Thursday, December 1, 2016

Get your pens out and Put your writing caps on! It’s NaNoWriMo time!

For many, fall is a time of pumpkin spice lattes, leaves, and thanks. November in particular may bring to mind the delicious smells of turkey and mashed potatoes while also invoking that sense of warmth that family brings. For some however, November, has yet another meaning: National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.

During this wonderful month, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel—a number that may seem intimidating. This year, I decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot, and although I had little optimism in my chances of completing it, I hoped that it would push me through the writer’s block I had been stuck in since May. Surprisingly, it worked. I found myself pouring word after word onto the page, pressed by the fact that in order to write 50,000 words in thirty days, I would have to write close to 2000 words a day, roughly four typed pages.

In the past week, I discovered to my surprise that not only was I overcoming my writer’s block, but I was also finding that the more I wrote, the easier it became. In the past few days, I consistently surpassed my daily goals and was pouring out around 2100 words a day.

This wasn’t easy. However, I had a few methods to help me. As a member of Wattpad, I had the luxury of being in a community of writers, and we often had word wars and word sprints to help us with faster writing. In a word war, we set a window of time to write in and competed to write the most in that time period, and in a word sprint, we set a specific number of words to shoot for and competed to reach that first. These helped immensely as they added yet another pressure to stop me from succumbing to the instinct of stopping and editing—which often disrupts creative flow—and from procrastinating.

When I first embarked on this endeavor, I had no idea I could write 2000 words in a day, and now, even though there are still 22 days left in November where everything could go wrong, it’s amazing to think that I could actually “win” NaNoWriMo.

For those don’t have the time to write 50,000 words, the NaNoWriMo organization made a youth program as well where users aged up to 17 can set their own word goals. So, to those writers out there struggling with writer’s block or even to those who have no problem with writing, why not give NaNoWriMo a try?

By Amy Z.
Quite a while ago, it was announced that we pushed atmospheric carbon levels past 400 parts per million. You might ask how this may affect you or why you should care. But this announcement will indefinitely change the earth that we hold so dear.

Carbon dioxide is actually a naturally-occurring gas. Many people today deem this infamous gas bad for the environment due to its association with global warming. Carbon dioxide is needed by plants in order to carry out photosynthesis, a process that produces the oxygen we need, among other things. In decent amounts, this gas warms our atmosphere and sustains life. But in copious amounts, this gas can destroy our planet.

This September, scientists noticed that the carbon levels hovered around 401 parts per million. Normally, carbon levels would reach a low point at that time. This newly found information shows us that immediate action needs to be taken. Following this discovery, 195 countries gathered at a convention—the Paris Agreement—to contribute to the prevention of global average temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But the 60 nations who ratified this agreement only account for 47.76 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. And if this gets worse, the World Wildlife Fund estimates that 10,000 species could become extinct each year. That means that ¼ of Earth’s species could be extinct by 2050 (according to the Nature Conservancy). High carbon levels will cause glaciers to melt, thus flooding coastlines and communities. It is estimated that by 2100, approximately 13 million people in the United States will lose their homes as a result of rising sea levels.

But there is a silver lining to this seemingly never-ending nightmare: to help our planet recover, limit driving and instead walk, ride bikes, carpool, or use public transportation. Turn off lights when you are not using them and insulate/seal your home. Eat organic and locally grown food, recycle, and reduce consumption of beef and dairy. Only together can we slowly reverse the destruction of our planet.

By Matthew Ramirez

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Another Year, Another Homecoming

Homecoming is a traditional event that students, families, and administrators look forward to year-round. Our celebration this year included a much-anticipated football game against Fox Lane High School and a lively dance; it was a celebration that certainly did not disappoint. For members of the Freshman Class, these events helped to make John Jay home too.  

On Friday, September 30th, our varsity football team played a great game against Fox Lane High School, winning 41-14. It started by honoring the team’s senior players—who will graduate this June—with their families coming out onto the field to congratulate them on their high-school achievements. After this brief ceremony, all of our players swarmed onto the field, but not before bursting through a John Jay poster held by the cheerleaders. The energy never dwindled throughout the game: the countless fans in the stands were loud and energetic, and even the rain could not dampen their spirits. The stands were filled with people, who even began surrounding the fence to get closer to the field and its players. Needless to say, this year’s homecoming game was beyond enjoyable. And it was our John Jay spirit that lead us to an amazing win.

The next day (October 1st) was the homecoming dance. Everyone, from freshmen to seniors, was present, and anxiously waited in the candle-lit lobby for the dance to start. A few high rise tables sprinkled the room, the string lights hanging along the walls emitting a dim but festive glow on the variety of complementary foods: two fountains, chocolate and marshmallow; different fruits; and rice krispy treats. Soon, the procession moved into the cafeteria, where there were four balloon pillars, stringed balloons linked between them. Blue, white, and green lights illuminated the room and the feet on the floor, moving to classic dances like the cupid shuffle and the cotton-eyed Joe. The smiles and laughter were contagious. Finally, the homecoming king and queen were announced: Omar E. and Cayla R. This year’s dance was undeniably fun for all those who came out, and it helped celebrate our exciting homecoming victory.

For years leading up to our becoming students at John Jay, the school might have appeared a foreboding place; we were nervous about whether or not we would fit in, whether we would actually enjoy our seemingly endless days in high school. But after a mere month as freshmen, we have been won over by the Patriot spirit, the merry events, and the fun, energetic atmosphere—especially in this year’s homecoming events. The annual weekend is a time when everyone can feel at home at John Jay, when everyone can have fun together. Let’s celebrate our pride in our school and our ever-burning spirit: Let’s go Patriots!

By Tanmayi R.

We Need YOU at the Butterfly Garden


Environmental Club has started cleaning up the Butterfly Garden!

On October 12th, we began to clean our garden, uprooting weeds and beautifying it in general.  Unfortunately, the ground was very hard, so we will need to continue the cleanup on October 19th before we can plant new flowers.

We appreciate all the help we can get. The more people present, the faster and easier it will be to finish the job, and then we can get to the fun part… planting!

So, if you are free, please come on out!  And don’t forget to bring a pitch fork and/or hoes!

Hope to see you then!


Environmental Club has Arrived!

John Jay High School has finally formed an Environmental Club!

We are looking for members who are interested in cleaning up our environment and for people who are full of innovative ideas that will help our environment.

The club officers are as follows:
President- Andrea A.
Vice President- Julia S.
Treasurer- Tara L.
Secretary- Jamie A.
District Coordinator- Justin D.
Historian- Taylor H.

So far this year, we have created our logo (shown above) thanks to Senior Maddie C., and we have started to clean up the Butterfly Garden outside our school.

Join us on October 19th for a fun, productive afternoon of planting in the garden! Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd at the environmental fair!

Club meetings are held every other Wednesday in room 253 (Ms. Heffler) after school. We look forward to meeting new members!

Next meeting: October 19th

Join Newspaper Club!

First off, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you on behalf of John Jay High School. It may seem a little intimidating at first, and you have to be careful on Freshman Friday (just kidding, freshman Friday doesn’t exist). However, after you learn to navigate the world of high school, I’m sure you will excel in the next four years of your education. An excellent  way to ease yourself into the school atmosphere is to join clubs, as it is in these that you can make friends with those who have similar interests with you and learn from those who have more experience in the high school realm. Plus, they look good on your resume, which can’t hurt.

To start you off in your search for clubs, I would highly recommend Newspaper Club, a club made up of those who share a passion for words and for informing others about the going-ons at John Jay and in the world. With four categories, opinion, life, sport, and Jay news, there’s something there for everyone, whether you want to write an article about the disaster of a presidential election we have this year, an article about fashion trends, an article about the Superbowl, or an article about the school play. If you don’t consider yourself a writer, you’re still welcome to join us as newspapers need photographers, artists, and everything in between. It’s always nice to see your name in print next to a product that you’ve made, and as a club with meetings on the shorter side, you won’t be overwhelmed, making it an ideal club to begin with.

If you’re interested in joining, keep your ears open and listen to the announcements for the date of our first meeting. I hope to see you there, and I look forward to another great year!

*Meetings in Room 216, directly after school.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

John Jay FBLA Goes To The New York State Leadership Conference

After competing in the Spring District Meeting of District 3N, the students of the John Jay High School chapter of FBLA began to prepare for the next big competition ahead of them: the State Leadership Conference, which took place April 13th through 15th. This competition included schools from all over New York state, and contained almost a thousand competitors. Presentations were constructed, tests were labored over, and individual performance events were practiced until they could be recited in sleep. Then, on Tuesday, April 12th, it was time. The students brought their luggage in the morning and spent the rest of the school day in a nervous jitter, unable to concentrate on anything except the fact that they would be leaving for Rochester in a mere few hours.

Eventually, that time came and, with only a minor fiasco involving the Ketcham competitors, they were off. Five hours later, after a long train ride, they arrived at the Radisson Hotel in Rochester, and had a very late dinner before going off to their respective rooms to get some much needed sleep.

Over the next two days, the hours of preparation were put to use, and the students went to their events, with several teams and individuals qualifying for finals, which included the top five or eight teams of each event, depending on how many rooms the event took place in. Once there, they continued to compete until five winners were selected, who were announced during the awards ceremony Friday morning.

When the students didn’t have an event to go to, they were kept occupied by workshops hosted by the state leadership team along with a member of the National Leadership team, the national secretary, Josie Luptak. These workshops included workshops for Team Building, Impromptu Speaking, Fundraising Ideas, Job Interview, and Ways to Dress for Success. Other activities included the dances held on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. Wednesday night, the dance was western themed, and so the competitors wore flannels, jeans, and other cowboy gear. On Thursday night, the dance was a masquerade so the students dressed up in semi-formal attire and masks were distributed, even though most students opted not to wear them. During all of these activities, students from all over New York state were able to interact and learn about each other and each other’s schools.

Finally, on Friday morning, the long-awaited awards ceremony arrived. John Jay High School ended up receiving an impressive array of awards, with eight people qualifying for nationals. In the team events, Jeevenjot Bhinder, Charles Gray, and Shakim Williams qualified for nationals in fourth place. And the duo, Maddie Orlando-Sturm and Jack Bott, placed impressively in two events with fifth in Social Media Campaign and third in Public Service Announcement, thus qualifying them for Nationals. Individually, both Joseph D’Annibale and Ruby Miller placed fourth in their events, and qualified for nationals in Accounting and Help Desk respectively. Finally, Amy Zhou was awarded first place in the state for Public Speaking. Congratulations to everyone, and good luck at Nationals!

© 2016 Amy Z. All rights reserved.

Will there be a 2016 Olympic Games?

When Rio was selected as the city to hold the 2016 Olympics, both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Brazil, were very excited; this would be the first time a South American country would host the Olympic Games. At the time, Brazil was a very balanced country. Now, with a little less than 3 months until the world’s most popular and exciting sport event is to happen, many problems are arising. The first problem that that came into light is water pollution. Around August of last year, while testing the water conditions, experts realized that the water is contaminated. They found the waters of Rio to be extremely polluted, mainly with sewage. This is a huge problem because the water that is polluted is where the open water swimming, sailing, rowing, and kayaking events will be taking place. Test events took place in Guanabara Bay later in the year, and there have been reports that many athletes that participated in those test events have gotten sick as a result of the water. The IOC has stated that water will be safe by the time the games start, and they are working with Brazil and World Health Organization to achieve this goal.

Another problem that is arising is the Zika Virus. The Zika Virus is a disease that is usually transmitted by mosquitoes, but recent cases show it is possible for the virus to be sexually transmitted. This virus is mainly a problem for pregnant women, because if they receive the virus, there can be serious birth defects for the baby. There has been a surge of cases of this virus early this year, particularly in Brazil and the WHO has declared the Zika Virus a global health emergency. Because of this, they are urging women who are pregnant to not travel to Zika affected areas, which includes Brazil. Although Brazil is stating they will do whatever it takes to stop the spread of the virus, many athletes are worried about the virus as they are scared it can affect their children in the future.

Another problem is that Brazil is in a recession. Hundreds and thousands of people are unemployed and inflation has been sky high, and it looks like nothing is being done to fix it. According Bloomberg, more than 100,000 jobs have been cut in March as a result of the seemingly never ending recession. Experts believe Brazil will not get out of the recession anytime soon, if this continues.

And lastly, the country is dealing with whether or not to impeach President Dilma Rousseff as she is caught in a political scandal. Many Brazilians want her out of office. Although, the IOC is very confident that the Olympics will happen and by the time they begin, all the problems that are currently happening will be fixed, many are very wary. This leads everyone to ask this question; will the games begin or will they end even before the Olympic Torch is lit in Rio?

© 2016 Monique B. All rights reserved.

John Jay Man

John Jay Man 2016
John Jay Man 2016

The crowded auditorium buzzed with excitement as the students and parents waited patiently for the eleventh annual John Jay Man to begin. The show was set up by National Honor Society, and all the money made that night went towards the Grace Smith House. The show opened with the hosts, Jake Karst and Vishnu Adapa. Then, the much anticipated John Jay Men were introduced, first with a “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift parody video, which briefly introduced all 10 of the men. The curtain raised and revealed Michael Flanagan, Joey Smith, Josh Martel, Ryan Schumacher, Eric Wakefield, Matt Benedict, Lorenzo Aviles, Vinny Farina, Kevin Turi, and Dan Fay standing in a line wearing neon colored shirts with corresponding bandanas. They performed a hilarious dance which was choreographed by NHS president Grace Gionta and Anna Difede.

Next, each John Jay Man was introduced individually wearing their character wear, which was their outfit of choice that mirrored their personality. Once everyone was introduced, the men came out on stage one by one wearing formal wear, featuring many coloured tuxedos and stunning dresses worn by their ladies. The last event before intermission was their personal skits: the 10 men performed their variety of talents, such as monologues, interviews, instrument playing and opera.

We were then released for an intermission, and when we came back, the hosts began elimination rounds. Each John Jay man was eliminated until only three remained: Mr. Nice Guy (Kevin Turi), Mr. #Artsy (Joey Smith), and Mr. Goofball (Vinny Farina). A careful decision was made by the judges. Finally, Joey Smith, otherwise known as Mr. #Artsy, was crowned John Jay Man 2016. Not only did Joey impress the judges with his musical abilities during his skit by playing the banjo, acoustic guitar, saxophone and drums, but he wooed their hearts by telling the story of his first date with his girlfriend, Sarah Holan. He told about how he tried to teach her guitar and while she was trying to make conversation, he sat awkwardly and stared at the floor, only communicating through murmurs. They've been dating many months since!

Mr. #Artsy is a definite crowd pleaser and deserves the title John Jay Man.

© 2016 Sarah C. All rights reserved

6 Budget-Friendly Summer Activities in the Hudson Valley

Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel
If you’re searching for some local, budget-friendly ideas, look no further!

1. Walkway Over the Hudson
This 1.28-mile bridge stretches from Poughkeepsie to Highland and provides a scenic view of the Hudson Valley. In addition, it is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world! Access is free, and parking is only several dollars, which makes the Walkway a great place to go for a walk or jog with family and friends.

2. Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
Fewer than 16 minutes away from the walkway, the CIA is a wonderful place to visit. Whether you’re touring the campus or stopping for food, you’re sure to be amazed by student chefs and beautiful restaurants. Though food prices may run rather steep, the exquisite food is hard to top.

3. Splashdown Beach
If you grew up in the Hudson Valley, odds are, you’ve been to Splashdown. With moderate prices and a continuously expanding park, Splashdown has been a family favorite for years, and people of all ages can enjoy a day at the “beach.” It’s the perfect spot for any hot summer day.

4. The Town of Beacon
Considered one of the artsiest local towns, Beacon is a great spot to go year-round. Filled with restaurants, coffee shops, and local sellers, you’ll experience the authentic, close-to-home vibes of Beacon. Check out Dia:Beacon to see some impressive artwork.

5. Shows at West Point
If you’re looking for a fun night, West Point is a great place for spectacular shows, including classic plays, musicals, and even famous musicians. Shows are performed in Eisenhower (Ike) Hall, a huge theater fit for thousands. The price is definitely worth the entertainment; performers fail to disappoint!

6. Dutchess County Fair
A family favorite, the Dutchess County Fair, which occurs at the end of August, will be a great way to wrap up the summer! Prices are affordable, and you’ll be entertained all day, with live performances, rides, and a plethora of vendors. The fair is a Dutchess County classic -- don’t miss it!

© 2016 Taylor Dowd. All rights reserved.