9/11 ceremony cancelled due to Hurricane Irma
By Charlotte Hood, Asst. Section Editor
Before Hurricane Irma carved its way through Florida, every activity, plan and event was put on hold as everyone prepared for the worst. Luckily, the school sustained minimal damage during the storm, but many events were postponed or cancelled after the 5-school day break. One such event was the annual 9/11 ceremony, which has been hosted at our school for nearly a decade.
Multiple factors contributed to the cancellation. The hurricane had stopped all preparations dead in their tracks as suppliers (such as the JROTC warehouse) shut down business to prepare for the oncoming hurricane.
“We didn’t have everything we needed for it to be a successful ceremony, like our uniforms,” battalion executive officer Marrina Guadagnino said.
Other factors included guest speakers having to take care of urgent business after the storm and being unable to attend the ceremony. Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher, who was supposed to be a guest speaker, had to help the city recover after the damage from the storm. Also, many students had to fly back from other states after evacuating, and those who stayed had to deal with the aftermath of Irma.
“It was too hectic,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Johnson, JROTC senior instructor. “Coming back the week after, the first day or two, was such a weird feeling [for students].”
Many JROTC students felt disappointed that the ceremony had been called off after spending weeks practicing for their showcase at the event.
“It was sad that it was cancelled because we worked hard and it’s an annual thing for us,” sophomore Holly Merriman said.
Luckily, many of the showcases and activities planned for the 9/11 event will be featured during the Fallen Heroes ceremony on November 9, including the special guest speaker and the drills performed by JROTC students.
“Definitely disappointed but, now that we have Fallen Heroes, it’s another chance,” said senior Harrison Smith, who is part of the color guard.
According to Lt. Col. Johnson, the purpose of the presentations was to allow students to have a personal connection to the attack, even though many were toddlers at the time, by bringing in guests who experienced the event first hand, a feeling that history books are unable to grasp.
“History books sanitize it,” Lt. Col. Johnson said. “They take something to a picture, or paragraph, or chart. (The ceremony) makes it more personal. It makes it to where it’s painful to remind people that there is that type of evil out there.”
Posted: Oct. 19
Scholars score new PSAT bootcamp
By Andra Danu, Asst. Section Editor
The Preliminary SAT boot camp provided a new study opportunity to help increase students’ scores on all three parts of the upcoming exam.
Students start the course at the end of their sophomore year and finish the course in October of their junior year, right before the PSAT administration, which occurred this year on Oct. 11. By the time the boot camp came to an end, students completed a total of 76 preparation hours.
The PSAT boot camp is administered through the tutoring company MindWorks. It was founded on the premise that every high school student deserves to get accepted to their dream college.
“The partnership between Mindworks and Pompano Beach High School was built right away since there were common goals we both wanted to achieve,” Mindworks founder Andrea Catsicas said.
The camp took place in Tornado Alley every Thursday after school until 5:30 p. m. and Fridays from 8:00 a. m. to 2:00 p. m.
However, the trainings did not run cheap. Students paid close to hundreds of dollars for everything that the program included.
Catsicas would not provide the specific cost for this year because the overall cost changes every year, but there is always a cheaper cost for students who have free or reduced lunch and a greater cost for students who do not have free or reduced lunch.
According to Catsicas, the main goal of the camp is for juniors to obtain a score on the PSAT exam that will qualify them for the National Merit Scholarship title.
At the bootcamp, students were able to take many practice exams that helped them become familiar with the curriculum on the exam.
“I have learned a lot of additional tips and tricks through going over practice tests with the instructor,” junior Camila Castellano said.
The program creates a customizable experience for each student based on the previous practice test they have taken.
“If a student is weak in a certain area, then the next practice test that they take will focus more on those concepts,” Catsicas said. “The more practice tests that a student takes, the more endurance that they will have built to obtain a higher score.”
Posted: October 12
Freshmen say, ‘Cheese!’ for first picture day
By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor
Whether it’s juniors taking their last official ID pictures or freshmen taking their first, picture day is always an exciting experience.
Picture day took place Aug. 28 and 29 for freshman, sophomores and juniors while most seniors took their portraits right before the start of their last school year. Students and teachers took their pictures during their personalization periods.
“I really enjoyed my first high school picture day,” freshman Gianna Gentile said. “I was nervous at first, but then I got myself together and took a pretty good picture.”
Freshmen shared the most positive answers on their thoughts of their first high school picture day.
“I am very excited to see myself in a high school yearbook and feel older,” freshman Eddy Castro said. “I can’t wait to get my yearbook.”
If students weren’t happy with their first picture, retakes were held on October 3rd during A and B lunches in room 164.
Posted: October 9
Dual classes take over for spring
By Andra Danu, Assistant Section Editor
Although the school year is relatively young, it’s time for Juniors and Seniors to submit their dual enrollment registrations for second semester.
According to school counseling director Lisa Albee, students already taking a dual enrollment English class on campus with Ms. Avery or Dr. Shipe will receive their forms in class. These forms need to be turned in those teachers before Oct. 3.
Students who would like to enroll in their first dual class or who are currently involved in taking dual classes off campus will need to obtain their forms from their school counselor and have them turned in before Oct. 10.
First-time enrollment students will also need to have an unweighted GPA of 3.0 and take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) at Broward College.
“The PERT exam must be completed before obtaining the registration form from your counselor,” Mrs. Albee said.
Students are required to pass all three parts of the PERT, which includes sections of reading, writing and math.
Passing this exam will prove that a student is ready to face the rigors of a college-level course.
“Getting a real college experience would be a good opportunity to challenge myself,” sophomore Giavanna Costa said.
Posted: October 9
Wrecked car sends message: Don’t drive distracted
By Milan McKie, Opinion Editor
Administrators and staff decided to take on a different kind of approach in their efforts to raise teen awareness on the dangers of distracted driving this spring.
On May 12, the school brought out a car that had been wrecked in a collision involving a drunk driver and parked it right outside of the courtyard.
“I’ve always been aware of the dangers of drunk driving or even texting while driving, but actually seeing the car and the damage that it sustained in an accident involving distracted drivers made it more real,” sophomore Xiomara Ortiz said. “It almost made me a little anxious to get on the road.”
According to Principal Thomas, the main reason the damaged car was brought onto the property and displayed in a place that made it visible to the entire school was to elicit a kind of “wow, this could happen to me” reaction because in actuality, it just might.
Teens between the ages of 16 and 17 are most at risk when it comes to fatal car accidents, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the school’s commission of the car proved to be a creative and innovative way to convey how significant being aware of one’s own surroundings is, not only around school or in your home but also behind the wheel.
“I feel like too many good people have had their lives taken away from them much too soon because someone was oblivious to what was going on around them,” said a sophomore who did not wish to be identified. “It’s those easily avoidable mistakes that make all the difference between being able to talk with your best friend or having to attend another funeral.”
Posted: June 1
How much do you sleep?
Posted: May 16
Around the World
Posted: May 16
Club members ‘donut’ forget to appreciate teachers
By Jessica Buchanan, News Editor
The Interact Club distributed donuts to each teacher in the faculty lounge during Teacher Appreciation Week on May 1.
“We care about our teachers and we want to appreciate them,” club secretary Vina To said.
Dunkin Donuts, a club sponsor, provided the club with eight dozen boxes of donuts and two jugs of coffee.
Ms. Pliske felt that giving teachers the donuts was “a nice way to kick off the week.”
The idea of giving the teachers donuts was a product of a “collection of ideas” between all the officers according to Kyle Verlangeri, club president.
The donuts were meant “to turn the Monday blues into better days,” Pliske said.
Posted: May 9
Rotary Youth Exchange goes global
By Simon Ho, Assistant Graphic Design Editor
The Rotary Youth Exchange is a world-wide program for high school students who want to experience culture abroad. There are short-term programs, which last a couple months, and long-term programs, which last a full school year.
Daniel Guo, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Taiwan, signed up for the long-term program and was accepted due to his academic success.
The program opens before the next school year and it takes several months for qualified exchange students to prepare for this exchange. Although for every exchange student it is different, Guo arrived on Aug. 8 from National WuLing Senior High School to exchange to here.
Host families are automatically provided and chosen for exchange students when they arrive. Guo, who lives with an American host family, said he “loves his host family because they are nice and friendly.”
“At first I thought they would be cruel, but instead I found out they were extremely chill and respectful,” Guo said.
There are many rewards for exchange students who participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange. The benefits include experience, learning from other cultures and improving your language skill.
Although there is no academic reward for exchange students to join the program, it is a great opportunity for many well qualified participants and winners to experience this program.
“Joining this program has helped me better learn to communicate with people and experience the unique foods in America,” Guo said. “I have no regret at all for joining this program and I recommend any high school students who have this opportunity to join the program and travel and learn abroad.”
Guo leaves on July 7 to go back to Taoyuan, Taiwan, where he will complete his session.
Posted: May 9
Tornado Alley purpose being fulfilled
By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief, and Nicolas Gallardo, Graphic Design Editor
Tornado Alley, previously called the media center, was remodeled this past summer and became a place where students could spend time educationally.
According to Principal Thomas, the media center was redone to increase foot-traffic by students for educational purposes.
“(The purpose was) so that we could have kids, first of all go to the media center, second, really enjoy reading,” Principal Thomas said. “This was the core bottom line is that kids weren’t reading in the media center, you know, they don’t use books, like you don’t have to read from a book, you can read from your phone, your iPad, and yet no one was making use of that.”
Now that Tornado Alley has been in use for over six months, Principal Thomas believes that the purpose is being fulfilled.
“So with the new media center, anytime I go in there, there are kids and some of them are reading,” Principal Thomas said. “So, I think it’s fulfilling its purpose.”
Media secretary Ms. Estrella believes that the media center serves the purpose of inspiring students.
“The purpose of the media center is to provide an inviting, contemporary environment where students are inspired to learn using all the resources it offers,” Ms. Estrella wrote in an email. “This environment also fosters collaborative study and promotes engagement among students.”
Senior Eri Vishka, a daily visitor to the media center, believes that the purpose is more about promoting a community of scholars.
“To me, the central purpose of the media center is to bring together students who have a scholarly mindset and have them interact with the center’s resources to progress their studies,” Vishka said.
Junior Nataly Chalco finds that the media center is much improved since last year.
“I think that this year the media center is more ‘study friendly,’” Chalco said. “The open environment in there really allows you to sit down and get organized with your textbooks and homework, which was something that we didn’t have last year.”
While Tornado Alley is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., students can’t just come in without a reason.
“Everybody is allowed, as long as they have a pass or as part of a class,” Ms. Estrella wrote.
Principal Thomas agrees that the media center is for students to work on educational pursuits.
“It does make sense that you need to come to the media center for a purpose,” Principal Thomas said. “It’s not like coming to hang out. It’s not a hangout place. It’s there for people to use for educational purposes.”
Students who come during lunch, like Chalco, cannot eat in Tornado Alley.
“You cannot go and get lunch from the cafeteria and bring it in,” Principal Thomas said. “So we have the cafeteria and lunch is not allowed, but you can bring a snack or something, that’s fine.”
Ms. Estrella has specific foods that she allows in the media center.
“Students can have snacks, finger foods, and covered drinks except when using the media center’s electronics, like computers, laptops, and iPads, then no eating or drinking is allowed,” Ms. Estrella wrote.
One improvement from last year is that more students are using the laptops and desktops to get their work done during lunch and free periods, according to Vishka and Chalco.
However, students are not allowed in the media center when they are supposed to be off campus.
“Technically, students who have dual enrollment shouldn’t be on campus,” Principal Thomas said. “So, because you shouldn’t be here, you can see how you couldn’t be in the media center. Part of the whole dual enrollment piece is that you’re taking a class off campus, so you shouldn’t be on campus during a time when you should be off campus.”
The renovation of the media center into Tornado Alley cost the school “about $150,000,” according to Mr. Thomas, who also said that “most of the money was from our budget.”
Posted: Mar. 13
82 visit from 8 countries for International Summit
By Maria Suarez, Centerspread Editor
Sixty-two students and 20 faculty members from eight different countries roamed the halls Jan. 21-27 and experienced school life the American way. 62.
“To me it’s not a little 10-day thing,” Assistant Principal Carlson said. “This is a life changing experience for not only our guests but for our students here.”
The visitors were hosted by school students and staff.
According to Mrs. Carlson, a large portion of the summit’s funding comes from the Confucius Institute, a Chinese educational organization that selects certain districts from the United States to be a part of its cultural and language programs.
The school is trying to build relationships with other international schools in an effort to later allow students to travel abroad. The Chinese have been selected because Mrs. Narus and Mr. Thomas have visited China and they’ve built relationships with the Chinese schools.
The other relationships have been built because the school has been traveling as a school to international places. For instance, some students have traveled to Poland, so the Polish school they have visited travels here. The same goes for countries like Switzerland and Ireland.
“The relationships we build are school-to-school,” Mrs. Carlson said. “Visiting schools are coming to see Pompano Beach High School, not Mr. Thomas or Mrs. Narus or the students they met during the summer program. They’re coming to see Pompano Beach High School and when our students are traveling abroad they’re going to a school because they are going to build relationships with a school and the students and adults at that school.”
Immediately upon assuming the role of principal, Mr. Thomas had wanted to provide students with a multitude of experiences related to the international studies magnet before they graduated.
According to Chinese teacher Ms. Zheng, students get to experience and build new relationships with students and teachers from all over the world through the summit. The goal was for each student to be impacted in such a way that when they graduated, they could be proud to say that they went to an international school.
“Globalization is a trend, and it’s unstoppable, politically and economically,” Ms. Zheng said. “So our school being a magnet in international affairs has the responsibility as a host to enlighten all students from all over the world and also provide our own students with opportunities for them to have exposure to international communications.”
Part of building those relationships includes interacting with the visitors and observing their habits and customs which can lead to enrichment in the language students are taking. During the summit, the visitors performed at a school-wide assembly to highlight their national cultures.
“Students will see them and be able to see that the other students look like them or if they dress differently or hear the pronunciation in the way they speak their language,” Ms. Lerbs, French and Spanish teacher, said. “I think it can only be good because students are going to see that there is another world out there and it actually comes to us, and they can see it, it’s not just something in your imagination. And hopefully they can talk to them. You at least learn something.”
Senior Gabriel Suarez and sophomore Sasha Mikhailau agree that meeting the international students gives them further information about the lifestyle and customs of the visitors that they don’t learn about in their Chinese textbooks.
“It shows our students what it’s like in other countries and allows us to interact with the foreign exchange students; then, they get to know how school is there and how life is there in general, but it doesn’t cost them anything to be exposed to that,” Mikhailau said. “And then for people to go into a different country and totally immerse themselves it would expose them to the culture and of course there’s a price to it but it’s interesting and cool to see and compare your country and the country you’re visiting.”
Posted: Feb. 12
Photo by Simon Ho
Junior 1 terminal away from gunshots
By Nadieda Dazile,opinion editor
The shooting in Terminal 2 at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6 not only shocked the general community, but also could have taken the life of a student.
Junior Jay Pearson couldn’t even imagine the horror that was happening right next door to Terminal 1, where they were during the shooting.
“I heard the shots when I was getting my luggage,” Pearson said. “I didn’t make anything of it at the time.”
Pearson, who was flying in from Greenville, South Carolina, and many others hadn’t realized what was happening, and when they did, paranoia ensued.
“I saw ambulances and 15 police cars outside, and people were running into each other,” Pearson said. “I didn’t realize what had happened until I looked on Twitter and saw retweets of the reports.”
This shooting had a lasting impact on the lives of those affected directly and those who were not.
“It was pretty much terrifying and when I got to my mom’s car, there was a lot of hugging and crying,” Pearson said. “It made me put my life into perspective and how close I was from being in (the shooting).”
The shooter, Esteban Santiago, had documented mental issues before the shooting. He told FBI agents that he carried out the attack for the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
“There’s something about a guy flying down that makes it seem planned, but I don’t think it has to do with ISIS,” Pearson said. “I don’t see the value in tying all terrorist attacks to ISIS, and I think that relating all terror attacks to ISIS leads to racism against Muslims.”
Pearson was not hesitant to admit her own doubts about airport security.
“I’d be very nervous (to fly again),” she said. “I think security should be increased and measures should be taken before you enter the airport door.”
Posted: Jan. 23
Exchange students experience culture flock
By Charlotte Hood, Staff Intern
Most students travel only back to their classroom from the bathroom, trying to delay the time until they have to go back to class. However, a few are taking their travels many steps further.
For 10 years the school has participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, sending students abroad to various countries to attend school and experience the culture of the country assigned to them.
Two students are visiting our school. Shu-shi “Daniel” Guo has traveled from Taiwan to spend his junior year here while learning about the unique culture, places and people of the state.
“We went on a trip to the Everglades,” Guo said. “It was really cool since China and Florida are the only places in the world that have alligators.”
Sonia Gur, another participant in the Rotary program, has made the journey from her home country of Poland. Like Guo, she will also spend her junior year in our school, which she has grown quite fond of.
“I love having Fridays off and being able to adjust my schedule around it,” Gur said. “I like how schools in America have guidance counselors, and I wish we had them in Poland.”
The program ensures that students who participate will be well taken care of through all stages of the trip. With a reasonably priced initial payment, the students’ needs during the year abroad are paid for.
Students are also assigned a host family that they will stay with during their stay in the country.
By living with a host family of the native country, the program hopes that it will give the students a better understanding of what it’s like to live in a different country, according to magnet coordinator Mr. Williams.
The main purpose of the program is for students to gain a greater understanding of their world and the people in it. By experiencing the culture of a different country, they learn things they couldn’t dream of in their home country.
“Most students come back speaking a different language,” Mr. Williams said.
Sophomore Camille Stanbury plans to participate in the exchange next year. She hopes to spend her junior year in Italy, though she has five other possibilities for the countries she will travel to.
“I want to go to Italy because of the culture, and the food, and it just looks so pretty in pictures,” Stanbury said. “I’d also like to go to Austria, since my family’s from there, to connect to my roots.”
Posted: Jan. 16
‘Day that will live in infamy’
By Alexandra Griffin, Managing Editor
For most students, December is a month full of giving and receiving gifts as well as celebrating with family and friends. However, many students overlook one event that lasted only a few hours 75 years ago and threatened the livelihood of most Americans.
Pearl Harbor, the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was attacked by Japanese Imperial forces, resulting in over 2,000 casualties of military personnel and civilians on Dec. 7, 1941.
On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, many sailors had just woken up and were preparing for a relaxed day on an island many consider equivalent to paradise. Despite a warning sent directly to President Franklin Roosevelt three days prior to the attack that threatened the Hawaiian islands, no additional defense of the massive harbor was employed.
Just before 8 a.m., the first Japanese dive bombers flew into the harbor in formation, dropping the first bombs.
The harbor was dive-bombed and torpedoed for two hours, damaging or destroying 20 ships and over 300 airplanes.
One of the most chilling stories was that of the U.S.S. Arizona, which was bombed only about 10 minutes after the start of the attack. An 1,800 lb bomb landed in the ammunition magazine and the ship exploded, sinking and trapping over 1,000 sailors inside.
Although every major battleship in the harbor sustained major damage, the U.S.S. Arizona and U.S.S. Utah were the only two that were never repaired.
This attack caused more casualties than any previous attack on U.S. soil (a record that would not be broken until 9/11), and it had some of the greatest repercussions.
The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was thrust into World War II, in which America had desperately tried to maintain a neutral stance.
While most people at the time were excited for the holidays, just like today, many men and women, ages 18 to 45, volunteered or were drafted into the war effort.
The fighting in the Pacific campaign began on Dec. 8 and continued until Sept. 2, 1945, just about a month after the first ever atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Within the near four years that the United States was at war with Japan, the United States lost over 111,000 troops, over 250,000 troops were wounded and over 21,000 troops were taken as prisoners of war.
Not only did the war cause massive casualties, it marked a new era, the era of modern weapons and “mutually assured destruction,” the premise that the best way to prevent being destroyed by an attack of nuclear bombs would be to have the nuclear arsenal to obliterate any opponent. No attack or air raid in history had ever reached the pure hysteria and fatality of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the same amount of time.
As most members of the military that experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor are in their late 90s or no longer alive, it is especially important to remember the consequences of the attack, and the sacrifices that were made in order to win the war.
The war began with an obvious Japanese advantage because, in previous years, Japan had conquered a great amount of land in the Pacific. However, America had quickly turned into a war machine and it wasn’t long before Japan felt its remarkable capabilities.
The first few major battles between the United States and Japan were the Battle of Wake Island, resulting in an all out Japanese victory, and the Battle of the Coral Sea which resulted in a tactical victory for Japan.
The next major battle was the Battle of Midway, when breakthroughs in deciphering the Japanese Purple code gave the U.S. Navy critical information of a sneak attack planned to hit the American Island of Midway. The attack, if successful would completely disable the U.S. Navy as most of its major, functioning ships were located at Midway Island.
Despite being extremely outnumbered, the U.S. Navy was able to destroy all four of the aircraft carriers sent to Midway with the loss of only one of their own aircraft carriers (U.S.S. Yorktown). With the removal of a major portion of the Japanese Navy, the U.S. was given more room to advance through the Pacific.
The Battle of Guadalcanal (in the Solomon Islands), also known as the Guadalcanal Campaign, marked the turning point as the main airstrip on the island, dubbed Henderson Field, was of great strategic importance to both Japan and the United States due to its close proximity to Japan.
The initial victory in Guadalcanal was swift, however, the United States celebrated too quickly and sent off most of its major defenses, including the U.S.S. Enterprise. The island was subject to heavy fire, many of the ships were destroyed, the U.S.S. Enterprise was badly damaged and many troops were killed or wounded.
“Our muddy machine gun pits were transformed into Courage Clubs when bombs fell or Japanese warships pounded us from the sea,” said PFC Robert Leckie of the 1st Marine Division in “Helmet for my Pillow”: “It was natural that the poor fellow who might break into momentary terror should cause pained silence and embarrassed coughs.”
Despite the possibility of an American victory steadily increasing, Japan fought on. The following campaign of the Mariana and Palau Islands resulted in major American victories and massive casualties, many of which were civilian casualties, often suicides.
In particular, the Battle of Peleliu caused immense losses on both the American and Japanese sides. The island, that was occupied by Japan at the time, was only a little bit over five square miles; however, many of members of the Marines going onto the island did not ever make it off the beach. On top of the massive casualties, the battle is considered unnecessary by many Marines.
“The wounded who had received morphine sat or lay around like zombies and patiently awaited the ‘docs’ attention,” said Cpl. Eugene Sledge, recalling the invasion of Peleliu in his book, “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa”.
In fall of 1944, the U.S. invaded the island of Leyte in the Philippines. The invasion faced little opposition as the Japanese military had expected the main island of Luzon to be invaded first. Japan waged a counter attack, where the remaining Japanese defenses would be split up to corner the portion of the island under American control, meanwhile the four remaining aircraft carriers were set as a decoy.
The U.S. soon became aware of the group in the north and proceeded to bombard the group. After two days, the group’s largest ship was sunk and they appeared to retreat. The decoy carriers, spotted by the U.S. attracted a large portion of the protection of Leyte, and the Southern group was bombarded as well. The northern group had only pretended to retreat, and the depleted U.S. defense was now under fire. However, the Japanese leader turned back, worried that they were sailing into a trap. The decoy group was also fully destroyed by the U.S., leaving the Japanese Navy with little form of defense.
With the possibility of an American victory becoming more likely, the Japanese became desperate ;Kamikaze attacks were born. Not only would Japanese pilots fly planes into ships in suicide missions, soldiers would strap landmines to their bodies and deliberately throw themselves under tanks. This prolonged the battle by two months, when the entire island was secure. The Japanese had lost almost 70,000 troops while the U.S. lost almost 16,000.
Next was the Battle of Iwo Jima. Just southeast of Japan, Iwo Jima was the first of the Japanese home islands to be attacked. Despite being outnumbered by 90,000 soldiers, the Japanese held strong by using a system of underground tunnels, heavy artillery and bunkers. After nearly two months of barbaric fighting, the U.S. captured Iwo Jima. Most Japanese soldiers defending Iwo Jima were killed or missing.
The U.S. advanced onto the Japanese Home Island of Okinawa on April 1, 1945. Many historians consider this the bloodiest battle of the war in the Pacific.
The Japanese, focused on delaying the advance of the american forces, sent massive amount of suicide missions out. Kamikaze attacks were rampant and the Japanese would even strap bombs to civilians to trick the U.S. forces. Differing from most of the other battles, the Battle of Okinawa took place in a relatively heavily populated area and civilians were used as spies, informants and decoys,subsequently, the Battle of Okinawa produced nearly 100,000 civilian casualties.
The island was fully captured on June 21, 1945. For the months following the Battle of Okinawa, the U.S. started preparing to invade Japan. Simultaneously, a new type of bomb was being developed and tested in the states to cause massive destruction.
With the new bomb being tested, the allied victory in Europe and the immensely depleted Japanese military, an allied victory on the war seemed inevitable.
On July 16, 1945, the Manhattan Project reported a successful detonation of the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. News of this produced a debate in the U.S. Government that was soon resolved, and the bombs were sent to the Pacific.
On August 6, the first atomic bomb was planned to be dropped on the city of Hiroshima with alternates being Nagasaki and Kokura. After a short bought of bad weather, the clouds over Hiroshima broke and it was officially decided where the bomb would be dropped. These specific locations were chosen because they were left unscathed by American dive bombers, allowing the full effects of the bomb to be shown.
Throughout the night, warnings of bomb raids rang over Hiroshima, the last one being cleared at 7:09 am. The bomb was released from the B-29 aircraft, named Enola Gay, at 8:15 am. Few people knew the true nature of the bomb, so when it detonated in the center of Hiroshima, most of the crew in the Enola Gay and the other aircraft accompanying it were shocked when the initial blast of the bomb went off. 30 percent of the population in Hiroshima died from the blast and the resulting firestorm.
Three days following the bomb drop on Hiroshima, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, although the planned target for the drop was Kokura. The bomb was dropped over Nagasaki at 11:01 am. At least 35,000 people were killed by the initial blast of this bomb.
Both cities experienced medical emergencies after the dropping of their respective bombs. Burns and other injuries kept the few surviving doctors extremely busy for the next few days, then radiation poisoning began presenting itself in massive numbers.
“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another,” said Julius Robert Oppenheimer said, one of the physicists on the Manhattan Project.
Emperor Hirohito, of Japan announced the unconditional surrender of Japan on August 14, 1945 ending World War II.
New changes to the mentoring program
By Jessica Buchanan, News Editor
The mentoring program has had some mixed reviews among the mentors and mentees since the new changes that have been made this school year.
Mentoring sessions have been lengthened to take advantage of the longer periods in the block schedule. In the previous school years, the sessions were 30 minutes long, but this year they are an hour and 45 minutes long.
In order to be more beneficial to the mentees, sophomore Jessica Romer “think[s] the meetings could be slightly shorter.”
Activities that were once done in 30 minutes are now dragged out to fill a time frame more than three times as long.
Ms. Narus, mentoring program advisor, lengthened the time frame because “the feedback last year was there wasn’t enough time.”
Mentors like sophomore Daniel Alexander said he thought “it would be better if we were to play little trust games or bonding games” to fill the time. Alexander said these activities will help the mentees and mentors to “trust each other” more.
Mentoring sessions take away the study hall of those participating, making many students reluctant to go.
Before one of the previous mentoring sessions, junior Pedro Renteria went to go pick up his mentees from their personalization period “and they all groaned.”
The meetings occur every other week rather than monthly like last year.
Sophomore Jason Nguyen feels the meetings occur “way too often” and wants to see more one-on-one time with the mentees for “academic/social advice.”
Another change to the mentoring program is the creation of mentor/mentee small groups. Last year there were individual groups of one mentor to only one or two mentees; however, this year there are three mentors to eight or nine mentees.
Sophomore Addison Nguyen thinks that having so many mentees is great “because it is easier to keep the conversation” amongst the group.
Sophomore Daniel Alexander is “working closely with his fellow mentor” to see what he can do for his mentees.
One of the responsibilities of a mentor is to check on their mentees and ensure they are doing what they need to do in order to succeed.
Sophomore Brinya Kydd knows giving mentees “all the necessary help in whatever they need” is the key to being a successful student.
Posted: Dec. 3
Freshmen, sophomores catch up during study hall
By Blake Thomas, Staff Intern
Jonathan Jimenez, a freshman, has troubles with managing homework, but his personalization period helps him concentrate while doing homework in peace and quiet.
“The classroom is always quiet so it gives me time to study and get my homework done,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez has his personalization period Block 3, so he is able to do the homework his teachers have given him that day.
“My teachers give a lot of homework, and I want to have free time after school so I try my best to do it all in the time given to me in my personalization,” Jimenez said.
Freshman Kenneth Lanzetta said he was glad to have resources available during study hall.
“I have a lot of resources in my personalization like computers and textbooks, so if i need help I can get a textbook and read about what I’m struggling about,” Lanzetta said.
Lanzetta said he has his personalization later in the day, so he is able to get his homework done.
“My teacher lets our class use our phones,” Lanzetta said. “It really helps because some people can work better if they listen to music.”.
Sophomore Garth Simpson has his personalization in the morning, so he is able to do his homework from last night or the night before.
“In personalization it gives me quiet time in the morning to get ready for the day and finish any homework, and catch up on studying for a test later in the day,” Simpson said.
Simpson’s personalization is in a computer lab, so he is able to use the computers whenever he wants.
“The computers are a great resource for personalization because it lets me check my grades, go on Edmodo, or get access to online textbooks,” Simpson said.
Graphic by Simon Ho
Posted: Nov. 22
New block schedule creates buzz
By Andra Danu, Staff Intern and Thabasya Veeramani, Staff Intern
The block schedule that was put into effect after a majority vote has affected how students are approaching the 2016-2017 school year.
Mrs. Carlson, Assistant Principal, knew that the block schedule would be effective.
“Students and faculty are very adaptable,” she said. “Students learned from their peers by sharing their techniques for making the schedule work for them.”
Sophomore Kaitlyn Bergeron feels less stressed because she does not have to complete seven classes worth of homework in one day.
“I usually do the homework that is due tomorrow instead of the homework that I get on that day,” Bergeron said.
An important change that comes with the new block schedule is the addition of a study hall period that students can use to study for tests, do homework or just relax.
“I get most of my homework done during that time frame,” Madison Tappa, sophomore, said.
Junior Darshita Koosam also loves the addition of a study hall because it “gives students more time to finish their homework.”
Sophomore Charlotte Hood likes the new study hall period and having only four classes per day, but she still prefers the old schedule.
“It was less stressful last year with the old schedule,” Hood said.
Camila Castellano has to devote more of her time on Gold days towards studying to make sure she understands the lessons in her more challenging classes, such as AP World History and Pre-Calculus.
“I have all my challenging classes on one day and my less challenging classes the next,” sophomore Camila Castellano said.
One of the other challenges with the new block schedule is that if a student misses one day of school it is like he is missing two traditional days of each class.
Mrs. Carlson, assistant principal, advises students to “ask for help and use their resources like Edmodo” to make sure they are not too far behind if they miss a day of school.
Students were not the only ones who had to become accustomed to the new schedule. It was a learning experience for teachers as well.
“Teachers are explaining things more clearly this year since they have more time and do not have to rush,” Hood said.
Math teacher Ms. Fisher has been testing out different methods of teaching to see which is more effective for the block schedule.
“I will begin implementing group work in my classes,” Ms. Fisher said.
Mrs. Carlson advises students to be patient and work with the new schedule since “change takes time.”
Posted: Nov. 10
JROTC remembers fallen heroes
By Nicolas Gallardo, Graphic Design Editor
JROTC’s 11th annual Fallen Heroes Ceremony will be on Nov. 10 in the courtyard to honor the soldiers that have fallen to protect our country since 9/11.
Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher and World War II veterans from across the state will attend this event.
Students in JROTC will be collecting donations to buy flags that represent each fallen hero.
“I highly respect the fallen heroes and feel proud to honor their ultimate sacrifice,” Ryan Russo, company officer, said.
Two students earn commended title
By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief
Seniors Brianna Donnelly and Nassim Davila have been named commended students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, based on their performance on last year’s Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).
“I’m really proud that I was able to do well enough to be a commended student,” Donnelly said. “While I may not be a National Merit Semifinalist, I did my best and I’m glad I got something to show for it.”
Davila seems to be just as honored as Donnelly.
“It is an honor. Literally,” Davila said.
The PSAT, given this year on Oct. 19, partners with the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) to reward students who earn high scores on the test with scholarships and recognition.
The results were released by the NMSC this September. The 50,000 test takers with the highest scores were all recognized for this achievement on some level.
Approximately two-thirds of the 50,000 test takers received letters of commendation, recognizing their “outstanding academic promise,” according to NMSC. The remaining one-third are deemed semifinalists, and can qualify for the role of finalist if they have high academic standing and high SAT scores. About 15,000 test takers are awarded the title of National Merit Semifinalist and presented certificates.
Of the 15,000 finalists, scholarship winners are chosen, and approximately 7,500 Finalists receive a Merit Scholarship award. There are three types of awards: a $2,500 scholarship, a corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship award and a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award.
For the 2017 National Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to students in the Class of 2017, students took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2015.
The qualifying score in Florida for this award is a 217, higher than the average qualifying score for the United States: 216.25. This score is not the same thing as the PSAT score. It is determined by the critical reading, writing and math subscores all added together and multiplied by two. Commended students had to score 209 or higher.
Last year, the PSAT changed its format because the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) did so. The test was revised so that the critical reading and writing section scores were combined into one score, while the math score included both a calculator section and a no calculator section.
Because of the combined “evidence-based reading and writing” section score, last year’s PSAT had a maximum score of 1520, with 760 being the maximum score in each category.
Another change is that incorrect answers did not result in a penalty, making the test more similar to the American College Test (ACT).
Posted: Oct. 26
PBHS aims high for PSAT
By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) will be administered this year on Oct. 19.
According to testing coordinator Mr. Mumtaz, all freshmen and sophomores and 90 percent of juniors will be taking the test.
“We hope that some of them will get the National Merit Scholarship,” Mr. Mumtaz said.
This year, as the test is more familiar to some of the students, as it is now a year old, scores are expected to rise.
“We hope to increase the National Merit Qualifying Test scores and to support students in learning,” Mr. Mumtaz said.
Students seem to be aiming high, as well.
“I didn’t really study for it last year and I did decent,” junior Maileen Ruiz said. “But, I’d obviously like to score higher this year.”
Some students are excited for the experience that the PSAT can provide.
“I feel as if (the PSAT) can help me to succeed in my attempt at the SAT, and it can, in the long run, help me get into a better college,” junior Garrett Moore said.
Posted: Oct. 24
Hurricane Hoco: Matthew may postpone event
By Jamie Black, Business Manager
South Florida is in the projected cone of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, a level of strength South Florida hasn’t seen since Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm in 1992.
A hurricane of that strength could possibly cause the cancellation of the Homecoming events on Oct. 7-8.
“We are waiting on the school board,” Mr. Thomas said “(If it is cancelled, we’ll) postpone everything to the weekend of Nov. 4.”
Mr. Thomas isn’t the only staff member who is interested in homecoming.
Ms. Gould, SGA adviser, said “It will be fine…it has happened before.”
As of now, nothing is official as to whether school and homecoming festivities are going to be cancelled. It is up to the School Board of Broward County.
Posted: Oct. 4
Pompano disses pipeline
By Jamie Black, Business Manager
The news of an oil pipeline passing through the Mississippi River has rocked the nation, along with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the teachers and students here.
The oil pipeline named the North Dakota Access Pipeline, has already begun construction, but work was halted because of protests by the indigenous tribe living there.
The pipeline is set to go through a water source that the tribe uses, potentially harming the water if a spill occurs. Another concern that has been raised is that the pipeline is said to be going through burial grounds.
The tribe chairman told the Chicago Tribune, “In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”
The idea of rich white people taking and ruining the land of those who have held it for hundreds of years is history repeating itself, but the major environmental effects it could have this time around is frightening.
Mrs. Dupre, environmental science teacher and adviser for the Environmental Club, weighed in on the subject saying, “[the pipeline] could create damage, although leaks from pipelines are not that often. But most of all it has to do with the respect of their [tribal] land and their right to their land.”
Mrs. Dupre said local projects can damage the Florida environment.
“Tankers bring oil here so there is always that potential of a spill,” Mrs. Dupre said. “We have two nuclear power plants by us, we could have a nuclear accident.”
Many students agree with Mrs. Dupre.
“I believe that the pipeline shouldn’t be built,” junior Alyssa Castro said. “This pipeline will be built under the Sioux tribe’s sacred burial site, which they do not want (to happen). It is their right to say no; it is their sacred land. ”
Dupre’s and Castro’s opinions on the pipeline and other harmful environmental factors seem like the right thing if you are someone who simply cares for the environment, but at the same time there is a whole other side to the argument that sees the economic profit.
In a press release, Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline, claimed a study showed “that the construction of the pipeline will have significant economic impact on the four states along the pipeline route, which include North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, terminating at the oil terminal hub near Patoka, Illinois. The four-state region will experience an increase of $1.9 billion in income, nearly $5 billion in production and sales, and $156 million in state and local taxes.”
Environmentalists argue that the promise of jobs and income for the states does sound nice on the economic side of things, but the environment isn’t something that should be disregarded in order to profit.
Dupre pointed out how oil and other forms of energy do sometimes conflict with the environment.
“We do have a need of energy, but we have to look at the environmental impact that it will have and also the respect for the Native Americans,” Dupre said.
Posted: Sept. 28
Open House succeeds
By Nadieda Dazile, Opinion Editor
Photos by Nadieda Dazile
Posted: Sept. 19
New media center pictures
Photo on the left by Sydney Van Dreason. Photo on the right courtesy of Mr. Thomas.
Senior Trumps at banquet
By Sydney Van Dreason, Editor in Chief and Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor
Senior Melanie Trump, one of the four seniors from our school nominated for Outstanding Senior Leader, won a $500 scholarship at the Outstanding Senior Leader Banquet held on March 16 at the Signature Grand in Davie.
“I was really happy (to win),” Trump said. “I didn’t know who was going to win because all the people that were nominated are well-deserving of recognition.”
Teachers, coaches and advisors nominated students they thought to be outstanding in clubs and sports, and the candidates were given applications by Mr. Cledet, teacher and chair of the magnet department on Feb. 3. All of the applications were reviewed by a committee of adults in the school, who then chose four of the candidates to become Outstanding Senior Leader nominees.
Trump was nominated by Ms. Odio, music director, for her dedication and leadership in band. Trump has been participating in band at school ever since freshmen year, and she has been the drum major during her junior and senior years.
“I nominated Melanie Trump because she is one of the best drum majors I have ever had,” Ms. Odio said. “She is a musician of the highest caliber and a passionate and dedicated individual. She sets a phenomenal example as a leader for the others and they are better because of their presence.”
Each school in the county nominated four seniors, and at the banquet on March 16, one of the nominees from every school won a $500 scholarship for Most Improved/Outstanding. One senior out of all the schools was awarded a $1,000 scholarship as a grand prize.
A committee at the banquet decided who the winners of the scholarships would be.
Trump was the only senior out of our school’s nominees that won a scholarship award.
Mr. Cledet believes she won because she is a “natural leader” that “you just want to follow” and because she is “very giving of her time” and “her talent.”
The purpose of the award is to “recognize seniors that have gone above and beyond,” according to Mr. Cledet.
The scholarship money is funded by parents and students who buy graduation products, not including cap and gown orders, from Herff Jones. Because the prize money is funded by the previous year’s sales, the scholarship amount varies every year.
The other three nominees for the Outstanding Senior Leader were Remy Bassett-Audain, Genae Brown and Jean Marin.
“All of the students from Pompano Beach High School are very hard-working individuals who deserve not only recognition by coaches, teachers and advisors, but by their peers as well,” Trump said. “There were a lot of other candidates who deserved to be nominated too.”
Posted: May 5
Media center to receive makeover
By Alexandra Griffin, Web Editor
The media center has been undergoing some fairly drastic changes, including cleaning out many books and getting rid of many of the bookshelves against the north wall, in preparation for major renovations during the summer.
“The idea is to make the media center like a Barnes and Noble,” Principal Thomas said.
The library will be converted into a more interactive, modern and mobile space to encourage students to read and visit the media center more often.
“I am just so excited for students to be able to utilize the space to the fullest and how cool it is going to look,” Ms. Estrella, the media center aide, said.
Students also seem to like the new design.
“The plans are great,” senior Cross Carlisle, media center teacher’s assistant, said. “I think it will bring more people into the media center and add a sense of togetherness.”
The new plans include several comfortable, mobile and flexible areas for students to read and enjoy the media center.
“The areas will be very defined for their different purposes,” Ms. Estrella said.
The new space will also include high-top tables, couches and other rectangular tables that can be converted to make a testing area. There is even the possibility of adding an area for a coffee stand for students and faculty.
“The fact that there may be food stations is my favorite aspect,” Carlisle said.
The library will still have a section dedicated to books that students can check out; however, the reference and nonfiction sections were removed and offered to students for free because most students now use the Internet to find information that would otherwise be located in those sections.
The plan will require many cosmetic as well as structural renovations, including the installation of new carpet and changes to the electrical system so students can plug in their phones, tablets or other devices they may use to study or read.
Posted: April 26
ICC requires clubs to help at SGA convention
By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor
Walking up the stairs on Monday morning, one might not notice the spiders at first. Turning into the science wing, the flying keys might go way over one’s head. But no one, absolutely no one could ignore the giant man-eating trash-bag spider housed on the third floor.
The strange sights at school during the first week of April were due in part to SGA hosting the Florida Association of Student Council (FASC) convention over the April 1-3 weekend, where ICC required clubs to volunteer to support activities designed for approximately 1,500 students from around the state.
“It was my idea to require the clubs to go because SGA didn’t have enough people,” senior Genae Brown, ICC president and first vice president of SGA, said.
SGA had been preparing for the event all year. One of its main goals this year was to host a successful convention.
“I think the event went well, but it was pretty stressful,” junior Sara Austin, Key Club vice president, said.
JROTC Staff Sgt. George Santiago, senior, focused more on the stress.
“The event was chaotic, mismanaged and there seemed to have been no planning or preparation,” Santiago said.
JROTC company commander Jonathan Levin, junior, emphasized the positive.
“I think it had a good purpose and once it got running it was efficient,” Levin said.
Some club leaders questioned whether ICC should have the power to require clubs to help out at events that have nothing to do with them.
HOSA president, Caitlan Surgeon, senior, pointed to the fact that ICC and SGA leadership are so closely tied together that ICC favors SGA events.
Brown posted on the Edmodo school announcements board the Monday prior to the event about “mandatory volunteering” or else “clubs do not participate” will have “a penalty” for the club.
On this short notice, some were not able to volunteer due to prior commitment, explained Business Professionals of America (BPA) vice president Shruti Agarwal.
Brown said that it really wasn’t short notice.
There was also confusion about how many people from each club had to volunteer, Surgeon claimed.
“I was told one thing when in reality they had said something different,” she said.
Chinese Club president Jonathan Roman said his club has fewer than 10 members, and only a fraction attend regular meetings.
“Smaller clubs were at a disadvantage because it was more likely that their members might have been unavailable,” Roman said.
BROWN said one or two members were okay.
Other volunteers felt the requirement was a good idea, encouraging school unity.
“I think ICC should have the power to require clubs (to help out) if necessary,” Levin said.
SGA Club member Ana Clara Bohrer, junior, agreed.
“I think it’s good (required volunteering) because they (SGA) have more people to help out,” Bohrer said.
Not all agreed that the ends justified the means.
“No, it’s not good. SGA should have done it themselves,” Santiago said.
“There are very few times when ICC requires and threatens clubs as much as when SGA is involved in events,” Roman said. “There was never mandatory participation for an Anime bake sale.”
Brown said she does have the authority to demand clubs’ participation because “it’s written in our Constitution” that the vice president is in charge of all clubs.
Posted: April 19
Juniors to take free SAT
By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor
Broward County Public Schools and some other Florida school districts have provided students the opportunity to take the new SAT for free in school on April 12.
According to Mr. Mumtaz,student assessment coordinator, school officials were notified at the beginning of the year about the test in order to give them enough time to prepare. He believes that this decision was most likely made in order to encourage students to take tests that assist them in getting into colleges.
“I think that this was done so that students don’t have an excuse to not take the test since it’s so convenient to take it during the school day,” Mr. Mumtaz said. “The idea seems to be to promote tests that are acceptable to colleges compared to local or state tests. It makes more sense this way.”
Most opinions about this opportunity seem to be positive.
Junior Brianna Donnelly, one of the students who will be taking the test, thinks that it will be beneficial to all who take it.
“I honestly believe it was a great idea to offer us the chance to take the new test for free,” Donnelly said. “Especially since many students take the SAT more than once and removing the fee of at least one test can be helpful for some students.”
Mr. Mumtaz has a similar opinion on the test.
“I believe that this is good because it allows students to be exposed to the SAT, and since it is free, students have no excuse not to take it,” Mr. Mumtaz said. “I would recommend that every student takes the test.”
The fact that the test is in a familiar environment seems to be a another drawing factor for students, as well as it being free.
“I like that students can experience the test in a less stressful environment,” Donnelly said. “If a student doesn’t do as well as they would like, they’ll at least be familiar with the test before they pay to take it again on their own, which ultimately leads to better scores for the county.”
The test will be administered in classrooms with teachers as proctors and the students in a familiar environment, as if it were a state test, like the Florida State Assessment (FSA).
Mr. Mumtaz had one final message to encourage test takers.
“Did I mention that it was free?”
Posted: April 5
Singer leads debate
By Diana Lopez, Opinion Editor
Junior Matt Singer won in the extemporaneous speaking event at a tournament at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 20. He only had 30 minutes to construct seven-minute speeches (with credible sources) on information concerning world politics and economic issues., yet Matt conquered this challenge right on.
“He’s been patiently building his skills. He didn’t give up after his first loss two and a half years ago,” debate advisor Ms. Petit said. “Being a member [in debate] takes a leadership mentality. It takes a student who doesn’t mind being the initiator, filling in needed gaps.”
This is the third year of the school’s debate program.
Team participates in five of six Catholic Forensic League tournaments that are preliminary; the students must qualify to compete in the sixth tournament.
To prepare for the debates, members find out what the topics are and research all sides to have depth and a vast knowledge of each issue. The team has face-to-face debates at school for practice, as well.
Ms. Petit, who has led the debate team since its start, believes that there are benefits to taking debate.
“It gives [students] a tremendous source of growing confidence. I’ve received feedback from several teachers that participation in debate has helped students improve their reading comprehension and writing analysis skills,” Ms. Petit said.
Posted: April 1
Pompano hosts FASC Convention
The Wizarding World of Leadership comes to Pompano, as this year’s Florida Association of Student Councils Conference will be held at Pompano Beach High School from April 1-3.
Students are welcome and encouraged to help SGA throughout this event and help them prepare for a great conference. Those that volunteer will receive service hours and be able to experience what it would be like to attend Hogwarts.
Posted: March 31
Sunny steps into Sunshine State
By Rebekah Garretson, Centerspread Editor
Twelve teenage students and three adults from Fudan High School in Chongqing, China, visited the school Feb. 1-4. The Chinese visitors shadowed a selected group of students, taking part in their classes and seeing the U.S. high school experience first hand.
Luckily, I was given the opportunity to be a mentor to one of the shadows, Cheng Zi Yao, also known as “Sunny.” As a mentor, my curiosity about Sunny and China was piqued, so here are a few questions I asked Sunny about her experiences in Florida and at our school.
Q: What has been your favorite part about the United States, especially Florida?
Sunny: “I like the people because they are very friendly and easygoing. I enjoy the environment as well, like the sky, because it is very beautiful and clean. There are so many clubs at your school that I find so intriguing. Even the people have so many ideas, as well as are zealous and open.”
Q: How do you like the environment outside of our school? Do you like the movie theatres, restaurants and food we have both inside and outside of school?
Sunny: “I think there is more things we can do outside the school here. For example, we went to play golf on Tuesday. It was my first time playing golf, but was different because in our school we cannot do these things such as play golf. I also like the restaurants, although it’s more Americanized food. The food is very different from our food, because there is more variety whereas in China it is boring because we eat the same things, but I think the pizza and pie are very good. The only thing I do not like as much is your school rice!”
Q: How do our teachers differ from yours? Do you like our teachers?
Sunny: “I like your teachers because they are very humorous and accommodating to the students. They give students the chance to think about questions by themselves, which is great. I like how they also make students like their friends and give them the right to do what they want. Our teachers in China are patient but always very strict to us, mostly because everything in our school is dependent on us. Also, our teachers come to our classroom, whereas your teachers stay in a classroom and the students have to move from class to class.”
Q: Does your school have social events, like dances, that students can participate in together?
Sunny: “No, at our school in China we do not have any dances. Students, however, participate in an exercise morning routine together at 10:38 a.m. during school hours. At this exercise routine, students learn how to kick box in unison.”
Q: In China, your school hours are different from ours. How does your daily school schedule work in comparison to ours?
Sunny: “Yes, our school begins at 7:00 in the morning and goes until 12:00 in the afternoon. We then have a break, before we have to return to our school at 6:00 in the afternoon until 10:00 at night. In your school, teachers allow you to go to the bathroom during class, but our teachers do not. There is a 40 minute break given to us, where we can go to the bathroom and relax before more classes begin.”
Q: What type of classes do you study? How did you decide what you wanted to study?
Sunny: “I study in the art school, which is different than some of the other kids in my school. We are allowed to study in the math, science, or art school. I choose art school, where I take classes such as Geography, History, and Politics. All these classes I hope will help me to become an accountant. For fun, I even designed a shirt for my class at the art school!”
Posted: March 15
College fair has huge turnout
By Joao DeMoura, Asst. Graphic Design Editor
Sixty-five colleges set up tables at this year’s college fair on Feb. 17 for students and parents to find out more information about their potential future universities.
According to the BRACE advisor, Ms. McFadden, the fair had a huge turnout. “It was one of the best I’ve encountered,” Ms. McFadden said.
Students that attended the fair came with a purpose. For most of them, the fair provided the opportunity to find a college that interested them. With a variety of colleges from different states, students were able to get a great list of options.
“The fair helped me realize the amount of opportunities I can have for my future and that gives me a lot of motivation,” Jonathan Levin, junior, said.
This year’s fair was more focused on academics. Many students that came to the fair were interested in which schools accepted certain SAT and ACT scores, and whether their grades were good enough for their dream schools. Although for some colleges grades aren’t everything.
“The biggest advice I can give to juniors and seniors would be to apply early and engage with us so we know you’re interested,” Stephanie Hospodar, the Florida representative for the University of Tennessee, said.
Representatives from each college attended to help the students learn more about their respective schools.
“Being able to actually talk to someone about the college I’m interested in was useful and better than looking online,” Junior Katie Maleta said.
Posted: March 1
Club fair held in cafeteria
Students honor Black History Month
Posted: Feb. 18.
Chinese students visit school, learn U.S.culture
By Millena Rodrigues, News Editor
One principal, two teachers, and 12 Chinese students came to Pompano Beach High School from Feb. 1-4 thanks to the Confucius Institute in China that promotes the exchange of cultures.
“Through this program, Mr. Thomas went to China and visited Chongqing Fudan Secondary School,” Ms. Narus, assistant principal, said. “He was able to make a partnership, and now they’re inviting our students to visit them too.”
The visitors hoped to take back some of the U.S. culture they learned to their school.
“Mixing cultures leads to better education,” Flora, the English teacher from China, said.
The group stayed at the school for five days, and their schedule included touring the campus, attending a club fair and going on an airboat ride. Throughout the week, they visited classrooms to see what U.S. schools are like.
Some classrooms prepared presentations in advance for the visitors.
“The students prepared presentations for them, and five students are reciting classic Chinese poems for them,” Chinese teacher Ms. Zheng said.
The Chinese students also shadowed U.S. students, and some teachers hosted the visitors. AP Psychology teacher, Mr. Strachan, hosted two Chinese students, Claire and Caroline.
“We wanted to get an experience with different cultures,” Mr. Strachan said. “My kids were very excited.”
The Chinese students held a performance on Feb. 4 for their hosts, shadows and select classes in order to promote their culture and to welcome students to come visit them in China.
Posted: Feb. 11
SGA Honor Flight fundraiser soars
By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor
SGA has raised funds for Honor Flight, an organization dedicated to giving veterans who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
“I’m glad SGA is a part of this event because it’s a great organization, and the veterans are truly appreciative of it,” senior Ally McDermott, SGA President, said.
Honor Flight is focused on World War II veterans, who are a dying breed. SGA’s fundraiser took place on Jan. 28. Students were asked to donate cash during their seventh period class. Altogether, the school raised $842 according to McDermott.
The goal for the school was to collect $900, but the fundraiser was such a success, that Honor Flight agreed to cover the difference so that two World War II veterans would be able to make the trip.
“I’m very happy with the Dash for Cash for Honor Flight because we met our goal to raise enough money to send two veterans,” Ms. Gould, SGA advisor, said. A big part of the experience of Honor Flight is the Welcome Home Arrival, where the veterans get the warm greeting they deserve. Two SGA delegates will be present on April 2 for the culmination of the event.
Posted: Feb. 4
Relay for Life set for April 9
By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor
The American Cancer Society organizes an annual nationwide event called Relay for Life to raise money and awareness for cancer research. This overnight event focuses on the perseverance of those affected by cancer and the celebration of hope.
Open to anyone who would like to participate, the event is a team effort. The goal is to keep at least one team member walking at all times, even through the night.
The event will include a Survivor’s Victory Lap, Candlelight/Luminara and ceremony. Music, entertainment, food and more will be available throughout the night.
This year’s event is being held on April 9 at Pompano Community Park, just a block away from the school. The Key Club will have its own team, while other students and staff will be part of a Pompano Beach High team.
Anyone who would like to join must form or join a team and start raising money. Although the team leader meeting has passed, it’s not too late to join.
For more information regarding the event visit http://www.relayforlife.com
Posted: Jan. 26
A/B Block schedule approved for ’16-’17
By Millena Rodrigues, News Editor
A four-by-four A/B schedule for the next school year was approved on Nov. 4 by 94 percent of the faculty.
The major changes include four periods a day, classes of an hour and 45 minutes, a personalization period in which students can study and complete tasks that normally take away from class time, a longer lunch and a shorter school day.
The first bell will be at 7 a.m. and the last bell at 3 p.m.
This schedule was suggested last year at a summit of high school teachers held by the Superintendent Robert Runcie, in order to see what high schools were struggling with the most. The greatest concern seemed to be the lack of planning time, which is one of the main advantages the A/B schedule offers.
“I think it’s a teacher- and student-friendly schedule,” Ms. Narus, assistant principal, said. “It gives teachers more time to go in depth with their concepts and apply the knowledge. Teachers will have more planning time and students can have a study hall period.”
In the 2010-2011 school year, students experienced a similar schedule. Students took four classes in the first semester and four different classes in the last semester.
“My brother graduated last year and he liked the schedule he had during his freshman year. He felt like he didn’t have as much work to do,” junior Carrie Drake said.
Many students are confused as to whether they like the block schedule. “I feel like it has its advantages and disadvantages,” sophomore Alex Skirvin said. “It’s good that we get a study hall, so I can do my homework, but it might get boring sitting in a classroom for more than usual.”
Student athletes are also optimistic about this change. “I won’t have so much homework every night, so I’ll have more time to practice baseball,” freshman Davis Major said.
Posted: Dec. 14
Harvest Drive feeds families, students get involved
By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor
Schools all over Broward County are taking part in the Harvest Drive, a nonprofit organization specialized in helping people in need by supplying a Thanksgiving meal and week’s worth of groceries during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Our school helped with collecting and distributing the food to the families in need. All of the clubs were requested to bring peanut butter and jelly, while SGA and JROTC brought pancake mix and syrup.
“Schools are assigned different items so that the goals for each item are reached,” Ms. Narus, assistant principal, said.
Families that benefit from the Harvest Drive have to be invited by the organization through the student’s school counselor to attend the distribution.
On Nov. 18, all the food was distributed to 250 families in need with the help of the student volunteers. Many students got involved in the sorting and distribution processes, including those in JROTC, SGA, the HOPE classes.
“Helping out at the Harvest Drive made me appreciate the people that organize these events, because I know it’s not easy,” junior Maya Allen said. “Especially working with people and coordinating who brings what. It was a great success [because] many people were fed and kids had an opportunity to give back to their community.”
According to Ms. Narus, all of the goals for all the items were reached.
Posted: Dec. 8
New security specialist joins staff
By Kyle Kennon, Asst. Sports Editor
Mr. McLemore, security specialist, has replaced the retired Mr. Stephens as security specialist, transferring from Northeast High School.
“The culture of (this) school is amazing,” Mr. McLemore said. “All the adults are very helpful, polite and welcoming.”
Mr. McLemore has 15 years of experience as a security specialist dealing with children from multiple backgrounds. He is also an expert in conflict mediation.
He plans to “make sure Pompano remains as safe and secure as possible, so students can relax and enjoy the full high school experience.”
Mr. McLemore also goes by the name Mr. Mac.
“So far I enjoy the school,” Mr. McLemore said. “I’m having a wonderful time with the staff and students.”
Posted: Dec. 1
Strachan provides opportunities for the gifted
By Reese McFarlane, Photo Editor
Three years ago Mr. Strachan, The AP psychology teacher, attended a gifted symposium where educators from across Broward County gathered to set goals and talk about new ideas on how to reach gifted students’ potential.
Mr. Strachan decided to actually start something.
“As a father and as an educator, I saw a need for my son: to keep him entertained over summer (in a way) that would also be affordable,” Mr. Strachan said.
This small idea snowballed into the PBHS Young Scholar’s Academy. This two-week long summer camp, is based off three pillars: making sure the kids are having fun, ensuring that the kids are engaging in something new and challenging everyday and having an economically affordable camp.
The camp focuses heavily on humanities such as art, music, and theatre. It allows the kids to slow down and be patient. For example, this past summer, the camp offered a new yoga class which allowed the kids to express themselves and breathe in the midst of their educational and fun day.
In only a few years, Young Scholar’s Academy has grown from an idea to a camp with 110 campers and over 100 hopefuls on the waiting list.
Due to its popularity, parents requested that the camp be year-round, leading to Friday enrichment seminars.
One Friday of every month during the school year, 100 kids come here to learn a wide variety of skills including coding, cooking, leadership and economics.
Since the summer camp and Friday enrichment seminars are for elementary and middle school students, Mr. Strachan wanted to extend further. He thought “What can we do for high school kids?”
That’s when Think Tank was started a year ago. It has 22 members that differ greatly from each other. From a student with a 5.0 GPA to a student with a 2.5 GPA but a 145 IQ, each member has something great to offer.
“Think of it as the show ‘Shark Tank,'” Mr. Strachan said.”Matt Inskeep, from Baccus Global, comes in, and he shows off a few of his products and then our students think of new ideas and concepts for them or for new products.”
Since high school students will soon go off to college and their careers, this new way of thinking is perfect because it allows them to think entrepreneurially and with a business mindset, as well as give them a sneak peek of life after school.
As for the future, Mr. Strachan would like to see Pompano Beach High transform into Pompano Beach Institute for the Gifted.
Posted: Nov. 18
Midterms to be given before winter break, end of marking period afterwards
By Millena Rodrigues, News Editor
Miscommunication between the district and teachers led students to believe that they would be taking their semester exams right after winter break. This was controversial among students since many of them aren’t home and are unable to study.
“I usually go visit family in Tennessee for the holidays, so I wouldn’t have time to study,” junior Brianna Donnelly said.
Only recently did teachers realize that the district revised the testing schedule. This meant that midterms will be taken a week before winter break and grades will close a week after the students return. According to Mrs. Carlson, Broward County switched the dates because students would be stressed out about taking the test instead of enjoying the break.
Some students are happy with this decision because “it gets the testing done before the break so we can enjoy our time off rather than worry about a test when we come back,” junior Sebastian Aguilar said.
Most students would rather study for the midterm during the school week since teachers are regularly testing them to see if they comprehend the material, so when the weekend before the break comes, they can just review what they had trouble understanding.
“I don’t want to come back from a good break and take a test that’s worth a huge part of my grade,” sophomore Ayleen Mendoza said.
Senior Johnathan Riedel, however, wanted to take exams after the break. “Now there’s no time to study and we have to cram our studying on a weekend that will probably be filled with homework for all the classes,” Riedel said.
Midterm exams will start on Dec. 14. Winter break starts Dec. 21 and students will return on Jan. 4.
Posted: Nov. 17
ASVAB test to be administered Nov. 12
By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) will be administered on Nov. 12 at school to all students who signed up to take it..
All JROTC students are required take the test.
The ASVAB is a three-hour multiple choice aptitude test that is usually used in order to determine a person’s qualification for enlistment in the military. However, according to Mrs. McFadden, BRACE Advisor, it acts as more of an aptitude test for students.
Students, especially juniors and seniors, who are undecided on their future careers are encouraged to take the ASVAB in order to “give (them) an idea of what they could be interested in as a possible future career,” Mrs. McFadden said.
Anyone that is not in JROTC and wants to take the ASVAB must sign up with Mrs. McFadden by Nov. 10.
Posted: Nov. 10
4×4 A/B schedule gets positive reviews
By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor
Assistant Principal Mrs. Carlson hosted a meeting for students, parents, staff members and any interested community members on Oct. 29 to discuss the new schedule possibilities for the 2016-17 school year.
Mrs. Carlson explained that the high school schedule contract, agreed upon between the district and the teacher’s union, now allows the faculty to vote on what schedule the school will have. First, the faculty had to vote during the planning day on Oct. 23 on whether it wanted to explore new schedules for the next school year. Fifty out of 57 teachers voted to explore new schedule options.
“Teachers have said that they need more time to plan, and that’s why many want to consider changing schedules,” Mrs. Carlson said.
The district currently offers six schedules to each school.
The schedule options are as follows: the seven-period schedule, the rotator-seven schedule, the straight eight-period schedule, the modified A/B block schedule, the hybrid schedule and the new option, the four-by-four A/B schedule.
The straight-seven schedule, implemented in 27 schools in the district, including here, gives students seven 50-minute classes in five-day week, 62-minute classes in a four-day week. In this schedule, teachers teach six of the seven periods.
In the four-by-four A/B schedule, students would have four block periods of 105 minutes each on both A days and B days.
Students will also have a “personalization period,” called “Study Hall” on schedules where students can do homework or take care of anything that they need to in guidance or with other teachers. Because there would be fewer periods, the school day would be shortened,ending at 3 p.m. instead of 3:15 p.m. Lunch would also be 35 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
According to Mrs. Carlson, only the straight-seven schedule and the four by four A/B schedules will likely be options for next year. According to Mrs. Carlson, many teachers seem to like the four by four A/B schedule a lot.
After this meeting, Principal Thomas discussed at the Nov. 2 Student Advisory Council (SAC)the points discussed at the Oct. 29 meeting. He advised the SAC that staff would prefer the four-by-four A/B schedule. .
Principal Thomas will bring this schedule to the staff at a meeting on Nov. 4. In order to implement a new schedule next year, 80 percent of the staff must vote, and of those voting, , two-thirds (66⅔ percent) of the tallied votes must be for a new option to be implemented. Otherwise, the schedule will remain the same.
The attendees of the schedule meeting discussed the benefits and liabilities of the four-by -our A/B schedule. Some concerns, like the need to hire extra teachers, were brought up at the meeting. However, there were far more benefits expressed by attendees.
“With the new schedule, students will be able to delve into the subject matter much more and become more excited about the material,” Susan Koretski, mother of junior Jason Kuretski, said.
The personalization period seemed to be very popular with parents.
“I think that personalization hour would help with doing after school activities and still getting good grades,” Christine Lorber, mother of freshman Gracie Lorber, said. “That extra block would really help.”
Some students also think that the four by four A/B schedule will be beneficial.
“Since (students) would have classes every other day, there would be much more time to do homework,” junior Olivia Stack said. “We will be able to have the freedom to postpone homework due to extracurriculars.”
Posted: Nov. 3
FSA scores to be released
By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor
During the 2014-2015 school year, the Florida Standards Assessment replaced the FCAT as the standardized test required by state law. Although this test was taken last year, most of the scores have not yet been released to the students or the schools, which has caused controversy and angered both parents and students.
“I am really annoyed, anxious, and frustrated that the FSA scores aren’t out yet,” junior Christina Camastra said. “I am really nervous to see how I did and the wait is killing me. I am also scared to see my scores because I don’t want to get a bad grade.”
All students in third grade through 10th grade took the exam last year in English language arts (ELA).
In May 2015 the Orlando Sentinel said that FSA scores would most likely be released on Sept. 1, but this date has come and gone, and scores still have not been reported.
Those who took the 10th grade FSA-ELA have either a “P” or an “F” on their Virtual Counselor for this test. “P” means that the student passed and “F” means that the student failed. They also have a percentile score that tells students how they did in comparison with everyone else in the state. According to Mrs. Carlson, 92 percent of last year’s 10th graders here passed it. The grade 10 scores were the second best in the county.
Similarly, students who took the Algebra 1 FSA have a “P” or “F” as well as the percentile on their Virtual Counselor. According to Mrs. Carlson, 94 percent of PBHS students who took the FSA passed, a big difference from the state average of 59.4 percent. These scores were the third best in the county.
Mrs. Carlson said the school has not received any results besides the percentile scores and the “P” or “F” that Algebra 1 and 10th-grade ELA students received. However, she does know why the scores are being held up.
“Over the summer the tests were checked and determined to be okay to grade,” Mrs. Carlson said. “Then the state looked at the scores from last year’s FCATs and had the same percent of students pass in the state as last year, just so that they could give a small indication to the schools and students.”
The state is determining what scores will earn each of the five levels scores must have. The Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart, forwarded her recommendations to the legislature on Sept. 28, based on committees of educators and community leaders.
However, the legislature has 90 days to approve the recommendations, meaning the final scores might not be available until January.
After the scores are determined, some students who were originally considered passing may fail, and some students who were originally considered failing may pass because the calculations will have been done differently.
Mrs. Carlson believes that there is an evident reason why more students passed here than at most other schools in the county and state.
“Students must have passing scores to come to Pompano, so it makes sense that they would do so well,” she said. “However, the percent of 10th graders here who passed the FSA last year was higher than the percent that passed the FCAT in previous years.”
The switch from the paper-based FCAT to the computer-based FSA also led to several issues. However, Mr. Mumtaz, student assessment coordinator, said there were much fewer issues here than at other schools.
“For the most part, the transition to FSA went smoothly even though there were some technology issues in the entire state,” he said. “However, because of Pompano’s updated technological equipment and professional staff, we have overcome obstacles much better.”
Mr. Mumtaz credits one person for the smooth transition.
“Thanks to Mr. Thomas for spending money on technology that other schools don’t,” he said.
Mrs. Carlson and other staff are working on making students learn more effectively and efficiently, but getting the FSA scores back would make this much easier.
“It is hard to know what to change without test results, but we are using assessments that happen throughout the year to help us figure out how to best help the students,” Mrs. Carlson said.
The BAT (Basic Abilities Test) and BAFS (Broward Assessment of the Florida Standards) tests that were previously taken will be replaced with the BSA (Broward Standards Assessment) soon, as well.
The FSA retake tests and FCAT 2.0 retakes for seniors who have not passed will be Oct. 12-23 and March 28- April 8 for the 10th grade FSA-ELA test. Algebra and geometry EOC retakes started Sept. 14-25 and will be given again Nov. 30- Dec. 18.
This year’s FSA ELA tests for ninth and 10th graders will be Feb. 29- March 11 (writing) and April 11- May 6 (reading, listening and language). The math, biology and history EOCs will be between April 18 and May 13.
Posted: Oct. 23
Pompano fights discrimination with pride
By Millena Rodrigues, News Editor
Candidates for the next presidential election have gained in the polls directly after making controversial statements about immigration.
On June 16, Donald Trump announced that he would be running for president in the 2016 election. At the beginning of his speech, he convinced supporters that he’d be a good candidate by saying he wouldn’t need anyone’s money to fund his campaign, but one remark offended many people.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Trump has not only offended Hispanics, but other immigrants as well.
The problem is “It’s coming from more than Mexico,” Trump said during his announcement..” It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East.,” said Trump.
Several students have experienced demeaning at school due to their cultural background.
The treatment was so insulting that no students would allow their names to be used for this article, in fear of reprisal.
“Last year, in one of my classes I didn’t understand something that the teacher was explaining so I asked a question and the teacher explained it to me but I still didn’t really get it,” said a Latino student. “So then this boy yells ‘Maybe if you explained it in Spanish the immigrant could understand you.’”
Trump’s detractors claim his remarks have encouraged a backlash against Latinos and Muslims.
Last month, a Muslim student in Irving, Texas, named Ahmed Mohamed was accused of bringing a bomb to his high school, when it was actually a clock he made for his engineering class.
A senior student who does not want to be named argued the assumption was made because of his religion, and that if school officials really thought it was a bomb, then the principal should have evacuated the school.
“People who make that kind of assumptions are just plain racist and stubborn, and the teacher who discriminated (against) him should have never been hired,” the senior said.
Students who make stereotypes don’t realize how offensive they are and that they may not be true.
“Not too long ago a classmate of mine asked me, out of all the students in the classroom, if he could copy my calculus homework,” said an Asian student.
“I am not a criminal,” said a senior Latino student. “I am an average teenager with the same hopes and aspirations of people my age.”
Not all students take stereotypes seriously if it’s made into a joke, especially if the joke is made by one of their friends.
“I don’t get offended, but if it were to be said to someone else, I can see why they’d take it offensively,” a junior said.
Other students don’t let the negative comments upset them.
“(I) feel bad for the people who are racist,” a junior said. “I love my country and I love my culture.”
Posted: Oct. 23
Williams takes over magnet
By Diana Lopez, Opinion Editor
Mr. Jeff Williams, a social studies teacher at school for 16 years, has replaced the retired Mr. William Bankowski as magnet coordinator. His original starting date was supposed to be Oct. 5 but due to unexpected events it was moved back a week prior.
As the new magnet coordinator, Mr. Williams believes one of the most important things he will be doing is to support both present and future students.
“I would like to increase awareness of school and our activities with all stakeholders including parents, students, community members and business partners,” he said.
Mr. Williams will take part in the magnet open house in January, a district signature event where all magnet programs will be showcased. Also, he will visit all middle schools north of Sunrise Blvd. and give presentations to eighth graders about the school.
The magnet coordinator also arranges for prospective students to shadow current students and gives tours to prospective students and their parents.
“I am going to enjoy marketing the school because I love Pompano Beach High School and being able to tell people how wonderful it is and sell them (that) to come here will be great,” Mr. Williams said.
One challenge Mr. Williams is facing is learning all of the requirements of a magnet coordinator.
“There are forms I have to fill out; there are procedures that I have to follow and do not know yet, so the rest of this year is going to be a learning process for me,” Mr. Williams said.
Mr. Williams is excited to take part in his new job but he will also miss teaching.
“That is the hardest part to take in this job… getting out of the classroom,” he said. “I thrive on that everyday interaction with my students; I’m really going to miss them. Fortunately, I still get to work with some new amazing kids”.
Still, Mr. Williams is enjoying his new office downstairs surrounded by “excellent people” supporting his transition.
“This will be a perfect job for me,” Mr. Williams said.
Posted: Oct. 23
B-money says bye: Magnet coordinator retires
By Diana Lopez, Opinion Editor
Mr. Bankowski, the Magnet Coordinator, announced his decision early this school year to retire after 15 years of working here.
His decision was motivated primarily by his family. “My wife and I decided mid-summer that it was just too far to drive to see our grandkids in Winter Springs, so we decided to move closer to them,” Mr. Bankowski said.
The student population grew immensely during Mr. Bankowski’s tenure, from about 200 students to the current approximately 1,200, with a waiting list of 600.
“He has a very important job,” Principal Thomas said. “Bringing the students in is the core of what he does. He had to show people how good Pompano is for them to be convinced to come here. So I think those are incredibly important things that he has contributed to our school.”
Other staff members also said that Mr. Bankowski was an important addition to the school’s success.
“Mr. Bankowski was an excellent magnet coordinator,” Mr. Williams, the successor to Mr. Bankowski, said. “He helped put us on the map in the county, in the state and across the country. He has worked tirelessly to help Pompano Beach High School become the type of school we are.”
Mr. Bankowski said the people at the school have impacted him as well.
“What I’ll miss the most about PBHS is the students and staff,” Mr. Bankowski said. “It’s especially rewarding to see how you’ve helped shape someone’s life for the better.”
Even though staff members are sad to see Mr. Bankowski leave, they are also happy for him.
“I want to congratulate him on his retirement; it’s well deserved,” Mr. Thomas said. “I thank him for having been part of our school and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Mr. Bankowski leaves many connections with students and coworkers.
“He has great communication skills and especially with students. He has a good rapport with them,” Mr. Thomas said.
Mr. Williams, who followed Mr. Bankowski as tennis coach before following him as magnet coordinator, saw first-hand this rapport.
“He coached girls tennis for many years here, and they were very close with him,” Mr. Williams said. “They called him B-Money, and when students give you a nickname you know something pretty special is going on there.”
Posted: Oct. 23
Post-Hoco assembly teaches about choices, consequences
By Mia Marquez, Business Manager
Administration held an assembly for all grades on Oct. 8 to stress the types of choices we are forced to make now as younger adults and the consequences they can cause.
Mr. King, assistant principal, primarily talked about racism. He lived in the projects and attended a predominantly white Catholic school, where he was harassed for being allowed to have facial hair.
“I took a stand, a big stand,” Mr. King said. “One action changed the attitude of the entire school.”
Mrs. Fish, school counselor, talked about her husband who was killed during a morning bike ride when he was hit by a drunk driver, who thought he was “okay to drive.”
Because of this tragedy, Mrs. Fish became an advocate for promoting good decision making among students. She hoped that the assembly made each student think about what he does every day and accept the reality of the world right now.
Posted: Oct. 23
Tornadoes take on China
By Jonathan Roman, Assistant Websites Editor
Jonathan Roman, Isaiah Garretson and Race Walker, alongside 14 other Broward County students, traveled to China over the summer in the Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for high school students.
According to Roman, the students had to “endure a 17-hour flight, packed in seats that sardines would not feel comfortable being in.”
While in China, they visited Tiananmen Square Museum and the Great Wall of China, know significantly for their historical and cultural asset to China. The students visited the capital, Beijing, and enjoyed the experience of taking a bullet train that traveled a speed of around 190 miles per hour, to Jiangyin.
While in Jiangyin, the students were given the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chinese culture and traditions. They painted renowned Chinese calligraphy, learned both Tai Chi and martial arts, as well as made dumplings.
Isaiah Garretson, senior, spoke of how the trip changed his perspective of the Chinese government compared to the United States’ government.“I found Chinese people are more reserved in regards to politics and place more trust in their leader’s ability,” Garretson said.
Bob McKinney, Advanced Studies Coordinator for Broward County Public Schools said, “This is an incredible opportunity for these high school students to learn firsthand Chinese culture. It will help prepare them for success in the 21st century.”
Next summer, the school will be given the opportunity to bring even more students onto this trip. The only requirement is that one must take Chinese.
Race Walker, junior, raved over the idea of partaking in the Chinese lifestyle. “This trip really opened my eyes to new experiences and lifestyles that I would have never imagined being part of. I would definitely do it again,” Walker said.
Posted: Sept. 28
Edmodo becomes home for announcements
By Millena Rodrigues, News Editor
Prior to the beginning of summer, Principal Thomas and Assistant Principal Narus decided to stop the morning and afternoon announcements. On the first day of school, students were given information from their teachers about how to sign up to a specific group on Edmodo for daily announcements.
“It would take 3-4 minutes away from class time and now it takes 15 seconds to post on Edmodo,” Mr. Thomas said.
Often, students would approach Ms. Narus with questions about what was said on the the announcements. “When I asked if they listened to the morning announcements, they said no,” Ms. Narus said.
Mr. Thomas agrees with Ms. Narus, finding that “either students weren’t paying attention to the announcements or couldn’t remember all the information.”
Sophomore Jason Sell prefers to read the announcements instead of listening to them. “It’s more organized when it’s on my phone,” Sell said.
Other students find the Edmodo announcements difficult to keep up with.
“Students tend to only join Edmodo to find out what their homework is for a class. Joining a group to find out one thing just doesn’t make sense,”senior Carina Sevilla said.
The group, PBHS Golden Tornadoes, currently has over 900 members.
Posted: Sept. 24
Freshman take first look at school, make new friends at orientation
By Sydney Van Dreason, Editor-in-Chief
Nervous ninth graders tend to scuttle through the hallways and need some help the first week or two. Luckily for the Class of 2019, SGA made the transition into high school a little bit less painful.
SGA planned out and directed the freshman orientation on Aug 19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event was safari-themed, so the freshmen were divided into different animal-named groups that were organized according to first period teachers.
“The purpose of this event is to provide a smooth transition into PBHS for our new students,” Mrs. Carlson, assistant principal, said. “The change from middle school to high school can be challenging, so we want to offer as many resources as possible to help our students adjust.”
The day was filled with games and group activities, including a school-wide tour, a chance to design the freshmen t-shirt and a club fair at lunch.
The freshmen started out playing ice breaker games in the auditorium with Assistant Principal Narus before they were shown a performance by the color guard and a fashion show pertaining to the do’s and don’ts of the dress code.
From there, the freshmen were whisked off to their first periods, where they played more games, before starting their tour of the school.
At lunch the freshmen were given the opportunity to walk around the courtyard and talk to a representative of each club.
“I got a lot of new people to sign up,” senior Cailtan Surgeon, president of Health Occupation Students of America and Future Health Professionals (HOSA) said. “A lot of freshmen seemed really interested in the clubs.”
“Over 20 kids put down their information,” junior Stephanie Freeborn, co-president of Thespians, said. “Most of the freshmen seemed generally interested. Overall, the freshmen I talked to sounded excited for the new year.”
The upperclassmen in the clubs weren’t the only ones satisfied with the outcome of freshman orientation.
“The Class of 2019 is full of potential,” Mrs. Carlson said.
Not only were the incoming freshmen active about signing up for clubs and making friends at orientation, but they are also successful in the classroom.
“The data show they have a solid academic foundation,” Mrs. Carlson said. “I look forward to watching them build on that foundation as they balance the academic rigor of PBHS with the exploration of new curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular opportunities.”
While freshmen orientation helped introduce the new ninth-graders to the school, it didn’t dispel all the nervous energy.
“Some of (the freshmen) even looked stressed out already,” Freeborn said.
“I’m pretty nervous because I’m a freshman and everything is so new, but I’m looking forward to a good high school experience,” freshman Francesca Reyes said.
Posted: Sept. 24
Checking in, checking out
Posted: May 29
Malaczewski chosen for tech leaders conference
Junior Jazmin Malaczewski has been nominated to attend the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Boston on June 28-30.
The conference is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.
Malaczewski was nominated by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, to represent her school based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology.
During the three-day conference, Malaczewski will join students from across the country and hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science Winners talk about leading scientific research; be given advice from deans of the world’s top tech universities; be inspired by fellow teen science prodigies; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology.
“This is a crucial time in America when we need more nimble-minded and creative scientists and technologists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, Executive Director, National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. “Focused, bright and determined students like Jazmin Malaczewski are our future and she deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give her.”
To help fund the trip, Malaczewski has started a Gofundme account at gofundme.com/jazminmalaczewski.
“I am determined to attend college and graduate with my master’s degree in engineering,” Malaczewski wrote in her fundraising letter. “As for the rest of my life, I plan on using the advancing technology to make my mark on the world and contribute to the always growing scientific community.”
The Academy offers free services and programs to students who have the desire to learn more about their future in science or technology. Some of the services and programs the Academy offers include online social networks through which these future scientists and technologists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by tech and science leaders; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance and much more.
The Academy was founded on the belief that STEM education plays a critical role in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century and that we must identify prospective talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of vital careers. Based in Washington, DC and with an office in Boston, MA, the Academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to advances in society as scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.
Posted: May 18, 2015
Educators interviewed at international summit capstone
By Kayla Sanders, Asst. Student Life Editor
The International Summit concluded with the Capstone Event in the auditorium on Dec. 11, where guests answers questions from staff and students.
This year’s guests included Maya Menon (India), Tiago de Oliveira Dias (Brazil), Aurélie Le Mélinaidre (France), Jerzy Waligóra and Anna Krzeminska-Kaczynska (Poland), and former international exchange teacher Mr. Garcia who was interviewed via Skype from Barcelona.
In addition to this year’s international guests, numerous visitors from the school board spoke, including District 7 member Nora Rupert.
Mr. Dias, Principal of the Pedro II State School located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, was grateful to be part of this year’s summit.
“It has been a great experience,” Mr. Dias said. “Magic happens here. I come from a small school of about 600 students. We had a lot of problems (drugs, violence) 10-20 years ago, and my school was the worst in the city. The school was almost destroyed. We later reopened in 2010 as a ‘Project School’ and have been piloting innovations. In 2012-2013, we were the number one school in Brazil,” Mr. Dias said.”We are number one because we love what we do.”
Ms. Le Mélinaidre, from Plaudren, France, is teaching at Pompano Beach Elementary this year as part of a similar international exchange program that Mr. Cledet and Mr. Garcia participated in last year. Mr. Garcia, who is now in Barcelona, was excited to see many familiar faces at the Capstone Event via Skype.
“I found many similarities in your school system, but I was surprised by the way you evaluate the students,” Mr. Garcia said. “I was always grading, grading, grading (while teaching in the United States). The students forget the most important parts that they will remember all their lives,” he said.
Such exchange programs and the summit itself greatly enrich schools and communities alike. “The International Summit helps us be prepared for 21st century global community.” Dr. Shipe said.
Ms. Menon, professional development teacher and founder/director of The Teacher Foundation in Bangalore, India worked with Dr. Shipe to teach his students about Indian culture and curriculum. Students viewed clips of the film “Bride and Prejudice,” a remake of the classic story by Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice,” which the students had been studying.
“It has been a pleasure and I have learned a lot as an educator,” Ms. Menon said. “A lot of the experiences have helped me understand the American education system. The school leadership – county, teachers, students, everyone – works together and I think that’s beautiful.”
Ms. Menon also spoke about the differences in resources and supplies that she had seen in the U.S versus back in India. “Some of our best schools don’t have the resources that you do here,” she said.
Ms. Menon and the other international educators seemed very grateful for this wonderful opportunity. It is events like this that bring the world closer together. “Young people are the hope of the world,” Ms. Menon said. “I am very happy to be a part of that.”
Ms. Kaczynska, International Baccalaureate Teacher of Geography and Development Manager at VIII Prywatne Akademickie Liceum Ogólnokształące, a private high school in Krakow, also saw many differences in U. S. education and students. She brought 12 students from her school so they could build their global awareness.
“In Poland, school is not so much about working within the community,” she said. “Schools working together is something we should implement in Poland.”
Ms. Kaczynska said, “American students are very independent. It’s not the teacher who should always be the educator. Teachers should guide students but also have them on display.”
Ms. Kaczynska had the opportunity to conduct a geography workshop in India where she met Ms. Julia Perlowski, former drama teacher at PBHS. This connection made it possible for Ms. Kaczynska to visit.
“I have been given a great opportunity,” Ms. Kaczynska said. “It is important to learn about different cultures, traditions, and how to pass them to next generations.”
Ms. Perlowski came to the Capstone Event, visiting from her new position in Lawrence, Mass. “All you need to make anything happen is one relationship,” she advised students. “Then follow through and do things with those people.”
Dr. Waligóra, headmaster at the school in Krakow, agreed that there are some notable differences between students and the education systems in Poland and the United States.
“American students are open minded and have good manners compared to where I work,” Dr. Waligóra said. “What I would like to take back with me to Poland is the relationships between principal, assistant principal, and students. In Poland, we do not have these relationships and I would like to change this.”
Dr. Waligóra also noted the differences in mandatory testing in the U.S. “There are too many tests here,” he said. “Testing kills creativity.”
As the International Summit Capstone Event drew to a close, the international flags that flew above the school all week were presented to the teacher of each country they represented.
Overall, the 2014 International Summit Event was a time of learning, idea exchanges, and the celebration of different cultures.
“It is important to learn new methods of teaching and share ideas,” Dr. Waligóra said. “I will take what I learned back home with me.”
Advisory council discusses ’15-’16 schedule
By Sydney Van Dreason, Managing Editor and Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor
The School Advisory Council (SAC) held an open meeting on Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the media center to discuss the four-day instructional schedule, early release days, attendance policy and professional study days.
The meeting was led by Mr. Cledet, world languages teacher and SAC chair.
Each year SAC must approve a waiver to continue the school’s unique Monday through Thursday schedule.
Many parents had positive opinions about the four-day instructional schedule. Erin Ryan, also a teacher at McNab Elementary, said that her school is “one that benefits” from the current schedule. She likes seeing PBHS students come volunteer at McNab, and she says that her students benefit too.
“We want these star-students to have the opportunity to interact and show what they’ve learned,” said Mr. Cledet. “It’s great to go out and see the kids take charge.”
Another waiver that SAC needs to approve annually is the attendance policy. The current attendance policy for the school reads that the first four absences during each nine weeks are unexcused unless a form is turned in to the school within two days of the absence. All further absences are unexcused unless they are appealed to the school’s attendance committee.
Addressing concerns about the appeal process, Ms. Narus, assistant principal, said that attaching a doctor’s note to the form will usually suffice since “no one can argue with a doctor’s note.”
SAC also annually reviews the school’s waiver from district early release days. According to the district schedule, students are to be released two hours early during six days of the year. However, because of PBHS’ four-day schedule, “Pompano does not want to participate” in the current early release schedule, Mr. Cledet said.
Professional Study Days (PSDs) for the school were also classified as two early release days where the district provides an extra three hours for educational reform. This may change since last year was the last year of the FCAT.
PSDs for the 2015-16 school year are to be determined later, mostly because the school does not know exactly how many days the teachers need or want.
While no immediate decision was made on any of the topics at the meeting, parents and other community members were able to voice their opinions about the different subjects.
The four-day instructional week received nothing but praise from the parents, and the issues of early release days and professional study days were hardly commented on at all. One parent, however, did voice her opinion about not thinking two days per year was enough time for the teachers to plan.
The attendance policy received the most diverse reactions from attendees at the meeting.
Parents said that because the school has “such an intense school day, (students) almost can’t miss.” Others emphasized on how students “need every minute of any time” they can get.
“Playing a sport is where my family has a problem because they’re missing seventh period over and over again,” said one parent.
While some of the attendees agreed that the attendance policy was tough on the students, others said that it “shows school is a priority” to the students and that it proves the school “really did prepare them for the realities of after high school.”
Other suggestions were made by the community as well, including the creation of a PBHS school calendar.
Mr. Thomas will present these suggestions and critiques to the next formal SAC meeting.The council will vote on these four waivers, and possibly others, some time in mid-February.
Posted: Jan. 21, 2015
International visitors discuss similarities, differences with U. S. schools
By Camilla Guimaraes, Staff Intern
Pompano Beach High School is hosting its second international summit this year with guests, Maya Menon (India), Aurelie Le Melinaidre (France), Tiago Dias (Brazil), Professor Jerzy Waligora (Poland), and Anna Krezminska-Kaczynska (Poland). After just one full day at school, they noticed many differences.
Ms. Melinaidre, an exchange teacher teaching French this year at Pompano Beach Elementary, said that a big difference was that schools in France had two-hour lunch breaks, whereas here we only have half an hour.
Mr. Dias, a principal in Belo Horizonte, said that his school had “two shifts,” high school in the morning and middle school in the afternoon.
Ms. Menon, founder of a nonprofit organization in Bangalore that trains teachers, mentioned, “Our classes in India are much bigger. We have about 40-50 students in each class, not 25 or 30 like you do here.”
Relating to technology, all guests said their schools do use the same technologies as here.
“In Poland, each student in computer classes must have their own computer, there is a policy that says we can’t put students to work on the same computer.” said Dr. Waligora, headmaster of a private school in Krakow. Ms. Melinaidre added that “In France the government gives schools money for these supplies, so it all depends on how much money you are given.”
Another difference from U. S. schools to the schools in India, Brazil, Poland and France were the after-school activities and clubs. Dr. Waligora and Ms. Krezminkska-Kaczynska told us that their school has many activities and clubs offered because it is private, so they have to make the school appealing to the parents.
Mr. Dias said, “In Brazil the answer is simple, no. None of the schools have afterschool clubs.”
Ms. Melinaidre said that French schools offer clubs, mainly during their two-hour lunch breaks.
All guests notes the four-day schedule of this school would not be possible in their schools.
“I don’t think it would be possible in India, I don’t think the parents would like it,” Ms. Menon said. “They want to make sure their children are going to school at least five days per week.” Ms. Menon added that in India, students often attend school for half a day on Saturday.
Mr. Dias said Brazil has a policy that says they must have classes five days per week. For France Ms. Melinaidre told us that, “It would not be possible to have classes only five days in a week because we already get out a 5:00 p.m. every day because of our two-hour lunches. We can’t add any more time.”
Posted: December 10, 2014