Issue 5: May - The Classic



Issue 5: May - The Classic
Vol. 19, No.5 May 2003
149-11 Me bourne Ave
Townsend Harris Hig School at Queens Col ege
Poll shows wide range of opinion regarding war
by Marlo Dublin
A po ll distributed during the first
week of April gave stu dents and faculty
the opportunity to express their feelings
and opinions regarding the war in Iraq.
Out of 284 stude nt responses, roughly
48% expressed dissent toward the war,
while 23% approved of it and 29% were
und ecided. Of the 19 teachers who returned their polls, 79% replied that they
were against the war, while the remaining 21 % stated that they were in favor
of the war taking place.
The poll consisted of 11 questions,
each devised to elicit the full breadth of
respondents' views. The first question
asked whether or not the poll taker
agreed with, disagreed with or was un-
Do you agree
Ith the war in
Brin In it h
Do you agree with preemptive
trike ?
As the controversial topic of the war
in Iraq sparks debate throughout the
country, Townsend Harris administrators and teachers have attempted to bring
it home by faci litating its discussion in
the classroom.
The .week in which war was declared, Assistant Principal of the Humanities Susan Getting sent a notice to
Social Studies teachers, asking them to
discuss the war "in a sensitive way." The
notice was accompanied by an article
on how to discuss difficult topics, asking teachers to report students who appeared stressed to the guidance department. Principal Thomas Cunningham
asked that the notice be given out to all
Assistant Principals in an effort to include the entire school community.
decided about President Bush's decision
to go to war with Iraq, while the second
one asked for the polltaker to explain
his reason(s) for approval, disapproval
or indecision. A wide variety of explanations were submitted.
"I feel that Bush has completely disregarded the opinions of the American
people and the Euro ean allies," junior
Margo Kakoullis said. " He has not
given adequate proof that Iraq is a threat
o us, and he has not figured in the possible catastrophic repercussions."
Physics teacher Irwin Steinberg approved of the decision to go to war, saying that "weapons of mass destruction
are likely to get in terrorist hands" and
Are yo u afraid of N C
attac ed?
Festival of
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agreed with the decision, saying that "it
doesn't have to do with the 'War on Terrorism'" and "it's wrong to use 9/11 as
an excuse, and it's wrong to put your
own personal interest before that of your
official responsibilities and country."
History teacher Charlene Levi also disagreed , saying that she does not "feel
that the reasons for war are valid reasons. The U.S is a powerful country and
should have been more diplomatic in
their approach in the Middle East." Student teacher Lori Stahl-Van Brackle also
was opposed to the war. "Clearly Presi-
Continued on p. 4
q perva e clas dis
"If kids want to talk about current
events, they should get the chance. The
classroom is a good, safe place to have
discussions," said Ms. Getting.
New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joel Klein sent out a notice to all
New York City public schools as well,
asking teachers to be alert to students
who are stressed. In addition, Mr. Klein
sent notices to parents, informing them
on how to speak to their children about
war and assuring parents of their
children's sa fety in school. Mr.
Cunningham sent an accompanying letter outlining the School Safety Plan.
Economics and history teacher Marc
Greenberg responded immediately to
the declaration of war by devoting an
entire lesson to the geography of Iraq ,
the history of neighboring regions in the
Relatives in
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,._._ - terrorism?
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e: War wit
by Sarah Sch ee
"after 9/11, weapons programs can become a threat to our security."
Senior Geoffrey Ng agreed, saying,
"If not war to get rid of Saddam, then
what else? The International community
has balked at its responsibility to do
anything about a man with weapons of
mass destruction. What ot er alternatives would have been effective?" Similarly, an anonymous junior wrote that
"Hussein is a cruel dictator who refuses
U.S diplomacy" and "action must be
taken to oust him before he brings about
further destruction."
Freshman Alexandra Stergiou dis-
Middle East, and the history of past conflicts in that region of the world. "I think
it's important that students know what's
goi ng on so that they can make their own
decisions," said Mr. Greenberg.
Other teachers have discussed the
war regularly in classes by incorporating it into the curriculum . Global History teacher Charlene Levi, for example,
initiated discussions regarding the similarities between World War I and the
present war. Ms . Levi's classes also read
articles once a week from different media sources to try to get as balanced a
viewpoint as possible, and her classes
often discuss the media's portrayal of
the situation. She added that to discuss
the war every day would be too much.
"I don 't think that the war is discussed enough in global cla sses," said
p. 12
sophomore Laura D ' Amato, vocalizing
the sentiment of many students. 'There's
no set formula for how much discussion
is going overboard, and how little is not
appropriate. But war is one of the most
pertinent issues affecting our lives today, and it definitely needs to be discussed," said senior Nicholas Shaman.
"Discussion isn't limited to just a
social studies class. Just because it's a
social studies issue does not mean it
can't be discussed in other classes," said
Ms . Getting, who encouraged English
teachers to discuss the war as well. •
Ms. Getting added that teachers
should continue to discuss the war in
their classes, even though the fighting
has stopped. "The process of democratizing the country is the most important
part of the entire war," she said.
2 -----4
Oh yes, they can take that away from us
The Classic
May 2003
When the doors of the fifth floor restrooms were unlocked three months
Paper towels strewn around the place and toilet paper wads on the ceilago at the request of the Consultative Council, we were awed (come on, . ing don't get in the way of students physically using the bathrooms, but
admit it) by the shiny floors, steady supply of paper
that is not the point.
towels and the fact that relieving ourselves was now
Rather, the vandaleasier to do. The re-opening of the fifth floor bathism and the sloppirooms is a good example of what can result from the
ness are examples
combination of student maturity and the willingness
of the indifference
of the administration to revisit an old - and what
of a few students to
seemed to be a closed -issue.
maintaining a clean
However, their efforts might have been in vain
environment for
and could end up being flushed down the drain. Firstthemselves and their
hand accounts and recent discussions with Principal
peers . Even more
Thomas Cunningham and members of the custodial
than that, it is clear
staff have revealed both vandalism and some olddisrespect of the effashioned (and inconsiderate) slobbery taking place
forts of the Consulin the previously (almost) spotless fifth floor boys'
tative Council and
bathroom. Mr. Cunningham has told The Classic
the administration
about wads of toilet paper stuck to the ceiling, and
to make our lives a
one of our editors has witnessed paper towels (used
little easier.
and unused) lying in the sinks and on the ledges and
It 's pretty sad
scattered over the floor.
""'that this editorial
This editorial is meant to comment 'on a situation
had to be written,
that really stinks. The fifth floor restrooms had been
Jonathan Perez
because it's just a
locked for so long, not to make our lives uncomfortreminder of good
able, but rather as a punishment for vandalism that had been taking place. manners at their most basic level. But this idea is lost on some people, as
The immaturity of a few caused the entire student body to suffer, and the they are obviously unaware that their continued thoughtlessness is likely to
recent irresponsibility has shown that history just might be repeating itself. yank a nice gift away from all of us.
Letters to the Editor:
Freshman questions work loadtestschedule
'Graduating' parent takes a look back
To the Editor:
To the Editor:
After reading the article in The CLasI think that it would be effective to
Editor's reply: In reaction to your
on Malcolm Rossman, I decided to
have an article about the amount of work comments about the test schedule, The
write this letter. As is often the case in
that the average Townsend Harris stu- Classic obtained a copy of a memo to
dent gets . Sometimes it' s just too much, the faculty from Principal Thomas The Classic, the article was well-written, demonstrated sensitivity and a sense
and I'm sure that you know this too. We Cunningham that officially spells out the
of perspective not frequently on display
are expected to join a million clubs and testing schedule for the Spring semesin high school newspapers: The article
teams and do community service, all the ter.
stated that Mr. Rossman exemplified the
while keeping up in school. I understand
Exams in English. .Classical Lanspirit and values ofTHHS from the time
the administration 's reasoning behind all guages (Latin , Ancient Greek and Heit was "reborn" as a humanities high
of this - to prepare us for college, etc. - . brew) and Mathematics can only be
school over 15 years ago in a small,
but it is too much .
given on odd numbered calendar days.
rented building on Parsons Boulevard.
Another topic is the supposed "test
On even numbered calendar days ,
It is this spirit and those values that
schedule." I thought that each depart- tests in SociaL Studies, Science, Modern
prompt this communication.
ment had certain days that they were al- Languages (French, Spanish and JapaThis June will mark the eleventh year
lowed to give tests. I don 't know if this nese), HeaLth, Art and Musi c can be
I have been involved with the THHS
is still a rule, and if not, it probably given.
community. Although I am an Educashould be. It would make everyone's
However, according to the memo, "A
tional Psychologist and an Assistant
academic life just a little bit easier. This short quiz lasting no more than 10 minSuperintendent of School s on Long Isold rule should definitely be enforced, utes may be given on any caLendar day. "
land, my connection to THHS is not proand it should be posted in every class . The memo continues, "In June, a comfessional, but very personal. My three
This way, not only teachers will know mittee will again convene to evaluate
children have all attended .this excepabout the schedule, but students as well. and revise , if needed, our new
tional school and I have had an interMaybe writing an article on this topic Schoolwise Testing Schedule Policy.
esting perspective watching them grow
would help put the rule back into action This policy will be publicized to students
and mature in THHS as well as watchand give everyone a chance to know and parents. "
ing the school itself change, move to a
what it is all about.
beautiful new building on the Queens
- Isissa Komada-John, freshman
Daniel Bloch
Jamie Gullen
Co- Editors-in-Chief
Angela Hom
Jessica Wang
Feature Editor
Diane Tiao
Entertainment Editor
Jennifer Gong
Sarah Schnee
Managing Editor
Co-News Editors
Marlo Dublin
Hilary HomIer
Jennifer Sheth
Photography Editors
Food Editor
Karen Hendershot
Josh Fox
Rachel Schiffman
Emma Xiao
Sports Editor
Art Editors
Steven Lee
Amanda Chen
lisa Cowen
Online Editor
Business Editor
Principal· Mr. Thomas Cunningham
News Staff: Samira Annabi, Jessica Bader, Jessica Berger. Nataliya Binshteyn, Chloe
Chao. Alyssa Chase, Mimi Chung, Lina Lee. Linda Luu, Jhonathan Pasaoa, Francesca
Pizarro. Tanaz Talebpour
Feature Staff: Christopher Amanna, Jennifer Bhuiyan, Margo Kakoullis, Sangsoo
Kim. Talya Lieberman, Ann Margaret Sanra-Ines, Alexis Serra. Nisha Singh.
Stephanie Vance, Maria Wojakowska, TIna Wu
Sports Staff: Stephen Berger. Lauren Korzeniewski, Elyse Lee, Michelle
Montg oris
Artists: Matthew Barbery, Amy Blauner, Stacey Lee. Doris Onega , Vivian Shibata.
Andrea Shliselberg, Samira Zaman, Stephanie Zapata
Comic Strip Coordinator: Jonathan Perez
Olliine Staff: Diane Lee, Umair Shaikh. Waqas Shaikh
Techspert: Zak AnoJic
Photography Staff: Penny Chak, Laura D' Amato, Diana Deng, Vera Hendrix. Bryan
Kirschen, Marion Mercado. Deepri Nair. Cristin Strining, Julia Stutz, Leticia Wainer,
Annabel Zaharieff
Layout Staff: Pamela Chan, Matthew Kaufman. Katie Kogan
College campus and adjust to the loss
of important administrators and teachers over the years.
As I "graduate" this June after 11
years , I want to be sure that you, the students and staff of THHS, have an understanding and appreciation of what
you enjoy here. THHS is unique among
New York City high schools. Students
can take a one shot exam to "test" into
Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech high schools, etc. but there is
no assurance that these students were
well behaved in school, although many
are diligent and respectful citizens .
THHS students are selected based on
standardized test scores and performance in class as reflected in their high
grade averages. This creates a school of
students who know how to act properly,
are respectful and perform well in school
and classroom situations, in addition to
doing well on tests.
As a parent, I have watched my three
children benefit from the small size, socially relaxed atmosphere (where else is
the change of classes marked by music,
Continued on p. 3
Townsend Harris High School at Queens College
149-11 Melbourne Avenue , Flushing, N.Y. 11367
The Classic is an open forum for the expression of
student views. The opinions expressed therein
should not be taken to represent those of the
administration or faculty or student body as a
Readers are invited 10 submit letters 10 the editor.
Letters should be placed in Ms. Cowen 's mailbox in
the general office, The Classic reserves the right to
. edit all letters , Letters must include name and official
class . Names will be withheld upon request .
The Classic
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May 2003
Letters to the Editor (continued) :
reshmen sound off on cursing, school spirit
: To the Editor:
After reading the article "To
curse or not to curse: that is the
questi on" by Jason Novick
(February 2003), I have many
opinions about cursing and the
consequences it brings. First of
all, I feel that the person who
said, "cursing is 'disrespectful'
in the presence of authority figures" is wrong. Cursing is not
disrespectful in the presence of
authority figure s unless the
cursing is actually directed at
them . If you are cursing to
someone else and you just hap pen to be near an authority figure , the authority figure should
not [have been] listening in to
your conversation in the first
Second, I disagree with the
statement, "Cursing is offensive
and inappropriate, and it serves
no purpose in everyday conversation ." I believe this is untrue:
While cursing may not sound
nice or be well -meaning, it's
still a way for people to express
themselves. It is a good thing
that there is more cursing on
television , in movies and in
music because it gives people a
great way to express and understand emotion. People disagree
with what rap arti sts like
Eminem say, but their music is
still a ·beautiful thing because ocean's exploding" (Eminem ,
no matter what words they are "Cleanin' Out My Closet").
using, these people are still bar- This shows that while he [is
ing their souls . to the whole ' cursing], he is still showing his
feelings in a beautiful way.
Lastly, I disagree with the - Jennifer Kau fman, freshman
person who said that "[cursing] To the Editor:
detracts from whatever point
This is in response to the aryou are trying to make with ticle, "To curse or not to curse:
whatever you are saying." This that is the question" that was
. is false because, if anything, published in The CLassic (Febcursing adds to the point you ruary 2003). It was an interest. are trying to make. Words that : ing piece on a compelling topic .
are known as curse words are I do feel, though, that it could
still words. They just have a have been better written.
bad reputation . Cursing can
The article made several
. show any emotion , from anger good points, but some of the
("F*** you!") to happiness information , such as some of
("I'm so f***ing happy I could the origins of the words, seemed
cry." - Green Day, "Nice Guys unrealistic. The source of the inFinish Last"). Rap artists, such
formation as well didn't appear
as Eminem, write beautiful to be exactly reliable. I feel that
rhymes that not only make you
could have been better rethink but also convey true emosearched.
tion . People tend to dislike
Also , several points that
. Emi~em because he curses so were brought up in interviews
much, but they don't care. only showed the opinions of the
enough to look beyond the
interviewed and not the other
curses. If they did, they would . side. For example, the interview
see a talented adult who may · with Ms. Chung, who blames
be troubled in many ways, but : the media, seems one-sided.
. knows what it's like to feel both The article states the 'opinion
pain and joy: "Have you ever that TV, music, games, etc , are :
. been hated or discriminated
to blame but does not 1001( at
. against.. .. Sick is the mind of
the other side. It would have
the m*****f***in ' kid that's
been better had it done so be. behind.....Emotions run deep as
caus e to say all people who lis-
ten to rap will curse is [like saying] all people who listen to
heavy metal will commit suicide, and to make that generalization is illogical.
This was an interesting and
thought-provoking article, but
it could have been better re searched and written.
- Kristina Bodetti, freshman
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to
the article, "To curse or not to
curse , that is the question ,"
written by Jason Novick which
was featured in the February
2003 edition of The Classic.
Cursing will always be a controversial issue among the
members of society. While others feel that it is acceptable,
there are also those who choose
not to tolerate it. I agree with
the latter. . . ,
The use of vulgar language
has become so widespread in
our society that it almost seems
appropriate, when in reality, it
is not. These words are disrespectful and should not be used
under any circumstances, espe. cially not in an educational facility. Parents should read this
article and teach their children
at a young age not to articulate
these particular words. If they
had taken this step earlier, cursing may not be as common as
it is today. Cursing is not the
only form of self-expression.....
- Patricia Tolete, freshman
To the Editor:
I am writing to tell you my
opinion about pride in our
sports teams . The problem is
that we don't have any! In other
I school s everyone shows up to
basketball games and cheers on·
. the home team, and here only
people directly associated with
the players do . I also think that
. victories of the team should be
announced . Winning doesn't
come easily, and I think we take our teams' victories for granted.
We should all have victories
announced on the PA system
.e very day so that maybe the
school can get in the spirit.
Another thing : I've been to
all the home basketball games,
yet our very adorable mascot
wa s only at one! I find this appalling. The mascot would add
spunk to the games, which they
lack terribly. We should be
more enthusiastic about our
.teams and support our athletes
"and all their efforts. It takes a
lot of work and they deserve
- Denise Martinez, freshman
'Graduating' parent praises a 'unique' place
. Continued from p. 2
not bells?) and a challenging,
sometimes pressured academic
load . In mo st cases , students
were supportive and caring of
each other, and the atmosphere
was one of safety and security.
Faculty and administrators,
while demanding, clearly appreciated the quality of their
students, and the freedom to
teach young people with open ,
inquiring minds. Everyone, it
seemed, was a good role model
for eac h other. The relati on ship
with Queens College is exceptional and unique . All thre e of
my children lov ed getting
Queen s Colle ge IDs as high
school students and having access to the college 's facilities....
The inten sity did not stop at
academi cs . The Physical Edu cation department was demanding as any academic subject som etimes overcompensating
while doing so. Each of my children had a real opportunity to
participate in sports - not necessarily the case in larger high
schools. Although THHS had a
much smaller population to
draw from - and students were
not in THHS for their athletic
prowess - I often marveled at
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THHS 's teams' successes, built
on intelligent and supportive
teamwork and the sheer tenacity, motivation and hard work
of the student athletes.
THHS is a community of
teachers, administrators, staff
and students - all of whom are
part of the learning and teaching process. From them, each
of my children - and every student, I expect - learned standards of excellence that they internalized and carried with
them ; learned a body ofknowledge and skills that hold them
in good stead in co llege and
life ; developed intellectual and
time management habits that
fostered ongoing achievement.
There are certai n teachers more than the norm , I think who truly appreciated and
were/are dedicated to the students of THHS. Several of
these exceptional professionals
have demonstrated a caring appreciation and ongoing support
of my children that is truly extraordinary. Not bad for a NYC
public high school.
Of course there were ups
and downs over three children
and I I years. Not every class,
teacher and administrator con-. -
tact was positive. But overall,
there is much to recognize and
appreciate . In II years there
have been many changes such
as the loss of iconic teachers and
administrators who knew and
expounded on THHS 's exceptional qualities - and perpetuated them as well. It is the challenge of the " new" generation
of teachers and administrators
to maintain that appreciation
and respe ct for the students, the
traditions and symb olic value of
THHS . It is the challenge for the .
classes of students to follow, to
live up to and merit all the respect and benefit s th at prior
generations of Harri s students
have rightfully enjoyed.
I hope this letter conveys a
sense of the positive influence
a good sc hoo l can hav e in a
student's life - as it has in my
children's lives . I also hope it
gives those of you now attending THHS - students strugg ling
with the work load and your
own internal demands, and administrators and teachers whose
responsibility it is to nurture the
great potential in their care - an
appreciation of the wonderful
opportunity you all have as part
of the THHS community.
- Ari-Zev Anolic, Ph.D.
PHONE : (718) 275-2070
FAX: (718) 275·9149
email : [email protected]
MON .-FR!. 9 am - 6 pm
179-07 Union Turnpike
Flushing, NY 11 :~66
....!.l{. / tf-:lH
252 -08 Northern Blvd ., little Neck. NY 11363
The Classic
May 2003
War in traqproducee plethor ofo
Continued from p. 1
dent Bush has demonstrated a totallac'k
of intelligence in his decision to attack a
country that is already suffering from
poverty," she said . "He is attempting to
divert attention from his ·failure to capture Osama bin Laden and his failure as
a leader in general [and] I believe history will serve as ajudge on [his] closeminded, ill-informed and brutally cruel
decision to attack Iraq."
An anonymous junior was undecided
about President Bush's decision to 'go
to war, saying "no matter how you look
Are you satisfied with the
amount of class discussion
h~lci? .
How often do you discuss
war in class?
When asked to assess the quality and
frequency of war discussion in classes,
at home and with friends, 21 % of the
students polled responded that they have
discussed the war in class once a day,
34% said a few times per week, 27%
responded once a week, 6% said that
they have never discussed the issue in
class, while the remaining 12% indicated some but infrequent class time
devoted to the issue.
Only I % of the students polled stated
that they knew someone living in Iraq,
while 11 % said they knew someone cur-
How often do you discuss
the war with ·friends and
at it, war is a bad thing. People die, chaos
is caused and hatred is incarnated .
Maybe we really do need to go to war,
but it still doesn't make it a good idea ."
When asked about the use of preemptive strikes as a general war strategy,
38% of the respondents approved, 28%
did not approve, 30% were undecided
and 4% did not respond. In response to
the fourth question, 62% of the students
and 62% of faculty said they worried
about the threat of a terrorist attack, and
an overwhelming majority of both students and faculty said they had not taken
any measures to deal with a possible
terrorist attack . An anonymous sophomore "bought water, canned goods, plastic sheeting for windows, extra towels
and extra blankets." Senior Shrimati
Balram bought "flashlights, masks and
rently serving in Iraq . "My cousin
Adrienne is a special military commander, almost like a police officer but
for the Kuwait army," said freshman
Danielle Trosa. "She checks the people
of that country and is highly needed
because she is a female and special
officer."[See article on p. 6].
In an attempt to measure the school
population's geographical knowledge of
the Middle East, the last question asked
the poll takers to name as many countries as they could that border Iraq . Of
the 9.5% of the students polled who
were able to correctly name all six (Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran) , the freshmen had the
most correct responses (25% named all
six countries). Of the teachers polled,
68% were able to correctly name all six.
All were given a chance to jot down
additional comments on the survey
about the war or other related issues but
only several took the opportunity to do
so. An anonymous junior stated that he
"[disapproves] of war in general because
of the destruction it brings. However, [he
feels] that Iraq (Saddam) poses a threat
to our society and should be stopped."
Freshman Nicolas Kolios said that "this
war is less about Saddam Hussein's potential threat and more about oil" and
that "we have no business [in Iraq] without European and U.N backing." Latin
teacher Richard Russo added on his poll,
"Euripides writes that war is caused by
that 'fear that takes hold when reason
flies away.'''
Aly~sa Chase, junio r, won the
Grand Priz~e in the 2002 American
Women in Mathematics (AWM) Essay Contest, and first place at the high
school level. Alyssa beat out entries
from both college and graduate
schools. Juniors Francesca Pizarro
and Jason Novick received honorable
mentions for their essays.
For the second year in a row, the
Fed Challenge team made it to the
District Semifinals, one level short of
the National competition. Congratulations to the team: senior Aayesha
Khan, and ju nior s S te phan ie
Herschaft, Amanda Shami, Jodi Smith
and Slava Vaynberg, and their advisor, Fra nco Scardi no.
Seniors Jonathan Kamler and
Diane Park were awarded first place
for their science research projects at
the New York City Science and Engineering Fair.
Jonathan and Di ane were also
among the 17 Harrisites given scholarships at Polytechn ic University at
the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. Their fellow honorees
w~~e seniors Megan Davidow, Jessica
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Hetherington, Bharati Kalasapudi,
Katarina Kristic, Iris Liang, Sonia Lim,
Rayannavar, Rachel Schiffman, Jennifer Sheth, Andrea Shliselberg, Vijaya
Varadarajan and Samira Zaman, and
juniors Amy Ortega and Narissa Puran .
The science awards streak continued
as the Otto Burgdorf Competition honored seniors Amanda Hafeez, Bharati
Kalasapudi, Katarina Kristic, Arpana
Rayannavar, Jennifer Sheth, Vijaya
Varadarajan, Dmi try Yukhvid and
Samira Zaman as finalists, and senior
Ishi ta Sheth as an honorable mention.
Iris Liang, senior, won Third Place
for Scientific Merit in the 2003 New
York City Metro Junior Science and
Humanities Symposium Competition
for her science -research paper on Cardiac Angiogenic' Pathways.
Seniors Bharati Kalasapudi,
Jonathan Kamler, Katarina Kristic, Iris
Liang, Rachel Nepornuceno, Diane
Park, Rachel Schiffman, Jennifer Sheth
and Samira Zaman, and junor Am y
Ortega wereseleeted as Semi-Finalists
in the 2003 New York City Metro Junior Science and Humanities Competition .
"';._ 1.
The second installment of the City
Smarts Academic Team Competition
aired on March 31 on Channel 25. The
team (seniors Daniel Bloch, Sharon
Chin, Bernadette Cruz, Blazej Kesy, and
junior Matthew HalIex) soundly defeated Midwood High School. TIme in
on Monday, May 26 at 8:00 pm on
Channel 25 to see the team take on Environmental Studies High School.
The New York Life Foundation has
chosen senior Susan Chang as the winner of the New York Life Family Merit
Certificates of Merit have been
awarded to juniors Jessica Be rger,
Dhanwanti Dorna, Elyse Lee, Kathy
Mu, Selena Singleto n and Leti ci a
Wainer for their essays on women they
admire as part of the 2003 Barnard College/CBS Essay Contest.
The creati ve works of senior Angela
Hom were honored with the Gold Key
Scholastic Writing Award and she was
honored at an awards ceremony in April.
The Moot Court team comsisting of
seniors Shrimati Balram, Joshua Fox;
Tiffany Luo, Rachel Schiffman and
Mar yann Tan, and juniors Esther
Fingerhut, Amanda Shami and
Rachel Shirian has qualified for the
first round of fall competition.
This year's New York City History
Day named 19 sophomores who are
in the Social Science Research class
as winners in the competition:
Mariam Ahmad , Rohina Ahmadi,
Amudha Balaraman, Emily Berliner,
Helen Bravo, Jacqueline Chancer,
Elizabeth Feder, Ethan Felder, Melissa Hom, Jea n Marie Krowicki, Kim
M anis , Joanna Munoz, Maria
Paschalidis, Kristen Radhay, Boris
Ryvkin, Alexis Serra, Min Ji Song,
Margaret Soria and Nicole Valore.
Sharon Ch in and Steven Torem,
seniors, were honored for their communi ty service records with the 2003
Prudential Spi rit of Community
Awards in New York. Steven received
a bronze Distinguished Finalist meda llion for his volunteer role as
founder and captain of the youth
squad of his local fire department.
Sharon was honored with a state-level
Certificate of Excellence for her dedication to community service.
May 2003
Guidance department advice aims to ease w-orries
by Daniel Bloch
Until recently, war has not been a reality - or even something familiar -- for
the current generation of Harrisites, Yet
as American troops continue to serve in
Iraq, students are left with questions and
concerns, wondering where answers lie
and where certainty can be.found .
A new guidance program provided by
a grant from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, "Project
Liberty" is offering after-school coun seling in the Guidance Suite. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, College Advisor
Marilyn Blier is available in room 314;
Guidance Counselor Cheryl Kramer on
Tuesdays and Wednesdays in room 312J
and Guidance Counselor Antoinette
Teague on Wednesdays and Thursdays
in room 312F.
According to Janet Solomon, Assistant Principal of Guidance, these coun-
seling sessions were set up "to talk with
kids about issues related to 9111, the
war, fears and anxiety, whether individually or in small groups. [The program is] open to the entire Harris community - students, staff and family ."
As the war erupted in Iraq, members
of the guidance staff offered suggestions
on how students could make sense of
the situation on their own, even as they
were bombarded with images of bombings and battles.
"It's important for kids to express
themselves, be it their anger, fear or
confusion," said Mark Duke, the
school's SPARK counselor. He believes
that the various counseling services in
the school offer forums in which students can "speak their minds and their
fears" in an environment that is "nonjudgmental" and "not necessarily political."
. Mr. Duke strongly advises students
to seek out information about the war
from a variety of sources, not just the
mainstream American media.
He said they should look at "independent, non-commercial media as a
source of information," such as alternative and international news sources, because "you're likely to get a greater
cross-section of background and historical information than in the mainstream
"Getting information and knowledge
empowers people. Once we get information, we're not in this void of 'What's
happening?'" Mr. Duke explained.
Ms. Solomon added that much of the
students' fear and anxiety "hearkens
back to 9111 . Fear of uncertainty is especially hard on...teenagers, and [there
has been a feeling of) uncertainty oflife,
especially after 9111, for all New York-
Guidance Counselor Antoinette
Teague offered more advice to the students: "Try to live your life as normally
as possible," she said. "Limit the amount
of news you listen to and read. Of course
you need to be informed, but if you [read
or listen to the news] constantly, it might
make you more stressed."
Ms. Teague also highlighted the importance of maintaining close relationships and keeping healthy eating and
sleeping habits as ways to combat stress
and anxiety.
In addition, the Global Kids program
will be sending representatives to Global History 4 classes in May to discuss
world issues, including the war in Iraq.
This program is also a part of the FEMA
grant. Global Kids is an organization focused on heightening global awareness
in students.
Iraq: Facts at a Glance
by Jessica Wang
National population: The former
Iraqi government put its nation's
population at 27 million. Some
United Nations agencies, however,
estimate the population at 22 mi llion
to 25 million.
Approximate sizeor nation: 169,
000 square miles (approximately the
size of California)
Officlallanguage: Arabic
Bordering Countries: Turkey,
Kuwait, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia,
Capital: Baghdad
Population of Baghdad: Over
five million
lizations throughout history. These civilizations include Sumer, Bablyon and
Assyria. The area was controlled by the
Ottoman Empire for centuries until the
British took military control during
World War 1
Iraq became an independent monarchy in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was
was driven out in 1991 by Ameri can
forces. According to E van Thomas'
March 31 Newsweek article, the Saudis
suggested that the American Ce ntral Intelligence Agency attempt to depose
Hussein, but this was not carried out in
President George H. W. Bush's administration.
"Exiles agree 0 11 post-Saddam
Iraq." 17 Dec
2002. Online. 22 Mar 2003.
Basic population breakdown:
There are two Muslim sects in Iraq,
the Shiites and the Sunnis. Shiite
Muslims live mainly in southern Iraq
and make up about 65 percent of the
MPulation. The Sunni Muslims live
predominantly in central Iraq and
have controlled Iraqi politics and the
military for decades. The Kurds, a
minority ethnic group in the country,
comprise about 20 percent of the
population and live mostly in northern Iraq.
Other prominent cities: Mosul,
Kirku k , Umm Qasr, Basra, a nd
Historical events: Modern day
Iraq covers most of the area of ancient Mesopotamia, which has been
a dwelling place for numerous civi-
'were forc ed to leave the country-because Iraq ceased 'cooperating with
them. Deposing Huss ein was not one
of President Bush's top priorities initially, but this chan ged after September 11, 2001, when President Bush
decided not onl y to apprehend terrorists but also to go after countries
that ha rbored j hem, and saw Iraq
under an .enormous threat.
Stacey Lee
overthrown and Iraq became a republic . Saddam Hussein came to power in
1979 . Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, and
war between the two nations lasted until 1988. The US got involved in the war
in 1987, pro viding inteIligencefor Iraq
because Iran had been attacking Kuwaiti oil transports in the Persiap Gulf.
In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwai t, but
The United Nations tried to co ntain
Hussein 's power by using economic
sanctions and arm s inspections . Under
the Cli nton administration. the CIA did
make attempts to overthrow Hussein,
but these coups failed. When George W.
Bush becam e president in 200 1, economic sanctions aga inst Iraq seemed to
be loosening and UN arms inspectors
"Humanitarian aid a top
priority." 21 Mar
2003. Online. 22 Mar 2003.
Iraq, Map. Mnrch 2003.
Online. 24 Mar 2003. <http://
Thomas,Evan and John Barry.
"Saddam's War." Newsweek. 17 Mar
2003: 24-31.
"The J2-YearItch." Newswe ek. 31 Mar 2003:
54·65 .
''1imeline: Iraq." BBC News. 22 Mar 2003.
Online. 24 Mar 2603.
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The Classic
May 2003
Close tie to soldiers person
radio that they wouldn't allow troops
by Jennifer Gong and Angela Hom
The United States Marine Corps and to talk online because of the possibilArmy are actively involved in the cur- ity that Iraqi intelligence might inter~ rent Iraqi conflict, doing their best to cept the messages," explained Sarah.
serve their country. Many around the Now that the war has come to an end,
nation have adorned their houses and however, she has been in contact with
neighborhood trees with yellow ribbons him and knows that he is in Iraq .
"It was such an incredible relief to
in support of these troops and feel distant connections to them; however, there speak to him again after not hearing
are some who are feeling the brunt of from him for so long. He was back to
the war more than others. These include relatives and close friends of
soldiers stationed in the Middle East
or those involved in Homeland Security.
Career Sergeants
"I feel that all of the soldiers out
there are heroes," said Security
Agent Alice Gatling. This includes
her nephew Algie Gatling, a sergeant
in the United States Army, who has
been with the force for 15 years and
is currently serving in Iraq . One of
his main tasks has been disarming
landmines that were set in the roads.
When Agent Gatling found out
that her nephew was in combat, she
was "upset," but not only for her
nephew. "I am upset for all the sol- Security Agent Alice Gatling's nephew Algie
diers out there," she said. "One loss Galling is an army sergeant currently serving in
is too many as far as a mother's Iraq. Her son Staff Sergeant Mark Alexander
Gatling will be leaving for Kuwait on August 18.
child. [When I hear of a casualty,] I
take it personally, because it is still
his normal fun self. He kept laughing
somebody's child."
Algie was featured in an article in The and joking around with me and was
New York Times while he was serving in glad to be coming home soon," said
Kuwait. "It was about coming home to Sarah.
Although Sarah does think that "war
visit his mother," who was concerned
with Algie being away for so long, said is never a good thing because armed
Agent Gatling. "In it, he said something forces as well as civilians die," she also
[along the lines of] ' It's not over until feels as though people should support
the troops that are out there. "I read a
the President says it's over.",
of these anti-war e-mails that target
Agent Gatling's son, Staff Sergeant
soldiers specifically, that they
Mark Alexander, is currently preparing
death, and it gets me upset," she
to go out into Kuwait and will be leaving on August 18 to help rebuild the said . "They are just trying to do what
country. He, like Algie, is making a ca- they think is right, trying to serve their
reer out of his term in the armed forces . country," Sarah added.
Even though combat in Iraq seems
"It doesn't matter how they feel personally about the war," said Agent Gatling. to have ended, sophomore Venus
"They must support their commander-in- Cheung still doesn't have much information about the location of her older
"I'm not happy," said Agent Gatling brother, Jacky, a marksman in the Maabout her son's duties. However, "I guess rines who might be in Kuwait or Iraq.
I'm a lot luckier than other mothers be- Venus spoke to her brother a few
cause he's not going into combat, but I months ago for only "a 15 second talk."
Venus is able to contact her brother
know that they still have to be on point,
solely through letters, which she sends
as the saying goes," she said.
to an address provided to her family
Out of Contact
Senior Sarah Schnee met her close by the wife of a sergeant in the Mafriend Evan Hsieh a few years ago while rines. "She told us where to send them
working at the Flushing YMCA. She saw and what we can send [with] them,"
him almost every day over the summer said Venus . Some commodities that
and talked to him regularly through in- were suggested included bug repellent,
stant messages on the internet, but these bottled water, and deodorant.
At the moment, Venus hasn't reexchanges disappeared when Evan's Marines Reserve force was called to serve ceived her brother's response to her last
in Kuwait. "They gave him one week's letter and she's unsure as to whether
notice," said Sarah. "He was supposed "he's just really busy or the letters
to graduate from Stony brook [Univer- haven't reached us yet." One of her
sity] in May and his term was almost only worries is that "if something hapover. This was something that he did on pened to him, I wouldn't know until
the very end" because of the lack of
Evan, who is an infantryman and elec- information that can be released contrician in the Marines, left for the Middle cerning the troops.
Jacky originally joined the Marines
- East about two months ago. "About a
"he wanted a challenge," said
week before the war [began], he wasn't
was going to Binghamton
online anymore. I heard a report on the
r o many
[University} and had friends [in the Marines] who liked it, and he wanted to try
it out. He was in the Marines for two
summers and didn't expect to go to war,"
she explained. Going into the conflict
with Iraq, Jacky was scared because "it's
dangerous out there," said Venus, but
then again, "he likes to live on the dangerous side."
Frederick Ortiz joined the Marines in
January of last year "on a whim," according to his cousin, freshman Christy
Tomecek. "His friend was joining and
the paycheck ~as good," she said. Then,
as he left for the Middle East, Frederick,
a lance corporal in the force, was "eager to see combat and to defend his
country," said Christy. "He was excited
to go," she added . .
Christy, however, who last saw her
cousin at a family get-together over the
holidays, was "very nervous" when she
found out that Frederick would be fighting "because I didn't support the war,"
she said, and has been experiencing "lingering jitters" ever since. "I hope the
war ends soon and that he comes home
soon," she said.
Mixed Emotions
One senior, who wishes to remain
anonymous, has many family members
in the military. Her sister and her mother
are both in the Navy, her godfather is in
the Air Force, and several of her relatives who have been retired are planning
to re-activate because of the war. She
also has friends in the Marines,
This senior faces "mixed emotions"
towards the involvement of her friends
and family. "Of course I am afraid of
someday receiving news of the death of
someone I love," she said in the early
days of the war. "Of course f feel a great
sadness when my mother tries to prepare
me for her own departure ; But at the
same time, I feel great pride each time I
see them in uniform . . . All I can do now
is support them and their cause."
She does not see the necessity of this
challenge? They will have to face and
accept the ugliness of war. .. The most
important thing to do now is to unite,"
she said.
Freshman Danielle Trosa's cousin,
Adrienne, has been a part of the United
States Army for about a year and has
been serving in Kuwait since January.
In the army, Adrienne is a special military officer and searches Iraqi suspects
for weapons and other such items.
"She's in high demand because she's a
woman and a specialized soldier," said
Danielle. Adrienne was involved in special training to serve in the military police and is the only female in her unit.
Although Adrienne is "scared and
doesn't get much sleep, she is proud be
serving her country," said Danielle, who
sends letters and care packages to her
cousin once in a while. These packages
include basic amenities such as snacks,
lotion, antibacterial soaps and eyedrops .
Danielle said that it is a "little scary"
to know somebody who is out in Iraq.
However, "I know she's tough and can
get through it," she said . "I have no worries."
"It hasn't quite hit me that there's a
possibility that he won't come back,"
said senior Diana Hsiao, whose cousin,
Daniel Wang, has been in Kuwait serving as a part of the United States Army
since the end of February. Daniel has
been in the Army for about one and a
half to two years since the age of 18. .
Before he'Ieft to serve, Daniel called
his family on the telephone to say his
goodbyes. "I took it lightly because we
hadn't talked to each other for a long
time, and we just caught up. It was a
'How've you been? What have you been
up to?' kind of thing," she said . "After
we hung up with him, our whole family
spent the next hour praying for him."
Homeland Security
For Jessica Hetherington, senior, the
involvement of a close family member
in the war effort is closer to home.
Hetherington, is the First Deputy
Commissioner of Mayor Michael
Bloomberg's Office of Emergency Management (OEM). She
feels that the war is necessary.
"Knowing what my father does
for a living gives me a little more
insight than most, and I am able
to say that war is necessary to
maintain our freedom and protec~ tion. We need to trust our govern~ ment and believe that everything
. ~ is in our best interest," she said.
Jessica trusts that her father
1i'will remain safe throughout the
~ duration of this war. She believes
0.. that he "is very intelligent and
would not put himself in danger.
The OEM is advanced enough to
Senior Sarah Schnee is all smiles after hearing from
her close friend Evan Hsieh, an engineer in the Marines,
avoid danger." She is proud of
who has been serving in Iraq.
him, and feels that "there is no one
war, and "cannot even express [her] an- else who could do his job," which inger towards our president," but she feels cludes being part of the management
that "all we can do now is support our team at OEM. "I believe that everything
troops." "Who am I to voice any oppo- happens for a reason, so his being in
sition I might have when, clearly, my [OEM] is the best thing for everyone,"
friends and family a~e up for a greater said Jessica.
The Classic
May 2003
Bye Bye Birdie brings audience back i time
by Ann-Margaret Santa Ines,
In addition, one random lucky fan club her 'baby boy' go.
Jennifer Gong and Sarah Schnee
member would be chosen to give
When the Ed Sullivan Show finally
Choruses of "We love you , Conrad" Conrad his last kiss .
arrives, Rosie, upset with Albert for not
brought audience members back to a
Kim Macafee (junior Devin telling Mae his plans to dissolve their
time of swooning teenage girls and their Sugameli) of Sweet Apple, Ohio is the company, and Kim's boyfriend Hugo
Rock and Roll idols. The Townsend one chosen to represent her fellow (senior Geoffrey Ng), upset with Kim
Harris rendition of Bye Bye Birdie, per- Conrad followers and welcome Conrad for her plans to kiss Conrad in public,
formed on April 11-12, follows the to her hometown . In Sweet Apple, decide to ruin Conrad's last public perpopular 1960 Broadformance . Rosie convinces Hugo that
way musical into the
.he should take action to fight for Kim
1950s era of poodle
and Hugo decides to punch Conrad on
skirts and the Ed
live television, interrupting his perforo
Sullivan Show. The
mance of Albert's song.
play was directed by
The play continues with energetic
musical numbers choreographed by se.5 nior Danielle Fischer with musical
Harriette Blechman ,
with help from student
J e ss ic a
Cardona, senior, and
produced by Assistant
by Tina Wu
Principal of Humanities
Mu Alpha Theta, a national honor
Susan Getting.
that recognizes the achieveThe musical mirrors Teenage girls faint at the sight of Conrad Birdie (senior
high school students in maththe obsessed fan -fol- Steven Torem) in the Harris rendition of Bye Bye Birdie.
this year's honorees
lowing of rock legend
Harris chapter on
Elvi s Presley with the
similar, yet fictional , pelvi s-thrusting Conr ad causes quite a stir, making all
based on
heartthrob Conrad Birdie , played by se- the teenage girls as well as the mayor 's
nior Steven Torem. At the height of his wife (junior Angela Tolano) faint as he
career, Conrad is drafted for war, dev- sings and shake s in Town Square. "See"have
inastating his network of female fans.
ing Steve dancing in that metallic gold
Conrad 's departure into the Army jumpsuit was disturbing," said senior dustry, initiative and reliability," said
also affects his songwriter, Albert Cyrell Preposi . "But it was also hilari- Ellen Fee, Assistant Principal (AP) of
Peterson (junior Erik Scott), whose ous, and made the play more enjoyable ," Mathematics and Mu Alpha Theta Advisor.
faithful secretary Rose Alvarez (senior he added.
Mu Alpha Th~ta has over 1000 other
Amanda Lorenz) then comes up with the
Bye Bye Birdie also focuses on the
in the United States and overidea for Conrad to appear for the final relationship between Albert and Rosie,
honors the best and brightest
time on the Ed Sullivan Show before who want to get married and live a life
and college mathematics
joining the army. However, there is a away from show business . Albert has
its principal purpose is to
catch to the premise. Conrad's last per- always dreamed of becoming an English
enjoyment and unformance would consist of Albert's song teacher; however, he is afraid to leave
said Ms.
"One Last Kiss," which would then have his agency and switch careers out of
high hopes of selling millions of copies concern for his overbear ing mother Mae
In the induction ceremony, held in
and bring economic stability to Albert. (junior Liza Shapiro), who refuses to let
accompanment from pianist Heather
Edwards of Queens College. The Sweet
Apple backdrop for Bye Bye Birdie was
designed by Rita Rothenberg, an art
teacher that used to substitute teach for
Townsend Harris, and other scenery was
created with the help of Scenic Designer
Annette Lorenz, mother of Amanda and
an elementary school teacher interested
in theatre and art.
"I thought that the play was very interesting and well put together," said senior Chia Ling Wu. "I could really tell
that the entire cast and the various directors put a lot of effort into their performances and it paid off."
Mu Alpha Theta celebrates
mathematical achievements
the auditorium, each of the students was
presented with a certificate of achievement and a Mu Alpha Theta sticker. Principal Mr. Thomas Cunningham commended
st ude nts
"dernonstratling] ability and strong work
ethics," and noted the versatility of math,
from the practical use in the "balancing
of a checkbook, to the theory ofrelativi ty. " Mathematics teachers Magda
Kalinowska and Eleanor Reilly were
each presented with a stress ball; and
former Assistant Principal of Mathematics Harry Rattien made a guest appearance.
The ceremony also featured musical
interludes and surprise events. Juniors
Allysa Ng on the piano, and Nina Mozes
on the flute, performed solos of Mozart's
Sonata K. 300, Allegretto and Debussy's
Syrinx. Events included raffles for the
attending students and their parents, with
prizes such as stress balls, chocolates,
and a scientific and graphing calculator.
oma s join Cu ningham as Principal
by Samira Annabi
Alumnus Ervin Drake, '35, who
wrote the Townsend Harris alma mater,
and Executive Editor of New York magazine John Homans joined ·Thomas
Cunningham as "principals" of the
school on April 3 as part of the Principal for a Day program. Escorted by Mr.
Cunningham, Mr. Drake and Mr.
Homans visited classes and engaged in
the "normal" activities of the day.
The Department of Education , in collaboration with the not-for-profit organization Public Education Needs Civic
Involvement in Learning (PENCIL), selected Mr. Homans as one of the Principals for a Day. Mr. Cunningham and the
school executive board chose Mr. Drake,
who was accompanied by his wife, as
the second guest.
In addition to meeting with teachers
and assistant principals, both guests
joined the editors of The Classic for
lunch in the Principal's Conference
room. They spoke about their life expe riences and careers and participated in
a question and answer session with the
editors. Mr. Cunningham hopes that the
visitors "will spread the word about the
dedicated staff and students and the
school's national excellence."
After graduating from the original
have [an alma mater]."
of America," Mr. Drake said, "but I
Mr. Drake also played a large role learned that the Townsend Harris student
in the re-establishment of this school. of today is a superior young adult."
Before his visit to Townsend Harris,
He accepted an offer made to him by
the City Council to Mr. Homans had only known about it
be one of the from an article that New York magazine
founders of the new did in October about the best high schools
Townsend Harris . in New York City. He sat in on a junior
He asked that young English class that was discussing The
women also be ad- Great Gatsby. "I thought everyone had
mitted, as the origi- well-thought-out opinions. I was imnal school was only pressed .by that," he said.
Mr. Homans said he had been curious
... open to boys. He
] felt that it was to see what a high school environment
:f: "rather criminal to was like these days, because he has not
]' have barred young been in one since he graduated from high
~ women from attend- school himself.
Mr. Homans ' belief that "schools are
~ ing Townsend Har~ ris. Having an all- important institutions that are being unmale school was es- der-funded" and his desire to help as a
pecially wrong in an journalist spurred his interest in public
educational institu- schools. His involvement in the system
Principals for a Day John Homans and Ervin Drake, along with
Mr. Drake's wife, eat'lunch with real Principal Thomas Cunningham
tion with so much to is also personal, because his son attends
and the editorial staff of The Classic.
offer. .. [and I am] kindergarten in a public school and may
continue his education in the system in
Sinatra, with whom he became very gratified that others felt the same ."
good friends after writing "When I Was
After his visit, Mr. Drake said he the future. He expressed the importance
Seventeen." When Mr. Drake learned was impressed with the multi-ethnic of the effort to "build civic commitment
that his re-established high school didn't backgrounds and diligence of the stu- for the schools" and the need to engage
"the community at large, which is not
have an alma mater, he wrote one, based dents .
"I had feared that such intelligence involved as it should be," and hopes to
on what he remembered of the school
and what he hoped for its future on the and commitment [in students] would be able to contribute to improving the
belief that "a great institution should suffer from the recent 'dumbing down' . public educational syste~. _ .:
Townsend Harris, Mr. Drake became a
professional songwriter, writing for
many artists including Billie Holiday,
Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand and Frank
May 2003
Guest dance attracts
more than anticipated
by J ennifer Bhuiyan
Flashing lights of green, red, blue,
and yellow danced along with students
. in the gymnasium on Friday , April 4 for
the second guest dance of the year.
A variety of music, from fast-paced
techno to smooth reggae, gave
Harrisites and their guests the opportunity to show off all types of dance
moves, from rav ing to break dancing.
Some opted to relax with their friends
in the bleachers listening to, rather than
dancing to, the tunes .
Throughout the night, an upbeat atmosphere prevailed and many found the
guest dance to be a big success. "So far,
the dance has been great. My guests are
enjoying themselves and so am I," said
sophomore Hyon-Jin Chong.
The dance, however, did not begin
as smoothly. As students entered the
building, they joined a line of countless
others impatiently waiting to hit the
dance floor, but were stopped by an extensive security check. Like a scene out
of an airlines terminal, Harrisites and
Talentsh wease features artistic
fortes f r second year in a row
by Una Lee
trumpet, flute and voice reflected a ditheir guests had to empty belongings
"Why is abbreviation such a long versity of musical skills.
into a small basket while security guards
word ?" "So what was the best thing be"Singing is a hobby for me. I have
used hand-held metal detectors to search
fore sliced bread?" Aseries of questions performed publicly on stage but it was
them for any dangerous possessions . Yet
that "make you go 'hmm ...", were asked different here because of the lively aumany felt these precautions were necto audience members between perfor- dience," said freshman Katherine Byrns,
essary. "Although it was a hassle, I think
mances at the secw ho sang "Some
that they [the security guards] were takond annua l Talent
Peo ple " by Steven
ing proper measures to ensure ou r"
Showcase on FriSon dheim.
safety," said sophomore Nisha Singh.
day , March 21.
A total of 40 tickets
The guest dance was held the night
Organized by the
was sold for $2 each .
before the SATs were to be adm inisPoor attendance, beDrama Club and
tered, and therefore, some juniors deadvisor Charlene
cau se of a sudden
cided not to attend . "As a college-conLevi, the show
rainshower and inconscious junior, I had created a schedule
venient timing of the
provided an opfor myself of when to take SATs and
portunity for stuii
show, created an inti..c::
SAT IIs, and had planned to take the
dents to display
~ mate and comfortable
SATs on Apri l 5th," said junior Nina
their talents on
'a atmosphere for both
Ma zes. "I feel badly for not supporting.
stage in front of
~ the performers and the
my school by attending the dance, but I
}; audience, fostering
Principal Thomas
wanted to have a tense-free evening beCunningham,
] their constant interacfore a morning that could potentially
tion throughout the
teachers and their
determine my future!"
'Dancing Queen,' sophomore Yeseniya
show .
"I didn't
Despite the lack of junior attendance,
The 20 selected Aronota, displays her abilities at the
know we had such tal250 tickets were sold which was "more
secondannual Talent Show
performers ellented people in our
than we expected," according to SU
. pressed their artistic talents through school and it was definitely better than
Vice President Maryann Tan, senior.
dance, instruments, voice, and rhyme.
I expected. The poor attendance did not
"The experience was essential for my bother me because I still had fun. I hope
artistic development. Performing is the to go again next year," said junior Erik
hardest part for me, so the more I do it Scott.
the easier it becomes. I feel privileged
Because of the low attendance, it is
because of reasons ranging from band
to share my love of music with the
not certain if there will be a talent show
cancellations and scheduling conflicts
Townsend community," said senior next year. "We're thinking about comto a snowstorm.
Talya Leiberman who played the piano.
bining the Battle of the Bands with the
Angel started with a total of 13
Other performances featuring guitar, Talent Show," said Ms . Levi.
bands, but at one point all of the m
changed their minds and cancelled. Although at the final date six bands performed, only three of them included a
Townsend Harris student, a rule that is
Rachel Nepomuceno , Stephanie
specified for Battle of the Bands by the by Una Lee
Exemplary students who showed Kazane, Amanda Chen, Jenifer Arcila,
school. They were, however, allowed to
their dedication to the Ephebic Oath by Jamie Mersten, Payton Armstrong, and
"Most of the people from school had truly leaving their "city not .any less but Lina Lee, to pass onto the incoming
friends that play in a band and told me rather greater than" they found it were board, Cecelia K im , A m y Wong,
they would be involved, so I agreed to honored at the seventeenth an nual Ar- Kathryn Dubowski , and Michae l
let them play. However, at the last chon induction, held in the auditorium Schwartz, their responsibilities and duties.
minute some of the students decided on Tuesday March 25.
"The cere mony went very well but
"I look upon the members as future
they no longer wanted to be on stage.
Musicians are extremely fick le," said leaders. These are the people who will the only complaint that I have is that not
100% of the people showed up. I bechange the world. These students are
An gel.
For about 20 minutes, each band truly commendable because they do so lieve it is a great honor and so I do n't
understand why some stude nts did not
muc h for their community and they
played original songs except for bands
State of Mind and Glass Prison, which don't ask for anything in return," said attend," said Mr. Stonehill.
About 70 members of the 200 were
played cover songs from Metallica and second year Archon Advisor Ad am
other groups. Guitarist Molly Owens, Stonehill. The students expressed their not present at the ceremony, partially
sophomore, of State of Mind, guitarist generosity even during the ceremony by due to confusion concern ing the number of Archon meetings some stud ents
Andrew Danilovic.junior, of Viscid, and donating baby food for a charity.
they had to attend in order to be
guitarist Mikhail Khaimov, senior, voinducted
. Ear lie r in e year, M r.
calis t Alan Fishman, senior, and bassist
said that returning memFramed
speJulio Castillo, junior, of Glass Prison all
miss a maxi mum of two
agreed that they had fun performing on
Reportedly, however,
had missed more
Bands without a Townsend Harris
still inducted.
student included Down by I and Dotted
all the meetLaudatory
i. A member of Dotted i had a great time
t-year memPrincipal
pe rforming as we ll. Guitarist Paul
Alfonso from Stuyvesant High School
msaid, "The students' eyes say academmain
ics but their hearts screa m rock 'n roll."
There was also a solo performance by
it also made us want to give more to munity service aspect."
Mike Lorenz, senior Amanda Lorenz'
To become a member of the honor
hari ty," said first-year member,
brother, on bass guitar, and kareoke was
a stude nt must have a minimum
offered throughout the night for those
80 hours of community serv ice,
who wanted to go on stage to perform a
activities and particip ation
alsong of their choo sing while the next
band was setting up.
troversy threatens ate
of annual Battle of th
by Diane Tiao
Controversy over one band's lyrics
and other complications at this year's
Battle of the Bands could mean the end
of this annual showcase of musical talent. According to Coordinator of ~tu­
dent Activities (COSA) Adam Stonehill,
there was an issue over the level of attendance and the chosen song lyrics .
Of the six groups that performed, the
final act, 23Skadoo was forced by Mr.
Stonehill to end early because of an inappropriate use of language. Band members made references to drugs in a drug
rap as well as used derogatory four letter words. "There are concerns over allowing band members to express themse lves with complete and utter freedom," Mr. Stonehill said. "For example,
the band did not literally advocate the
use of drugs in their rap, but when 'marijuana' is sung repeatedly in the chorus,
that impression could be made ."
Although Mistress of Ceremony and
student coordinator senior Angel Yau
faced a number of difficulties in organizing the evening's entertainment, she
believes that "Battle of the Bands lets
students display their musical talent and
allows the audie nce to take a break from
all the stress of their daily lives . That' s
what's so important abou t this event and
why it shou ld be continued," she said.
"There were many obstacles that we
had to overcome this year for this event
to take place, but Angel did a phenornenaljob.As for next year, we' ll see when
we cross that bridge. If a studen t is willing to take charge, the possibility for the
event still exists . Decisions will be made
next September," said Mr. Stonehill.
Originally plan ned for T hursday,
December 12, the date for the event was
changed to Friday, February 7. However, it was fina lly he ld on Friday,
March 7 at 6:00 PM in the auditor ium
ual Archo n induction honors
new and returning club members
The Classic
May 2003
Festiv I of Natio s draws in large audience
by Alyssa C hase an d Maria
freshman Cynthia Schweitzer, a particiWojakowski
pant in the African Step Dance.
According to sophomore Nora
The Festival of Nations attracted a
throng of family
members, Harr isites
an d faculty to the auditori um o n Thursday, March 20. For
th ree hours, the 579
s tude nt performers
entertaine d spectato rs, who filled the
seats and stood in the
ais les, with cultural
skits, d a nc e s and
songs .
Assistant Principal of Foreign Languages and Fine Arts
Lisa M ars sai d that
this year's event
pulled i n "bigger
crowds than ever before." So me who ar- The traditionai Korean fan dance was one of a variety of cultural
acts featured at the annual Festival of Nations.
rived without previously purchased tickets were turned O'Brien, the best part of the evening
was the integration of cultures, espeaway at the door. "We might have to offer it over...Thursday and Friday nights," cially at this time . "I think that the Festival of Nations came at a perfect time
rather than only Thursday, said Ms.
because of the war. It's a good way to
celebrate multiculturalism," she said.
In fact, the show was so packed that
"I want the Festival of Nations to reparticipants were unable to sneak into
the back to watch other performances mind us of unity during this time of
war," added sophomore Cecilia Kim .
of the night and were directed to the
"It was particularly poignant to see
hallway, lobby and music rooms as
teachers and security guards monitored different cultures come together at this
the doors. "It's not fair. It's not right," distressful time," said Spanish and
said junior Elena Papageorgio u, a Latin teacher Sarah Laderoute. "It prodancer in the Greek Pentozali. "We vided much needed escapism from
should be able to see it too . They should today's turmoil."
Ms. Mars organized the annual
have two shows," so that the performevent that marked the end of a
ers can also be spectators, she suggested. "I still wanted to see what other weeklong celebration of cultures,
pe ople ' s cultures were like ;" added Multicultural Week, and did everything
L..I,"",,"~ ...
from creati ng the programs to monitoring and organizing students throughout
six weeks of rehearsals in the lobby. "It
was pretty intensive," she said. "However, besides being exhausting..Jr was
"I think it's a wonderful show," said
princ ipal Thomas C unn ing ham . "I
think it shows the talents and skills of
a majority of our students. I'm pleased
and proud."
John Talay, a parent, complimented
the "amazing costumes" and said,
::::.., "T his is my first ye ar [attending the
Festival of Nations.] I find it thor..r::
oughly amazing and extensive."
The Festival of Nations gave stug dents the opportunity to experience
~ and participate in cultures
other than
.9 their own. "Seeing other cultures of
if other people is new and exciting," said
junior Caitlin Gilbride, a participant
in the Latin and Hebrew performances.
"I'm not Jewish. I was just interested
in learning something new," she said
of her part in the show.
"It is very interesting to see different cultures' activities, dances, etc.,"
agreed sophomore Pamela Chan, a performer in the Chinese Lion Dance and
the Kung Fu demonstration. "People
feel that they belong to a cul ture, and
they can experience other cultures as
wel l."
T he eve nt, which had 28 acts, also
lasted longer than expected. Originally
plan ned for 7PM to 9 PM , the show
ended at 10:15. "The lack of tech scri pts
and rehearsals really slowed things
down," said sophomore Elina Zakinova,
a member of the Medi a Tech Squad.
" We've been practici ng for three
wee ks. We ' re going to do our best, no
m atter what," said senior So nia Lim,
moments before going on stage to perform in a traditional fan dance from Korea.
"I had never been to the Festival of
Nations before this year, but I' m really
glad I went. The effort that the performers put into the show was evident and it
paid off," said senior Rita Ratner.
participation marks
Multic Itural Week in March
by Linda Luu
more to allow people to prepare. MakMulticultural Week traditionally
ing certain foods might require prepahighlights the unity among the diverse
ration time and people should have
student population, but minimal particimore notice," said junior Jessica Berger.
pation this year diminished the overall
"The same goes for costume day as
The weeklong
"Make a bigger
celebration, orgadeal of it!" j unior
nized by the StuShirley Lau exdent Union (SU),
claimed . "Remind
kicked off Monpeople constantly.
day, March 17,
Otherwise it goes in
and culminated
one ear and out the
with the annual
other." Along the
Festival of Nasame lines, junior
tions on Thursday,
Diana L e e sugMarc h 20. The
gested that in the fuweek showcased
ture "somehow pubvar ious ethnic
licize this thing to
fo ods , costumes
~ make it seem like
and entertainment
~ something attractive
~ that people would
days, but the ac~ want to participate
..J .
M a k e It
. seem aptivities planned for
the week d id ,not
.9 peali ng and fun ."
generate the same
Ho wever, Coo rlevel of response
dinator of Student
Activities (COS A),
as In previous
Juniors Rutbn Tab assum and Vibh a Mu rt hy
Adam S tone hi II
model traditional Indian outfits for Cultural
"I did not see as Dress Day during Multicultural Week.
"thought it was pubmany participants
licized well, espeas we [the Student Union] would have cially with the handouts, and yet parliked," commented senior Jaime Sackett, ticipation was minimal."
Student Union President.
Even so, there are certain Harrisites
Junior Rachelle Solis agreed with this
who believe that the weeklong festividea. "I thought that Multicultural Week
ity was not a total disappointment. " I
was j ust like any other week," she stated.
think Mu lticultural Week was success"I don ' t know how it can be improved.
ful," said one sophomore. "It was cool
It seems like we've tried so many methto see people have pride in their nat ive
ods," she added, refe rring to the lack of co untr ies."
"[ Multicultural Week] opened our
participation in some other school events
as well.
eyes to the seven shades of humanity,
Some Harrisites attributed this dearth
to colors and tones we never saw beof spirit to the failure of communication fore: food, flag, custom, music, clothing, language and history," remarked
amo ng members of the school com munity. "The days should be publicized
senior Steven Lee.
The Classic
May 2003
with live performances
At least once a year, a group, such has gained inspiration from various pub- Mr. Lustig's daughter at many perforby Sangsoo Kim
At almost every major event, such as jazz bands that include professors and lic schools, such as Martin van Buren mances, most recently at the Winter
~as Commencement, Founder's Day and
graduate students from Queens College, High School, and private schools, at Concert. Since she was six weeks old,
the Arista induction, music teacher Pe- comes to perform at Townsend Harris . which he previously taught.
she has always attended important ocHis family has been a source of great casions at Townsend Harris.
ter Lustig is there, waving his arms, con- ' Mr. Lustig hopes that in the future, the
ducting the Concert Band. He
In 1993, Mr. Lustig organized
also teaches beginner and intera jazz ensemble that was both
mediate band and arranges other
popular and successful. After
musical programs at the school.
around five years, budget cuts and
"I tried to believe in making
lack of attendance caused the jazz
bands as active as possible in
ensemble to end . Because of this,
various events," said Mr. Lustig.
Mr. Lustig keeps on trying to proHe also stated that he tries to demote a jazz ensemble as an elecvelop the bands to the highest
tive, so that more students could
level possible by encouraging
be driven to become involved in
students showing promise in beJazz .
ginner band to take intermediate
According to Paula Zarmon, diband as an elective. From there,
rector of the string ensemble, Mr.
a student may be able to advance
Lustig has "done a great job in the
to Concert Band .
bands, in developing students' muMr. Lustig also arranges for
sical talents and technical knowloutside musical groups to come
edge," she said . "I can see that he
to Townsend Harris. For ex-5 enjoys what he is doing and so do
ample , a few months ago, a brass
r5i the students. He is active in helpquintet from the top United
~ ing the students become more inStates army band, Pershing's
~ volved with music and he listens
Own, visited and performed.
~ to their needs ."
The army band plays for many
Mr. Lustig can play many inbig national occasions, such as
~ struments, although he is most prothe Presidental Inauguration.
ficient on the trombone . He can
play all brass instruments, the flute,
This brass quintet performed for
Tooting his own horn, music teacher Peter Lustig plays the trombone for one of his band
the clarinet, the saxophone, and the
the intermediate and concert
classes. While he is most experienced on the trombone, he plays several other instruments.
electric bass. In addition, he has
bands. The New York State
some knowledge of the oboe and
School Music Association
(NYSSMA) organized this particular bands will interact with the students by support for him and he is grateful that bassoon. During his spare time, he plays
visit and paid for everything the quintet giving them actual pointers. In other his wife is always there for him. "My a lot of music in bands. He currently parwords, he wants a band clinic, or small wife supports me totally, both as a mu- ticipates in a swing jazz band , and over
"The representative [of NYSSMAJ, group lessons for the musical bands at sician and as a teacher, never objecting the years, he has played Latin music,
or complaining about times we miss such as salsa.
who had the list of top musical programs Townsend Harris.
Laughing, he said, "My daughter
Mr. Lustig has been teaching at being together," he said.
of schools, called me and arranged for
Students and faculty may have seen takes up most of my time."
the quintet to come to our school," said Townsend Harris for about 10 years, but
Mr. Lustig.
p ets share Ii r y work wit peers in pac ked lib
by Stephanie Vance
The chance to see teachers and peers
share their written work lured a large
crowd to the library for "Nothing Gold
Can Stay," the poetry reading sponsored
by the literary magazine the Phoenix on
March 21.
ans. Both student and teacher participants chose to read works from a variety of genres. The works spanned the
centuries from Beowulf to fiery, urban
rap, and included poems by contemporary
Townsend Harris poets.
Freshman Melanie Freedman humor-
laureate Billy Collins' poem "Nine
Horses," while history teacher Marc
Greenberg shared a joke with the audience before reading a poem that he
After her reading, freshman Belinda
Chang said, "I really liked being a part
of the whole experience. It all felt very
Freshman E1ysse Preposi commented, "I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the reading. There was a mature, cultured feel to it."
After the reading, both performers
and listeners were invited across the hall
for refreshments in Principal Thomas
Cunningham's conference room.
Senior Hilary HomIer, a literary staff
member of The Phoenix, said, "There
were a lot of really great and original
poems read, and I wish that some of
them had been submitted to The Phoenix this year."
Phoenix advisor Robert Babstock
said he was very impressed with the
quality of the reading and hopes to have
as fine a turnout when the poets gather
next year.
QueensTeachers of
Andrea Shliselberg
The event commenced with a reading of Robert Frost's poem "Nature's
First Green is Gold." A line fJ ._. 01 this
poem was the inspiration for the title of
this year's reading.
Some were new to the poetry reading while others were seasoned veter-
. - .-
." ~
. ~
... .. 4ft~
. ,,.
• ••
• •
ously pointed out the cruel quirks of the
school in her "Ode to Townsend Harris." Allison Kornblatt, also a freshman,
entertained the audience with her parody
of Beowulf. Senior Carlos Romero performed two poems in rap style.
Librarian Valerie Billy read the poet
• ~ - ' ~.' '' ''p '~' a~ . . ...' ' _''''
. . .. ~ ....
• ''-.'
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718) 843-130
The Classic
May 2003
ayannvar places first in citywlde Brain Bee,
garners sixth in international competition
by Francesca Pizarro
For which disorder is lithium used
as a treatment?
If you didn't know already, the answer is manic-depressive illness. It was
senior Arpana Rayannvar's response to
the last question of this year's Brain Bee
Finalist Competition. Beating
Stuyvesant High School and Hunter
High School in the final round , Arpana
was awarded the opportunity to represent New York City and received sixth
place at the international competition.
After completing against about 15
to 20 high schools in the New York
Brain Bee, held in the New York Academy of Sciences on February 27,
Arpana went to Baltimore, Maryland on
March 14 and 15 to participate in the
international competition. She was one
of about 26 students from different high
schools throughout the United States and
The contest was made up of many
segments. The first segment, a neuroanatomy portion, consisted of contestants identifying the specific structures
of a real human brain that had been dissected into halves and slices . According
to Arpana, it was the first time she had
seen a real brain and found it to be "very
different from what you see in textbooks."
Another part of the competition was
a Brain Facts segment in which students
were tested on their knowledge of random facts about the human brain, its
functions, diseases and cures. Arpana received a perfect score in this section .
To study for the Brain Bee, Arpana
used books provided by the organization that ran the competition, as well as
books she had taken out of the library.
In addition to taking part in the international contest, the participants
Arpana Rayannvar
Smith earns internship
at investment firm
by Jessica Berger
"Entering the competition was a
great experience," exclaimed Jodi
Smith, junior, upon winning a summer
internship at Standard and Poor 's for her
contest entry on economic globalization .
The contest, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, re-
oping nations by the IMF (International
Monetary Fund), may not be in the best
interests of those countries."
Once Jodi received notice that she
was qualified for the final round of the
competition, she prepared for a 10-15
minute oral presentation, complete with
visual aids, as well as a question and answer session in which she responded to
toured the Maryland area , visiting such
sites as the National Institute of Health,
the National Library of Medicine, and
the fifth oldest medical school in the
United States, which is now only open
for tourists.
This was the first year that a student
from Townsend Harris has participated
in this competition and Arpana is proud
to have received the opportunity to do
so. "I was able to meet many
people, including students from
all around in the international
competition," she said . She also
said that she "met some of the
smartest and most dedicated
Arpana is currently the vice
president of Amnesty International and plays an active role in
other clubs .Among her volunteer
efforts are coordinating activities
for the youth club ather Hindu
temple, providing tutoring outside of school on weekends, and
helping out at a hospital. She
plans on becoming a pediatrician .
Arpana learned about the
Brain Bee in her Advanced Placement Psychology class, which
she decided to take because her friends
who had taken it previously "tremendously enjoyed the course."
For future participants of the Brain
Bee, she advises that they "have fun and
concentrate on learning the material for
[themselves] ."
Empire Medical
Physical Therapists, Chiropractors,
67-07 Main Street
Flushing NY, 11367
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Jodi Smith
quired competitors to compose a fivepage paper on the advantages and drawbacks of modern globalization policie s,
and their impact on the economies of
developing nations such as Argentina
and Malaysia. "My paper focused on the
positive effects of globalization," said
Jodi. "I believe that whether or not globalization is favorable or unfavorable
for developing nations is a moot point
since globalization is inevitable. One
main weakness of globalization policies
is that such policies, forced on devel-
questions such as "is globalization inevitable, how will globalization affect
the wages of workers in developing nations, and what is the purpose of the
World Bank?"
Jodi said, "I was extremely nervous
before the presentation round , but I was
excited as well."
Though she does not know what her
internship at Standard and Poor 's has in
store, Jodi said that she is "eager to take
advantage of whatever this experience
has to offer."
136-31 Roosevelt Ave, # 2
Flushing, New York 11354
Tel. (718) 762-3700
Fax, (718) 762-3700
The Classic
May 2003
Online Xangajournals provide open forum
for expression, heighten sense of community
by Alyssa Chase
After a day of tests, gym and lugging a 35-pound book bag, Townsend
Harris students seek to relieve some of
their stress by turning to Xanga. contains hundreds of public journals that are filled with such
words as "collateral" and "tirnot.' The
popular new fad of maintaining an
online journal has resulted in a greater
unity within the Townsend Harris community among students of all grade levels.
Xanga provides each of its members
with certain tools that assist in the creation of a unique webpage. According
to sophomore Andrea Mock, the individuality of Xanga pages can allow
members to become more intimate with
each other. "It provides members with
a way of expressing themselves by having different backgrounds, colors and
styles . Each color can represent a different mood," she said.
Both members and non-members
can view Xanga websites . However,
only those with Xanga accounts can
post comments in response to another
user's journal entry. A female freshman
says that she enjoys writing comments.
"My friends always want me to, and if
something is funny or interesting in their
entries, I want to comment on it," she
Those submitting comments have the
option of keeping their messages private
bye-mailing their remarks. Other comments that are posted on the webpage can
be read by anyone who visits the Xanga
The Xanga community has been
flooded with new Townsend Harris
members in recent months . A female senior explained the reason for her attraction to Xanga: "People are always looking for ways to get things off their mind,
whether people are going through something or just wanted to say something
funny, and they've found it in Xanga ...
As a senior, you find new friendships being formed and old pretenses being discarded . It's always been like that. I think
that ~anga has helped even more with
this 'bonding.' You learn certain things
about certain people that, otherwise, you
would have never known because I think
many people are more comfortable or are
more drawn to writing about themselves.
Even if it's just a one-sentence entry saying hello or a nonsensical entry of comic
strips, you can't help but feel just a little
closer t~ these people." ,
,I "
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"It's something teens can go to, to
let out their emotions," added Andrea.
Senior Angel Yau said that she keeps
a Xanga journal "to let others, either
friends or strangers, know a bit more
cause it shows their school spirit, so I
established a blogring myself. I guess it
was successful bringing Harrisites together. Many people joined, which is
good news. You can view a list of people
Matthew Barbery
about [me] and what goes on in [my]
daily life, and since you get those
eprops and comments, you feel that you
might be of some importance to someone out there ."
Angel added, "If you are a writer, it
is nice to have your words read and then
get comments on how cool you are."
In response to why she has a Xanga,
Senior Bernadette Cruz said, "because
I'm bored." gives its users the option
to establish or join communities of
Xanga users called "blogrings.' Junior Diana Lee is the leader of
"Harrisites,' one of the blogrings whose
188 members are Townsend Harris students . Diana says, "I saw that people
from other schools had their own
blogrings, which was kind of cool be-
in the blogring, so people are able to
click around and read other people 's entries, which is always very interesting."
Other Harris-related Xanga blogrings
include"Townsend Harris High School"
(81 members); "THHS: Class of '03,
BabY" (61); "Townsend Harris HS
Friends Connection" (49); "THHS '05'06" (38) ; "Townsend Harris High
School Alumni-Class of 2002" (21);
"Townsend Harris Class '04" (20) and
"OL Harrisites/Townsend Grads" (3).
Xanga has allowed Townsend Harris students to become more intimate
with each other. Writing in one's online
journal has become a therapeutic way
to relieve stress and other emotional
burdens. A Xanga account is free, and
one can be set up at http://
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The Classic
May 2003
Model United Nation presents
by Christopher Amanna
If you accidentally walked into the
auditorium after school on Monday,
March 4, you were not imagining things
if you saw approximately 20 students
enthralled with an Indian movie. The '
Model United Nations Club was screening the acclaimed film Lagaan as the
second installment of its three-part film
festival. The club previously showed the
Australian picture Picnic at Hanging
Rock on Thursday February 6.
Lagaan, directed by Ashutosh
Gowariker, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category in 2002. It represents the best of
"Bollywood," or Indian cinema. It
blends action, comedy, romance and serious historical subject matter into a
spectacularly large-scale singing and
dancing production.
This film was chosen because Model
UN advisor Susan Getting "was particularly impressed with Lagoon when she
saw it over the summer in London," said
Co-Vice President Bharati Kalasapudi.
"Having seen it many times before, we,
Preeti Dixit, my Co-Vice President and
I, agreed to show it."
Lagoon tells the fictional story of the
Indian village of Champaner during
1893. The people of the small farming
community are forced into giving a portion of their crop to the British as a tax
called lagoon. However, the village is
being devastated by a drought and the
people can barely feed themselves. The
villagers decide to confront their British ruler, Captain Russell (Paul
Blackthorne), after he doubles the
The audacious and manipulative
Grave of the
Briton responds to the villagers' plea by
saying he will revoke the tax for the next
three years, but only if the locals defeat
the British in a game of cricket. If the
British win, a triple lagoon will be imposed on the people. The movie's protagonist, Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), accepts
the offer, which creates great discord '
among the people of Champaner.None
of the locals have ever seen, let alone
played, the game before and are convinced that a victory against the British
is impossible.
However, all types of people, including Hindus, Muslims, and even
outcastes, eventually unite and form a
team. Such a union was usually unheard
of in class-conscience India.
, Lagaan reaches its climax during the
last game of the cricket match. Suspense
is built as the Indian team begins to lose
its lead, only to tum the situation around,
and then lose its grip once more.
During the screening, tensions
mounted in the auditorium when sev-
by Tina Wu
During the later years of World War
'. II, American military tactics included
, the dropping of napalm canisters on
Japanese cities. These canisters, created
to detonate upon landing, left civilian
residential areas across Japan in flames.
Consumed by the fires, neighborhoods
made of wood and paper were easily destroyed, leaving hundreds of civilians
without homes,shelters or even their
lives .
In the animated film, Grave of the
Fireflies (1988) , two innocent Japanese
children of Kobe are caught in the havoc
of the air raids and the tragedies of war.
Their father is an officer serving the
Japanese Navy far from home. Their
mother, already failing in health, is soon
killed in the bombings . In this way, fourteen-year-old, Seita and his four-yearold sister, Setsuko, become homeless orphans struggling to survive.
Grave of the Fireflies, based on a
popular semi-autobiographical Japanese
novel, presents the story of these two
children and their experiences during the
war. The movie, though animated, and
therefore often overlooked, is incredibly '
realistic in plot, and even more so in its
intense emotional impact. It is immediately obvious when we see Seita struggling to carry his sister on his back, running to safety during the air raids, that
a bit
eral scenes of the film were fast for- .
warded and brief synopses were given
in their place. When asked about this,
Bharati said, "We were actually prepared to abridge the movie because of
its three- hour and forty-minute length.
The auditorium seats are quite uncomfortable for such a long time, so we
wanted to cut it down a bit without losing anything im,portant."
there were some
complaints about
~idn't interfere
with Lagaan's
~ransfixing nature. Despite the
fast forwarding,
the audience
generally agreed
that the film was
Vivian Shibata
brilliant. Freshman
Samalot summed up this feeling when
she said that the movie was simply
"wonderful." Bharati added, "Everyone
who saw the film enjoyed it very much
and actually asked whete they could rent
it so that they could see the fast forwarded parts!"
Tickets for the festival were five dollars, which included refreshments that
were graciously, but untimely, distributed as the audience left the auditorium.
Approximately $120 'Vas raised .
Bharati commented on the meager
attendance: "I was disappointed with the
number of tickets sold. I thought we
publicized very actively and many
people showed interest in coming, but
there were very few people there. In fact,
we had a greater attendance for our first
movie which we had barely one week
to publicize."
The proceeds will benefit the Model
United Nations club . Members will be
attending a conference at the actual
United Nations headquarters and at the
Javits Center this May. The team will
be representing Botswana, El Salvador
and Italy in mock debates in several of
the UN's councils and committees. This
will help the team to better understand
the parliamentary procedures and diplomacy of the United Nations, while exploring the many problems facing these
nations. When the Model UN is not preparing for conferences, current world issues are discussed from different perspectives.
, The next film festival will be held
after school on Thursday May 22 in the
auditorium. The Red Violin will be
shown. The movie centers around the
auction of a magnificent violin. Through
the use of flashbacks, the stories of those
who have historically possessed the violin are depicted, The story of the violin
spans centuries, bringing the viewer to
l Zth-century Italy, Imperial Vienna in
the 1790s, Victorian England in the late
1800s a~d eventually to China in the mid
- 1960s.;
Tickets for The Red Violin can be
purchased from Model UN members.
The team "appreciates the support of
those who attend and hopes they realize how valuable their support and encouragement is." They would also like
to remind students that new members
are always welcome.
Film views World War II through eyes of orphans
this is not a cheery Disney cartoon. We
experience pain when Seita and Setsuko
must sell their mother's precious kimono for rice, and
we feel Seita's anguish when his
young sister cries
for their missing
This powerful
film is in every way
adult, not in terms of
sex, ' language and
violence, but in the
heartbreaking ernotions evoked, and
the grave theme of
war. Simple yet profoundly
Grave of the Fireflies has been compared to Schindler's
List by critic Ernest
Rister, and has been
regarded as "[one]
of the greatest war
films ever made" by
critic Roger Ebert,
Chicago Sun-Times.
In art, as in cinematic content, the
film soars beyond standards. Directed
by Isao Takahata, the movie is a production of Studio Ghibli, the same company that released the 2003 Academy-
Award winning film, Spirited Away, by characters, and of course those great big
Hayao Miyazaki. In fact, Takahata and eyes), but it also gracefully captures deMiyazaki are long-time friends and col- ' tails, like in the scene where Seita and
Setsuko are playing in the water.
Any way you look at it, the art is
simply beautiful.
Grave of the Fireflies is available on video and DVD, in both
original Japanese with subtitles,
,.andla version dubbed in English. It
is known among anime fans that
dubs, ranging from the not-too-bad
to the downright appalling, often
fail to recreate the experience ofthe
original Japanese production. But
don't worry ; in the American version of Grave of the Fireflies, the
Japanese original is smoothly translated into English, with little loss
in content or emotional force. .
$0 whether you are looking for
a dr'amatic storyline, moving characters, or spectacular animation, or
are simply eager to enjoy a wonderful film in any language, with
Grave of the Fireflies, you won't
Eugene To
be let down.
Come enjoy this cinematic masleagues, and it shows . The animation in terpiece on the big screen! The Anime
Grave ofthe Fireflies greatly resembles Club is showing the dubbed version of
that in Spirited Away, Princess Grave ofthe Fireflies in the school auMononoke and other works by ditorium, after school on Friday, May
Miyazaki. It is refined, elegant, exag- 16. All Townsend Harris students and
gerated, yes (especially the bodies of staff are welcome, free of charge.
The Classic
May 2003
Authentic Spanish ambiance and flavors converge at Cafe
Cafe Espanol
172 Bleecker Street
Greenwich Village
New York, 10012
Tel: (212) 505-0657/ (212) 353-2317
Call restaurant for hours of operation
by Marlo Dublin
One popular misconception about
dining out is that for one to be guaranteed an exceptional experience, he must
choose a restaurant that is visually appealing. Bright signs, intricately
adorned windows and flashy awnings
might temporarily serve to tempt hungry patrons , but often fail to promise exceptional food and service . One single
plastic curtain was shielding the weathered granite entrance to Cafe Espanol
when I approached.
The outside appearance of the restaurant made me hesitant to enter. How
could such a place , lacking in outer refinement and flare, offer fine cuisine as
well as a comfortable atmosphere? The
answer was simple: make your customers feel like they are relaxing in an authentic villa on the outskirts of
Barcelona while sampling some of the
country's signature dishes .
My sister and I arrived at Cafe
Espanol several weeks ago with the intention of having a light dinner before
catching a performance of the New York
City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Little did
we know, the orchestration of our meal
would be just as breathtaking as the
show we were about to see. After hang-
ing up our coats, we were seated in a
rather secluded nook of the restaurant's
main dining area which was small, yet
I couldn't help but be amazed by the
art adorning the sponge -painted walls;
flowers, landscapes and abstract forms
in pewter frames added a touch of color
to the restaurant's placid environment.
Cobblestone flooring paved the way for
the team of black tie-clad waiters who
were constantly refilling water glasses
and acting in response to your every
gesture. Furthermore, the dim lighting
added a touch of intimacy to the
restaurant's ambiance, one which made
me feel as if I were part of a large family rather than a room full of strangers.
Though I had never visited Spain, at that
moment I felt as if I were part of a heri-
tage rich in color, emotion and, as I
would soon realize, taste.
Glancing over the menu, I was
startled to see that the least expensive
dish was $14 and suggested to my sister
that we share an entree and make up for
the lost portion with an appetizer. She
agreed , so we ordered a Tortilla Espanol
for starters. A fluffy omelette filled with
finely chopped onions and potatoes, this
dish was bursting with flavor and not at
all leaky like your traditional diner's
messy imitation . Neither greasy nor
flaky, this pillowy treat was quite filling
and made me understand how, in Spain,
it would often serve as a complete lunch.
Following the appetizer, we were
each served a small portion of Cafe
Espanol's special salad with savory
dressing. Laced with garlic , this
vinaigrette was like no other I had tried
previously. Tasting somewhat like a
cross between French and balsamic vinegar, it added a special touch to the crisp
lettuce, cherry tomatoes and carrot
shreds .
Pollo at ajillo , the entree we had
agreed to share, arrived in a metal cauldron . This dish featured two chicken
breasts, as well as three wings, bathed
in a light brown sauce which contained
roasted garlic cloves. Tasting somewhat
like meatloaf gravy but not nearly as
thick or salty, the sauce complemented
the chicken, which slid off the bone with
every fork prod . The flesh was sweet
and, when dipped in the garlic broth,
tasted sensational. Not one drop of this
manna-like mixture was left when the
chicken disappeared, because the sauce
doubled as an excellent dipping sauce
for the rolls we were served .
Dessert seemed to be the most exciting part of our meal , for the menu
tempted us with several treats. Flan,
tiramisu, cheesecake and chocolate
mousse cake all sounded delicious, but
we decided to try the fried ice cream.
The dish consisted of a generous scoop
of vanilla ice cream that had been
dou sed in maple syrup, rolled in
cornflakes and then flash-fried for three
seconds atop a plate glazed with raspberry syrup and powdered sugar. It was
amazing how this dish clearly defied
scientific law by not melting after being exposed to such heat; but then again,
the time I spent with my sister that
evening exhibited similar properties, for
everything in Cafe Espanol seemed too
good to be true.
Dining at Cafe Espanol was a treat
for many reasons . Not only did it allow
me to realize how fortunate I am to live
in a city where each street is teeming
with diversity, as can be seen by the variety of restaurants in business, but it
also made me realize how the best experience can arise from taking a chance
and looking beyond superficial appearance. Cafe Espanol may seem like an
eyesore to your average passerby, but
in reality, it offers a tranquil dining environment and fine Spanish cuisine.
..., #Review
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• Take a full-length practice test under realistic testing conditions
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must register in advance
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The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University
.- .-."." .
The Classic
May 2003
Continued improvement gives
Girls' track vows repeat as champs
playoff hopes for baseball team by Michelle Montgoris
stop there as the Hawks had the top four
by Stephen Berger
Dominant pitching and very clutch ior, who went 2-4 with an RBI and two
hitting led the Hawks to a spirited vic- stolen bases.
After the victory against Wagner, the
tory against Wagner on April 29. Starting pitcher Christopher Guillo went the Hawks lifted their regular season record
distance and pitched seven innings to 6-2.
A problem that has occurred throughwhile scattering seven hits. allowing
out the early portion
two runs; walked five
the season has been
and struck out seven
cold. rainy
batters. Guillo was
, throwing a shutout
weather. There have
been four postponed
until Wagner fought
games that will be
back to tie the Hawks
made up at a later
by scoring one run in
date. Currently, the
the fifth inning. With
Hawks are a half a
the score notched at
game behind the
one run apiece. the
Queens "B" division,
Hawks unleashed one
leading Franklin K.
of their famous ralLane,
who holds a
lies. This opened the
record of six wins and
game and extended
Potent hitting outfielder
only one loss.
the score to 9-1.
Christopher Fuchs waits for the
Third year head
Leading the way
right pitch in a recent game against
for the Hawks offenLieberman has led
sively were first
baseman John Boneta, senior. who bat- "this team to improving records in each
ted 2-4 with an RBI, second baseman of the past three seasons. His first year.
Michael Schwartz, junior, who was 1-3 in 2001, the Hawks finished two games
with an RBI and two stolen bases. and over .500 at 8-6, and the team ended with
centerfielder Maurice Stevenson, jun- a much stronger 11-5 record last year.
Huttner serves up tennis victory
by Lauren Korneziewski
First singles player Sophia
Huttner, senior, led the way for the
Girls' Varsity Tennis team in their
match up against Martin Van Buren
on April 28. She was victorious 10-1
and began what was another brilliant
afternoon for the Hawks.
Sophomore Jacquel Chancer won
her singles match 10-7, while junior
Alyssa Ng defeated her opponent from
Van Buren 10-2. As for the doubles
competition. the tandems of senior
Jodi Fierstein and sophomore Chantal
Bruno , and freshman Allison
Kornblatt and sophomore Christina
Tsirkas, won their matches 10-2 and
10-] respectively.
The Hawks so far have had an almost perfect season. Despite a forfeit
defeat in the opener against Francis
Lewis on March 25. the 2003 squad
has reeled off six straight victories .
However. in the most competitive division in Queens. the Queens I division.
the Hawks are up against very tough
competition. They have yet to face Benjamin Cardozo. and have a pair of bouts
with the undefeated first place team in
order to close out the regular season.
Currently, the Hawks sit in the standings behind the Cardozo Judges, and
Francis Lewis. Townsend Harris beat
Lewis in their only actual encounter this
year. when the Hawks were victorious
three games to two.
In that meeting on April 10, the
Hawks seemed to be devastated when
their first two singles stars, Huttner and
Chancer, fell by scores of 10-8 and 106. Luckily for the Hawks, the third
singles player, Alyssa Ng, and the two
doubles teams came out on top and recovered to win the match.
Girls kick into gear as soccer season heats up
by Elyse Lee
Despite the encouraging start to
the season for the Girls' Varsity Soccer team, featuring the most recent
5-0 shutout victory against John
Adams on April 30, the Hawks are
still mulling over their devastating
5-4 defeat at the hands of the first
place. the undefeated Cardozo
Judges. The Hawks sit three points
behind the 10-0 Judges and a full
game back in the standings.
In the meeting on April 4,
Cardozo edged out Harris with three
more shots on goal. But goalkeeper.
Lauren Poretta, senior. was solid.
posting 10 saves.
In all nine of their victories, the
Hawks have posted consistent shutouts
and are proud of their accomplishments. "Our defense has been solid
and most teams have been unable to
stop our potent offensive attack."
Poretta said.
The team has benefitted from
strong senior leadership this year.
Coach Chris Hackney has formed a
great bond for the last three years with
his oldest group which includes Andrea Strauss. Jaclyn Miccio, Lauren
Poretta, Jessica Hetherington, Stacy
Christoforidis, and Patti Babio.
The Girls ' Varsity Outdoor Track
team continued their brilliant start to
the outdoor season in their performance at the Queens Spring Series
meet on April 14. The team nearly
swept top finishes in the races in which
they ran.
Senior Jessica Krivac ran to a first
place finish with two minutes and 38.8
seconds in the 800-meter run. Freshman Amanda Pneuman, who notched
a time of two minutes and 39.7 seconds. followed her in the race. The
Hawks had four of the top five finishers in the 800-meter run.
In the 3000-meter run, sophomore
Po Yee Cheung came in second place
with a time of 12minutes and 22.9 seconds, just about 20 seconds away from
a first place win. The success did not
Volleyball players
face tough opponents
by Elyse Lee
In a mid-season attempt to both move
their record above .500 and, at the same
time , defeat previously undefeated
Cardozo High School, the Boys' Volleyball squad met nothing but disappointment. The Hawks were swept two
games to none in the match. by scores
of 25-12 and 25-18. The team was simply outworked in..~very statistical category at the match . Cardozo shutout
Harris in aces, 6-0, had more service
points by a 33-] 0 count , had nine more
blocks and 13 more digs. as well as 20
more kills than the Hawks .
The Hawks have a record of three
wins and four losses midway through
this season, which is better than last
year's disappointing 2-8 record. This
season, though, the Hawks hoped for a
more successful beginning. "Looking
up at Cardozo and Francis Lewis every
year gets very difficult," said coach
Elizabeth Dempster.
Some of the main contributors not
only on the court, but who provide invaluable leadership off the court, include seniors Alvin Gottoc, Ashish
Hansoty, Michael Huang, Varun Jain,
Timothy Murphy. Carlos Romero, Ben
Sec, Matthew Stuart. and Tarun Suri.
The future of the team lies in the hands
of junior Payton Armstrong. sophomore
Timothy Andersen, and freshmen Woo
Yon Kwak, and Jason Yeoun. The
Hawks hope to salvage the season and
finish on a high note.
finishers in the 1500-meter walk competition. The order was junior Rosalind
Adams. sophomore Elizabeth Fede r.
and then freshmen Sarah Fadika and
Ann Matthews. "That was big." said
Sarah. "It's a good start."
The girls have entered the outdoor
track season after prosperous fall and
winter campaigns . Coach Joseph Horn
considers this a wonderful team that
has grown strong through the seasons .
The outdoor squad is built to continue that success. The team has
meshed experience with new talent.
The roster consists of 23 girls who have
run cross-country, indoor, and are now
running outdoor track. Freshman
Christine Archdiacono, who has run all
three seasons, thinks the mix will work
well. "The veterans will help a lot this
season, " she said. "The freshmen who
ran all three seasons have improved a
lot also. Some have cut their time by
two, three. even four whole minutes."
Softball team seeks
spot in playoffs
by Stephen Berger
Afterthe four games to start the year
were suspended or postponed due to
inclement weather, the Girls' Varsity
Softball team lost against William C.
Bryant on April 16 and on April 29
against Bayside. Bryant and Bayside
sit atop the Queens "A" division, and
represent the stiffest competition thus
far this season .
In the team's most recent defeat,
starting pitcher Melissa Tubens, senior,
was shelled, giving up 15 runs, only
eight earned, on 14 hits, walking five
and striking out two. Offensively the
story is not much better..
The Hawks hoped their 18-0 win
over Van Buren. a forfeit victory against
Van Buren and a 17-0 shutout victory
against Adams would spark a winning
streak, but these victories came against
the lowest rung of the division.
Veteran coach Lawrence Ceraulo
thinks this team has potential, but
"needs to have everything work right
for consistent victories."
"We definitely see ourselves reserving a spot in the playoffs and going at
least to the third or fourth round , if not
further." stated offensive star Jodi
Wright . sophomore.
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The Classic
May 2003
ndball squad serves up
victorious season so far
Boys ' tennis strives for playoff bid
by Michelle Montgoris
of the entire season so far, with the team
Dom inance was the only word to boasting five straight shutout victories.
descr ibe the Girls' Handball team 's They have played Van Buren and the High
School for Arts and Business
perf ormance on April
twice , Grover Cleveland,
28 ag a i nst the High
Sc ho o l for Arts and
~~~~ and the High School for Arts
... ~
and Business twice . The
Business. In the singles
compet it ions, senior
team is in first place in the
- Queens I division, but has
pas ted a 21- I score,
" - .,
g,o yet to play the other undewith two kills and six
~ feated team , John Adams .
§ That crucial meet will take
Emi ly Berliner posted
"" place on May 15.
a 21-2 score over her
"This year's team is one
of the strongest, most wellad versary, w ith four
kills and nine aces . Sebalanced team I've had in a
n io r Karen Denis LinnaFang,senior,serves
long time," coach James
rounded out the singles during handball practice.
Jordan said "I can deficompetition with a 21-2 win, posting nitely see a return to the final four. My
goal for the team is to win the ci ty
six kills and eight aces.
This victory was only a microcosm champs. "
i IF..h;D'I1 '
""p '
ack team geari ng for Queens championship
by Step hen Berger
The Hawks competed at the Penn
Relays on April 25 and 26 and ran two
races. A team composed of juniors
Jahoon Kim, Andrew Rivera, and
Louis Elrose, as well as senior Carlos
Gonzalez finished ninth in the 4x I00
relay and, according to senior Dmitry
Yukhvid, "Ran very well, as ex pected." In the second race, a 4x400
relay, seniors Seth Steinhoff and
Mikhail Khaimov, as well as freshmen Evan Hundley and Joey
Rodriguez, placed twelfth.
Yukhvid said, "It is difficult to
evaluate the placing finishes because
the Queens standin gs; however, they are
miles away from the dominant Cardozo
team , that boasts an undefea ted 8-0
record . The Haw ks will try to dent
Cardozo's pe rfect season when they
mee t on Ap ril 30.
Second year coach Howard Furm an,
vows to improve on last year 's 5-5 finish. "We have much improved players,
and great hope for the future with a fairly
young squad," he said.
The team also i ncludes se niors
Jonathan Kam ler and Geoffrey Ng,junior Corey Chu, and sophomores David
Bocchi and Irfan Taqi. Coach Furman
added, "All our singles players are returning from last season, and they are
very strong. We lost some of our doubles
players, and hopefully we can make up
for that loss. We would absolutely love
to make the playoffs."
Boys handed tough competitlcn
by Michelle Montgoris
the Penn Relays is such a big track meet
and the weather conditions were not
A great sign this team has seen
throughout the entire year, not just this
outdoor track season, is the performance
of the freshmen . Coach George Rio said,
"The freshmen have shown tremendous
improvement throughout the year and are
able to compete on the varsity level."
In prepartion for the ultimate competition of the year, the Queens Championship on May 16, the Hawks continue to
do speed work and various other running
drills on the Queens College track on a
daily basis.
ur ro
by Lauren Korzeniewski
Sophomore Ari Gayer led the way for
the Boys ' Varsity Tennis team on April
28 by dominating Hicham AI Kandry of
Bryant in an 8-1 rout. This was only
the beginning of a brilliant day for the
Junior Matthew Kirschner won his
match by a convinci ng 8-3 score, and
sop homore Sotiri s Georgiou notched an
8-6 win to sweep the singles competition during the day. As for the doubles
results, sophomores Ethan Felder and
Dain Lee ousted Bryant's tandem by an
8-3 margin, and the second doubles
squad of junior Corey Chu and sophomore Irfan Taqi sneaked away with an
8-6 win. The Hawks came away with a
5-0 shutout and improved their record
to 3-2.
The Hawks now sit in third place in
The 2003 Boys' Handball team has
experienced a bittersweet beginning to
their season. Their record is a modest
2-1; however, both their wins came in
forfeits against Campus Magnet. The
loss the Hawks suffered came at the
hands of undefeated Francis Lewis and
in a matchup on April 7 against undefeated Cardozo, the Hawks: were lucky
to have the game postponed as they were
clearly overmatched.
Senior Matthew Barbery commented
that in both games, "Cardozo and
Francis Lewis just had more precision
on their shot s, and they hit the ball con-
stantly low or just on the line, making it
impossible to get." It was clear from the
two meets the Hawks have had with
Francis Lewis and Cardozo that this
year's squad does not stack up with the
elite of the Queens III division.
The team is trying to improve upon
last year's .500 record, of 5 wins and 5
losses. "But last year was definitely not
what I had hoped for. This year's team
is deeper than it has been in the past. I'm
going to predict a third place finish, because we're in a very competitive division," said coach Adam Stonehill.
by.J osh F,
While watching the NFL playoffs a few months ago, the Wild Card game
bet ween the New York Giants and the San Francisco 4gers. I was left with a
very bad taste in my mou th. No, it was not because of the 24 point lead the
Giants ble w to the 4gers. It was not even due to the terrible call the referees
made at the end of the game regarding the penalty that was missed. The
glaring memory I have from that game was the immature, poo r sportsmanship
by the outspoken rookie Jeremy Shockey of the Giants. During the game ,
when the Giants were winning, Shockey showed his middle finger to members of the San Francisco crowd, as well as the millions of viewers watching
at home. In addition, Shockey, in an attem pt to taunt the fans. threw several
pieces of ice at a few people sitting in the stands.
As a sports journalist, an avid fan of sports, and just a citizen of a country
that is engulfed in the ups and downs of the sporting world, I asked myself,
should 1 continually look up to athletes like Jeremy Shockey and make them
my ro le models? Is it healthy to value and perhaps imitate their actions, on or
off the field. po sitive or negative? Should I Jose sleep over their controversial
view poin ts and should their misbehavior come as a shock to me? Or sho uld I
basically only read the box scores in the morning, caring about how they perform ed on the field, and disregard their other shenanigans?
As much as I woul d like to deny it, the fact remains that childre n in our
soc iety emulate what these athletes do. Their imitation could be as harm less
as overly celebrating on the field afte r a good play, like all athletes do now, or
it unfortunately could be as destructive as spe wing derogatory words to others
durin g competition because they have seen one of their favor ite basketball
players do the same.
In the early 19908, pro basketball superstar Charles Barkley proclaimed
that children should not view him as a role mod el, for he was just a basketball
player, He said that his job was not to raise the kids of the 2()lb Cen tury, just
put a ball in the basket. At first glance, I thou ght that this was a gutless and
patheti c excuse to give to the millions of fans who support the self- proclaimed
"Sir Charles," and view him as their role model. After much thought, I have
come to the conclusion tha t Charles Barkely's sta tement is in fact accurate,
albei t disappointing to his fans .
Magic Johnson was a great basketbaU player. Michael Jordan was a great
basketball player. Mike Piazza is a great baseball player. Noth ing else sho uld
matter. These athletes ' performances on the field should be enough to those
superstars' respective fans . It is true that their lives are constantly in the public
eye, making their flaws, mistakes and poor beh avior vulnerable to being exposed and criticized . But just like you and me. they are human beings. If all the
students and faculty of this school were scruti n ized to the extent of these athletes, some information might arise that co uld change the way you woul d view
those same people.
However, should I feel sorry for M ichael Jordan because the me dia foun d
out that he had a gambling problem and marriage trou ble ? M ichael Jordan
earns more in one week than I probably will in 20 lifetimes. Does he need my
sympathy? One might say that our leaders, whose lives are essentially public
property, have to accept the risks of having their secrets and troubles exposed
along with the stardom that they consistently receive bec ause it co mes with the
territory. The y are our soc ial icons, representatives of our ge neration forever,
and sho uld be held in a higher regard. While that may be true, as fans, it is our
responsibility not to allow their character flaws and off the field mistakes to
either come as a surprise to us or allow them to personally hurt us.
If you ever find yourself questioning the role of ath letes in the broader scope
of society, beyond their performances on the field, j ust think of the words of
Charles Barkley. A thletes are j ust a large pool ofhumari beings; there are good
ones and there are bad ones. but they all mak e mi stakes. Root, cheer, hate, love
and enjoy sports and these stars , but do not turn them into gods because it will
be our fau lt when we realize they are not.