Archive for the ‘Column X’ Category

by Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Leprechauns, shamrocks, rainbows, pots of gold. The first thing that comes to mind is probably St. Patrick’s Day, a day celebrated once a year to admire the Irish.

However, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish to begin with! He was actually a British captive, captured by Irish pirates when he was just sixteen, but returned to his family six years later. Although, he returned to Ireland, as a bishop, and became the patron saint of Ireland in the seventh century. On March 17, near the end of the fifth century, Saint Patrick passed.

St. Patrick’s Day is in fact a religious holiday, celebrated internationally. The color green was adopted years later. Blue was the first color associated with Saint Patrick. Shamrocks were used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity, since the shamrocks have three leaves.

There are many ways this holiday is celebrated. Parades take place in major cities in several states, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, and even St. Louis. Every March 17, the Chicago River and the North White House Fountain are dyed green. Participants of parades in these cities cover themselves completely in green, as well as painting their faces completely green, or a simple shamrock.

Even though this holiday is known as an Irish celebration, the first parade took place here, in New York City on March 17, 1762. Irish soldiers serving in the English Military marched through the streets, trying to express their feelings towards the mistreatment of Irish immigrants in America.

But, the US and Ireland aren’t the only countries that celebrate this holiday. Surprisingly, several other countries also take part in this celebration, such as Argentina, Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, and Great Britain.

by Xavier Fernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Valentine’s Day is considered a holiday akin to a game of Russian Roulette by some. But, those chocolates you get will disappear sooner or later.

The chocolate you eat is at its all-time low. Furthermore, the fact that the cacao tree is a leech-like plant does not help the situation in any shape or form. Neither does the fact that the farmers of cacao plants usually die by the age of 56 and their children don’t want to follow in the paths of their parents’ livelihoods. Perhaps, most harmful to the survival of cacao as a plant is that cacao farmers want to ditch farming chocolate altogether for palm oil (which is seen as more profitable).

What does this mean for the future of chocolate? The friend of many people, chocolate, will end up costing too much for a normal person. The two culprits, or heroes, that you can blame for this would be Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome. They were both martyrs for their religion and the root of this modern holiday—a holiday that has wasted almost all of the world’s chocolate.

By Genesys Jimenez, 8th Grade Reporter

At 214X there are 947 students, but including teachers, how much paper do you think is wasted?

I interviewed 50 people, staff and students, around the school and found out who recycled and who didn’t. Of those surveyed, 24% don’t recycle at all, but 76% do at least some of the time.

Most school waste consists of paper. According to the NYC Department of Education, an average of 28 pounds of paper is thrown away per person in a school year, which averages out to be 2.49 ounces of paper per person every day.

In the US, about 85 million tons of paper is wasted per year and only 44 million is recycled. So, think about how much paper is being wasted the next time you head to the garbage bin with your crumpled sheet of loose leaf. Think of how many trees are being cut down. What will happen when there’s nothing left at all?

Fear of Fear

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Column X, Students, Xavier Fernandez
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by Xavier Fernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Do you have a fear? Chances are you have a phobia. What is that? An irrational fear. They come in various shapes, sizes, and… animals.

Phobos is the root word in phobia. Phobos means fear in Latin. It is sometimes linked to deimos, or panic. Fear and panic both being closely tied together.

Phobias are named after the object the person is scared of. This becomes the prefix and it is added to the root word phobia. For example, the reasonable zemmiphobia is the fear of the great mole rat. Zemmi is the prefix for animals belonging to the mole rate family. The weirdest fear, in my opinion, is phobophobia—the fear of fears. Other phobias are named after a type of animal, like molluscophobia—fear of mollusks, which are snails.

All in all, phobias affect everyone. People are affected by phobias in a variety of ways, including fainting at the sight of seeing the thing one fears. Some extreme phobias can even lead to severe mental and/or physiological problems.

From my research, I have developed a minor case of zemmiphobia. For anyone that has panophobia, the fear of everything, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. For all of you with hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, the fear of long words, don’t read this.

For more information on fears visit:

Lucid Dreamers

Posted: November 29, 2010 in Column X, Xavier Fernandez
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By Xavier Fernandez, 8th Grade Reporter


Most of society does not know about lucid dreams, a vague concept relating to dreams. Consequences of lucid dreaming can be as severe as death; although, it is a possible remedy for nightmares.

Lucid literally means easily understood. Therefore, a lucid dream is an easily understood dream. All lucid dreams have their origins during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. Lucid dreams can commence in two different fashions: Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming (DILD), or a Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD).

A common aspect associated with lucid dreaming is false awakening, which is when one continues dreaming, yet believes that they have woken. Most individuals will not know they are in a state of false awakening until something like a singing fish happens. There is another way of experiencing a whimsical lucid dream. These dreams usually start with the aid of a device, like the Nova Dreamer, or REM Dreamer glasses. It works by emitting a sound that lets one know when they are dreaming. A downside of this device is possible bed-wetting, or worse.

Lucid dreaming is as old as normal dreaming; however, Celia Green was the first person to document it in a scientific way. She discovered lucid dreams were different from normal dreams. Green also found out that false awakening was a sub-section of lucid dreaming. Other lucid dream researchers include: Daniel Otis who tried to induce lucid dreaming at the University of South Dakota in experiments and Philosopher, Norman Malcolm wrote a text about dream accuracy Despite these studies, much is yet to be learned about lucid dreaming.

From their studies, Green and Otis learned that lucid dreaming has many drawbacks and can be fatal. It can cause sleep paralysis, which causes one to be paralyzed before, or after sleep as a defense mechanism from items in one’s dream. It can also cause an out of body experience, which is when one feels like one’s mind is being ripped from one’s body for a period of time. Despite these negatives, lucid dreams have therapeutic benefits and can be an antidote for nightmares, or night terrors.