The Patriot The Student News Site of West Morris Mendham High School Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:21:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 “Project Euro” Right Around the Corner for This Year’s Seniors! Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:21:10 +0000 Graduation, prom, prom weekend, and grad parties are only some of the many awesome things that Mendham’s class of 2020 will get to experience this spring and summer. However, one of the most exciting experiences tied to this transitional time is the Euro Trip. Although not every senior embarks on it, the two week excursion in Italy is something not to be missed. 


Praised by Mendham Graduates year after year, the Euro Trip has a reputation for being one of the most exhilarating experiences Mendham has to offer, along with being one of the last things students get to do as the Senior Grade. The trip itself begins on June 16th. A private coach bus takes students from the highschool to the Newark Liberty Airport for an evening departure. Then, on the 17th, the flight arrives in Venice and transfers to Padua. This evening is set to include some sightseeing and a dinner at a local trattoria. The 18th begins with a morning visit to the Scrovegni Chapel with a continued walking tour of Padua. Then, students are allowed to independently explore, followed with a group dinner later on. Next, on the 19th of June, a morning train is taken to Venice in which a guided walking tour of Venice occurs along with a tour of the glass factory. On June 20th, students get to visit Florence. On the 21st, more sightseeing of Florence will occur, along with a trip to visit Michelangelo’s famous “David.” Then, on the 22nd, students will get an entire day of sightseeing to themselves in Florence. On the 23rd, a visit to the walled city of Lucca will take place. After that, on the 24th, there will be sightseeing in San Gimignano. Then, on the 25th, students get to spend a beach day, hanging out in Vada! On the 26th, students visit Rome. On the 27th, more sightseeing of Rome will Occur, following with some more sightseeing on the 28th. With the concluding flight home being on the 29th, Students will have roughly 2 weeks to explore an entirely new culture and world, seeing new sights, eating new food, and experiencing different types of people, thus broadening their personal scope of culture .


While this trip is an extremely exciting time, it also comes with a hefty price, which can be discouraging to those who are considering the trip. The full price of the trip is $4,580, which is for those who paid after June 15th, 2019. Those who paid before this date were met with options such as the Early Bird price of $3,985, or the Early Bird price with an $1,000 dollar deposit, totaling out to $4,260. These prices can be very overwhelming to students and their families, along with the fact that the trip is definitely not a short one, almost taking up the entire month of June. Despite this, those who have the opportunity to embark on this journey definitely should consider it as it is a fun-filled time for everyone!

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Changes To The ACT You Should Know About Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:20:26 +0000 For over 50 years, the ACT has issued its standardized tests including all four subjects- English, math, reading, and science. Including the written essay, the total time allotted to take the test is 3 hours and 35 minutes. Now, if it is your first time taking the ACT, sitting through the entire duration of the test putting forth maximum effort is imperative. However, if you’re like me who took the ACT 3 different occasions only to fall short of her desired superscore, this may not be so sensible.

Recently, the ACT has made two very major changes to their test which will most definitely be advantageous to upcoming test takers. Starting September 2020, next year students will have the option to retake individual sections of the college entrance exam instead of the entire exam, making it easier for test-takers to college to submit a higher score. So, for example, if a student was satisfied with their reading score but wanted to improve their math, they would have the opportunity to come in to take only the ACT math section.

For the ACT to make individual section testing an option is a huge deal and a real game-changer for standardized testing. From my personal experience, I know that having myself planted in a desk for nearly 4 hours in some random boring classroom takes a big toll on my attention span. Not only that, but I know what it feels like to lose steam while zooming through the sections. On the ACT test, the reading section is first, which means the second you open the dreadful packet, you’re stuck reading 4 tedious passages as well as answering reading comprehension questions. However, as time ticks and sections pass, I tend to find myself mentally drained by the final section, which is science. As somebody who’s never been the strongest in math, improving my overall math composite score has always been a personal goal of mine while taking the ACT. I think that if I had the opportunity to open the packet and immediately be able to tackle the math, my general focus and attention throughout the test would be much better.

However, for students like myself who have already committed to college, we’re not missing out too much. The ACT board states that according to research conducted, ACT scores for students who take individual section tests are consistent with those earned when they take the entire test. So, JUST taking the math section of the ACT won’t magically make you knowledgeable of more math skills, but it can be really helpful for kids who work better using a different strategy.

Not only has ACT introduced individual section testing, but they will also be giving students the option to either take the test online or on paper.  So, no more sweaty and crampy hands! And- no more getting up during breaks to sharpen pencils because they keep breaking. Plus, students who opt to take the test electronically will actually receive their test results faster- in two days as opposed to two weeks. This is SUPER helpful during the college application process, as applying for colleges should not be delayed due to the irritating process of waiting for standardized test scores. In addition, the ACT will also automatically calculate and provide a “superscore” for students who take the test more than once. The so-called “superscore” allows students to take their best sectional scores from every time they took the ACT to help guide their admission and scholarship decisions. Not only that, but the risk of taking the test online significantly diminishes the chances of messing up the scantron, whether it be poorly marking a bubble, or misaligning all of your answers, all decrease significantly with the online alternative. Furthermore, students who either don’t have very legible handwriting or have difficulty handwriting an essay for a long period of time will have a much better experience with the essay section being able to type their responses electronically on a computer. However, as of now, we do not know the exact date in which this will go into effect, or if this option will be offered to everyone or only select groups. For all we know, this alternative could only apply to certain individuals with accommodations that qualify. 

I think it’s safe to say that the ACT, although it is tedious, has been very accommodating and considerate to the students with the changes it has proposed. (*cough* SAT take notes!) Personally, I think that being able to take the ACT with these changes in effect would have helped me a lot, but I’m happy for the students who will be able to utilize these accommodations to make both the standardized testing and the college application process much easier.

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Kansas Junior High Improved Community With School Garden Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:19:45 +0000 West Junior High School in Lawrence Kansas, took an initiative to improve the community; in more ways than one.

The junior high decided to plant a school garden to help teach students nutrition, responsibility, and much, much more. Leading the project was a nutrition educator, Nancy O’Connor. The project, “Growing Food, Growing West”, was able to receive grants from The Douglas County Community Foundation and The Merc. With the project costing around $20,000 these grants were able to cover all the costs associated with constructing and maintaining the garden.

It was real meaningful work”


Dan Phelps and Diane Wilson, two part-time garden coordinators were brought on the team to help put the project together. Phelps, a Lawrence native, had experience in the school garden field. He worked with inner-city San Fransisco students in building a garden and selling the produce to people who don’t usually have access to fresh produce. Phelps felt “It was real meaningful work” and was happy to be participating in another garden project. Phelps also hoped that this would be the first of many schools in the Lawrence area that build gardens.
O’Conner – center, Wilson – left, and Phelps – right, discussing plans for the garden.

O’Conner’s main goal when building the garden was to keep it sustainable. In order to keep the garden lasting year long, and not dying out in the summer, six students were hired to take care of it. Not only are these students benefitting from the garden but they received real work experience and even got paid for it. This garden taught kids the importance of planting, marketing, and selling.

The project also allowed for many parts of the school community to get involved. Not only were the six hired students able to work, taste, and research in the garden but the produce from the garden was also used in the cafeteria.

Childhood obesity is an epidemic in America and unhealthy school lunches are a huge cause of that. Many times, schools don’t have the funds to buy fresh produce and healthy options for students. Since schools need to feed children for free, buying expensive foods just isn’t in the budget. With a school garden, produce is able to be readily and cheaply grown right outside, which can easily be taken to the students’ plates. This garden was truly enriching multiple parts of the students’ lives.

O’Conner hoped that the 4,000 square foot garden would improve the school community and bring a sense of unity between students involved with the project. Having been able to involve multiple classes, teachers, and interests, the garden became a huge hit.

West Junior set an example for other schools that with the correct planning and encouragement, a community can come together and create a project that benefits everyone.

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College Behind Bars Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:18:27 +0000 New Jersey has historically been known as a state with high tax rates.  In fact, out of all 50 states, New Jersey is ranked sixth for the highest income tax rates.  Income tax is used by the government to subsidize or help pay for certain things that will improve the quality of life for the general population of the state.  A typical subsidy all people have access to is education. By the statement of all people, it also includes prisoners who may even be convicted of rape or murder.  

On Thursday, January 10th, New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, signed a bill that allows incarcerated people, despite their crime, to receive tax-payer funded state aid behind bars.  The only requirement to receive the state funding it that the inmate has to have been a New Jersey resident for at least a year prior to their incarceration.  One of the bill’s prime sponsors, New Jersey Senator Sandra Cunningham, supports this use of tax-payer funds as she stated, “Higher education is a powerful tool to reduce recidivism, and improve outcomes for those reentering society”.  There has been a backlash from some tax-payers about the implication of this Democratic-sponsored law due to the caliber of schools they are able to receive education from.  

The bill states that those incarcerated persons that qualify by residency are entitled to in-state education.  Some of these schools the prisoners have access to consist of Rutgers University, Raritan Valley Community College, The College of New Jersey and finally Princeton.  Princeton is the number 1 school in the world and has an acceptance rate of 6.4% for an education that would cost any regular person around $75,000 a year and about $300,000 all in to graduate with a degree.  Because Princeton is the best of the best only less than 1% of the world’s population will have the opportunity to be educated by such a prestigious university, and part of that 1% is prisoners. Here’s where people have an issue.

Many New Jersey residents have tried to protest the bill, but due to the heavy democratic population that dictates New Jersey law, the vote was passed with a 27-10 vote in the state senate and a 41-27 in the state assembly with one abstention.  According to the numbers, the bill passed by Murphy was favorited and the group of people who oppose the bill is smaller than their protests attest.  

The main reason for the implication of the bill is to provide a positive outlook to members of society who are trying to turn things around from a troubled past.  Not only is it a form of restructuring, but Murphy also referred to it as a form of hope for those who may not have had any. Sheila Meiman, director of returning and incarcerated student education at Raritan Valley, also spoke along the lines of Murphy by stating that, “The intergenerational impact of this program is real and will make New Jersey a more resilient, safer and more economically vibrant state for years to come.”

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LeBron Passes Kobe for 3rd in Points Scored Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:17:53 +0000 Forward for Los Angles Lakers LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant and moved into third all-time in points scored with a layup in the third quarter to score his 33,644 career point on January 25th, 2020. Entering the game against the Philadelphia 76ers he was 18 points shy from passing Kobe in Philadelphia where he was born. Prior to the game, Lebron had written “Mamba 4 Life” on his shoes to honor the amazing career of the five-time NBA Champion. James finished the game with 29 points against a roaring 76ers crown in a 108-91 loss. When James passed Kobe he gave the Philadelphia crowd a wave as all of the fans were out of their seats applauding a very impressive achievement. The Sixers also posted a graphic of the NBA top 10 leading scorers with James in a Lakers and Miami Heat jersey.  

The 35-year-old forward entered averaging at least 25 points per game for the 16th consecutive season. He stills sits behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his 38,387 career points along with Karl Malone’s 36,928. James is on pace to pass Kareem in about three seasons. The top four scores all time all have played with the Los Angles Lakers, who signed James as a free agent in 2018. 

It was only right that LeBron passed Kobe in Philadelphia, where the star was born. LeBron who played in eight consecutive NBA finals has 6,911 career points in the playoffs with the Miami Heat and Clevland Cavaliers doesn’t count in the official total. 

A very interesting story that LeBron and Kobe both had was actually before LeBron went pro. As we all know LeBron in high school was a prodigy and Kobe knew that. As some motivation, Kobe gifted LeBron with a pair of red, white, and blue Nikes size 14. However, LeBron was a size 15 but that didn’t stop Lebron from wearing them anyway. James was so inspired by how Kobe always was trying to find a way to become better. During the 2008 Olympics LeBron said “It was a dream come true” to be lined up side by side with Bryant as teammates. The first-ever time LeBron got to meet Kobe was when he was a teenager at a youth basketball camp. Some advice that Kobe gave James at the camp was “ if you want to be the best you need to put in the work”. LeBron put in the work and followed in Kobe’s footsteps from making the leap from high school straight to the NBA, winning championships, winning MVPs, and eventually playing for the Los Angles Lakers. 

After LeBron’s historic night Kobe congratulated him via a tweet on twitter saying “ Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother”. With LeBron sitting at number three and showing no sign of slowing down he is proving to the world why they should consider him as the greatest of all time. 

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Lebron or Jordan? Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:17:33 +0000 My name is Tommy Diegnan and I am an avid Lebron James fan.  I have been following him since he first started with the Cleveland Cavaliers all the way through his current organization, the Los Angeles Lakers.  Quite often I find myself engaging in the argument of who truly is the GOAT (greatest of all time) of the NBA when it comes up during everyday conversation, and I always side with Lebron.  Here’s why: 


Before my argument as to why Lebron James is the GOAT, I would like to disclose that Michael Jordan needs to be recognized as the man who changed the game of basketball.  Michael started his legacy at the University of North Carolina by being a 2 time NCAA All-American while winning the Wooden College player of the year award in his junior season before entering the NBA draft.  Not only did Michael Jordan start grabbing the attention of the basketball world in college, in the NBA he played an entire game with the flu while scoring 38 points, tallying 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and a block.  He was also able to lead the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA titles while being named the NBA finals MVP in all 6 of the Bulls’ victories. I have nothing but respect for a man with such accolades

Although Jordan was the first to make a major and dominating impact on basketball, Lebron James is the epitome of the sport.  Lebron James entered the NBA draft straight out of high school when he was just 18 years old. He was drafted as the first pick overall and hit the league with a running start in 2003.  In the history of the NBA, there has never been a player that had received so much attention, publicity, and fame as early on in their career as Lebron did. Throughout Lebron’s career so far, and let me emphasize so far, he has been able to lead his teams to 8 consecutive NBA finals while being the MVP in all 3 of his victories, he has been named MVP of the league 4 times, and he has also won 2 gold medals with the USA Olympic basketball team.  I know it may seem as if Jordan’s accolades surpass Lebron’s and you’re not wrong to think that, but here’s why it seems the way it does: talent.  

On Jordan’s Chicago Bulls NBA finals championship teams, he played with multiple other extremely decorated players that also dominated the league.  Some of these players include Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, BJ Armstrong, John Paxton, Horace Grant, and Charles Oakley.  Although Lebron has also played with other notable players, he never had a “Dream Team ” like Jordan did.  Lebron’s role on the teams he has played on was much larger as he needed to be the best all-around player that could make other players also play to their fullest potential who may not have been as good as they were without a leader like Lebron.  The point I am trying to make is that Jordan always had 4 other players on the court who were also dominant in the league when Lebron has only had 1 or 2 other players that would be able to dominate and then the other 3 on the court would just do their best to get the ball to Lebron.  

Speaking of the career statistics of points, assists, rebounds, and field goals, Lebron leads Jordan.  Both players made NBA history, but the fact that Lebron has surpassed Jordan in all these categories, and is still currently playing and dominating the league is astonishing.  It’s very rare to have a player of the caliber of Lebron and Jordan. As of this past NBA season, Lebron has scored 32,311 points, 8,820 rebounds, 8,584 assists, and averaged 50.4% on field goals overall.  Mind you that these are his stats up to the current date and that he will continue to tally on even more while he is still in the league. On the other hand, Jordan scored 32,292 points, 6,672 rebounds, 5,633 assists, and averaged 49.7% on field goals.  These are insane statistics for anyone to accomplish in their career and it is even crazier how Lebron is still adding to those statistics.  

In my opinion, I think that Lebron is on the right path to be the most decorated NBA player of all time.  When he accomplishes this, I believe everyone will see my view as to why he is the GOAT.  


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Time to Cancel Cancel Culture Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:16:56 +0000 Who doesn’t love a good scandal? To be a part of a group with a high moral standing and watch drama unfold like a reality TV show? It can be fun to be an outsider when a youtuber makes a joke in poor taste, or when beauty influencers shade their friends on Instagram, but the other side of the scandal is dark and messy, and shows a lot about what it means to be a social media user in today’s society.
Cancelling someone with a lot of fame or influence can feel exhilarating, but really it’s just an exploitation of human mistake in order to gain clout. Claiming moral superiority as an attempt to bring influencers down is often the result of rumor that escalates exponentially after the initial trigger.
This summer, Tati Westbrook, who only had 5 million subscribers on Youtube at the time, made a video demonizing James Charles, who she had previously stated she loved as she would a son. Tati’s 40 minute video describing what was originally a simple misunderstanding skyrocketed her subscriber count to 10 million, and other influencers were quick to weigh in. Jeffree Star tweeted a claim that Charles is a sexual predator and a danger to society, when the two beauty influencers were close friends only months before.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

This is only one example of the dangers of cancel culture. Charles lost 3 million subscribers in a matter of days, but the real impact was on his personal life. In a month, he lost his best friends, and gained a lot of hate. 

Charles isn’t the only one to be cancelled, and he will not be the last, but this cancel culture that can ruin lives based on pure speculation needs to be recognized as toxic and cruel. It goes to show the loss of moderate opinions and encourages a tendency to believe rumors and write people off, regardless of personal relationships. Just because things might fall back into place later, as Charles’ career managed to salvage itself, doesn’t mean that jumping to conclusions and wrecking lives for entertainment and fame is acceptable.

The only people who know what happens in the midst of a scandal are the people involved, and the exploitation of personal drama is revolting. So, when these scandals arise, don’t click on the articles anymore. It’s entertaining, but it adds no value to your life, and it only serves to ruin someone else’s. It’s time to cancel cancel culture.

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Modern Society Quantifies Intelligence Over Character Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:15:25 +0000 This is an opinion piece. Daniel Hellriegel is a Junior at Mendham High School. All of the views expressed in the following editorial are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Patriot. 

When applying to college, there are three main components that need to be considered by admissions offices: your GPA, your personal essay, and your standardized test scores. Two of the three categories are graded on a numerical scale, which is honestly one of the most ridiculous things that have integrated into society. Humans should not be defined by one or two numbers that have the power to determine their next four years. These numbers do not make us hireable or decent people, our character and morals do. The college admissions process should highlight these traits over test scores and grades. 

The first obstacle to tackle in making the college admissions process humane is tackling the standardized testing problems, including both the SAT and the ACT. It is important to give credit when credit is due because a large amount of schools have opted to be test-optional. According to PrepScholar, over 900 schools are currently test-optional. This is a great resource for many students who do not increase their chances of admission with their test scores, but that does not change the fact that a majority of colleges in the United States are not test-optional. Pieces of the system do make sense, for instance, putting the test on one numbered system makes it easier to compare students against each other when they are all measured on one scale. But, the problem with standardized testing is the array  of options that students of different backgrounds is so varied that it is difficult for underprivileged students to succeed. For instance, in the Mendham-Chester area, there are two different test prep centers that are very excellent in helping students improve their scores on tests like the SAT and the ACT. Since these centers are very successful in achieving their goal of increasing student preparedness and scores, many students also do not have access to these amenities for multitudes of reasons, anything from there not being accessible test prep centers within 40 minutes of somebody’s house, to parents not being able to afford expensive sessions or intensives to improve their student’s scores. 

Humans should not be defined by one or two numbers that have the power to determine their next four years.”

This also does not even touch upon the fact that students are able to prepare relentlessly for these tests. Some students have access to these test prep centers and work at them for hours, while other students, who might be objectively less intelligent but good test-takers, might excel much more on these tests than a student who might be smarter or have a better work ethic. This shows how the proposed numerical system is actually detrimental to students wanting to have access to higher-level colleges.

Additionally, the GPA measurement system is vague and useless. The Grade Point Average system is not measured on one scale, despite the perceived advantage that it ranks students across schools by class rigor and grades.. This system is notorious for being hard to measure, since “different schools have different methods of weighing GPAs” ( This disadvantages many students who may have a worse grading system and they may have similar grades, but look worse. The complications inside the weighted GPAs are ridiculous. For instance, many students in different school districts have no access to AP or IB classes, which have a significant impact on weighted GPAs and benefit students who do have access to these classes. This means that two different students on the same intelligence level but one student has access to more classes will do so much better than the other student. But, that does not even begin to reveal the corruption that the GPA system holds and how terrible it actually is at measuring how students do in school. The numbers give a general idea of how students do in class, but once college admission people start to delve into more similar numbers, it becomes much more aware to students how chance will affect GPAs. For instance, the teaching and assessment styles of different teachers can have a serious impact on how well students do and their GPAs. Senior Lindsey Ingrey explained her perspective on this system, saying that GPAs are “subjective to the classes you take and the teachers you have, which makes it unfair because of different grading systems and other students might get a leg up over others. While teachers may try to compare grade averages and collaborate to level the playing field between different classes, there is always going to be some level of inequality simply due to the differences in teaching styles and grading and students’ responses to their classroom environments.” Therefore, it is extremely inaccurate for students to be measured on a GPA scale instead of their merits.

Even though this system seems fair, many schools have limited to no college courses offered in this schools. This proves that even if there are smarter students in a school with no college courses offered, they will automatically be capped off at a 4.5 and unable to enter a higher bracket of colleges.

Overall, the college admissions process needs to make serious amends to their system so that it can be much more reflective of students’ capabilities and achievements during their high school careers. Leveling the playing field for many students would be seriously beneficial and make the system actually measurable of their abilities to succeed in different schools. 

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A Day in the Life of an IB Diploma Student: Harrison Tracy, Tiffany Lau & Jazzy Meyer Mon, 24 Feb 2020 19:25:13 +0000 Homework. Tests. Extracurriculars. Clubs. College applications. It’s miraculous that today’s high schoolers don’t break under the crushing weight of their textbooks and assignments. The IB program goes beyond typical classroom expectations by touching every aspect of its students’ lives. The IB Diploma program has been an option for juniors and seniors at Mendham High School for twenty years (for more information, see here). The program will graduate its 20th class of diploma candidates this June, a huge milestone for the program. The program requires students to take classes in six subject areas and an IB-specific class called Theory of Knowledge (TOK), complete CAS (creativity, activity, service) activities, and write an Extended Essay (EE). Several MHS students offered insight into their daily lives in the IB Diploma Program to reveal the hard work that goes into the program. 

Photo Courtesy of Harrison Tracy.

Harrison Tracy, a senior, felt that the IB was a natural choice “because I started the IB program before I moved here. I was in the Middle Years program, which is basically a pre-IB program which preps you for the workload in the IB program.” This year, he is taking Business Management SL, French SL, English HL, Math HL, Physics HL, History HL, PE/TOK, as well as a study hall. With the heavy workload his challenging IB courses provide, Tracy spends “between two and three hours a day on homework. English and History take up the most of my time, but in terms of studying for tests, [I spend the most time on] math or physics.”

While most of his homework is for ‘traditional classes’ and not for requirements of the IB program, Tracy does spend time outside of school on his CAS project and his EE. Currently, he is working on his CAS project: an eyeglass drive for the Lions Club. He explains, “I am donating used eyeglasses to people who can’t afford prescriptions.” Beyond the extracurricular component of the IB program, Tracy “was part of a rugby team, but I injured myself so I’m not currently doing that,” but “I enjoy walking my dog, Kasper.” He explains, “I’m not doing many extracurriculars at the moment. I usually do more during the summer because there’s not a lot of time during the school year.”

Senior Tiffany Lau is also involved in the IB Diploma Program. She explained her decision making, saying, “All of the classes I was going to take anyways would fulfill the program, so I just did it.” This year, Lau is taking Further Math at an HL level, HL English, IB Business Management, HL Chinese, HL Psychology, TOK/Gym, Orchestra, and IB-AP Physics 1. The amount of time Lau spends on homework is variable. She explains, “it really depends. Sometimes it would be like maybe an hour, if not less, but if I have a lot of homework it would take me maybe five hours if I had a lot of studying to do. I’m usually finished with my homework by 5:00. I like to study at night, so even if I’m done at 5:00, I won’t start studying until 7:00.”

Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Lau.

Lau is incredibly busy outside of school too. When she’s not fencing, she gets home at around 3:00, but “during fencing, I get home right after practice, which would be around five, or if I had a meet it would be around 9:00.” In addition to fencing, she plays the violin. She says, “I have a class that I go to after school. I get home at 5:00 from violin.” Lau also tutors and is in a research program. She explains, “I have to go to Bergen Community College and write and conduct research since I’m a co-author of the research paper.” At school, she is the president of the service club and the president of Science Olympiad. 

The IB program fit well into Lau’s busy schedule, but she attributes some of her success to time management and organization: “I didn’t spend that much time on IB outside of school because it was spaced so far out. In a week, I would work on it for an hour or two. I could do it whenever I had time.” This allowed her to complete her EE and other requirements over the entirety of her junior and senior years, as opposed to procrastinating and cramming. She confesses that, for her, the CAS component of the IB Program “was kind of complicated. For creativity, I created lesson plans, the activity was either fencing or running, and service was service club.” Lau feels that her existing busy schedule helped her to thrive in the IB program: “I didn’t have to do many extra things, because everything IB wanted me to do I was already doing.”

Whenever I go somewhere, I consider it a wasted opportunity if I don’t choose the most difficult path because I’m scared of regretting taking something easier.”

— Jazzy Meyer

Junior Jazzy Meyer explains why she chose the IB Diploma Program, saying, “Whenever I go somewhere, I consider it a wasted opportunity if I don’t choose the most difficult path, because I’m scared of regretting taking something easier.” This year is she is taking IB-HL Chinese IV, Calculus Analysis HL, AP Stat, AP/IB-SL Physics, AP/IB-HL English, Gym/TOK, IB-SL History, and IB-HL Band/Music. She spends a minimum of 5-6 hours and sometimes more on homework each day, occasionally spending 7-8 hours on her assignments on a busy day. 

Photo Courtesy of Jazzy Meyer.

Meyer balances her difficult academic schedule with equally challenging extracurriculars: competitive piano, jazz band, flute choir, symphony, and working as a cantor and pianist at her church. Meyer practices her piano daily, “aiming for four hours a day, but because of homework, it usually ends up being two to three hours.” She is also “learning a third language, Cantonese,” and is“taking weekly classes for that.”

Like senior Tiffany Lau, Meyer found it easy to fit IB into her routine. She says, “All my extracurriculars are pretty much my CAS. I spend 25 hours a week on it.” Meyer is less consistent with her other IB requirements. She says of her EE, “I work on it spontaneously. Maybe, on average, about 5 minutes per day, but I don’t work on it consistently.”

For the diploma students… we really want kids to focus on their time management skills so that they don’t bunch up everything until the end or they don’t procrastinate… They try hard to plan ahead for big term assignments and manage their weeknight loads and their weekends so they feel that they’re not drowning in work.”

— Mrs. Pereira

IB Diploma Coordinator, Mrs. Pereira explained her hopes for how IB Diploma students would spend their time in the program, saying “For the diploma students… we really want kids to focus on their time management skills so that they don’t bunch up everything until the end or they don’t procrastinate… They try hard to plan ahead for big term assignments and manage their weeknight loads and their weekends so they feel that they’re not drowning in work.” Regardless of extracurricular or academic commitments, these IB students and the other in the program have to learn to manage their time well to succeed. 

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The Shameful U.S. Exit from Syria Mon, 24 Feb 2020 17:48:21 +0000
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  • A woman holding a poster with writing FREE KURDISTAN attends the demonstration against Turkish invasion of Syria, held by Pirate Party and Kurdish Civic Association in the Czech Republic, which took place at Palackeho namesti, Prague, Czech Republic, on Monday, October 21, 2019. Photo/Roman Vondrous (CTK via AP Images)

  • Kurdish people manage to reach a refugee camp at Dohuk, the autonomous region of Kurdistan Region in Iraq on Nov. 5, 2019. Hundreds of Syrian Kurds have fled after the Turkish military operation has been staged in northeastern Syria while the U.S.military decided to withdraw abruptly. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun )

    Yasushi Kaneko

  • Kurdish people manage to reach a refugee camp at Dohuk, the autonomous region of Kurdistan Region in Iraq on Nov. 5, 2019. Hundreds of Syrian Kurds have fled after the Turkish military operation has been staged in northeastern Syria while the U.S.military decided to withdraw abruptly. . ( The Yomiuri Shimbun )

    Yasushi Kaneko

  • Kurdish activists and supporters take parte during demonstration against the ongoing Turkish military operation in the northeastern Syria on October 19,2019 in A​msterdam, Netherlands. Dutch Kurdish community demonstrated in the streets of Amsterdam to protest against the offensive launched by the army of Turkey in the region of Rovaja, Syrian Kurdistan region. (Paulo Amorim / VWPics via AP Images)

    Paulo Amorim

  • People carry the coffins of victims as thousands of mourners gathered in Gulyazi village at the border with Iraq, southeast Turkey, Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 for the funerals of 35 Kurdish civilians who were killed in a botched raid by Turkish military jets that mistook the group for Kurdish rebels based in Iraq. (AP Photo)

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Ever since Donald Trump impulsively put into action his plan to remove U.S. troops from Kurdish-controlled, northern Syria (a section of the geo-cultural region known as “Kurdistan”), Turkey has taken it as an opportunity to wage what they call a war on terrorism, but what looks more like an invasion into these Kurdish held lands.

For many, many years, the Kurdish people have been forced to combat some of the worst forms of hatred and violence from groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, as well as instances such as the Kurdish and Armenian Genocides. Throughout recent history, when Syrian Troops that were loyal to Authoritarian leader Bashar Al-Assad moved towards conflicts in the Syrian Civil War in the lower reaches of the country, Kurds took the chance to establish control over large swaths of land in the region. For them, this was proving to be another chance to possibly establish an official regional and cultural identity as the Kurdish people. “

It’s a disaster. It’s a catastrophe. The loss of life here, that the Kurds and the other people living in Northern Syria suffered under ISIS, is roughly equivalent, proportionally, to the loss of life and destruction that the U.K. suffered during the second world war.”

— Dani Ellis

Throughout this struggle for independence, the people of this region have offered some of the most vehement support to both U.S. and U.K. troops in the fight against ISIS. The Kurds willingly aided these troops in exchange for a sense of protection from Turkish and ISIS jihadists, which without their presence were to be targeted and potentially killed for their beliefs.

Unfortunately, Turkey has proven its propensity for targeting minority groups in the region and supporting terrorist organizations. “The victims of Turkey’s past and present genocide cry out for justice,” said Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, David L. Phillips. In his address delivered to the Ninth Annual St. Andrews Human Rights and Religious Freedom Reception on Capitol Hill in November, last year, Phillips specifically addressed a multitude of examples in which Turkey encouraged or carried out hostile movements towards ethnic minorities. 

He cited the attack in the city of Deir el-Zor recently where Turkish backed forces captured and executed Father Hovsep Bedoyan, the pastor of the Armenian Catholic community of Qamishli, as well as his father, while they were on their way to visit the Armenian Catholic Church in Deir el Zor.

 “Mosul’s 60,000 Christians were executed, displaced, or trafficked as sex slaves. The same fate befell Christians in the Nineveh Plains and northern Syria. ISIS converted ancient churches into mosques, madrassas, and prisons. They tore down crosses and used chisels to deface tombstones in church graveyards. Christian churches and institutions, including schools and hospitals, were destroyed by Turkish–backed militias. ISIS execution videos showed the beheading of priests and community leaders, which included images of eleven desecrated churches,” Phillips said at the solemn event. 

He continued, “The Turkish authorities have seized and failed to return Armenian Church properties. The Turkish government-controlled even the election of the next Armenian Church leader, the Patriarch, in Turkey.” 

 Annie Simonian Totah, Armenian Assembly of America Board Member, said in her statement of approval for David Phillips’ comments, “In his remarks on the occasion of the ninth annual St. Andrew’s Human Rights and Religious Freedom Reception, he

…strongly alluded to all the war crimes that Turkey, under Erdogan’s dictatorship, has committed, targeting different ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and elsewhere, including the abuse of human rights and lack of freedom.”

— Annie Simonian Totah

Throughout all this chaos and misery, the one factor that led to the most significant improvement in peace was the presence of a large number of U.S. troops on the ground in Northern Syria. However, now that Trump has hastily removed this presence, this safeguard for the Kurdish people, the Turkish have moved in and began their efforts to destroy the stability that has been established. Jihadists are being re-armed. Kurds and other Syrians are being executed, poisoned, and hit with airstrikes. 

Dani Ellis, a British volunteer who became involved in the Kurdish situation and who lives in Syria had this to say regarding Trump’s withdrawal: “It’s a disaster. It’s a catastrophe. The loss of life here, that the Kurds and the other people living in Northern Syria suffered under ISIS, is roughly equivalent, proportionally, to the loss of life and destruction that the U.K. suffered during the second world war.”

“I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’s sad! It’s death!” said President Trump during an address on January second, last year. 

As to how Trump views the situation more recently as it has developed and more information into heinous actions done by Turkey and Turkish backed groups have gotten out and gained global attention, Trump notoriously referred to the Kurds as, “no angels,” and the conflict as, “a lot of sand… they got a lot of sand over there so… there’s a lot of sand that they can play with.”

The actions that have been done by the Americans are truly shameful. We have essentially thrown one of our greatest allies in the fight against ISIS to the wolves without any regard for their well being. 

As someone who only supports our nation’s military to participate in conflicts that are undoubtedly necessary and morally justifiable and generally supports the withdrawal of troops, I can confidently say this was a disgusting display of exploitation and poor judgment on the part of our Commander in Chief President Trump.

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