Welcome to the Hive!

The Hive Staff, 2021-2022

Havann Brown — Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Cocchiola — Associate Editor

McKenna Burchett — Associate Editor

CJ Delaney — Reporter

Elise Miller — Reporter

Randall Hatfield — Reporter

Camryn Myrla— Reporter

Mallory Butcher — Reporter

Jesse Mitchell — Reporter

Logan Cook — Reporter

Avery Livezey — Reporter

Alex Levy — Reporter

Cadence Gutman — Reporter

Aiden Hills — Reporter

Meadow Sandy — Reporter

Ms. Jenna Bates — Adviser

*The Hive provides students with the opportunity to express creativity, to learn journalism techniques and principles, and to learn about the rights and responsibilities of public expression in our democratic society. The Hive is produced entirely by students and not subject to prior content review. Bio-Med Science Academy’s Governing Board assumes no liability for the newspaper’s content. Bio-Med’s Hive is a member of the Ohio Scholastic Media Association


Opinion: Critical Race Theory Is Not The Enemy

People of Color Are Not Background Characters in U.S. History

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

JANUARY 2022  Too often, people attempt to sanitize and erase the uncomfortable parts of history. Conversations about systemic oppression are often ignored in schools and, in some cases, banned. For example, Arizona teachers were told they could face a $5,000 penalty if they allowed classroom discussions on “controversial” topics, such as racism. In Texas, teachers were advised to include books that offer opposing viewpoints of the Holocaust in their curriculum. Educators are being asked to reason with some of history’s greatest atrocities in an attempt to provide both sides of an issue. How does one show diverse a perspective of the Holocaust or slavery?

Critical race theory (CRT) is the latest topic to be banned from classrooms. As a complex legal theory, CRT states that “U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race,” according to the Brookings Institution. Opponents, however, have seized upon the phrase to describe anything they view as an intrusion of equity and inclusion into our education system. Despite popular belief, critical race theory is taught primarily in college-level courses. According to a survey conducted by the Association of American Educators, 96 percent of kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers said their schools did not require them to teach critical race theory.

Eight states have outlawed the teaching of CRT, a concept they believe will negatively influence their K through 12 students. In Ohio, House Bills 322 and 327 were presented to the House State and Local Government Committee. The bills seek to ban “divisive language” about the role of racism in American history and withhold funding from schools that act against it. The bans of critical race theory from the classroom are attempts to avoid the responsibility to depict historical and current racial inequities accurately.

Nearly 20 states have introduced or plan to introduce legislation banning concepts related to critical race theory. The legislation bans discussions about topics ranging from unconscious bias and privilege to discrimination and oppression. Additionally, opponents of CRT are hoping to stop the teaching of books that explore anti-racism. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

Topics people are calling critical race theory is simply acknowledging the fact that this country’s origins are rooted in prejudice. Politicians are framing discussions of these so-called “divisive concepts” as an attack on students when in reality, talking about America’s true history would only help them. The same legislators poorly attempting to redefine education standards can’t even define critical race theory or name the scholars behind it. Instead of educating themselves, they have manufactured a fight to keep accurate history out of schools because it might make certain students “feel bad.” If someone feels attacked after hearing about the racist history of their ancestors, they should do some self-reflection, not blame their history teacher.

As a student, I worry about the future of education. Will our country reach a point where people no longer learn about the Trail of Tears or Jim Crow Laws because they are deemed too controversial? At Bio-Med Science Academy, multiple teachers have told me they would quit their jobs if legislation passes that undermines their ability to educate students effectively. If good teachers leave, who will fill their place? Efforts to mask the events of the past hurt students and teachers alike, further weakening the educational system.

Concepts students learn in their classrooms greatly influence how they interact within society. Rather than preparing teachers to equip students with the necessary resources to navigate the world, politicians are preventing progress. Bans against CRT deny white students the opportunity to grapple with our country’s complex history. In addition, it subjects students of color to an educational experience that does not fully acknowledge their existence. Without addressing it in the classroom, some students will never have the skills or the context to help them understand why disparities exist between groups of people.

Critical race theory is not the enemy. The censorship of history only limits students’ exposure to inquiry and critical thinking. Teaching accurate history means teaching the truth. If the truth is rooted in racism, systemic oppression, and atrocities, then it needs to be shared.                    

People of color are not background characters in U.S. history, nor do we exist to perpetuate a false narrative. We are essential to the American story and deserve to have our accurate history told.

General Interest Opinion Politics

Defining Masculinity

by McKenna Burchett, associate editor

Senator Joshua Hawley of Missouri is a former attorney general. Hawley was raised in Lafayette County, Missouri, and graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. He then graduated from Stanford University and Yale Law School. On his website, he describes himself as being “recognized as one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers.” He cites his achievements as a lawyer, saying that he “previously fought Obamacare at the Supreme Court — and won — as one of the lead attorneys in the landmark Hobby Lobby case” and was a “lead attorney in the Hosanna-Tabor case at the Supreme Court, protecting the rights of churches.” Photo from Hawley’s Website, http://www.hawley.senate.gov.

JANUARY 2022 — Senator Joshua Hawley claimed that the political Left was waging a war against masculinity in an October keynote speech. “The Left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic. They want to define the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness — as a danger to society,” he said.

Hawley also attributed the flaws in the U.S. to this alleged attack, saying, “That’s not just a crisis for men. It’s a crisis for the republic. Because the problem with the Left’s assault on the masculine virtues is that those self-same qualities, the very ones the Left now vilify as dangerous and toxic, have long been regarded as vital to self-government.”

William Ullinger, the ninth grade history teacher at Bio-Med Science Academy, said Hawley was being ridiculous. “He’s basically saying every woman that’s ever been around has never been brave. I question if that senator has ever seen a woman. Like, was he in the room when his wife gave birth?” Ullinger said.

Ullinger also questioned what gave Hawley the right to comment on this. “Like tell me what being a woman and being a man even is? Has he tried being hyper-masculine and realized how dumb it is? Like was he fighting in alleyways? Are you Patrick Swayze in ‘Roadhouse’ running around duking it out with people?” Ullinger said. “How are you dealing with your stuff that makes you this hyper-masculine male and the rule on what masculinity is?”

Calvin Clark, a junior and transgender man, said that Hawley’s claims were “stupid,” and that “Masculinity is something you hold in yourself. What you value and what you think is masculine, and feminism can’t come in and change that. Nobody can stop you from being masculine,” he said. “If you think that your masculinity is going to be overrun or taken away by feminism, then you don’t value your masculinity. You don’t see it as something that’s part of you.”

Vali Epling is a ninth-grader and transgender woman who holds similar opinions to Ullinger and Clark. “That just sounds wrong,” she said, addressing Hawley’s comments. “That doesn’t sound like the definition for feminism. [Feminism means] women should have rights and everyone should be equal, so I don’t think that’s what feminists are trying to do. I don’t know where he would have gotten that.”

Epling theorizes this claim to result from insecurity in Hawley’s personal sense of masculinity.

Epling defines masculinity as “acting masculine, traits that are associated with men typically. This is going to sound very sexist, but think like strength, brawn, other synonyms for that.” She discussed her opinions on this definition, saying, “Oftentimes people will misunderstand what it means to be a guy. As someone who was previously a guy, I understood those things, and it was weird to me how [expectations are] set.”

When Ullinger was growing up, the standards of masculinity were, as he described, “the whole ‘boys will be boys,’ [or] ‘boys don’t cry’.” He continued, saying, “I don’t think that’s the way it should be or the way society expects you to be now, but I don’t think it should be gendered. It should be fluid. It should be looked at as ‘What is a decent human being?’”

His standard for being a “decent human being” is similar to something he heard when he was working as a bouncer and bartender at a bar.

“People always asked me, ‘What’s the big rule here at the bar?’ and ‘What do I have to do to be thrown out?’ The general rule of thumb is you can’t ruin anyone else’s night. Life’s hard enough as it is. Don’t ruin it for other people. If you can make it better for other people, do that.”

Ullinger continued, “I think when we start looking at the very gendered terms of what is too masculine or not is when we start to get into ugly territory. How do we define something as masculine or not? Like my wife is very blunt. She’ll tell you exactly what she’s thinking, no matter how brutal it is. The way you could describe her is with very masculine ended words. She’s tough. She’s tenacious. She sees something she wants, and she goes and gets it. Those are all very masculine sounding things.”

In contrast, Ullinger feels like he does not always fit into what society believes a masculine man should be, though he used to. “I thought the way I had to settle stuff, the way I had to prove I was a man, was by being the biggest baddest dude in the room, wearing a chip on my shoulder, [and] not wanting to smile when I’m around too many people,” he said. One example of this would be his experience in wrestling and boxing.

Working out is a traditionally masculine activity that can be utilized in a positive way. Ryan Garrett, an 11th grade student at Bio-Med, performs a 215 pound bench press in the Sequoia Wellness Center while being spotted by classmate Shasha Jafri. He initially started body training for aesthetic purposes, but was inspired by Jacob Spaeth, a 10th grade student, to start working out for personal improvement. “My goal right now would probably be to be the strongest kid in the school,” he said. This goal would allow him to be a positive masculine influence to others, saying, “It’s nice, because if I work for myself, my friends want to do it, they want to become strong too. It’s like a leadership thing.” Garrett finds working out fun, and said, “You shouldn’t use it to just have a big ego. You should use it as a personal thing to make yourself feel better. You have to think about yourself, make yourself happy.” Photo provided by Ryan Garrett.

Epling believes these expectations have lessened over the years. “I feel like we, as a society, have shifted away from stereotypes,” she explained. “Not every single man is this farm guy. I think a lot of it is from acceptance of gay people and trans people and society changing in general.”

She also discussed differences in her life after transitioning. She still struggles with moving away from harmful stereotypes and behaviors that come from being told to be masculine, and does not feel there is much of a difference in how she is treated. “If there is, it’s not because I’m a woman, it’s because I’m trans,” she said.

Clark does not feel the same pressure to conform to traditionally masculine values as he speculates he would if he were cisgender. “Before transition, I had some doubts about myself. I thought I shouldn’t be masculine, or show masculinity,” he recalled. “I feel like my pressure is more about my dysphoria, but I’m not really feeling anything from society. Society views trans men as different, so I just don’t really feel that pressure.”  

Ullinger maintains this rhetoric to be harmful to men’s overall mental health. “Everyone talks about how there’s a war on this and a war on that. My argument would be that if there’s a war on masculinity, it’s how we push men into this impossible guideline that, as far as mental health for men, opens up the door to a higher ‘success’ rate. Men have a higher death rate from suicide per suicide attempt. It puts a death sentence on men.”

Ullinger concluded by saying that feminism is not about hating men, but breaking down the structures that are detrimental to everyone, regardless of gender.

The Hive reached out to other Bio-Med students who agreed with Hawley’s views, but they offered no comment. The full transcript of Hawley’s speech can be read here.

General Interest

Fighting For Foreign Language Classes At Bio-Med Science Academy

by Mallory Butcher, staff writer

JANUARY 2022 — Seniors attending Bio-Med Science Academy argue for improved communication regarding college application requirements and a possible return of in-house foreign language classes.

To achieve an honor’s diploma, students need to meet at least all but one of the requirements displayed above.

In-house foreign language classes offered at Bio-Med were discontinued in 2014. Originally, Bio-Med provided Mandarin Chinese and Spanish courses students could take through the school. However, when the Spanish instructor resigned, the replacement online learning program, Rosetta Stone, received backlash from parents. Following this, Bio-Med proceeded to employ its current model where students could take foreign language courses through College Credit Plus on top of their essential classes.

In Ohio, foreign language classes are not mandatory for high school graduation. They fall under the category electives, of which students need five to graduate. Bio-Med offers electives such as, art, engineering, technology, and career technical education, and Accelerated Term, a few week period between Thanksgiving and Winter break where students take courses outside of their normal schedules. Due to foreign language classes not being required to graduate, Bio-Med was able to stop providing them.

Miss Stephanie Hammond, Bio-Med’s High School Guidance Counselor, reasoned, “If you think about how much we already do within the curriculum and the number of classes everyone has, there’s not enough time to offer [foreign language], and to have somebody who does that full-time as a staff member is expensive.”

Many students, however, disagree with the decision to discontinue classes hosted on campus.

“I can tell you after applying to colleges and seeing the requirements they want, most schools in Ohio require at least two credits of language other than English and so do most out-of-state colleges,” senior Kaitlyn Davis remarked. “Even in trade careers, it’s important to have at least learned something in high school.”

Kelsea Cooper, another senior at Bio-Med, agreed that “having foreign languages makes you more marketable when applying to colleges. It also depends on where you’re applying to. Some schools are much more competitive and having a foreign language can give you a leg up.”

Smaller colleges, such as Baldwin Wallace University and Youngstown State University, often have fewer requirements for admissions compared to their larger counterparts. Even then, a student applying with no foreign language credits puts them at a disadvantage.

“Youngstown State University does recommend that students pursuing a bachelor degree complete two years of the same foreign language,” said Christine Hubert, the Director of Undergraduate Admissions for the Office of Student Enrollment and Services Members at Youngstown State University.

These requirements, though, are not set in stone in every scenario. Hubert also explained, “For students who did not take a foreign language in high school or did not take two years of the same language, it will not reflect negatively on their application review for admission. In these circumstances, the Admissions Committee will place more emphasis on the other college preparatory courses taken in high school.”

Each school has its own policies as well. Admissions Counselor Ricki Janis of Baldwin Wallace University explained, “When you apply to Baldwin Wallace, we request that your counselor fills out a School Report Form, which gives us some context about the classes your school offers. We take that into account when we review applications, as we do a holistic review of all of the applications we receive, meaning that we look at every piece of your application. We prefer that students take a foreign language, but if it isn’t offered, we would take that into account when making admission decisions.”

The possible leniency of smaller institutions did not quell the students’ concerns. Davis and Cooper believe that the problem stems from the lack of communication over graduation, honors, and college requirements.

Davis recounted from her experience with guidance counselors at Bio-Med: “I was always told as a freshman that colleges don’t need [foreign language credits] and only sophomores or juniors can take CCP [College Credit Plus] classes. They did not do a good job on telling us how important it is for students to get foreign language classes in high school because now I’m behind in college if I don’t take them.”

Cooper similarly concluded, “As a whole, I think Bio-Med and Guidance need to make it more clear that you need three credits of a foreign language to get your honors diploma, and most importantly, that most colleges either require two credits of a foreign language or prefer you have that.”

Foreign language classes can be integral for getting accepted into colleges or specific majors. Without these classes, Bio-Med students may be put at a disadvantage in the application process. To take introductory foreign language classes at Bio-Med, one can apply as a College Credit Plus student for Stark State College or Kent State University. Students will need an ACT score of at least 18 in English or 22 in Mathematics or Reading. If a student has not taken the ACT, they will need a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher. Classes can be enrolled in before the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Miss Hammond will email out a form before the fall and spring semesters for students interested in taking courses through Bio-Med.


Edgenuity Replaces Senior English Classes

by Elise Miller, staff writer

JANUARY 2022 — In an ever-changing 21st century, online courses are becoming more and more prominent. For the first time at Bio-Med Science Academy, the regular curriculum for senior English classes is taught entirely online through the platform Edgenuity. Seniors can either take Edgenuity content for traditional ELA 12 or college composition courses through the college credit plus program.

“A lot of students need to take online language arts to open up a period for themselves and the only option they had prior to this year was CCP,” said Mrs. Lindsey McLaughlin, chief operating officer and principal of Bio-Med.

With Edgenuity, students learn through assessments that they take based off of content they learn through video lessons or exercises. At the beginning of the year, the lesson plan for students to work on is laid out with different assignments due by different dates. Students can work ahead in this if they’d like, but they must have everything turned in by the set due dates.

She explained that one of the most significant reasons for using Edgenuity was offering an option other than college composition for students who wanted to take an online course. In addition, this course might allow for more time in a student’s schedule for their independent studies or internships.

“Another reason is with dwindling enrollment, it’s hard to have another position for a full-time ELA 12 teacher,” said McLaughlin. She explained how in the last several years, face-to-face enrollment has declined significantly. This means that more seniors have chosen an online English class as opposed to an in-person one in the past.

Edgenuity was not a completely foreign platform. “We already use a program powered by Edgenuity for a math program,” said McLaughlin. That platform is called My Path.

Edgenuity has also been used in the past for students’ credit recovery. McLaughlin explained that using Edgenuity for senior English courses would also develop a sense of continuity, which is easier for students if they’ve already become accustomed to the platform in the past as opposed to learning an entirely new platform.

There were still other programs up for debate in the process of choosing Edgenuity, such as FuelEd and the online credit program through the ESC of Eastern Ohio. McLaughlin explained that in this process, “the other programs were comparable to or inferior to Edgenuity,” based on the school’s analysis.

In the end, using a familiar platform made it trustworthy since it’s been used for other courses and proven successful for those courses in years past.

However, with this new platform comes new opinions. Senior Alivia Selander is a student who chose to take her English courses through Edgenuity. Though she doesn’t regret it as opposed to the college composition option, she explained that “I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything at all.”

“It would’ve been beneficial especially since it is our last year of English to have an actual class,” Selander added.

She also talked about how this platform did not hold up to Bio-Med’s project-based learning system.

“We don’t have any projects,” said Selander.

The baseline learning style of Edgenuity can be an adjustment, especially for students used to Bio-Med’s learning style.

Aside from just projects, Katherine Huntley, a senior who chose the college composition option, stated that online learning also takes away the open discussion parts of a regular English class. She noted that “It’s nice to have that interaction and that is important for language arts classes.”

“I think there should’ve been the option to have the class in person,” said Huntley.

Huntley said that she feels bothered by “just having assignments for the sake of having assignments,” insinuating that an in-person option may prove more meaningful.

Nora Haddon, a senior who chose the college composition option, also expressed, “The only thing I would change is to make an in-person option.”

Overall, McLaughlin stated that “We are trying to prepare you for the 21st century,” when addressing the students’ concerns. Since online college courses are becoming more popular, she explained how online learning now would help students prepare for that.

Huntley added that “There needs to be a better way to prepare you for essay writing in college,” when also speaking of helpful preparations students could undergo.

Edgenuity is projected to stay in place for the 2022-2023 school year.


College Majors – A Major Problem

by Alexandra Levy, staff writer

JANUARY 2022 — High school seniors across the country struggle with anxiety over choosing their majors while applying for college. According to a study conducted by the University of Bridgeport, 20 to 50 percent of all college freshmen enter college with an undecided major.

Bio-Med Science Academy senior Ian Ruehr has also struggled in deciding on a college major.

“I have not decided on my college major yet because I’m not entirely sure what I want to go into after college. I currently am planning to go into Kent as an exploratory major and then figure it out as I go along. My reasoning is that I would rather go in undecided than spend three years in a major before realizing that I don’t like it and want to do something else,” said Ruehr.

Ruehr also described the anxiety that many high school students might face when choosing a major.

“There’s definitely a feeling of urgency to at least figure out the baseline like humanities or sciences. I try not to let it dictate my decision-making and take my time to figure out what I want to do instead of panicking and rushing into something to realize I hate it late,” Ruehr claimed. “I think we as a community should move away from pressuring people to have it figured out in high school.”

Ruehr discussed that he doesn’t want to formally declare a major until he is certain of his exact career path. However, he does know what field he wishes to pursue in the future.

“I eventually hope to do some kind of work in curatorship or art/artifact preservation,” he explained. “My dream would be to work in a museum, but I am excited to see what other opportunities might come up as life goes on.”

Bio-Med freshman Sophia Wood did not relate to the feeling of being unsure of what college major to select. Wood plans to major in Pre-Med in her journey towards becoming a pediatric surgeon. Wood planned her career path before starting high school in order to get a head start on her future in college.

“I am not sure what exactly has motivated me to plan so much for the future, but I feel part of it is not liking the idea of not working towards what I want to do, especially since I already know what that is and have the capabilities,” Wood explained.

Wood also used her desired career path to choose what College Credit Plus (CCP) classes to take and what extracurriculars to participate in.

“Planning for my future early has benefited me, both short term and in the long run. It has allowed me to have further reassurance over my control of my future,” said Wood. “Additionally, it has allowed me to recognize that putting something off for later on, such as starting volunteering, isn’t necessarily something you should wait until you are older to work towards. It has, however, had some downsides. It gets extremely overwhelming, trying to process and work through practically the rest of my life in a few hours. It also has some sacrifices associated, such as lots of time as probably the biggest thing.”

The majority of students change their major in college. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, 80 percent of college students change their major at least once and the average student will change their major three times in their college career.

However, Wood felt worried that she might end up in a career that is not her fit because she was unaware of different opportunities.

“I feel there are countless job options I have yet to be made aware of, so as the need to pick or at least narrow down majors comes, I will have to become exposed to all possibilities within my interests,” Wood explained. “I also feel if I decide too soon, I could become blindsighted from other opportunities that are best suited for me.”

Teachers can support students in choosing their majors by encouraging them to test new career paths as well as telling them how they decided to become educators. Sophomore engineering teacher Ms. Carrie Sinkele discussed her change in career paths from an engineer to an engineering teacher.

Sinkele helped students to work on their engineering project while using SolidWorks, a 3D-modeling software. Sinkele uses SolidWorks because it is considered an “industry standard” in the engineering field and she wants to support students in their career-readiness. Photo by Alexandra Levy.

“Prior to teaching, I was a product and process engineer working in Research and Development at Kimberly-Clark in Wisconsin. Teaching was never on my radar,” said Sinkele. “After seven years at K-C and traveling the world solving problems, I was homesick for Ohio. I had two young children and wanted them to grow up knowing their extended family. I applied for engineering jobs, but they were looking for people that just graduated or were a manager. I was in the middle. I found a job that wanted a person to teach engineering to high school students, and I thought I was a good mentor, so why not? I didn’t need a teaching degree to start. I would earn that while I was in the classroom.”

Sinkele also had a different career plan that had changed from when she was in high school, and her teacher had helped her find the best career for her.

“In high school, I thought I wanted to be a clinical psychologist until my science teacher pointed out he saw me best as an engineer. I guess he was right as I always liked to solve problems, and I’m determined to get things working. January of my senior year is when I made my choice of school and major.”

Sinkele suggests that students reach out to faculty for support in deciding on a course of study.

“With college majors, think of your end goal. What do you want to do day after day and go from there? If you like building robots, mechanical or electrical engineering as a major is a great start as robotics is a minor. You can even combine majors if that meets your end goal. Talk to your high school as well as college counselors to come up with a custom pathway for you,” Sinkele advised. “Don’t be afraid of change. It keeps you learning new things and may lead to a better path.”

Ms. Rebecca Putman, the art teacher at Bio-Med, also shared her experience in switching career plans.

“I originally went to school for speech pathology,” said Putman. “When I was in a college class, I realized that I wasn’t passionate about becoming a speech therapist. When I realized that, I decided to change my classes to become something I do enjoy doing.”

Putman expressed that some students may feel pressure from their surroundings to pursue a career that they are not passionate about.

“I originally wanted to major in jewelry making, but I changed my major to speech pathology in order to get financial support from my parents. I changed my major a year into college,” Putman said. “I knew that I was not going to get support at home. They were scared that I wouldn’t get a job or career. That’s what gave me the push to do it.”

Putman also claimed that some of her initial indecisiveness around college majors was because she did not know of many career opportunities that interested her in high school. She advises students to explore multiple topics to see what interests them to help them choose a college major they would enjoy.

“I think some confusion comes from being young and not knowing about different careers that don’t exist. Exposure to multiple career paths. My advice would be to expose yourself to career paths and go with your gut in terms of choosing a career path,” explained Putman. “I think that going with your gut is important, and it’s okay to not have it figured out because you have time.”

Students struggling to decide on a college major may benefit from seeing an educational consultant. Educational consultants can help students to navigate the search for college and a career plan. Kristina Dooley is a certified educational planner as well as the founder and President of Estrela Consulting, a program based in Streetsboro that helps high school students prepare for their college and career futures. Dooley agrees with Putman’s statement that students should expose themselves to different opportunities for future careers.

Estrela Consulting’s website is pictured. The website allows users to schedule a college planning session with a consultant from Estrela. The sessions help students to ease the stress of applying for college and choosing a major through personalized advice and support. Photo by Alexandra Levy.

“I believe most students struggle with deciding on what to study in college because teens are only exposed to a small portion of the academic disciplines that actually exist,” said Dooley, “It’s hard to choose to major in something that you’ve never been exposed to during your high school years. For example, how many high school students know what an Actuary does? There are so many careers out there that also don’t necessarily require a ‘certain’ undergraduate major. Students often feel like biology equals doctor and political science equals lawyer. Both of these assumptions are flawed in many ways.”

Dooley explained how Estrela Consulting could aid students in discovering a new path that is best suited to their interests.

“We utilize a series of aptitude and interest assessments with each of our students to identify what their natural strengths are, and to identify the right-fit careers to utilize those talents. We encourage them to connect with people via LinkedIn or through their parent/community circles, who are working in the fields they are interested in. A quick Zoom chat with someone who is doing the job they are dreaming of can help a student learn more about the highs and lows of that profession.”

Dooley also helps her students navigate stress and anxiety around their futures.

“Remember: most people will have seven careers in their lifetime. Careers, not jobs. This means that people are constantly changing course and trying something new. What you decide as a 17 or 18 year old will likely change. In fact, 70 percent of college students end up majoring in something different than what they indicate on their application. Questioning is a good thing! It means you’re curious and interested in exploring your options,” Dooley advised.

 “It’s important to keep in mind that your career plans only begin at the undergraduate level. Your future is in no way solidified by your decisions at age 17 or 18. There is so much more road ahead of you that you can’t even see yet. Remember that there is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror!”


Distracting or Helpful? The Groove Inside Bio-Med Students Revealed

by Aiden Hills, staff writer

JANUARY 2022 – Music is proven to stimulate the brain and improve focus, but it could also lead to distraction. A study presented by Northcentral University introduces that certain genres of music can help focus while others can be a distraction to work. Music with quieter volume, slower tempo, and no lyrics are shown to be beneficial to people trying to focus, while louder songs with faster tempo and lyrics are seen to be less effective in improving focus, which can lead to lower completion levels or effort put into academics.

Further evidence in support of listening to music while working includes reports by Florida National University and Vaughn College, where participants took tests with and without music.  Additionally, BBC provided evidence that music can help brain activity, and is the basis of the “Mozart Effect,” which is the theory that listening to Mozart temporarily boosts score on an IQ test. This theory attempts to prove that after periods of listening to relaxing music or music aimed to lower blood pressure, normal participants should be able to demonstrate much higher spatial reasoning skills.

However, other studies have attempted to debunk this claim, such as ones conducted by the University of Wollongong Australia. This study produced evidence that music can be a distraction to the mind while trying to focus or retain knowledge and also concluded that music can affect introverted and extroverted people differently. Similarly, in a study conducted by Bishop’s University in Quebec, scientists tried to determine the effect of different types of noise on introverts and extroverts. Through their tests, they found that not only does music have an effect on mood, but the introverts suddenly got overstimulated and went through high levels of anxiety while listening to stimulating music. The introverts were shown to be more aggressive than their extroverted counterparts.

In a research test by The New York Academy of Sciences, researchers took large sample groups of 10- and 11-year-old children and tested their spatial abilities. Each child listened to either contemporary pop, music composed by Mozart, or a discussion about the experiment. This led to the creation of the idea of the “Blur effect,” which suggests that music does not make a person smarter, but can improve mood, leading to better test scores.

Many students at Bio-Med Science Academy enjoy listening to music during class; however,  some teachers think that it can be distracting.

Austin Warholic, 10th grade student with above average grades, works on an assignment while listening to classical music. “Music is like therapy to me,” said Warholic.  

Miss Kaitlyn Long, the 10th grade history teacher at Bio-Med Science Academy and former student of music, gave insight into how music affects her work and her students, saying,” If you’re trying to focus on something else, it makes it difficult to listen to music with lyrics. If you’re trying to listen to someone else, it’s hard because you have two streams of words coming at you.”

She continued, saying, “There’s also a lot of studies that do if you listen to classical music which has no lyrics. It’s just the music behind it. [That’s] actually beneficial to getting the brain moving because if you’re trying to do something more technical, [or] more left-brained, then listening to music that opens the right brain helps them work together and is actually proven to be more beneficial. I think it depends on what setting you’re listening to music, are you listening to a more fast-paced rap song or are you listening to Beethoven?”

Bio-Med students claimed their work is affected positively by music.

Andrew Nguyen, a 10th grade student who reports above-average grades said, “I don’t do my best work when I’m not listening to music, but when I am [listening to music] I’m more focused and have the ability to do better.”

Mike Lowden is the owner and an instructor at Loud & Clear Music School in Cuyahoga Falls, and has been around music his entire life. In his earlier years of adulthood, he “paid [his] bills with [his] guitar,” and is now a professional musician and teacher.

With his vast knowledge of music, he gets easily distracted by music as it takes his attention away from what he is doing while it is playing. “To me personally, it can be really difficult. Also sometimes music can be really distracting to me, just because I’ve had a lot of training with music so if there’s something that happens with a song, key change, interesting chord, the chord progression has been doing the same thing, or a different chord it really perks my ear up,” said Lowden.

Students should ask their teachers when it’s appropriate to listen to music during class time. Teachers’ opinions on music can vary as Long says,  “I think it depends on what it is, if it could be beneficial or not — I think it depends a lot on what kind of music it is or what you’re trying to do.”


Behind the Board: A Look into Bio-Med’s Governing Authority Members

by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer

JANUARY 2022 – The Governing Authority at Bio-Med Science Academy is responsible for the direction and vision of the school. It is made up of seven directors who come from a variety of backgrounds and fields and who serve varying term lengths. The Authority is led by President Dr. Lisa Testa, and Authority Vice President Aaron Kurchev. The Authority meets monthly to discuss school issues and “provide guidance on policy and planning for the academy,” according to Bio-Med’s website. Some of the longest-serving members are Testa and Dr. Annette Kratcoski.

From left to right: Kratcoski’s two children, Dr Annette Kratcoski, and Kratcoski’s husband. Pictured is Kratcoski and her family on a recent trip to New River Gorge National Park. As of last month her and her family visited their 44th national park. Kratcoski enjoys getting to see “a lot of our country, and it’s been really beautiful.” Kratcoski enjoys all opportunities she can spend with her family and her three boys. Image provided by Dr. Annette Kratcoski

Kratcoski is an Authority member and works at Kent State University as the Director of their Research Center for Educational Technology. Kratcoski has a doctoral degree from Kent State in speech-language pathology and curriculum, which led her to become interested in “technology as a way to support various learners and their needs.” This interest is what led her to her job at Kent State’s research center.

Through her work there in 2008, she met biology teacher, Stephanie Lammlein, now Chief Administrative Officer of Bio-Med Science Academy. Lammlein approached Kratcoski a couple of years later about the idea of starting a STEM high school, and Kratcoski became one of the colleagues Lammlein invited to the initial school advisory board that helped create the school. Kratcoski continued to serve on the advisory board when it transitioned to the Authority. She eventually left her position until she was reinvited to reapply in 2018, where she’s stayed at her position on the Governing Authority since.

Lisa Testa is the Bio-Med Governing Authority President, serving alongside Kratcoski. Testa is also a faculty member at Kent State University and is an associate professor in its School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies. Specifically, she works in the Adolescent and Young Adult Education Program, helping to prepare education students for becoming middle and high school teachers. Before working at the university, Testa was a high school English teacher, and a conference and meeting planner for a nonprofit Christian organization.

Testa is from the Akron area and has four children, two of which, Sophia and Annalise, have graduated from Bio-Med. Being a mom of two high-school-aged children drew Testa’s interest towards Bio-Med. Another part of what drew Testa to the school was “project-based problem-based, inquiry-based learning.

“I think there’s a lot of autonomy that is built for students as they have a chance to identify problems, and then begin that investigation on their own,”

“I’m very drawn to being a part of,  supporting [inquiry-based learning],” Testa said. This style of learning was what led her to enroll her children at Bio-Med. Testa had first-hand experience of what it meant to be a parent of students who go to schools with a different style of learning.

Testa went on to say, “So I was very familiar with the school before I sent my daughter there. ” Testa was “really delighted to be a part of [the Authority], because I really do think that this is a better way to educate students.” She agreed to become an Authority member in 2017.

Pictured is Dr. Lisa Testa hiking at Capitol Reef National Park August 2021, an activity she enjoys doing with her husband. Testa enjoys spending time with people saying she likes, “kind of mentoring people or caring for them or teaching.” This is a passion she has taken into her work with her faith community where she is very active and connected to her church. Image provided by Dr. Lisa Testa

Since joining the Governing Authority, Testa became the Authority President within the past year. Dr. Bradley Goodner, the previous president, had planned to step down from his role, and according to Testa, the selection of the new president was “nose goes honestly, there wasn’t a lot to it. [It] made sense for me to step into this role because of my availability.”

As president of Bio-Med Science Academy’s Governing Authority, Testa has many responsibilities that she is required to perform. Testa highlighted that all members are asked to come to monthly meetings. At those meetings, members deliberate and provide feedback and recommendations for the Bio-Med district as a whole. Some of the Authority’s duties, Testa said, include “discussing matters that are important for the ongoing success, financially or employment-wise, of the school.” Ultimately, the position of the Governing Authority is to provide feedback and offer the experience of the Authority members to Bio-Med leadership.

For Kratcoski, as a general director of the Authority, her duties are similar to those of Testa. However, one of the personal responsibilities Kratcoski has given herself as an Authority member has been, “to advise and to support.” She likes to be an “active partner to support the teachers,” and find opportunities where she can share insight and expertise with teachers and staff at Bio-Med.  

One of Kratcoski’s other personal duties is to help teachers make connections. Given her role at the university, she has the ability to meet a lot of different administrators and teachers from other districts, and she likes to connect people through common interests, goals, and needs.  Kratcoski does this because she believes “[people in the education field] can all work purposefully towards improving teaching and learning for kids everywhere.”

For Testa, her personal goals for Bio-Med have come from a new assignment within the Governing Authority that resulted from a shift in the way work was divided up. Within the past year, the Governing Authority, changed the way it operates by introducing subcommittees to “address the major goals and mission and vision for Bio-Med,” said Kratcoski. The newly created subcommittees comprised of parents of Bio-Med students, teachers, school administrators, and Authority members. They are designed to utilize these members and their expertise to provide insight for the Authority.

The different subcommittees include Strategic Plan and Development, Finances and Audit, and Outreach and Engagement that both Kratcoski and Testa serve on. The two work with schools and nonprofit organizations as part of their jobs at Kent State University. “We both have some connections to the area that we can help leverage in that discussion about outreach,” Testa said. “We’re tapped, just depending on what the need is that arises,” she continued, which was a sentiment shared by Kratcoski.

Kratcoski enjoys the implementation of subcommittees, saying, “I’m really, really pleased and honored to be serving on that committee.” She has particularly enjoyed the shift towards subcommittees because she hasn’t had the ability to work firsthand with parents before, which has given insight into the work the Authority is doing.

As a part of the Authority’s subcommittee for Engagement and Outreach, Kratcoski and Testa have been able to help develop plans and create events for not only Bio-Med’s community, but also the surrounding community. The committee planned to host summer camps, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as one of its ways to show the community “some really innovative things going on at Bio-Med, with teachers in their classrooms in terms of what they’re doing with coding, programming, design thinking, inquiry, robotics, and hands on kind of learning,” Kratcoski stated.

The camps would be run by Bio-Med and offer opportunities for students and children not enrolled in the academy to participate in different kinds of learning Bio-Med specializes in. Kratcoski hoped these summer camps would start in the summer of 2022, but the situation is dependent on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another important aspect of the camps would be partnering with teachers from other districts to create “a very meaningful way to collaborate and engage with some of our other districts,” explainedKratcoski. Testa was also excited about the potential for partnerships that could help the academy achieve more endorsements and support in general and for its summer programs.

Another project the Engagement and Outreach Subcommittee has been working on was the idea of developing after-school programs. After-school programs created by the committee would provide “more opportunities to explore, like maybe robotics, or maybe something more with arts or music,” Kratcoski said. The program was going to be rolled out this spring, but due to staff shortages and the current pandemic, the after-school programs have been potentially delayed to late fall of 2022. She is excited about this delay because she wants to “be able to do it right,” she said. She believes this to be a “wonderful opportunity for the students enrolled in our academy, particularly giving them an opportunity to explore some of their interests and passions that maybe they don’t necessarily get to explore during the school day or they’ve explored a bit.”

Testa and other Authority members have ambitious plans for the academy, including expanding its size and impact. Trying to “replicate the school, that’s been something we’ve talked about at our Authority meetings over the years that we could create a brand that then is, you know, almost like franchised,” said Testa. Testa sounded excited to hopefully get Bio-Med into a franchisable model where the work being done at Bio-Med could be replicated in other schools. This is an opportunity Kratcoski is excited about to “explore some ways of approaching teaching and learning that we haven’t done here.”  Testa believes the education happening at Bio-Med with inquiry models and competency-based learning could be “powerful” for the world of education. Kratcoski sees Bio-Med as a testing ground for a new learning system that could be “scalable for other schools, whether they’re a tiny little private faith-based school, or a large school district.”

For Testa, one of the many ways she has been able to help Bio-Med outside of direct subcommittee assignments has been through the work she does at Kent State. Testa helps coordinate a program that prepares teachers in their Master of Arts Teaching program. “Often, a lot of my former students are [Bio-Med] teachers, you know, so it helps to have a bit of a connection to the university,” said Testa. Her connections to her former students have helped her to connect with staff members, having known them and their teaching style from when they were at Kent State.

Kratcoski and Testa both plan to remain committed members of Bio-Med’s Governing Authority. “I’ll always be connected in some way to Bio-Med,” Kratcoski said, which is a view and opinion that Testa holds as well, since she first fell in love with the work Bio-Med is doing. Both are passionate and excited about what the future holds for the academy.


COVID-19 In The New Year

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

Chloe Cook, a freshman, received her booster vaccine to help prevent the spread of new variants like Omicron. The booster helps protect against symptoms like headaches, night-sweats, shortness of breath, and losing taste and smell. Though COVID can still be contracted when vaccinated, vaccines can help reduce the length of infection. Photo provided by Chloe Cook

JANUARY 2022 – With the start of a new year came more threats from the COVID-19 virus. During the late months of 2021, Omicron, a new variant that spreads faster than the original virus, appeared in the United States. Though not much is known about Omicron, the best way to fight it is through vaccination.

The Omicron variant was first found in Botswana, South Africa, and made its way to the states once travel restrictions were lifted. In the United States, Omicron was first found in San Francisco, California, according to the New York Times. In the new year, there have been 63.2 million new cases in the USA.

As COVID progressed through the states, booster shots were made available starting Nov. 19. PBS reported that people ages 12 and older are able to get booster shots. According to Vaccines.gov, if a person has received a second Pfizer or Moderna shot, they can get a booster six months later. If a person has received a Johnson & Johnson shot, they can get a booster two months later.

Elissa Fusco, the 11th-grade biomedical engineering teacher, shared her opinion on the boosters and new variants. “The booster shot is an excellent step to take to prevent yourself from experiencing the full effect of COVID’s symptoms,” she said. “At this point, it’s a matter of when you get COVID versus trying to completely avoid COVID. Getting the booster allows a higher potential of a quicker recovery too, which is desperately needed in the workforce!”

Though many caught COVID-19, the quarantine time has decreased from 10 days to five days. The CDC stated that this was to keep the economy running and avoid another shut down. Even with a five-day quarantine, COVID is still transmittable. It is recommended that the individual continues to wear a mask even after their quarantine date is up.

Pictured is a COVID guideline chart sent to Bio-Med families. This chart helps students and families decide if their student should come to school or get tested. Since guidelines changed, a new chart was developed. Chart provided by Bio-Med

Charmayne Polen, chief operating officer and principal, shared COVID procedures for the school year, saying, “We are staying with the same protocol that we had this year and last year until January 17th. This is in terms of quarantining and exposure, if you are vaccinated but exposed, you don’t have to quarantine. The moment someone has symptoms, they go home and test and we send home rapid tests with everyone who shows symptoms and has been exposed.”

While Omicron surges around the world, health reports have stated that symptoms can be long lasting. Though the Omicron variant is less aggressive, symptoms like respiratory issues can continue to affect patients long-term. Omicron patients report that COVID was more of a common head cold. Symptoms like coughs, fatigue, congestion, and sore throats are more common. While symptoms like loss of taste and smell are less common.

The CDC recommends that everyone ages five and older get vaccinated to protect themselves and others around them. COVID testing sites have been set up in each county. Places like CVS have websites to help find free testing, COVID-19 Testing and Locations | MinuteClinic. Sites like Vaccines.gov help find vaccination sites. 


Canfora Discusses Her Experience on May 4, 1970

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Dr. Roseann Canfora received her Master’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations at Kent State University, where she also earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. She currently works collaboratively with the President’s Office and the May 4 Presidential Advisory Committee to oversee the university’s May 4 related initiatives. Photo by Jenna Bates.

DECEMBER 2021 – Dr. Roseann “Chic” Canfora visited Bio-Med Science Academy on Nov. 17 to speak with the junior class about her experience at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, and to highlight the importance of democracy. This was one of the culminating activities ending the juniors’ integrated study of the Baby Boomer generation.

Canfora, a professional-in-residence at the School of Media and Journalism, has taught as an adjunct professor at Kent State since 2006. She first arrived on campus in 1968 as a freshman, eager to seek out cheerleading programs and join a sorority. As a child of veterans, Canfora also considered joining the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Canfora described herself as a “groupie for democracy” while expressing her love for America’s free press and First Amendment values. 

“It was students all over the campus at Kent State in 1968 that made me think about who I was in a much bigger world,” she said. Students for a Democratic Society, an activist group on campus, often intrigued Canfora. 

“They were hippies. They wore bell bottoms, fringe jackets, they grew their hair long in defiance of the norm, but they were also so smart. They were always talking about the war in Vietnam and they were always talking about the unfairness of their generation being shipped off to war. Every time they handed me a leaflet, I just threw it away; however, every once in a while I would find myself stopping to listen to what they had to say. They seemed to know so much about the war in Vietnam, but what they were saying was unsettling to me,” she continued.

During the Vietnam War, American men ages 18 to 26 faced the possibility of being involuntarily drafted into military service. On Dec. 1, 1969, the United States held its first draft lottery, which gave young men a random number corresponding to their birthdays. Men with lower numbers were told to report to induction centers where they could be ordered into active duty and possibly sent to the Vietnam War. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, nearly two million men were drafted between 1964 and 1973.

Canfora, who had two brothers of draft age, watched on national television as capsules containing birth dates were pulled out of a large bowl during the draft lottery. Like many others, she did not agree with this action. “It was then that I not only stopped throwing away the leaflets, but I started to attend any meeting where people were talking about the war,” Canfora stated.

When President Richard Nixon announced to the country that U.S. troops were invading Cambodia on April 30, further escalating the war, Canfora reached a breaking point. Along with her brother, Alan Canfora, that weekend she attended protests, marched, and participated in demonstrations at various universities.

“I did not know as a 19-year-old angry college student that the real power we had as a generation of student activists was on Monday, May 4th.”

At universities all over the country, students planned to announce a national student strike at noon. “We were going to say that we’re not going to go to class. We’re not going to graduate. We’re not going to enter your corporations. We’re not going to work your jobs. We’re not going to contribute to your economy until you bring our friends home from Vietnam. And that’s when we got shot,” Canfora exclaimed.

Shortly before noon, around 3,000 students assembled on the commons to protest. The Ohio National Guardsmen who arrived days before, occupied the campus and monitored the growing crowd. The students were ordered to disperse, but they refused to leave. Canfora remembered seeing her brother walk towards the guardsmen waving a black flag. After noticing a guardsman aim his gun at Alan, she urged him to come back to the parking lot with her. Then, the guardsmen huddled and started moving back up Blanket Hill. The students began to cheer because they thought the confrontation was over.

“We thought we won, but we were wrong,” Canfora recalled.

Once the guardsmen reached the top of the hill, Troup G turned in unison and began firing. Many guardsmen reported firing into the air or the ground; however, some fired directly into the crowd. 

Canfora asked the audience to set a timer for 13 seconds. When the timer began, the room fell quiet until the alarm went off. In that time on May 4th, the guardsmen fired 67 shots, killing four students and wounding nine, including her brother.

Pictured are the Ohio National Guardsmen walking towards a crowd near Taylor Hall, on May 4, 1970. Moments later, the guardsmen opened fire on the unarmed students, killing Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder.

“Thirteen seconds is a horrifically long amount of time, to not just shoot, but continue shooting even as students are running in the other direction, even as students are diving to the ground, even as people are lying down bleeding and dying.” 

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, student strikes and demonstrations erupted on hundreds of college campuses during the following weeks. On May 14, another on-campus shooting resulted in the deaths of two Black students and the wounding of 12 others at Jackson State University in Mississippi. These incidents created a surge in antiwar activism throughout the United States, bringing an end to the selective service draft and the Vietnam War. 

In the 51 years since the May 4th shooting, Canfora has continued to share her truth, calling on others to do the same. “Students have traditionally been the conscience of America. You must never stop telling the truth because our country needs to learn the right lessons.”

“It is my hope that as the new generation emerging, you will find a way to rally together around the things that unite you, rather than the things that divide you,” she concluded.

General Interest

ALICE Training and Safety Procedures at Bio-Med Science Academy

by Alyssa Cocchiola, associate editor

DECEMBER 2021  In the aftermath of the school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan Nov. 30, Genesee county urged school districts to consider their safety protocols. The shooting resulted in at least four deaths and several injuries and was reported to occur in the span of around five minutes. It ended when the suspect,  a 15-year-old student, was arrested after being spotted with live ammunition in a school hallway, according to the Detroit Free Press.

A common safety protocol, implemented in schools since 2000is ALICE training. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. Officer Terri Moncoveish, a NEOMED police officer, visited Bio-Med Science Academy to discuss ALICE safety protocols with students in October. In the event of a lockdown, students were instructed to use their best judgment to decide a course of action and to counter as a last resort.

Many safety protocols, like ALICE, were created after the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School. Moncoveish noted that in situations like Columbine, students who barricaded doors, jumped out of windows, and took precautions other than hiding under desks in an unlocked room, had a higher survival rate.

Moncoveish stated that the most important thing to take away from the meeting is for students to “pay attention [and] take instructions from teachers if possible. I know at times it’s not going to be possible, because when something’s happening, people don’t react the same as when they’re trained. I go through all this police training; that doesn’t mean I’m going to react [based] on how I was trained.”

The ALICE training session was also held during the 2020-2021 school year. During the meeting, Officer Moncoveish talked about how to handle a lock down situation. For a hard lockdown, it is recommended that students barricade doors or escape to safety if the intruder is far away. For a soft lockdown, students are typically instructed to stay in their classrooms and continue coursework, though the doors to classrooms remain locked. In the meeting, the importance of using ALICE in a lockdown situation was stressed, as it has been proven in the past that taking action and barricading doors increases chances of survival in emergency situations. Photo provided by Tabitha England.

The ALICE presentations were also given during the 2020-2021 school year. However, the school was not yet at full capacity, since students from each grade were still attending online. This year, no online option was offered through Bio-Med, meaning that the school is at full capacity once again. As a result, many students were introduced to ALICE for the first time this year and still had questions about implementing the safety procedures in the new building.

Moncoveish recommended that students maintain “a routine of keeping an open mind” and to familiarize themselves with the school layout.

“The kids need to know the layout of the building, in case they get separated from their classrooms,” she advised. “[Students should] know how to get out [and] know where to hide if they need to hide. Don’t be afraid. A lot of kids are going to be afraid, especially if they see some guy walking in their school…. The building layout is probably the most important thing. It’s a sore subject to talk about, but unfortunately [emergencies] happen all the time.”

Despite knowing the layout of the building, some students still had questions about the “tripod” rooms. These are three classrooms in the new addition that connect to each other through large glass garage doors. They are located on the third and fourth floors.

Seventh-grader Rylee Flack shared her concerns about the glass doors. “If the glass were to break, it would hurt someone,” she said.

In the original building, students have practiced emergency drills many different times throughout the year. “We’ve practiced what to do if an intruder comes in and a few fire [drills],” Flack concluded.

Though she had concerns, she felt confident with the ALICE and other emergency procedures and prepared if those situations were ever to arise.

Pictured above is one of the tripod rooms. After the ALICE training, Officer Moncoveish met with a few teachers to discuss safety procedures in those classrooms. However, not all of the closet space belongs to Bio-Med, and access to keys for these spaces are not available to teachers. Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola.

Mrs. Carrie Sinkele, the 10th grade engineering teacher, teaches in one of the tripod classrooms. Since it is her first year teaching at Bio-Med, she recently learned all of the school’s safety procedures. No matter what the emergency situation is, she stated that “either way, I lock and close my classroom doors, [and] shut off the lights.”

In situations that involve leaving the classroom, all teachers are also equipped with a green backpack. This is filled with items like first-aid kits, class rosters, and other items needed in the event of a crisis.

She continued, “I do not know if we have procedures for the garage doors in a lockdown. I can always lock the garage doors for my room.”

The garage doors, however, can only be locked from one side. In rooms that expose the doors to the outside, the feature allows for teachers inside the classroom to control when it is locked and unlock it for an easy escape route.

However, in some of the tripod classrooms, having the doors lock from one side is not as simple. Since the doors connect multiple classrooms together, certain classrooms have the ability to lock doors, while others do not, depending on what side of the garage door faces them.  

Mrs. Lindsey McLaughin, the chief operating officer and principal of grades 10 through 12, addressed the concerns students had.

“Every emergency is situational so this question doesn’t have a simple, succinct answer,” McLaughlin noted. “If we think in terms of ALICE… you should [first] listen to your teacher and/or the adult in the room, [secondly] do your best to stay out of sight… find ways to barricade yourself into your room, [and] if able, leave the room and seek shelter somewhere else and/or evacuate the building. The most important thing to take away from your ALICE training is that the goal is to get out of the building if and when able. If you can’t, then you must use what is at your disposal to be as safe as possible.”

Moncoveish elaborated on this by reminding students of ALICE procedures in the event of a lockdown.

“Now, if you don’t have time [to evacuate]… the best thing is if you can get out of sight from the active shooter so you’re not visible, but for something like [the garage doors] it’s going to be hard,” she said. “Remember when I say counter is your last resort? Again, we have tons of stuff in here that students could throw at [an intruder], just to throw them off balance, or give just enough time to get out another door.”

When designing the glass doors, the primary concern was to create a space that would encourage collaboration between rooms. Greg Chaplin, the Architect and Project Manager at Hasenstab, held a pivotal role in the construction of the new building. He was responsible for construction administration and met weekly with the contractor during the building’s construction.

“The learning style at Bio-Med is based on student collaboration,” he said. “This collaboration happens not just within each classroom but also often between classrooms and subjects. The glass doors provide a way to connect the students visually and physically, which fosters the collaborative environment.”

On top of this, Hasenstab architects needed to consider safety in a structural sense as well. Since funding was aided by the state of Ohio, they had to adhere to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) guidelines.

Despite concerns about the glass doors, he noted that safety was heavily considered in the school’s design. The building was designed with a plethora of safety exits and the inclusion of some rooms without glass, in the event of situations like fires, lockdowns, or tornadoes.

Chaplin noted that “Safety really starts with careful monitoring who is coming into the building. For Bio-Med, this is accomplished through two distinct checkpoints. The first is at the entrance to the building from the outside. Secondly, visitors are greeted at the main office area before they can proceed to any of the educational spaces. These checkpoints along with security cameras throughout the space were installed for student and staff safety.”

Each morning, students scan into the building with their IDs. These are administered to them during their first year at Bio-Med and are a part of the dress code. Student IDs unlock entrance doors, while staff IDs grant access to more spaces. The safety procedure enables the school to monitor who is entering the building. Guests who do not have IDs are required to go through Bio-Meds security by buzzing into the building.

When joining Bio-Med, each student is given an ID card with their name and photo on it. It is required that their ID is visible at all times.

“The ID system is a safety procedure, especially since we are housed on a shared campus with a university as well as various publicly-accessible organizations,” McLaughlin explained. “In order to limit access to our spaces, the ID system was put into place, both to be able to identify those who have approved access to our spaces as well as to act as access keys to our spaces.”

Many members of the Bio-Med community appreciated this safety precaution, including Sinkele.

“I like that each student and staff needs an ID. I’m not sure if all people have their ID at all times,” Sinkele said. “I believe that this is one level of protection and I like that we have police on campus if the need arises.”

Sophomore Alana Smith shared similar opinions. “I think it helps. It makes me feel a little bit safer. I like the ID system,” they said.

“I think [the ID system] actually helps a lot. It obviously helps when it comes to our guests and visitors. It’s a deterrent, because people know that you need a badge to get in. That is the main deterrent to keep people from doing that,” Moncoveish added.  

However, there is always a possibility that a student has intent to harm their school environment. Taking that into consideration, if an active shooter were to ever be present on Bio-Med’s campus, the school has a designated safe area that students would report to. Information regarding this location’s whereabouts are withheld from the students for that reason, and are only given in the event of an emergency.

“I do like to remind students a lot that if they hear something, say something,” Moncoveish said.

“That’s where most of the risk level will drop for an active shooter, because most active shooters are either a student or a student from a different school that someone knows…. If you hear something, say something to a teacher or somebody. Just so it gets addressed. And even if it’s petty, meaning [if a student were to say] ‘I’m gonna come and beat your friend up because she stole my boyfriend.’ It’s just — it might seem so petty, but in that person’s eyes, it’s their whole world. People have different views on everything. Even if it’s just the slightest thing, I just highly recommend someone saying something, maybe what’s going on to a parent, just letting them know”

While IDs are a part of the dress code, some students do not wear theirs daily, or rely on their peers to open the doors for them. Moncoveish elaborated on how this could be problematic.

“Other than making sure everyone has badges to get in, you know kids, they’re nice, they’ll hold the door open for everybody and I tried to tell you guys, this is your school. Keep it safe.”

Whether it is ALICE training, a fire-drill, a tornado drill, or a lockdown drill, students have been instructed on how to be prepared in the event of an emergency. No matter the situation, students are expected to listen to their teacher and follow their best judgment.

Bio-Med General Interest