be formally diagnosed with some type of mental illness during their lifetime, a social stigma remains about the topic. This discourages people from reaching out to others for the help that they need. 

Nichole Ammon stressed the importance of talking about mental health: “Seasonal affective disorder, whether it has reached a diagnosable level of depression…or if you have something that you know doesn’t quite meet that level but you know that you experience some of these symptoms, is extremely common, particularly in this region of Ohio and of the country. One of the reasons that the military base was built in Ravenna was very specifically because of the number of cloudy days and trying to prevent satellites from observing what was going on there. That by itself is going to lead many people in Ohio to experience [SAD]. It is important to reduce the stigma around it, so that people can talk about it and actively seek treatment without feeling like an ‘other’ or as if something is wrong with them. That I think is the most important thing.” 

If someone finds themself or someone they know experiencing symptoms, it is important to take action. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help, as it could save a life.

stem news

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. 

bio-med journey Uncategorized

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. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pasted-image-0-1.png
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.”

culture Uncategorized

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. 

general Uncategorized

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 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. 


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!


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. 


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.


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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November is Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

Pictured is a traditional Native American totem hanging on a wall. These totems represent rich Native American history and culture.

NOVEMBER 2020 – The month of November is recognized as Native American Heritage Month, also referred to as National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, in the United States. This is a time to celebrate the diverse and substantial ancestry, culture, and traditions of Native Americans and their communities through education and events. 

The early 1900s saw an effort to secure a day of recognition for Native Americans who made important contributions to the establishment and development of the United States, according to National Native American Heritage Month. Around this time, Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, New York, convinced the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans.” The organization did so for three years.

A more unified plan concerning American Indian Day was formally approved in 1915 during the Congress of the American Indian Association’s annual meeting. On September 28, 1915, Reverend Sherman Coolidge, the president of the association and an Arapaho, issued a proclamation that declared the second Saturday of May to be American Indian Day. The proclamation also included the first formal appeal for recognition of American Indians as U.S. citizens. 

New York was the first state to declare American Indian Day on the second Saturday of May in 1916 and other states began celebrating the day on the fourth Friday of September. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution that designated the entire month of November to be National American Indian Heritage Month. November has since been proclaimed some variation of National American Indian Heritage Month every year after 1994. 

Native American Heritage Month is a time to show respect, appreciation, and recognition for the indiginous people who were the first inhabitants of the North American lands. The following are ways for people of all backgrounds to celebrate, honor, and be involved in this important month.   

Supporting Native-Owned Businesses or Charities

Utilizing the services of native-owned businesses also supports native communities’ economic well-being. There are many environmental, education, economic, health, and rights groups that advocate for Native American people and their communities. Here is a list from Diversity Best Practices

An Ohio-specific organization is the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio, or NAICCO. NAICCO has recently launched their Bigger & Better NAICCO Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise money in order to purchase more land and a new building for the NAICCO organization and the community.  

Ty Smith, the NAICCO Project Director, described this campaign as “a meaningful initiative on behalf of the Native American people here in Ohio today.”

Contribute to this cause by donating to NAICCO and by sharing the Bigger & Better NAICCO Campaign with family and friends. 

“To achieve this goal would not only be a dream come true, but also the foundation necessary for writing a new, successful chapter of the highest magnitude in modern-day Native American history,” said NAICCO Leadership. 

Attending an Educational Event

Many institutions host events in honor of this month. In fact, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined together to create nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov. The website features a collection of exhibits, collections, historical records, and other educational resources from each of the listed institutions in a “tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.”

Some local institutions and organizations, such as schools, libraries, and cultural groups, will also host events. Examples of events include webinars, dance performances, and puppet shows.

Experiencing the Works of Native American Artists

Reading, watching, and listening to work by Native American artists not only provides entertainment, but also a new or different perspective. There are a plethora of Native American artists; to start, here are lists from Artcyclopedia and Culture Trip. Rick Williams, whose artwork is featured in this article, is a Native American artist in Seattle, Washington, and comes from an entire family of woodcarvers. Some of his art is available for purchase online.  

Some celebrated Native American authors include Tommy Orange, Louise Erdrich, Stephen Graham Jones, and Joy Harjo, though there are many more. Explore 10 Great Films About Native Americans and Native American filmmakers from IMDB.

Bear Witness and 2oolman are two Canadian DJs of native heritage. Together they are A Tribe Called Red and produce electronic powwow music. Their work combines electronic dance music with traditional native drum circles.

“There was a really quick realization that we were doing something much bigger than we thought we were,” Bear Witness said in an interview with Sound Field. “When we first started making this music, it was to make something that everybody could enjoy and everyone can appreciate, but that would be instantly recognizable and identifiable to indigenous people.” 

Check out other Native American musicians from PBS.

“Decolonizing” Thanksgiving Dinner

Many American children are taught that the pilgrims and Native Americans shared a friendly meal together, and this is considered the first Thanksgiving. However, according to Alaa Elassar of CNN, many Native Americans consider this to be a “Day of Mourning.” This is in recognition of the actual tragedy that European colonization had on indiginous communities in the Americas. 

In a video published by the YouTube channel Cut as part of its One Word series, Native Americans were asked to respond to one word: Thanksgiving. Some responses were positive, such as “family,” “warm,” “celebration,” and “thankful.” However, some were less optimistic: “lies,” “sadness,” “inaccurate,” “colonization,” and “massacre” were all words used by Native Americans to describe Thanksgiving. Watch the entire video here

Some Native American groups and their allies have been calling on Americans to “decolonize” their Thanksgiving traditions. This can include getting rid of Native American decorations and tropes, introducing some native foods and dishes to the dinner table, and discussing Native American history with family and guests over dinner.

Visiting a Native American Reservation or Museum

First it should be made clear that reservations are homes for Native American tribes and communities; they are not tourist attractions. Alaa Elassar of CNN says many Native Americans live, work, and raise families on reservations. Some are actual land remnants of native tribes, while others are federal government creations for Native Americans who were forcibly removed from their native lands. 

That being said, some reservations do welcome visitors, and have built their own museums to educate the general public about their specific history and culture. For example, Cherokee, North Carolina has the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. There are no federally recognized Native American reservations in Ohio at this time according to Jessie Walton of midstory.org. However, there are many Native American Heritage sites throughout Ohio where visitors can learn about the ancient culture of the state. 


Navigating the Holidays in 2020

Navigating the Holidays in 2020

by Christine Whyde, staff writer

November 2020 – As we move into the holiday season, we prepare to embrace the cold air of winter and gather with those most dear to us. While Christmas may be the first holiday that comes to mind, there are a plethora of holidays and festivals during this time of year. However, as many of us are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing many of our traditions as we tackle celebrating this year in a more safe and socially-distanced way. A number of students at Bio-Med Science Academy will feel this impact directly. 

Eighth-grader Chloe Cook said, ”Some of my best memories with my family come from around the holidays, but I am willing to sacrifice them for the safety of everyone. I may love Black Friday shopping and running around stores, but in the end, it is just not worth it with all the crowds and high risk for getting the virus.“

Although COVID-19 may limit the festivities, there are still a number of ways that you can celebrate.


Candles burning for the festival of lights know as Diwali. Diwali is celebrated in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka although it is celebrated all around the world.

Starting November 12, millions worldwide celebrated a five-day Festival of Lights known as Diwali. Because it is a lunar holiday, based on the full moon, the date may change from year to year. While the holiday is primarily recognized by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains also partake in the festivities. 

Diwali is a truly joyous celebration, encouraging light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair as many prepare to enter the winter months. While celebrations may vary person to person, common activities include going to temples, lighting fireworks, and distributing treats. 

The most recognizable symbol of the holiday is the diya. Diyas are handmade clay cups that are then filled with oil and lit similar to a candle, extending the theme of light. 

Typically the large festival is focused on the gathering of communities and families. However, because of COVID-19 many were forced to keep their celebrations solely in the home, not even being able to visit temples. 


In late November, we just wrapped up observing Thanksgiving day. Given that this is such a popular holiday for many Americans, officials were largely concerned about compliance with COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Although there are no national statistics on how many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, 98.2% of 221 Bio-Med students who responded to a survey stated that their families typically recognize the day. 

Last year, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that 55 million Americans traveled over 50 miles for Thanksgiving. This trend, if followed this year, would have been in conflict with COVID-19 precautions and procedures for gatherings.

The CDC offered a number of recommendations for Thanksgiving gatherings. Low risk activities were small gatherings with only household members present, virtual dinners, preparing dishes for family and friends ahead of time, and shopping online. Activities with a moderate risk included: having small outdoor dinners, visiting orchards and pumpkin patches while following COVID-19 precautions, and attending small outdoor sporting events. Partaking in any larger, crowded activities was highly discouraged, although early estimates predicted that 38% of Americans would attend large gatherings.

On Thanksgiving day, the Transportation Security Association (TSA) reported that more than 560,000 people travelled via plane throughout the country. This is a significant decrease from last year, when nearly 1.6 million travellers were reported. However, this year, in the days leading up to the holiday, roughly one million people still traveled per day. Although in years previous there were over twice as many travellers, these numbers are still concerning given the current pandemic.

More than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported the day after Thanksgiving despite 20 states withholding data. In a Cable News Network (CNN) article, Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University stated, “In a week, more likely two weeks, we will see a surge upon a surge.”

Entering the winter months, there are still many holidays to come. Last year, AAA reported that an estimated 115.6 million people traveled between December 21 and January 1. To put the numbers into perspective, that is over a third of the United States population. With travel being discouraged amidst the pandemic, it is evident that many will need to rethink their plans and traditions surrounding this time. 


The most widely observed winter holiday in the United States is Christmas. Annually on December 25th, many gather to exchange gifts under an indoor tree, eat a large meal, and celebrate the birth of Christ. While many of the festivities are standard from household to household, senior Blessing Mupinga’s family does something rather unique. 

She stated that, “Instead of going to sleep early on Christmas eve to wake up to all of the presents that Santa dropped off overnight, we stay up until about 2 a.m. When the clock strikes midnight, we start to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus and it’s followed by a series of praise and worship for all that he’s done for us.”

It is not uncommon for non-Christians to take part in the religious holiday as well. A 2017 study by the Pew Research Center found that nine in 10 Americans celebrate Christmas, and less than half of those who do actually recognize the day as a solely religious festivity. A similar trend was also seen at Bio-Med, as 88% of 221 students reported that they celebrate the holiday.  

Because of the prominence of Christmas festivities in America, it is clear that some changes may need to take place in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. 


In late December, neopagans, wiccans, and druids will celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the longest night and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. While the solstice itself is always on December 21, Yule festivities will continue on until January 1.

The festival is meant to celebrate the return of the sun and the welcome of warmth and light as the summer months approach. Given the wide array of people that recognize Yule, there are differing histories and traditions stemming from both Germanic and Ancient Nordic peoples. While pagans and druids typically focus solely on the return of life, many Wiccans associate the celebration with mythology. It is believed that on the day of the solstice the Holly King will give up his throne to the Oak King after they battle one another, signifying a transition from the cold and dark into the light and warm year to come.

Overall, the celebrations differ from person to person. However, it surprises some to learn that many Christmas traditions were actually influenced by Yule and pagan traditions. In the past, pagan communities would bring live trees into their homes to be decorated with candles, symbolizing the sun and stars. Druids were also known to cut down mistletoe as a symbol of life in the dark winter months.

Another common tradition is the burning of the Yule log. For this, a log may be decorated with natural items such as berries. Some also choose to write wishes for the new year onto paper, which can then be placed into the log. Then the log is burned in a fireplace or outdoors. 

Although celebrations are similar between the different pagan groups, there are some minor differences. Within the Germanic tradition it was more common to light candles throughout the home and on the tree. The Ancient Nordic people commonly had bonfires, burned Yule logs, and decorated their live trees with orbs to represent solar energy. Currently Wiccans may choose to draw on many traditions. It is common for them to decorate trees with natural objects such as orange slices, cinnamon sticks, popcorn, and cranberries, and other objects to represent stars. 


Pictured are traditional Jewish items for the Holiday of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is celebrated all around the world and lasts eight days.

Another popular winter holiday is Hanukkah, also commonly referred to as Chanukah, taking place from December 10 to December 18 this year. 

Traditionally, the eight-day festival is celebrated by Jewish communities through nightly lighting of the menorah, eating fried foods, and partaking in special prayers. Additionally, gifts are given on each night of the celebration. It is common to play many games during this time, one of the most popular involving the dreidel. 

While estimates of how many Americans partake in the holiday are unclear, one news site reports that for every 14 people that celebrate Christmas one person will celebrate Hanukkah. One of the main reasons for the confusion is that within the Jewish community Hanukkah is a rather minor holiday, because it holds more cultural value than religious meaning. Additionally, it is a common misconception that Hanukkah is the Jewish equivalent to Christmas. Many blame this on commercialism in America, as stores sensationalize the holiday and advertise products.

Bio-Med senior Suzie Krauss says, “Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, which celebrates the miracles of God. Specifically, how the oil for the lantern lasted eight days instead of just one. It is a beautiful holiday and it means a lot to me and my family.”


A holiday celebration unique to only the United States is Kwanzaa. Started in 1966, the holiday takes place from December 26 to January 1 every year. 

Unlike the two winter holidays previously mentioned, Kwanzaa is a purely cultural holiday. According to the University Of Pennsylvania – African Studies Center, the founder of the celebration, Dr. Maulana Karenga, ”created this festival for Afro-Americans as a response to the commercialism of Christmas.” Additionally, the festival was intended to unite African-Americans and to bring them closer to their African heritage. 

Each of the seven days focuses on different principles (the Nguzo Saba): Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Every day of the celebration, an additional candle is lit on the candelabra called the kinara. On the kinara there are three red candles, three green candles, and a black one in the center. 

Aside from the candles there are six additional symbols of Kwanzaa. The first is the mat or mkeka, symbolizing the tradition and history of the African-American community. Next are the crops or mazao, which represent African harvest celebrations. Another symbol is the corn or muhindi, that symbolize children within the community and their futures. The unity cup or kikombe cha umoja reflects the principle of unity. The last symbol is the gifts or zawadi, which are given on the last day as a representation of the fruits of the parents’ labor and rewards for their children. 

Lunar New Year

On February 12, roughly 1.5 billion will celebrate the Lunar New Year, commonly known as Chinese New Year. Despite the name, many other nations and people of Asian descent partake in the celebration, including Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, and Laos. 

While the Solar New Year is always on January 1, the Lunar New Year will begin on the first new moon that falls within the Solar New Year and February 20th of the given year. After this day, the celebration will extend 15 days, each day corresponding to a different element of the presentation. The length of the celebration makes it the longest national public holiday in the world.

Similar to Thanksgiving, this holiday is a time to spend with family and friends. In Asia the main celebrations will span several days to allow people to travel home. Nearly everyone in China is allowed seven to twelve days off of work, while children will get the whole month off of school. 

Traditional decorations for the Vietnamese holiday of Tet

A lot goes into celebrating a holiday of this scale. In preparation, many will deeply clean their homes and communities in hopes of washing away filth and sickness for the coming year. Once the day has arrived, towns and homes will be decorated with red lanterns. Additionally, children will receive red envelopes filled with money from their elders. Then the celebration will begin with large gatherings, many lights, and lightning fireworks, all in hopes of fending off evil spirits. Due to the number of people typically involved in the festival, changes will ultimately need to be made in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in many nations. 

In the United States, Lunar New Year looks a bit different as adults and children may not get nearly as much time away from work and school. However, there are still many large celebrations throughout the country, some extending for the entirety of the month. 

Moving Forward

While many holiday traditions have to be sacrificed or amended this year due to COVID-19, with talks of upcoming vaccinations, many are hopeful that some normalcy will return by next year’s holiday season.

culture Uncategorized

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.

bio-med journey general Uncategorized