Archive for the ‘Merari Hernandez’ Category

by Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

October 24, 2010, the big day that thousands of eighth graders in New York were waiting for—the second day of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), a test that determines one’s acceptance into any of the eight elite high schools in New York City.

A handful of eighth graders from 214X applied and took the test. But of the few, only three proved worthy, and came out victorious. On February 11, the brave eighth graders who took the test received letters containing the words that foretold whether or not they would be attending a specialized high school in September. Reda Bouzidi, Charles Smith and Tyrone Thomas, all students of class 801, were the three who opened the letter to see that they had what it took to compete with the other thousands of diverse eighth graders across New York State who took the test.

“I thought I failed. I guessed on the last twenty questions because the time was limited,” said Bouzidi, who was accepted into the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College.

“After taking the test, I felt anxious. I knew I passed, but I didn’t feel it,” Thomas stated, thinking back to that day in October.

Both Smith and Thomas were accepted into Brooklyn Latin High School, but neither of them will be attending due to distance. Thomas will be attending a private school, St. Raymond’s, and Smith plans to attend an all boy’s school in the Bronx.

While the three of them passed, neither of them even knew about the test’s format nor requirements for specialized high schools until seventh grade. Prior to the SHSAT, Bouzidi planned on attending a private high school and Smith thought he was going to a Catholic high school.

To prepare for the rigorous test, Thomas attended a program, Specialized High School Institute; Bouzidi bought and used Kaplan’s SHSAT Test-Prep book; and, Smith used a SHSAT handbook he received from a teacher.

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 Merari Hernandez

P.S. 214X’s girls should be able to participate in the same extracurricular activities that boys are involved in, right?

Depending on your respected opinion, here is what a select group of students and faculty surveyed feel about this issue: Out of a total of fifty-one surveyed, thirty-one voted “yes,” girls have as many opportunities as boys do. This is in contrast to twenty respondents, who voted “no,” girls do not have as many opportunities as boys do.

One of the students surveyed, Juan Sanchez, of class 801, who voted “yes,” explained why he felt that way. “Girls do have the opportunity, but they just don’t take it.” On the other hand, Destiny Colon, of class 702, believed differently. “Girls don’t have enough opportunities, because a lot of girls don’t participate in sports,” she clarified.


by Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Many Americans know that February is marked as Black History Month. But, do they know who thought of it? Or, how about when it was decided? Black History Month has a history all its own.

First known only as “Negro History Week,” this nation-wide holiday soon evolved into something more than just a few days of reminding the youth of America about African American history. It’s a time to remember the African American men and women who contributed to the shaping of our society—both theirs as well as ours. One of the first who believed African Americans deserved some recognition was Dr. Carter G. Woodson. How did he come to accomplish such a task? It took time and patience, but through his determination, he created a path for Africans in America. What Woodson hoped to accomplish through Black History Week was to educate Blacks about their cultural background and instill in them a sense of pride in their race.

When did Black History Month start? It began as a mere remembrance of two important figures, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, on the second week of

February. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, which also led to the founding of the Journal of Negro History. In 1926, Black History Week, or Negro History Week, was born. In 1976, Black History Week became Black History Month, where for the entire month, students as well as adults, learned more about African American history.

February, coincidentally, is also a month that includes important dates that helped shape the African American community. Such as February 3rd, which was when the 15th Amendment was established, granting blacks the right to vote in 1870. And February 12th, the day the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909. February 25th, 1870, Hiram R. Revels, the first black U.S senator, took his oath to office. Additionally, as stated earlier, both Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln were born in February; however, Douglass died in February, making this month all the more important.

By Merari Hernandez, 8th Grade Reporter

Every year, students in grades three to eight across New York State are given certain tests that determine whether or not they will be promoted. We are all familiar with said tests, but this year a drastic change has been made.

Both the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math state tests, depending on what grade one is in, consist of either two or three parts. Part one, of both the ELA and Math tests, usually entails 25 multiple-choice questions. Part two in the ELA test is the listening piece. Meanwhile, the Math test consists of extended response questions. The third part of the test pertains only to ELA. This section requires students to write a three paragraph essay based on a reading passage.

For the 2010-2011 school year, changes to the tests are primarily comprised of more multiple choice questions. In each grade, exactly fifteen questions have been added and the time to complete the test has been extended by only fifteen minutes.

Kendra Johnson-Parham, Math Staff Developer, believes this revised test is, “Too vague and not specific enough.” On the other hand, Helen Sherman, ELA Staff Developer, believes the test is, “Clearer to students of all grades.” While most ELA and Math teachers would agree with either statement, nearly all students in the testing grades are aggravated and feel the extra pressure.

Revisions to the tests came as such a surprise that teachers don’t even have the proper time to prepare their students for it (considering the test is coming up in May, which gives us merely five months to study). After several meetings with the Principal of 214X, David Cintron, some teachers have decided that the students in the testing grades need more ELA and Math instructional periods, including more test-prep time if the students are going to succeed.

All in all, the tests have been changed a little too late and some believe we should have more time to study. Teachers all feel that their students will pass if they focus put their effort into it. As Ms. Johnson-Parham always says, “Excuses are for losers. A winner finds a way!”