District manager discusses school lunch
By Johnathan Lash, Staff Writer
Broward County Public Schools program manager for nutrition education and training, Darlene Moppert, visited the journalism class on May 25 to discuss school lunches to the students who consume them.
Triggered by a letter sent from a journalism student, Moppert’s visit focused on debunking myths concerning school lunches and discussing with students the process behind its creation.
One topic discussed was where school lunches derive their ingredients. Moppert explained that the food comes from private providers such as Tyson Foods and Holsum (which sell meat and bread respectively) for profit but still must follow federal regulations for school nutrition.
These federal regulations, Moppert said, require the cafeteria to offer milk, because calcium is vital to a growing body, and healthier, yet more costly, whole-wheat products rather than more processed grains (such as white bread).
One student brought up a rumor concerning the proliferation of “red dye”(scientifically called Allura Red AC, a food coloring dye) in school-distributed lunches, but Moppert denied its presence in school lunches, due to federal regulations.
Accompanying Moppert was intern nutritionist Amanda Almeida as well as Rose Bryant, cafeteria manager for both Pompano Beach and Blanche Ely high schools, to help her with answering questions on the process of producing school lunch. The question-and-answer between lasted an entire class period.
Posted May 30, 2018
JROTC underclassmen move up, seniors move out
By Charlotte Hood, Section Editor
A range of emotions filled the auditorium during JROTC’s change of command ceremony on April 25 as members bade seniors goodbye and watched as the positions for battalion commander and command sergeant, previously held by seniors Tiera Hudson and Andrew Frasco, were handed down to underclassmen Alexander Beaulieu and Ayanna Williams respectively, for the upcoming year.
The event also featured awards for outstanding cadets and a video tribute for the departing members, featuring memorable moments throughout the past year.
Posted: May 15
Students, staff struggle with new ID policy
By Jamie Black, Web and Business Editor
Junior Brinya Kydd left her ID badge at home, was seen without it, and was “directed to the office to get a detention…” Kydd, however, couldn’t serve the detention because of her job.
“I work on Friday from 8-4pm, so it’s not fair to me because I have to come in at nine when I’m a good student and bring it (ID badge) all the time,” Kydd said.
Luckily for students like Kydd, who mistakenly left their ID badges at home, the consequences for not following the Code Book have been changed. On Apr. 30, a fully explained set of consequences went into place and because of this, previous detentions for ID badge violations were waived.
According to the Broward County Public Schools Code Book for Student Conduct, students have been required to wear ID badges all year.
“Secondary students must wear identification (ID) badges if the school has the infrastructure and/or funding in place to require ID badges and the school’s handbook specifies the rules and consequences for ID badges,” the code book says.
However, since the Stoneman Douglas massacre on Feb. 14, Superintendent Robert Runcie ultimately wants all BCPS students to be wearing their ID badges at all times.
One of the problems immediately after the shooting was identifying the victims who had no identification. Some families could not be informed until the next day that their child had died.
Because of the district’s mandate, the school implemented stricter policies, including issuing badge holders.
Up until Apr. 30, those who were caught not wearing their ID badges would either receive a detention or pay a $5 fee for a new one.
Front office secretary Erika Rodriguez explained that the new procedure works in a three-strike fashion.
“They (students) come in and sign if it’s the first offense, (or the) second,” Rodriguez said. “On the third one, they are going to receive a Wednesday detention.”
The new procedure was designed to allow for the forgetfulness of students, while still highlighting how important school safety is, which computer science teacher David Holley supports.
Holley checks for ID badges every day.
“(I’m) doing what is supposed to be done,” Holley said. “This (ID badges being worn) has always been a policy for a reason.”
While Holley said he understands that the change was hard for students, he also felt that school safety is the number one priority.
“All of us want to go home to our families,” Holley said.
Posted: May 8
60 aides to guide gifted camp
By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor
This summer’s sixth annual gifted camp will be educating about 335 elementary and middle school students with the help of about 60 volunteers.
“It’s a great opportunity to work with kids and earn service hours,” said sophomore Luke Lindgren.
Volunteers will receive about 70 to 80 hours over the two weeks from July 16-27, participating in the activities from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The camp is split between elementary and middle school kids. The former have to take three set classes, and an elective class, also known as their humanities, and the latter only have three humanities.
Humanities include courses like cooking, art, debate, scientific visualization, robotics, newspaper and world civilization; the set classes are courses like physical education, English, STEM and marine biology.
“I participated in YSA in middle school, but never in the gifted camp,” junior Rachel Raybuck said. “I wanted to see what it was like and see all the smart kids that remind me of myself when I was younger.”
Posted: May 7
Teachers adapt to less class time
By Charlotte Hood, Section Editor
The rigorous regime of AP teachers is difficult to compact into a single school year under normal circumstances, but now teachers are left with an even shorter window of time before the much dreaded AP exams rear their ugly heads.
The already condensed school year, due to block scheduling, was severed even further due to Hurricane Irma and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. AP teachers were then forced to adapt their lesson plans to prepare their students for the tests.
“I’ve been giving them…a lot of the work for them to do on their own,” AP Chemistry teacher Diana Zambrano said. “I’ll explain something, but we didn’t have enough time to do a lot of problems in class.”
Along with more independent work, teachers have also had to cut material to focus on the content that makes up the bulk of the exam.
“I cut a few things out that I figured weren’t as important,” AP Biology teacher Claudia Singkornrat said. “In the long run, I think you just have to adapt and do what you have with the time.”
Because of this chaotic schedule, teachers are sacrificing some of their free time to ensure their students know the necessary material.
“With rushing through there is a lot more grading in a shorter time period, so that .. .nighttime and weekends (I’m) spending extra time grading,” AP Human Geography teacher Lisa Gould said.
In the end, teachers believe that, after their own contributions, it’s up to the students themselves to put in the work needed to pass.
“I feel that the kids that do good…do good no matter what the circumstances because they live up to the requirements,” Zambrano said.
Posted: May 4
2 SeaPerch teams land spot at Internationals
By Andra Danu, Asst. Section Editor
Two out of three SeaPerch teams qualified for the eighth annual International SeaPerch Challenge, through competitions at FAU High School on Feb. 2 and South Broward High School on March 17.
The Hydrophobiacs team — consisting of junior Kaitlyn Bergeron, sophomore Benjamin Bergeron, senior Samantha Bergeron and sophomore Fabrizio Parraga — were able to qualify for internationals on Feb. 2, receiving four trophies.
“My devotion to SeaPerch has not only given my team and me the opportunity to compete in the national competition last year but also this June as well, which we will represent the school at finals,” junior Kaitlyn Bergeron said. “This experience has been so rewarding since the beginning, not just teaching me so much about mechanics and STEM but about life as well.”
The Golden Maelstroms team — consisting of junior Maria Ilonta, junior Camila Castellano and freshman Andrea Castellano — qualified in March with its mostly 3D-printed remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
“After not qualifying at the first competition, my team worked day and night until the next competition,” club president Ilonta said. “We worked to improve our design so that it could achieve maximum agility. In the end, all of our hard work paid off.”
SeaPerch is an interactive club open to students that want to learn how to apply the principles of engineering in a hands-on environment.
Each team had to design and build their own Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV for short, from scratch.
“SeaPerch was a simple way to express my interests in engineering in an environment where others feel the same way,” sophomore Benjamin Bergeron said.
The Hydrophobiacs won first place in the puzzle challenge, first place in the engineering notebook, second place overall, and third place in the obstacle course.
“SeaPerch is an interesting and fun club where I got the opportunity to shine in many aspects in STEM,” Parraga said. “I am surprised by all the things that I have learned with the amazing people that taught me all that I needed to know. With my team qualifying to go to Nationals to represent Pompano, we hope to get first place for our pride as Golden Tornadoes.”
Internationals will run through the weekend of June 1-3 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
Posted: May 4
BSO holds morning meetings on campus
By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor
Broward Sheriff officers have been holding periodic meetings on campuses and not at their precincts, part of the changes to school security as a result of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
These morning meetings, called Roll Call, where officers are given their daily assignments by their sergeants, started April 4.Roll Call does not happen every day or at every school, and all BSO officers attend these meetings, unless they are handling 911 or accident calls.
“It is contingent upon the sergeant and what he wants because that’s who determines what they will do,” school resource deputy Stephanie Smith said.
The meetings were moved to discourage people from committing major acts of violence at schools.
“It’s for the children,” Smith said. “We are hoping that if anyone that has any ideas, or crazy ideas in reference to doing harm to anybody on this campus, they will think that ‘Man, maybe I shouldn’t do that at Pompano Beach High School because just the other day I saw 10 cop cars there.’ So it is more so a deterrent than anything else.”
Posted: May 2
Incoming! Class of 2022 begin registering for new school year
By Emily Powell, Asst. Web and Business Editor
Eighth graders from all over the county have begun registering for the upcoming school year. Registration was held in different locations depending on students’ last names and took place from 5-7 p.m. on April 16 and 18.
Throughout the event, incoming freshmen got to learn about the school’s academic opportunities, choose classes and investigate clubs.
Sophomore Josh Tinoco assisted at the event by selling lanyards and filming the incoming freshmen’s first experience at school.
“Each year, more and more students are leaving our school because of bad grades,” Tinoco said. “I’m expecting to see a lot more enthusiasm for education from these incoming freshmen.”
Eighth-grader Jayla Willows from Somerset Pines Academy was one of the many incoming freshmen at the registration. “We were dancing in the living room when she got accepted here,” her mother, Martha Willows, said.
As for Jayla Willows, she was excited because she was now going to “be part of the PBHS community,” and she is “ready to start her future.”
Posted: Apr. 30
New ID policy is strict, but disputed
By Alexis Schatten, Section Editor
Students are required to have their IDs visible at all times on campus as of April 2 to ensure safety.
The new policy, announced March 22, states that if a student is seen not wearing their ID after returning from spring break, they’ll be given a two-hour detention and a five-dollar obligation.
This new policy came as surprising and flawed to many students.
“I like the policy, but I don’t think that we should get punished that harshly if we forget to wear (our IDs) simply because people whose job it is to stop people from coming in aren’t doing their jobs correctly,” sophomore Angelina Conforti said.
Sophomore Alexis Torres appreciates the effort to provide a safer school but believes that the punishments are unreasonable.
“The new policy is a really good idea, but I don’t think we should be fined because we’re still adjusting to it,” Torres said.
While some students think the punishments are excessive, English teacher Sandy Melillo thinks they’re necessary to better enforce the policy.
“You have to come down really hard at first,” Melillo said. “Once a few people have been punished, the word gets out and then there shouldn’t be any problems.
Melillo believes that the enforcement of this policy will make students more aware of who does and does not belong. People who are seen not wearing theirs will stick out among the crowds of students who have theirs on display.
“It’ll make even the students be aware of ‘oh, he doesn’t have an ID, does he go here? Have I seen him before?’” Melillo said.
As well as making the school a safer place, security specialist Jamesey Stone thinks that enforcing this policy will make students more responsible and prepare them for life after school.
“In your workplace, as you get older, you’re going to have to wear an ID to identify yourself,” Stone said. “It’s a responsibility.”
Posted: Apr. 23
New fire drill procedures leave teachers with burning beliefs
By Emily Powell, Asst. Web and Business Editor
A recent change in fire drill procedures has resulted in a practice fire drill occurring on Mar. 21 during eighth block, requiring students to bring their belongings with them and put their cellphones away. Additionally, with these new procedures came some positive input from a few of the teachers.
Dawn Donnelly, the TV Production teacher, believes that the new fire drill procedures are “practical” and “logical” and hopes that because of these changes, students’ behavior in situations like this will change as well.
“I would like to believe that the students’ behavior will change based on what has occurred (at Douglas),” Donnelly said. “They’re not serious, and everything is a joke to them.”
Gary Clayton, one of the many math teachers, likes the new procedures because it “allows the students and staff to move in a timely fashion.” Clayton also mentioned that the new procedures will result in positive effects.
“Students and staff are aware of the protocol by the administrators when they come over the PA system,” Clayton said.
Richard Nagy, a history teacher, says the new procedures are positive because students are moving at a good pace. He also believes that there is only room for improvement with these new procedures.
“The students are not moving at a snail pace watching videos on their phones,” Nagy said. “I think these procedures will improve more as we rehearse further down the road.”
Posted: Apr. 17
Teachers against bearing arms
By Jamie Black, Section Editor
A majority of teachers do not want to be armed, according to a survey after Gov. Scott signed a new gun law, in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, allowing some teachers to be armed if permitted by the local sheriff and school board. On March 19, 10 days after the bill was signed, 48 of the 54 teachers at the school were surveyed. Forty-one teachers said that they would not want to be armed.
English teacher Marjorie Avery, who has been teaching for 31 years, is fiercely against being armed in her classroom.
“I’d rather quit first,” Avery said.
Mr. Nagy was also against being armed in spite of his experience..
“I’ve carried a gun and I have a concealed permit,” he said.
All seven teachers who said that they would want to be armed in the classroom asked to be anonymous.
One of them said that teachers who carry guns should receive proper training and not be identified to the public.
Senior Carly Barnard is against the idea of teachers being armed.
“Students only know their (teachers’) personality in the school, so you don’t know what makes them tick so anything could happen,” she said. “Kids could be more scared and not as open to learning if a teacher is armed.”
According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 10 states currently do not prohibit teachers with concealed carry permits to bring their guns to school.
On March 14, Seaside High School (Calif.) teacher Dennis Alexander’s gun accidentally went off, hitting the ceiling, when he was teaching a lesson about gun safety for an Administration of Justice class.
Posted: Apr. 16
Juniors take on SAT
By Andra Danu, Asst. Section Editor
Juniors had the opportunity to take the SAT exam for free during school hours on March 7.
Although every student took the same exam, each prepared differently and handled the test in different ways.
“I studied my past PSAT results and did practice tests online to prepare,” junior Francesa Reyes said.
When asked about her plans after the exam, Reyes made it clear that she is not taking a break anytime soon.
“I am going to a free SAT review class at BC in April, and then I am going to take the exam again in May,” Reyes said.
Junior Madison Philips was also able to take the exam for the first time.
“I think I was somewhat prepared; I could have practiced on Khan Academy prior to the exam to help me with the material,” Philips said.
She believes that she was able to do better in the reading and writing sections compared to the math sections because her English teacher helped her prepare by supplying specific questions that were related to those on the actual SAT. Because of her preparations, she feels that her overall exam experience was positive.
“I wasn’t too stressed over the SAT since it was my first one and I could take it more times to better my score. I did feel nervous from the little stress I had,” Philips said.
Junior Sergio Prieto was able to take the exam on March 7 and again on the Saturday right afterwards. He prepared for the test by using Khan Academy and took it even further by “searching up some additional resources online when Khan Academy wasn’t clear in their explanations.”
Prieto believes that the exam is helpful to a certain extent but should not be required.
“A standardized test can only measure so far, so having them required only serves to limit students,” Prieto said. “If the SAT wasn’t worshipped as much as it is, it would be a good indicator, but if it continues to be treated the way it is, some other kind of testing should be designed that isn’t as limiting as the SAT.”
Posted: Apr. 9
Deputy Smith discusses how students feel about her new AR-15
By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor
Security measures have been implemented as a result of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
Stairwell doors have been and will be remaining locked from the outside, making it harder for possible intruders to get into the building. Those wanting to open the door will have to call a security guard and present a pass.
Locks have also been added to the gates leading into the school. Parking lot gates, bus loop gates, any gate leading onto campus will be locked and only opened if necessary.
ID badges are also expected to be worn since it is a Code of Conduct rule and helps staff determine who really belongs on campus.
School Resource Deputy Stephanie Smith was recently assigned the job to carry around her authorized AR-15 assault rifle, the same kind of rifle that killed 17 innocent people and injured 14 others. The rule was imposed by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to enforce safety at schools and to make students feel safe again.
“I do feel that students feel safer now that I carry around my AR-15,” Deputy Smith said. “I know that because I ask them as I carry it, and nine out of 10 times students say that they feel safer.”
Other plans to improve security include a fence being built around the perimeter of the campus and more security in the courtyard watching.
“Security and staff are currently working on lots of ideas to make our campus safer,” Deputy Smith said. “Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy before they start to listen.”
Posted: Apr. 6
History of Henderson: Teacher discusses life as part of LGBTQ community
By Charlotte Hood, Asst. Section Editor
In the recent meetings of Gay-Straight Alliance, members have begun to include presentations of LGBTQ history, including many prominent and influential figures in the community. As they review the achievements and struggles of the LGBTQ individuals of the past, they also have a piece of that history among them: club sponsor Vaughn Henderson.
Henderson attended Coral Springs High School, graduating in 1982. During this time, he says there was little talk of the LGBTQ community because it was so heavily stigmatized.
“I can remember going to the library and looking up every book that had the word ‘gay’ in it,” Henderson said. “Just so I could understand and … learn about the feelings I was having.”
Henderson was not able to be open about his sexuality during high school for fear of backlash from his community and peers.
“No one ever came out in high school because … they would have gotten beaten up; they would have been kicked out of their home; they would have lost anything they could have gotten in society,” Henderson said.
Unlike today when multiple schools across the country have GSAs and adults that LGBTQ students can turn to for advice and support, Henderson didn’t have any access to a safe environment where he could freely express himself and talk about his sexuality.
“We didn’t have teachers who people could turn to, even if they were just allies,” Henderson said. “It just wasn’t existent.”
The lack of representation in mainstream media as well as the lack of informative and respectful conversation on the topic of sexuality and LGBTQ individuals had an impact on Henderson’s sense of self.
“I felt like I was the only one, that there was no one else like me,” Henderson said. “I felt like … I was actually wrong; that I was a bad person.”
Henderson also witnessed the discrimination and backlash toward the gay community during the ’90s as the public wrongly associated such individuals with the AIDS disease that was spreading during the period.
“There were rumors that if you were found out to be gay or had AIDS, that you were going to go to these concentration camps,” Henderson said. “People went back into their closets because people would … tie the AIDS stigma to you.”
As he looked back on his experiences, Henderson recounted how the representation of LGBTQ individuals in the mass media has changed.
“When I was in high school there was not a TV show that had a gay character on it,” Henderson said. “There was not anywhere in the country where someone was openly gay. It’s not like today, where we have Olympians who are openly gay. We have sports people; we have actors.”
Posted: Apr. 6
SGA members attend state convention
By Alexis Schatten, Asst. Section Editor
15 SGA members attended the Florida Association of Student Councils State Convention at East River High School in Orlando from Feb. 16-18, learning new leadership tactics and ways to get the student body more involved in school events.
“SGA conventions give student leaders a chance to use their voice and share events they do in their community to aid their schools,” sophomore class president Lorraine Angelakos said.
The workshops taught students many different, important lessons about how they can better use the resources they have and allowed students from different schools to discuss projects they’ve done in the past that have been successful.
“[During the swap shop workshop], they assign you to a room with kids from different schools and you discuss your different methods of fundraising and the different things your school does pertaining to the state projects and such,” sophomore Victoria Santa Lucia said.
Because the convention separates students from their peers, it provides a good time to make new friends and connections.
“My favorite part of the convention is meeting other students and being pushed out of my comfort zone,” said Angelakos.
According to Santa Lucia, the convention was an eye-opening experience. She thought the convention in its entirety was inspirational and taught many important lessons that she will carry into the rest of her life.
“I learned that everyone, especially everyone our age, needs to stick together and work together to make our future better, to work for a better life for all of us, because if we all just stand here and hate on each other, we won’t get anywhere,” Santa Lucia said.
Posted: Mar. 7
Hate in the halls:
Students demand sanctions for slurs
By Charlotte Hood & Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editors
According to multiple reports, three students during a presentation in Mr. Lovejoy’s international business class used an offensive term to refer to a person who dresses in the style of the opposite gender.
After hearing the students say, “We do not like traps,” classmates questioned the presenters, who then said, “We do not like trans,” short for transgender, which describes a person who identifies with the opposite gender.
GLADD, an organization dedicated to promoting respectful LGBT representation in the media and countering discrimination against members of the community, classifies this term as defamatory language because it “characterizes transgender people as ‘deceptive,’ ‘fooling,’ or ‘trapping’ others…”
Classmates reporting to Tornado Times did not want to be identified, fearing their grades would suffer in the class. Lovejoy said he did not witness the incident and if he had heard the comment he would “have to look at the parameters” in order to have an appropriate reaction.
Gay Straight Alliance co-president Kylie Severine, junior, said transgender people frequently face such hateful speech at school.
“A lot of the transphobia that is present in the school is typically verbal comments,” Severine said. “For example using transphobic slurs or perpetuating rumors or stereotypes about trans people.”
Senior Mads Young also has heard other students using various transphobic slurs and has experienced other situations revolving around such speech.
“Bullies don’t just make fun of people and tease people in front of teachers,” Young said. “They are certainly not nice people, (but) they’re not dumb either. They know how to get away with derogatory comments and stuff like that.”
Assistant Principal Lori Carlson said such situations need to be addressed and then dealt with accordingly to ensure a safe learning environment for all.
“If a student says anything offensive or hateful, they should receive a referral because that’s unacceptable,” Carlson said. “Some teachers handle it with a personal conversation with the student, and the student can go apologize so that there’s a consequence.”
Principal Hudson Thomas agrees, emphasizing the staff’s duty to speak about hateful speech and bullying.
“For the teachers’ part, (they should) definitely say something,” Thomas said. “We would want to know, as administrators, that the students made this comment… we want to make sure that we’re aware of it, and then we can do something about it.”
Senior Sierra Harding, who identifies as gender-fluid, believes the staff needs to take a more active approach in addressing and correcting the behavior of such individuals.
“I have noticed that teachers, instead of taking the issue head-on, they tend to ignore it,” Harding said. “The most that they would say is don’t say that. I feel like they are not getting enough of a punishment to make it seem as like they shouldn’t be able to do that…the teachers are a bit too lenient on those kinds of slurs.”
Posted: Feb. 26
French lycee exchanges with school
By Alexandra Griffin, Editor-in-Chief
Throughout winter and spring, the school will be hosting four different exchange opportunities in conjunction with its French sister school, Lycee Jules Gusede.
- On Feb. 9 seven French exchange students from LJG will arrive in South Florida to shadow students and explore South Florida. The students will be staying with host families throughout the trip.
- On March 20, 23 International Traveling Tornadoes will travel to Paris and then to Montpellier to visit LJG for a day before departing on the rest of their spring break trip in Southern France and Spain.
- Also on March 20, three exchange students from PBHS will depart for Paris, France and then travel south to Montpellier, France to stay for three and a half weeks with host families. The three students will shadow the French students and participate in the International Forum at the end of their visit.
- On April 9, four additional PBHS students will be going to Montpellier for the International Forum the school will be hosting with representatives from over 30 countries.
While visiting PBHS, the French students will sightsee around South Florida and attend the Multicultural Show held by the International Traveling Tornadoes at 6 p.m. on March 1 in the auditorium. Many of the French exchange students will also be staying with the PBHS students’ families that they will then be hosting in France less than two months later.
“The way the exchange works is (the French student) will be coming here for three weeks and shadowing me for three weeks… and then when I go over (to France) I will stay with his family,” junior Jason Nguyen said.
While in France, students from the three PBHS groups will have the opportunity to shadow an LJG student’s classes, sightsee and spend time with host families.
The International Forum, from April 7 to April 14, is an event at LJG modeled after last year’s International Summit at PBHS.
“When the French ambassador came to (our International Summit), they decided they wanted to replicate what we did, but in France,” Nguyen said. “I’m going to the forum portion of the exchange which is only a week.”
Senior Haley Blatt said that students from the different schools hosted at the forum will do a performance and presentation to represent the cultures from their home countries.
According to Nguyen the Forum and exchange programs facilitate open-mindedness towards other cultures and provide students with connections around the globe.
“I did the International Summit last year and it was so much fun,” Nguyen said. “We were told there would be another one at the school two year later and then the French school announced that they would be doing one…I was like ‘Yes, sign me up!’”
Posted: Feb. 8
3 seniors plan to enlist in military
By Charlotte Hood, Assistant Section Editor
As students leave high school for the real world, all are met with the daunting task of deciding their futures: what to study in college, what career to pursue, etc. According to the New York Times, only 0.5 percent of them plan to go into the armed forces. From the 288 students of the Class of 2018, three of them plan to enlist after graduation.
Senior Marrina Guadagnino plans to serve in the Army Reserves in an administrative position as she attends college, following in the footsteps of her family, like her uncle who was a major in the infantry.
“My uncle inspires me in so many ways,” Guadagnino said. “He would talk to me about what he did in the military and it was interesting to me.”
Senior Anthony Gocinski hopes to attend the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., after high school, specifically in engineering or rescue swimming. His experience as a lifeguard has inspired his decision to enlist.
“I don’t want to have a normal desk job,” Gocinski said. “I want to go out and actually save people’s lives and make a difference.”
In all branches of the military, aspiring members must meet certain physical standards, requiring lots of time dedicated to reaching peak condition for service.
“Physical training is a must,” said senior Andrew Frasco, who plans to enlist in the U.S. Army Active Duty. “Two miles under 10 minutes, pushups, situps, all the physical needs to be in the United States Army.”
Guadagnino is currently training to meet the physical requirements to qualify her for enlistment, including those regarding weight.
“I’m eating a lot of food, so I can gain weight [to] meet the weight requirement,” Guadagnino said. “I’m going to start working out with my father and start running to meet all those physical requirements.”
Once they have met the requirements, members are enlisted and begin Basic Training to prepare them for service. Frasco said he needs to start preparing himself for the rigors of that initiation process.
“I plan to work on sleeping schedule because everyday you get up at four in the morning,” Frasco said. “Right now I’m getting up at around nine in the morning.”
JROTC honors Fallen Heroes
By Charlotte Hood, Asst. Section Editor
The annual Fallen Heroes Ceremony on Nov. 9 during second block reminded students of the great sacrifices that America’s soldiers have made to protect the United States from terrorist organizations that strive to end our way of life.
JROTC coordinated this event, holding various activities and services that showcased the thousands soldiers who have died in the war on terrorism that began in 2001.
“We display all 6,902 flags, and each flag has the fallen heroes’ information on them: their name, the day they died, where they died,” battalion executive officer Marrina Guadagnino said. “We have a replica of the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, an all service color-guard, 21-gun (salute), burning of the flag (as part of its retirement ceremony), presentation of the wreath.”
Multiple guests, some of whom served in previous wars, attended the event and spoke about their experiences in the conflicts.
“We invite all of the veteran teachers,” Guadagnino said. “We also invite school board members, the mayor,… World War II veterans, Korean vets, Vietnam vets…”
JROTC students encouraged students and staff members to attend the ceremony to pay their respects and honor those who have died to keep them out of harm’s way.
“We do it to represent all of those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we enjoy today,” 1st Sgt. Ayanna Williams said. “In my eyes, it’s showing them that they didn’t die for nothing and there are still people here that care about them and who are willing to go that extra mile for them.”
The ceremony also sought to remind students of the dark truth about what’s currently happening in the world: the death and destruction caused by terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.
“I think we’re having it (the ceremony) to show… all those who might not be able to see the ultimate price that was paid, and bring to light what is actually taking place and what is actually transpiring,” Williams said. “It shows them that war is real and the price that these people paid is real.”
Members of JROTC took great pride hosting such an influential and significant event at the school, believing that it is not only for a great cause, but it also benefits them.
“I think it (the Fallen Heroes ceremony) is good for the entire battalion,” Cadet Nylia Walters said. “It teaches leadership, I think it really brings the school together.”
Posted: Nov. 16
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
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 after-school 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