Science & Health
Global warming is taking the penguins
Imagine your world, your only home, was slowly breaking down into pieces that made living very hard. And, your food supply was diminishing too much, too fast.
Global warming is the slow destruction of our little blue planet over time as radiation, or heat waves from the sun, get trapped in our atmosphere over time. Gases from pollution such as factory smoke, cigarette smoke, power plants, cars, methane gas (often from cow farts) and more are trapped in the atmosphere. The gases’ heat causes our atmosphere to heat up. Since our atmosphere is a layer covering all of the Earth, the global temperature also rises. 
Now, you may ask yourself, Why are you telling me that? It doesn’t sound like our worst problem … the coronavirus is? Well, maybe this isn’t your biggest problem, but it most definitely is a problem that needs fixing. Did you know that Earth is three-quarters water if you exclude all the ice in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans? Since our Earth’s temperature is rising, all the heat is causing the ice in the Arctic and Atlantic to melt. Animals that live in these areas such as penguins, polar bears, seals, turtles and a lot more are losing their habitats. Their homes are literally being melted away. Their entire species are doomed to be endangered, or worse, extinct. 
In fact, “there are 17 species of penguins in the Southern Hemisphere and nearly all of them are in danger,” said Derrick Z. Jackson, [didn’t get back to me about this]. Due to global warming, the polar ice caps are melting, so penguins are literally losing their habitats. Not to mention that melting ice also kills krill, the tiny fish that penguins eat. Penguins are losing their environments, no their homes, and facing starvation all at the same time. Imagine if that happened to you.
As their homes are being melted away, many animals are drowning because they got caught in the crossfire of you polluting our atmosphere and causing this poor unsuspecting animal to lose its home, and in this scenario, its life. Over time, species will decrease in population, and without predators, the prey populations will flourish.
In the Northern Hemisphere, puffins were nearly completely hunted and killed off in Maine during the 1900s. Luckily, the Puffin Project was started and it restored the puffin population back to a state where it isn’t at all close to endangerment. Now, some people question if it was even worth restoring the population because of global warming.
The puffins live all around the Gulf of Maine and a couple of Canadian islands, Jackson said. This is the fastest-warming ocean water on earth due to global warming. Fish in those areas will swim to other areas with cooler water. Now the puffins have no food, which is why the population has begun to once again decrease. Not to mention that the water will only get warmer as global warming goes on, so was the Puffin Project in vain? Will those puffins actually die because of global warming?
This imbalance in the environment will topple like dominos, or rather, change one thing after another in the environment. If one species is wiped out, its prey, who will become the new predator, will eat all of its prey and have that species near extinction since there is an uneven ratio of predator to prey. The new prey population will decrease until it’s near extinction and then the new predator's species will begin to decrease as well since there is no food anymore. So over time, everyone dies. Or, as I said before, the slow destruction of our earth. All because you decide to pollute your Earth by smoking, driving your car, working at a power plant and more activities that release gas into our atmosphere that contributes to global warming.
Not only do the animals living in those areas lose their homes, but the decrease in population also makes it harder for animals to find a mate. So it’s even harder for the species to survive because they can’t slowly increase the population through reproduction.  
If you could please just take some time to walk or take public transportation and avoid adding to the amount of gases in our atmosphere, then you can help our earth.
It doesn’t have to be solving world hunger or peace, but there are ways that everyday people like you and me can help. You can “vote for politicians who want to take care of science-related issues and pollution,” Jackson explained. “[People] who advocate policies to get rid of fossil fuels.” You can also use solar panels, drive less and take public transportation. In fact, much of the world is already on the way to using solar energy. Puerto Rico has some laws, and Germany and other countries in northern Europe do as well. Some places even have set targets to be carbon neutral by 2040 or 2050. 
Maybe it won’t make such a big difference to you, but it does help. It helps our Earth and the little suffering animals in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
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Science & Health
A guide to flying airplanes
Rhys McAllister
Ever since I was a little kid I have been interested in airplanes. Once, when I was three, my grandparents took me flying in their Cessna plane, and I was allowed to sit right in the cockpit! However, I was not permitted to touch the controls. I was too young then, but it inspired my dream to learn to fly.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become interested in what having a career as an airline pilot might be like flying passengers to and from their travel destinations.
Mitch Cohen is an airline pilot who, like me, became interested in airplanes at a young age. In fact, the same year he was born his parents “gave birth” to a small airport called Burlington County Lumberton, and as he got older he sometimes helped out there. The airport was privately owned by his family until it was sold in 2000 and is now known as South Jersey Regional Airport outside of Philadelphia.
Today Cohen is an airline pilot for SkyWest Airlines and flies an ERJ 175. This plane is 104 ft long and can hold 76 passengers. His typical routes are in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas. “I’ve been as far east as Nova Scotia,” he said.
All pilots, including people who just want to fly for fun, have to go through training.  There are different requirements to have a private pilot license and a commercial pilot certificate. A private license requires about 40 hours. According to, a commercial license is a little more complicated. To obtain a commercial certificate in an airplane under FAR Part 61 rules, a pilot must have:
  • 250 hours of flight time, 100 hours of which must be in powered aircraft, and 50 must be in airplanes
100 hours of pilot-in-command time, 50 of which must be in airplanes
50 hours of cross-country time, 10 of which must be in an airplane
20 hours of training, including 10 of instrument, 10 of complex or TAA and a smattering of cross-country and practical test preparation
10 hours of solo training, including a smattering of cross-country and night

Cohen started training when he was pretty young and did a lot of flying in his last two years of high school. “I knocked out all my requirements and just had two required courses every day,” he explained. He learned more about aviation in college and received his license at Quaker City School of Aeronautics. He got an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic certificate at this school well.
There are many different kinds of planes and pilots can specialize in flying specific models. Planes from the Airbus A320 family are some of the most popular in the U.S. This plane is different from the ERJ175 because it is bigger and can allow more passengers. Other popular commercial planes include the Boeing 737 or 747.
An Airline pilot can also earn a good salary. In 2018 according to, the average salary for an airline pilot was $130,059. But not just the money is great, flying and controlling the airplane makes this a fun career option. Most pilots are passionate about their jobs. As Captain Mitch said, “I’ve been here for the last 20 years and love my job...haven’t gotten bored yet!”
I would definitely recommend a career in aviation as an airline pilot or maybe in the military because I think that being on a plane is very enjoyable.  As someone who had the experience of being in the cockpit of an airplane, I know the feeling of what it must be like to fly, and I think it is truly wonderful. 
“I definitely would recommend a career in aviation, but in order to know that you're going to be in the same position that I’m in, you need to go out and take at least a couple of lessons and see if its something you really love or not,” said Cohen. 
If you dislike the idea of being an airline pilot, you can always get a private license and fly for fun. Some flight schools in Eastern Massachusetts include Lee Academy Pilot School, Runway Aviation Schools Boston, Horizon Aviation, and East Coast Aero Club. Check them out if you are interested in learning more! Imagine all the new places you could visit in your free time.
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Science & Health
As teens face more and more stressors, it’s key that parents support them
Feedyourvision from Pexels
These past five years have been pretty interesting. Trump is president, there are mass shootings, untimely deaths, we are all in quarantine because of a global pandemic and to top it off, us students still have to deal with school. On a normal basis school is stressful because there is so much going on, and we can’t always get the help we need from our parents so it’s no surprise that a main source of stress, anxiety, and depression in teens comes from school. This is important because it can be properly addressed but because parents are unaware, more and more teens face this issue. It might seem that teens only think about school when we're there, but it actually continues when we’re at home and doing other things. This is very important to understand, especially during transition times like beginning a new grade, or even something small like the end of an academic quarter. Something that would help relieve our stress is having people check in on how we’re doing, not how our grades are, or if we have any work to do, but how we’re feeling, and if they can do anything to help us. 
“All aspects of school are hard for me, the school work stresses me out a lot because they give too much and they expect us to do all of it in such a short amount of time. Then social life there’s so much drama, arguments, physical fights, fake friends, rude people, lies, like all of it is just crazy.” said Siobhan Clinton, a seventh grader at the Lyndon Pilot School.
One of the most important things in eighth grade is applying to high schools, and we are told that the high school you go to affects what college you get into and the college you go to affects what job you get, and the job you get affects your whole life. Because it’s such an important decision, you have to make sure that you consider all of your options and get as much information as possible. Most schools have open houses, and my mom signed me up for every single one that she saw. That meant that for several days I missed most of my morning classes and I had a lot of make up work. I even missed half of a math interim because of an open house and the open houses that were after school meant that I missed some of my extracurriculars. 
It was really stressful because I had to try to keep up with my schoolwork, extracurriculars and think about what school I wanted to go to while applying for more schools. Even with all of that craziness going on, my mom thought that I should start going on college tours too, even though college is five years away, and I’m not even in high school yet. According to a poll done by NPR and the Harvard School of Public Health, 40% of parents said that their teen experienced a lot of stress from school. With all of the major decisions that teens have to make, it's not surprising that they found most of the stress was from academics and not social issues or bullying.
A lot of parents tell their kids to just try their best and they’ll succeed, but that's not enough. Sometimes we need help doing our best, and they need to understand that we can be independent and do things on our own, but we also need help with some things. “It stresses me out a lot because they give us too much homework and there's already a lot of things I need to do.” said Clinton. If we are having trouble getting things done, parents should help us by creating systems. According to Mary Alvord, a public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association, when we are struggling to get our work done, parents should help us plan the week so we can decide what is most important to work on. That allows us to focus because basic time management skills will reduce stress, and help us do our best. When I go to summer camps there is a set schedule and it's easy to be productive and still enjoy myself. It would be very helpful if there was something like that at home.
“Middle School comes with a lot of drama but I just don't tell them because I'm afraid of their reactions” said Idalia Rios, an eighth grader from the Lyndon Pilot School when talking about her ability to share her social life with her parents.I think that a lot of teens can relate to being afraid of their parents' reactions if we share information with them. They don't understand that we mature faster because of the internet based society we grew up in and that our phones have most of our lives on it. Also, what other people think about us does matter. They don’t let us express ourselves and then get surprised if we keep things from them. They think that us wanting privacy means that we have something to hide, but we really just want to feel trusted and capable of doing things. Clinton said it best “I don't think they understand that we have lives outside of school and we have other important things in our lives.” 
All of these things along with academic stress creates a very unpleasant and stressful environment for us. It would be really beneficial if we could share aspects of our lives with our parents without having to worry that they will overreact or judge. We would really appreciate it if parents had open ears and admitted that they don’t always know everything. They definitely know more than us, but it's hard to open up to someone who has a know it all mindset. If we feel comfortable to share things with you, then try to react in the best way possible so we don't get scared off and we can work towards building an open relationship.
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School News
In-class support is key to student success
I once encountered a student upset about something and could tell she wasn’t in the right headspace for class and so did my teacher.  My teacher texted a dean at my school to come check in with her and went up to her to ask her if she needed something like a break or some one to check-in with so she would be able to have a productive class. When she came back to the class she was engaged in her work and was participating. Because she was able to go for a walk and talk to a trusted adult, she was able to clear her mind and talk about what was stopping her from learning. This opportunity to reflect on her feelings and to take a break allowed her to understand her feelings and be able to return to class to successfully learn. 
Lucille Germain, an 8th grade English teacher at Match Middle, is a perfect example of a teacher who really wants to help when she sees that a student needs help or that they're angry or upset. She goes up to them quietly and doesn't make a scene and she asks them, “are you okay? Do you need to step outside? Do you need a break? Would you like to talk about it?” This support is very helpful towards students because students just need space and distance from others sometimes. After these check-ins, a student who has had their head down comes back into class, gets started on their work and is more productive. Germain also said, “It depends on the student. If it’s a student I have a good relationship with, I ask them if they’re ok right away and if they say no, I check in. But if it’s a student who I’m not too close to, I observe them from afar to see how they’re doing and any changes in their behavior. Then I slip them a note or something telling them I’m here for them. [And] then I tell the rest of the teachers to keep an eye out in case this carries over to their class or in case one of them has a better relationship [with the student].”
Germain raises the point that if a teacher is not close with a student she wouldn't want to make them feel uncomfortable by taking them aside or talking to them out of class. This awareness is important because you never know if they’re going through something personal and students might not trust that teacher to talk to. If a student doesn’t feel comfortable opening up, then nothing would really get solved and the class will not be productive.
Carlis Martinez, a Boston Public School 7th grader at the Haley Pilot Middle in Roslindale, noticed how her school handled students who were upset in class. She said, “Usually when I’m mad or upset and can’t focus in class they send me to the counselor’s office so I can relax. Sometimes they would just switch my class.” This kind of support in a BPS school allows Martinez and other students to help them get an education and stay focused in class. 
Marielis Mejia, an 8th grader at Match Middle, talked about her experience with support at her school. I asked Mejia if she ever talked to an expert when she was upset at school and what teachers did for her. She said, “They just sit me down and talk about what's going on then they give their input on what I should do to make the situation better.” This interaction shows that the school talked to her and helped her face the problem and so she could focus on more important things. 
As teachers and students can agree, students can get help at school. Boston Public Schools in particular helps students because of the methods they have at school that support their learning. BPS is helping students feel more comfortable at school and not feel stressed or overwhelmed. On the BPS website the county says, “Today, we are providing our students with more stability and continuity, new opportunities for inclusion, and higher-quality programs that are aligned with district efforts to help all our students reach a high standard.” They want students to succeed even through times like this. 
Additionally, to help support students, BPS has, “30.7% [of students] are educated in substantially separate classrooms (spend 60% or more of the school day outside of the general education classroom).” This shows that Boston Public Schools are trying to help give students the extra support that they need.
Student supports are important because it can help students have a better education in the future. If a student feels supported and comfortable, not only will they be able to figure out how to learn but they’ll find confidence that will help them overcome more challenges. 
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School News
COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on high school seniors
Makayla Robinson
Dreams of senior events at the end of our high school careers have been crushed by the appearance of the wild coronavirus. Imagine starting high school, watching your senior friends that you grew attached to walk the stage and graduate, and when it is your turn, it isn’t even going to happen. Not only are graduations cancelled, but many seniors will also miss out on their spring senior night, senior prom and many other senior traditions that many were very excited for. This is what is happening to thousands of seniors across the world due to the pandemic. Not only is this virus affecting seniors, but also the people who have influenced and inspired them won’t be able to celebrate with seniors in order to prevent a pandemic from getting worse.  
COVID-19 is a virus that mainly affects the respiratory system in someone’s body but affects people more intensely if they are older or have pre-existing health conditions. According to the New York Times, the virus started in China in late December of 2019 and spread to the United States a little under a month later. Due to the virus rapidly spreading, schools and other non-essential businesses shut down and people began to self-quarantine and isolate themselves at home. 
Boston Public Schools officially shut down on March 17, 2020 and will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Spring is one of the greatest and most challenging times for seniors because of getting ready for college and other events that celebrate the last year in high school. However, since COVID-19 exists, this senior spring will be extremely different. 
Caitlin Francis, senior advisor and senior teacher, made the switch to online learning when schools closed and has set a google classroom for every class she teaches. She also has zoom office hour meetings for students and announces when they are going to happen virtually for when people need extra support. Before quarantine, she used to provide office hours as many times as she could and provide opportunities for people to make up work and get help on assignments whenever it was needed. Earlier this school year, my grades dropped a lot and she helped divide what I needed to make up and stayed after school with me to help me finish work. Now that school has gone virtual, Francis says, “I miss my students so badly and I am always wondering whether or not I’m supporting them enough when I don’t get to see them in person.”
Keith Belcher-White, a senior at the Academy of the Pacific Rim, is struggling with his online classes. It was easier to get the work done and understand the lessons better while in school because, “sometimes [I] need that small push to get [me] going.” Because he doesn’t get the support he needs, he hasn’t been studying at all. 
For students who can’t work independently, it will be hard for them to take an Advanced Placement (AP) exam that is online and that also has no multiple-choice questions. AP exams are issued by the College Board and scored on a five-point scale. A three is a passing score for most colleges, but some more academically rigorous universities will only accept a four or a five for class credit. There is no harm in failing, but if someone were to meet the college’s passing score or higher, it is highly encouraged to submit the score to gain college credit for a class and then be able to take more advanced classes earlier. APs are especially helpful if the AP class is aligned with what one plans to major in college. Typically, if a student were to take AP classes they would in their junior and senior years of high school.   
According to the College Board website, AP exams have been reduced to free-response only and the allotted time has been cut in half. This makes the exam harder because, from the first-hand experience of taking AP exams in my junior year, the multiple-choice has helped boost my overall score and helped with my free-response questions. Now that classes are online, it consists of more independent learning which makes it trickier to retain information than learning in a traditional classroom. 
Although AP classes are harder, there are people still struggling with their honors or even regular classes. Being a senior in high school, you need to be able to pass your classes to graduate and virtual schooling is making it harder because of internalized senioritis, being tired of school and also needing to focus on college decisions. 
The pandemic has also caused many seniors to not have a traditional prom this year. Many schools may have their prom canceled or have a virtual prom due to COVID-19. At the Academy of the Pacific Rim, for the 44 senior graduates in the class of 2020, there was a google form survey sent out with many different options as alternatives to prom. Francis mentioned options such as, “a virtual prom with our own DJ over zoom, joining a nation-wide virtual prom event or canceling prom altogether.” Currently, there has been no definite solution to what is going to happen for prom this year. 
Throughout this entire school year, I believe all high-school seniors have been finishing the college process, taking leadership roles in and out of school and been working very hard this entire school year despite the intense senioritis feeling of just wanting to graduate. Especially now, of all times, when we have to do our part to try to stop the pandemic, we all need to put those crowns on our heads and know that we are amazing and royals no matter our gender, race and whatever else makes us all unique. 
Despite having to learn virtually, Francis is still staying positive through all this and I think we all should too. She shared that her hope, “is that seniors will be able to take something meaningful away from all this and grow from it, and become even stronger than before.”  
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