MAY 2022 — It is with a great degree of sadness that I say goodbye to The Hive. As I prepare to graduate next week, I must retire from my role as editor-in-chief. No words can adequately express how much I’ve gained from this experience. I am so incredibly proud of the staff, and as I embark on a new journey, I hope to find another community merely half as great as the one we all created.
The Hive was created during the 2019-2020 school year. It was founded by a group of students who wanted to form a newspaper club. Then, the following year it was converted into an elective class.
This school year, as a staff, we wrote and published 109 articles which garnered a total of 9,638 views on our webpage. Additionally, The Hive won eight awards at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association 2022 state conference.
“I’m really proud of The Hive’s progress,” said newspaper adviser Ms. Jenna Bates. “We had some growing pains the first year. I think we worked out a lot of those last year, but because of Covid, it was on a very limited basis. So this year, we’ve really seen what [The Hive] can do.”
When I joined The Hive last year as a staff writer, eight students were on the staff, with five of them being virtual. Since then, The Hive has expanded to 15 staff members, the largest it’s ever been.
Bates commented on the expansion, saying, “I think it has worked out very well…. Obviously, three in-person writers and five virtual ones can only cover so much. Having the 15 staff members from grades nine through 12 was very helpful in terms of wider coverage of topics and developing a cross-grade community.”
Associate editors Alyssa Cocchiola and Ken Burchett discussed their experience as veteran members of The Hive.
“Starting out as a staff writer sophomore year was a bit intimidating at first, because I didn’t know what to expect. After my first article, I really started getting into the swing of things. I was fortunate enough to be the associate editor in my second year. And that was a really beneficial experience, because I was able to take the knowledge I learned about the AP style and apply it to editing. While I was able to help others, it also showed me how much I had grown as a writer,” said Cocchiola
Burchett remarked, “Recently, I was looking back at my old articles from last year, and they were really bad. Frankly, I believe I deserved more criticism for them. But looking at my article now, I can see the improvements I’ve made. My articles are longer, and more in-depth, and I know how grammar works. I am proud of my progress.”
Newer members reflected on their first year writing for The Hive.
Jesse Mitchell, a sophomore, said, “Coming into newspaper, I was terrified. I never really saw myself as a good writer, but I had many teachers who believed in me…. I didn’t know how I would do with journalistic writing. It was scary, and I didn’t have high hopes for myself. But looking back at it now, it was the greatest choice I ever made. I think I’ve come a long way.”
Senior CJ Delaney, said, “I came in without any experience writing in a journalistic style, so it was hard to immediately jump into writing articles. Everything I wrote didn’t feel natural to me, and I made a lot of the big mistakes journalists are often criticized for, like editorializing and sounding too much like an essay. As the year went on, I got a lot more comfortable with writing in this way, and I think that shows in my writing. I still feel like a beginner in a lot of ways, but I’m glad to have a year’s worth of experience.”
Many staff members recalled how their journalism skills had helped them outside of the newsroom.
Senior Elise Miller stated, “The interviewing process has almost forced me to learn how to talk to various types of people. This is essential in any area of life, and it’s helped me greatly. It’s also helped my communication with learning how to tell a story. I’m essentially communicating the story with whoever reads my article, so learning how to convey that has helped a lot with my communication skills.”
As a writer, Burchett gained awareness, saying, “Because I am a journalist now, I have to think about issues in a certain way. And I have to think about the different sides and what is contributing to an issue. So I think it’s helped improve my critical thinking skills about the way the world works around me.”
Cadence Gutman, a freshman, shared a similar sentiment, saying, “I think I’m more aware of the world. I’m constantly paying attention to things that happen around me now.”
The members of the staff all said that their favorite thing about The Hive is the environment and the community. From our matching sweatshirts to our themed potlucks and inside jokes, I would have to agree.
“I love our group. It’s just the weirdest little oddballs, and they’re all fantastic,” exclaimed sophomore Mallory Butcher.
“The environment of the classroom was always a highlight. Even if I was stressed, tired, or in a bad mood, it was never the collective feelings of the room. People always seemed like they actually wanted to be there, which was nice. And Ms. Bates was able to put up with our bullcrap which was impressive,” said Delaney.
“As much as I love my friends in my other classes, Newspaper feels like a home to me. It feels like what Bio-Med wants family groups to be,” Burchett remarked. “It’s this community of people across grade levels. Even though we’re all different and only see each other one period out of the day, we all feel this family environment where we can trust each other and joke around.”
Though I will miss the great times we had, I know I am leaving The Hive in extremely capable hands. Next school year, Alyssa Cocchiola will serve as the editor-in-chief, and Mallory Butcher will join Burchett as an associate editor.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to be editor-in-chief. And I’m just as excited to help more people grow as writers and keep up with what we’ve created so far with The Hive,” said Coccihola.
Butcher also looks forward to her new role, saying, “I am really excited. I love writing, and I love being able to fine-tune different aspects of my writing. I believe being an editor will make me a better writer.”
Looking to the future, many staff members have made plans for the upcoming school year.
“I am looking forward to doing more of the journalism process. I want to improve my writing, specifically my grammar and mechanics,” said Mitchell.
“I can’t wait to see what articles we can produce next year,” stated Cocchiola. “This year, we kind of all started out on the same page minus the editors. No one had taken a journalism class before, so we started at the beginning and learned the basics. But next year, we will only have incoming freshmen, so we can streamline that learning process. The current staff members will already have that experience, so they will be able to pursue the articles that they didn’t know how to this year. We also can all help the freshmen learn those skills and keep getting better.”
Through writing for The Hive, I was blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and I met some great people along the way. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and our adviser, Ms. Bates. Without them, The Hive would not have been possible.
It has been an incredible opportunity and honor to serve as the editor-in-chief. I am endlessly grateful and hopeful for the future of the newspaper and student journalism as a whole. I wish next year’s staff an even better year of reporting.
MAY 2022 — Throughout my educational journey at Bio-Med Science Academy, I never once heard the term “independent STEM school.” In fact, I had never even considered what type of school Bio-Med was or how it received funding — that is, until I found myself standing outside the Ohio Statehouse building on a cold March morning, preparing to present to members of the Ohio General Assembly about the importance of independent STEM schools — a topic I first heard of on the car ride there.
It was then that I learned Bio-Med was not the only school of its nature.
In total, there are seven independent STEM schools in Ohio, meaning that they are not affiliated with a public school district.
These seven schools are Bio-Med Science Academy STEM School, Dayton Regional STEM School, Global Impact STEM Academy, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School, Metro Early College High School, Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, and Valley STEM+ MF2 Academy.
Together, these schools make up the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools, otherwise known as OAISS (pronounced oh-AY-sis).
The mission of OAISS is to approach learning in a way that meets the workforce demands of Ohio. To fulfill this mission, each school focuses on mastery learning, hands-on education, holding themselves to a “higher standard,” and having a non-selective admission process, according to the OAISS website.
Bio-Med Science Academy’s Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Stephanie Lammlein, provided insight on this mission statement.
“The direction and pace our world of work is moving demands schools change to better prepare our learners for their adult journey. One way to achieve this is through STEM. The work the independents are doing is helping to drive much needed change,” she said.
OAISS was initially formed just before the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020. Though the group is relatively new, the school districts had been collaborating with one another long before the official formation of OAISS.
“As the Superintendent of Metro Early College STEM School, I felt it necessary to continue the advocacy of Ohio’s STEM schools,” Meka Pace, the president of OAISS and superintendent of Metro Early College STEM School, recalled. “We have great programs — each uniquely different by location — but our schools are truly preparing students for jobs of the future. OAISS has been a tool that the independent STEM schools have utilized to further amplify our voices and our programs.”
This amplification of voices is especially relevant to how OAISS schools receive funding.
“We are funded through a state formula that looks at many categories and arrives at a number for each school,” Pace explained. “On top of what the state gives you as a base cost, there are some federal dollars that each school receives to support students with special needs, or students whose families have a financial need.”
Despite the state formula, a major difference between independent schools and district-affiliated schools is that independent STEM schools are not able to levy funds from taxpayers. As a result, if a STEM school wishes to expand, renovate a school, or build a new building, funds must be acquired differently. Typically, these funds are acquired through donations or grants.
“Our funding stays relatively flat,” Pace admitted. “On average, a STEM school receives around $8,000 per pupil, while some districts may bring in $12,000 per pupil.”
Lammlein added to this, stating, “We are still unpacking the new school funding formula in Ohio and how it has changed our revenue. At this point, I can say [independent] STEM schools are the lowest funded ‘type of school’ in Ohio.”
Since the schools are primarily funded through the state, representatives of OAISS will occasionally speak to members of the Ohio General Assembly to discuss the importance of STEM education and independent STEM schools.
OAISS members strive to coordinate these meetings around two to three times a year, according to Lammlein.
I was recently able to take part in how these schools received funding during the most recent trip to the Ohio Statehouse March 2.
“The purpose is to ensure that our representatives know of us and remember OAISS schools when they are creating new funding opportunities or legislation,” Pace elaborated. “Since we are few in number, it is sometimes easy to be forgotten or overlooked, so we strive to make sure that they are aware of the good work we are doing and the need to have equitable funding for our programs.”
Representing Bio-Med, alongside me, were Lammlein and seniors Kelsea Cooper and Daniel Zalamea.
Prior to this trip, the three of us were asked by Lammlein to attend several conferences and meet with other students from Bio-Med’s partner schools in Columbus. Upon receiving this invitation, I accepted and didn’t think much of what these meetings would actually entail. I figured this experience would be a general, nondescript meeting about Bio-Med and how the school operates differently.
It turned out that my assumption was far from the truth. After a two-hour car ride to Columbus, I found myself standing right inside of the Ohio Statehouse building.
I remember looking in awe at the building when Cooper turned to me and said, “Did you know this would be at the Statehouse?”
I said that I had no idea the meetings would take us there.
Shortly after this conversation, Cooper, Zalamea, and I were separated into different groups, accompanied by other administrators and students from other schools. Each group attended meetings with different members of The General Assembly, addressing how independent STEM schools prepared students for the workforce.
Popular topics addressed were internships, mastery learning, learning pathways, and exposure to different careers early on.
“I had an overall positive experience with the OAISS Columbus trip,” Zalamea said. “Not only was it interesting to meet students from across Ohio who have had similar experiences to the one I have had at Bio-Med, but the opportunity to talk to members of the General Assembly and help push for a better system of education was fulfilling. I hadn’t heard about OAISS until the trip, and I imagine that the vast majority of Bio-Med students don’t know about it.”
Cooper agreed with this, stating, “I’ve heard of OAISS in the past, but I honestly didn’t know what it was prior to our trip to Columbus. I remember other teachers talking about OAISS, like ‘Oh, we’ve got this OAISS training,’ but that’s it.”
In my collaboration with others, it was clear that being unaware of OAISS or independent STEM schools was not a Bio-Med-exclusive experience.
“When the superintendent asked me to [go to the Columbus trip], I had no idea there were other schools like us. At first, it was a little surprising, but then it felt good to know that other areas are getting this kind of opportunity,” Neha Pasupuleti, a junior at Dayton Regional STEM School, stated.
Pasupuleti, Lammlein, and I had attended around four meetings with state representatives during the first half of the day.
Pasupuleti added, “It was important that all of the people who are making laws about funding for education and things like that, that they know that we exist and all the programs that we offer, so that they can help us really strengthen the ones we have and also make sure that this type of STEM school model is available for everyone.”
After a lunch break, the groups were slightly altered to accommodate for schools that left early. Following this, I attended meetings with Lammlein and Haylee Acquah, junior at Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA).
“That day was very humbling and a blessing,” Acquah shared. “It definitely opened my eyes and reminded me how special and resourceful our school is and how much of an impact I and the school itself can make on others.”
While talking with Pasupuleti and Acquah, I realized how unique the experiences our schools offered truly are.
Though I had understood the motive behind having workforce-preparing opportunities, being able to speak to other students with similar experiences allowed for me to see the bigger picture as to why these things were important.
“Oftentimes, I’m like, ‘This is a Bio-Med thing. No one else really understands other than Bio-Med people,’ but seniors at Dayton have internships,” said Cooper. “It’s just  hours across two years, whereas ours are 120, 240, or 360, so that was interesting to hear about their project-based learning and how each STEM school has its own specialty.”
For students at Dayton, internship opportunities are usually completed during a student’s junior year. Pasupuleti explained that at the end of the year, students are able to complete internships during “STEMmersion days.”
“We have this opportunity at our school where, for two weeks, we get to immerse ourselves in a topic we like to do and teachers will propose different projects we can do,” she said.
Pasupuleti stated that most juniors complete their internships during those two weeks and/or during “Plan E” days, which are days where students complete coursework digitally. These days operate similarly to Bio-Med’s “Digital Days.”
In talking to students from other schools, mastery learning was also brought up. Like the internships, I expected mastery learning to look similar between schools. To my surprise, not all OAISS schools used the same definition of mastery.
I was informed by Acquah that at GISA, a student must receive a 90 percent or higher to be considered mastered in a subject and able to pass a class. At first, I was rather startled, as Bio-Med’s grading system operates much differently.
Instead of a 90 percent being the equivalent of passing, Bio-Med’s version of mastery revolves around rethinking grades entirely with the use of standards-based grading. When the grades are converted into a traditional letter scale, a passing grade would transfer to a 70 percent.
Despite these differences, however, Acquah enjoys GISA’s grading system.
“The benefits that I have gained from this particular grading system is that it holds me accountable, showing me that 70 percent isn’t enough. It also in some way makes me believe that my teachers know I can do better,” Acquah shared.
Though each school varies in how they approach their goals, each school meets the OAISS mission of preparing students for the Ohio workforce.
“I like [the differences] because we are all our own school…our independent STEM schools should be able to serve their students in the way they fit best,” Acquah said. “I don’t believe we should have similar curriculums because it gives students a choice if they want to attend an independent STEM school or not.”
Pasupuleti agreed with this, stating, “We’re all super different. It’s not like we have Dayton Regional STEM School and just make that exact same copy in Columbus, Cincinnati, and all these other places. Each school is designed to its community’s needs, and although we have similar principals with project-based learning and stuff like that, I had no idea that there were more schools like us.”
During a rather long two-hour car ride home from Columbus, I was able to truly reflect on how unique each OAISS school was.
Though I had never stepped foot inside any of the other independent STEM schools before, it was apparent that the schools of my newly-acquainted friends had prepared them to be successful individuals just from the way they were able to speak publicly and present themselves.
Despite being in a nerve-wracking situation where we presented to state representatives and governors without a script or prior practice, each person I met that day exhibited the soft skills necessary for any successful individual: resilience, flexibility, self-regulation, problem-solving, and stellar communication skills.
Those skills are ones that, from my experience, are less common in students who were not exposed to workforce-preparing opportunities.
“Being ready for the workforce after graduation is important because the fundamental skills we learn at independent STEM schools are habits that can’t be easily enforced in adults,” Zalamea stressed. “We as Bio-Med students are able to become responsible people with teamwork skills because it is enforced in us while we are young. If you tried to teach an older student the same values, they likely would not accept that they need to work harder.”
Reflecting on the OAISS mission, I thought to myself during that car ride, “How come I didn’t know about OAISS or independent STEM schools before today?”
It was so odd how something could be so familiar and yet so foreign to the entirety of Bio-Med’s community. After all, each student and teacher were teaching and learning in ways that actively fulfilled the OAISS mission, and yet, the bigger picture seemed to be hidden.
Attending school the next day, I realized the answer to this question.
I walked into class and everyone was looking down at their computer screens. Any conversations I overheard were about schoolwork: people complained about how much effort a project required, spoke about how excited they were for their final project to be presented, talked about how they were having a hard time finding a place to job shadow, shared answers on their math homework in preparation for tests, and exclusively spoke of and worked on whatever task was due next.
As Bio-Med students approach the end of the school year, it is easy to miss the big picture, and instead, focus solely on what task is next. However, that mentality loses sight of the reasoning behind why hands-on learning, workforce opportunities, and mastery learning were engraved in the school’s very being in the first place.
After all, every day, students at Bio-Med and the other six independent STEM schools are constantly being exposed to tools, experiences, and lessons that aim to prepare them for what’s next, and after a certain amount of time, it just becomes part of their daily routine — few rarely ever stop to ask why.
I certainly didn’t.
Though it is entirely possible the mission of OAISS may never be brought to the attention of every student who attends an independent STEM school, its relevance and implementation will continue to leave an impact.
It has impacted the lives of myself, my peers, and newly acquainted friends from the other independent STEM schools, and it seems there is almost no way the impact OAISS schools have will stop there.
The Hive reached out to administrators from Global Impact STEM Academy, Dayton Regional STEM School, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School, Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, and Valley STEM+ MF2 Academy for comment. These administrators did not answer The Hive’s query.
MAY 2022 — When most people travel to Europe, they picture stone villages, grand architecture, and beautiful scenery. Five students from Bio-Med Science Academy experienced the real thing with Education First (EF), a company that provides experiential learning programs through international travel, March 26 through April 4.
Ms. Laura Sass, the STEM quality and curriculum administrator, explained the different activities students participated in.
“On European trips, we visit different museums, castles, city centers, and other places important to that location. For example, on the most recent trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we visited cities such as Vienna, Munich, and Lucerne,” Sass said. “We went to Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the inspiration for the Disney Cinderalla castle, Dachau concentration camp, and up a gondola to see Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland.”
Sass continued, “My favorite activity from the trip this year was called the ‘Swiss Alps Experience.’ This was a fondue dinner and show of different musical instruments from the Alps and Swiss culture. Students were able to participate by playing the Alpine Horn and practicing their yodeling. It was a fun way of learning about Swiss Culture, while also having the students be involved.”
Ana Sadeghian, a senior who attended this trip, said, “I really enjoyed all of the places we toured. I wish that we spent more time in some places like Liechtenstein and the Alps. Because we were on a tight schedule, we didn’t have as much time to tour these places.”
Her favorite activity was, “visiting Vienna, Austria. It was so beautiful! I also really enjoyed going to Dachau even though it was a very heavy day because of all the history we learned.” Dachau was the first concentration camp built by Nazi Germany.
Though Sadeghian enjoyed the trip, she learned about the challenges traveling can present.
“I learned that traveling is not a vacation; it is very intense. When traveling, you really have to dress for comfort and wear layers. We went to four different countries, all with different climates. So if you don’t dress accordingly, you will not have a good time!”
Sadeghian said that she “would recommend this trip to other students if they think they can handle it!”
Lily Hritz, a tenth grade student who also participated in this trip, said that her favorite part of the trip was, “being in Vienna and all of the free time [the students] got.” Students often spent their freetime further exploring the local attractions. She also said that she enjoyed “getting to be in another country and learn about [that country’s] customs.
“I’m glad [the trip] was offered. I probably wouldn’t have gotten to go otherwise …. I would recommend going. It’s not an opportunity [people] get a lot in life,” said Hritz. “My biggest takeaway was to try new things. There’s a lot I wouldn’t have done, but since I was there, I did.”
Sadeghian enjoyed the trip, but was glad to return home.
“Although I experienced many great things and came home with good memories, I learned I am not a world traveler,” Sadeghian said. “I was extremely homesick the entire trip and it was really hard to cope with.”
In contrast, Hritz said, “Adjusting to the time difference after I got back was really hard, but leaving was the most difficult …. I wanted to keep going.”
Sass concluded, “Our tour company, Education First (EF), does a fantastic job of putting together the itineraries and activities for the students. We work closely together planning the trip and adapting it to the interests of the students. Overall, I have really enjoyed all of the activities on the trips.”
MAY 2022 — Climate and environmental scientists are saying, “It’s now or never,” in response to the most recent climate change report, published April 4. The report, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), indicated that a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is necessary by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects by the year 2100.
After the release of the most recent 3,000 page climate change report, scientists of the group The Scientist Rebellion started a worldwide protest in more than 25 major countries.
During this protest, Dr. Peter Kalmus and three other members of the Scientist Rebellion group chained themselves to the outside of the JPMorgan Chase building. Since 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co, a multinational, financial services and investment banking company, directly poured slightly more than a quarter of a trillion dollars into fossil fuels.
In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, Klamus stated, “We are currently heading directly towards civilizational collapse.” He continued, “We need to switch into climate emergency mode as a society.”
Kelsea Cooper, a senior at Bio-Med, said that while she thinks the protests are justified, she believes there may be other ways to get the point across. “I don’t know if that method is going to make those people understand, because when it comes down to it, they don’t have an open mind about it. They’re set in their ways,” she said.
Freshman Zachary Phillips, doesn’t feel the issue is as serious as Cooper does. “Personally, it [climate change] doesn’t affect me directly or the people around me. I think people make it out to be a bigger deal than it is. Like it still matters, but it’s not like ‘world ending’,” he explained.
Sophie Wiley, a freshman who had been involved in environmental activism, responded to the reports from the recent protest: “I can get wanting to keep business clean and tidy like the bank, but if they are peacefully protesting, it is within their rights,” she said. “People with power can make laws and be a voice to help ignorant people understand what they can do, and people with money have supplies to create sustainable living innovations.”
“I think that change is possible, but sadly unlikely. Our politicians don’t care to use their power to actually make a change,” Wiley continued. “Not just politicians, but too many people want to put the responsibility onto someone else.”
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, human activities are almost completely responsible for the overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere within the last 150 years. The largest source of these gasses is the United States of America, which gets 81% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels. Human-induced climate change has been thought to have been an issue since 1830, during the industrial revolution. It’s only recently been a focus as a national issue within the last 30 years.
The freshman BioTechnology teacher, Heidi Hisrich, expressed her opinion on the social impact of climate change. “I think it is absolutely a social justice issue. The people who will suffer most are the poorest and most disadvantaged people on the planet and the ones from places that have contributed the least to the problem.” She continued, “People like us who are relatively wealthy and contribute the most and most likely to be able to survive the changing climate with less impacts and that is really unfair. I think we need to recognize the impact that we are having and the people it is affecting.”
Cooper discussed generational responsibility concerning climate change. “Each generation is always like, ‘Oh, the next generation will fix it.’ They keep passing it off to one another,” she said. “I think our generation, because of how much access to knowledge we have, is capable of creating change. But the harder part is getting the other generations to try.”
Senior Nora Haddon, who is planning to study environmental studies in college, expressed her opinion on whether or not humanity can create enough change to affect the world positively. She explained that while it is sad to believe, she thinks it’s unlikely, saying, “Because of the way people live their life, I’m gonna say no.”
“A lot of people are so set in their ways, they don’t want to change. You know, they’ve always done it a certain way, they don’t see the imminence of the need for change,” Haddon further explained. “I think if people understood why change needs to happen, humanity can do the right thing and make a difference.”
Cooper explained how larger corporations could make a difference. “If they help implement policies for production within the United States, like limiting production of materials that are hurting our planet, then maybe other larger countries will see the U.S. doing it and be like, yeah, we should do that too.”
She continued, “But also, there are already other smaller countries that don’t have as much power but they’re doing great. Some of them have really good environmental policy implementations that are really helping with climate change.”
Costa Rica is an example of the phenomenon described by Cooper. In 2017, Costa Rica was named the second most sustainable country in the world by the World Energy Council. Currently, the country uses 99.2 percent renewable energy, 78 percent from hydroelectric and 18 percent by geothermal.
Another example is Iceland, which currently is powering a significant portion of its country with green energy from hydro and geothermal sources. The only exception is its reliance on fossil fuels for transportation.
Haddon elaborated on her fears for the future, saying, “[Climate change] does definitely scare me. I want to make a difference because it’s so important. That fact that we’re already to a [place] where it’s almost irreversible, that’s terrifying. What are the effects of climate change going to look like in my lifetime? Is it going to be good enough for me to have kids or want to bring kids into this world? Like, what is that situation? Why should I be robbed of those rights?”
Haddon added that anything someone can do, will make a difference: “Sometimes, people look at recycling and think it won’t make a difference, and I know it can feel that way. But if you look at it that way, nothing will ever get done. If you as an individual think you can’t make a difference, then why would a whole company? So do what you can.”
Ms. Elissa Fusco, the junior Biomedical Engineering teacher at Bio-Med, talked about what she believes Bio-Med as a school can do.
“A little goes a long way, and it breaks my heart watching globs of paint get thrown away because students only need a paintbrush-full. Paper for projects, seeing markers go uncapped that have to be thrown away, and pencils being broken for no reason are all things that we as a community can become more mindful about the waste we produce.”
Cooper expanded on this, saying, “Using less plastic and helping to reduce plastic manufacturing [will help]. Try and help restore wetlands in Ohio, which are extremely important to our environment. It’s the small things that really matter.” She continued, “I think understanding what it is, and not just looking at it from a political point of view, looking at it from a scientific perspective and looking at the facts and what they say, is really important.”
To read more about the report, go to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s website.
MAY 2022 — Cords have been used as symbols of achievement and awarded during ceremonies since the 14th century, and are worn around the neck. To showcase various accomplishments, seniors at Bio-Med Science Academy receive cords of recognition upon graduation. There are five senior cords, and it is possible to earn each one of them over the course of a student’s time at the Rootstown campus.
Civic Engagement Cord
To graduate from Bio-Med, each student must complete a total of 60 community service hours that can be accumulated from the start of their freshman year. The Civic Engagement cord is awarded to those who complete 120 or more hours of community service.
One of those students is senior Ian Ruehr, who has logged around 183 service hours.
“My advice [to those who want to earn the Civic Engagement cord] would be to try to find a volunteer staffing position for a camp or retreat. If you can, you can also see if there are any community projects that are looking for volunteers,” said Ruehr. “I was lucky enough to get all of my hours in one week. I staffed a summer camp in June of 2019 that ran from June 8 to June 15. The camp is called National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), and it is run through the Boy Scouts of America.”
While Bio-Med might not have a football or soccer team, the school still offers competitive clubs like Science Olympiad or Quiz Bowl, where students can earn the Competition Team cord after two years of membership.
In Science Olympiad, students prepare to face off against other schools in various science and engineering-related competitions that involve experiments, machines, tests, and more.
The captain of Science Olympiad, Kelsea Cooper, has competed since her freshman year.
“If it weren’t for Science Olympiad, I would not have discovered my love for genetics,” said Cooper. “I would encourage others to get this cord because Science Olympiad is kind of like our own little community where we get to be science nerds and have some fun. Yeah, we don’t always place very well at competitions, but we always have fun hanging out as a team and we get to expand our scientific knowledge.”
The club cord is given to those who have been a member of a club for two or more years. The diverse selection of clubs available and the unique experiences offered have been a highlight for senior Zack Kelly. Kelly has been a member of the Esports club for the past three years.
“[My favorite part about Esports has been] playing with different schools,” he said. “[To earn the club cord], just have fun and it’ll be easy.”
National Honor Society Cord
Those who are inducted members of the National Honors Society receive the NHS cord. One of those students is senior Nora Haddon, who was invited to join NHS in her sophomore year and has been a member since.
For students to get this cord and keep their membership, there are rules that must be followed.
“To maintain an NHS membership, you needs exceeds mastery in all your classes except one,” said Haddon. “You are expected to attend all chapter meetings. You can have five excused absences and two no shows.”
If these expectations are not met, the student no longer qualifies for the cord.
Some may find the idea of being in NHS daunting, but Haddon suggests it’s achievable for every student. Haddon’s advice for those seeking to join is to “work hard in your classes to get good grades, demonstrate good character and leadership skills. Once you’re in NHS, stay an active member of the chapter and participate in chapter activities.”
According to Haddon, it’s a worthwhile goal to strive for:“Overall, my experience with NHS has been great! I really enjoy volunteering as a group and hosting fun activities and fundraisers for the school and chapter.”
Honors Diploma Cord
To earn an Honors diploma in the state of Ohio, a student must meet the requirements listed on the Ohio Department of Education’s website for both Academic Honors and STEM Honors. A minimum GPA, ACT/SAT score, and class credits must be met. Students may omit one of the requirements.
“The hardest requirement, in terms of Bio-Med, was the foreign language,’’ says senior Daniel Zalamea who has earned STEM honors.“In general, the hardest is the ACT. The ACT is also important for both STEM honors and Academic honors. Getting a 27 on the ACT is probably easier than doing an entire extra credit for math.”
Both he and Haddon both highly encourage students to begin working toward an honors diploma in the first half of high school..
“If you want honors you gotta be on top of it at the beginning of sophomore year.” said Zalamea, “If you want to start CCP in junior year, which is probably the best way to do it, you should sign up for it during your sophomore year.” Haddon added that “[It’s also really helpful to] go to your counselor and let them know that you want to [earn an honors diploma] so you know what you need to study for and you’re on the right track.”
DECEMBER 2021 – The Hive, Bio-Med Science Academy’s student-run newspaper, features monthly articles about current events and important information. Student-run means that the staff is comprised of students who make the decisions, choose article topics, write the articles, and run the newspaper website. Although there is a class adviser, Jenna Bates, the eleventh grade English Language Arts teacher, she is only involved in the editing, brainstorming, and grading process. She also takes certain opportunities to teach The Hive reporters writing and journalism skills. The Hive strives to provide students an opportunity to not only learn journalism principles and techniques, but also to freely express themselves. Students also learn about the rights and responsibilities of public expression in a democratic society.
The Hive was officially founded in 2019, however, the idea for a student newspaper at Bio-Med goes back to 2018, when Bates and several students came together to create a newspaper club, which had a total of nine staff members. “The first year of the newspaper was rough, only publishing two maybe three times,” said Bates. “Deadlines were not being met.”
By 2020, the newspaper club was converted into an elective class with a grade attached. “It created accountability among the students,” said Bates. During the 2020 to 2021 school year, The Hive had a total of seven writers and one photographer. Five out of the eight students were attending school virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Articles were published six times — once a month from October to May, taking a break in December.
Senior Havann Brown, editor-in-chief of The Hive, recalled her experience last year when she first joined the staff. “In the beginning, I did not know what to expect, but I loved every second of the time I spent in Newspaper,” she said. “It was a great environment to be in because we had our own tight-knit community of people connecting over writing and the desire to spread the news. There may have only been a few of us, but as a staff, I think we did an amazing job.”
Alyssa Cocchiola, an associate editor of The Hive and a junior, said, “Even when there were just four people sitting in a classroom last year, it was the absolute highlight of my day. It was still a productive thing to do, but it felt like a break from my classes, even though I was technically taking on more work. Not only was I given the opportunity to write and talk to people, but we would all just talk and have conversations with each other,” she continued. “The overall community in Newspaper was different from a typical classroom setting, because it was smaller and everyone bonded over writing. Cocchiola concluded, saying “Overall, Newspaper has helped me with writing, social skills, editing, photography, and so much more.”
Every year, Ms. Bates invites new students to join The Hive staff. Students are typically recommended by their English teachers. During the scheduling period for classes Bates will email the eighth through tenth grade English Language Arts teachers for recommendations for students they think would be a good fit for Newspaper. However, due to the increase of students in Newspaper, it’s likely that The Hive will only take freshman recommendations next year.
The Hive currently has 15 writers, including two associate editors and an editor-in-chief. The Hive publishes twice a month and is expected to publish from August to May. The publishing process takes place over the course of a month. First, the writer gathers information and writes the article until the first draft deadline, which is about a week and a half before publication. Articles are passed back and forth among the editors and reporters, often several times, until they are deemed ready. Edits, comments, and suggestions are then made to the article. Grammatical and structure errors are corrected and edited by the original reporter. The adviser takes one last look at the mechanics and style of an article, and then the editor-in-chief decides if the article is ready to be published.
Picking a topic for an article is based on two primary criteria: relevance and the topic’s connection to Bio-Med. The idea of a newspaper article is to keep the reader up-to-date on current events during the time of publication. In addition, being a Bio-Med newspaper means that most of the articles published should have a connection to the students, staff, or school community. When the article information relates to something the readers are interested in, it keeps people reading and provides parents, guardians, and family members with information about Bio-Med’s events and student activities.
Articles can range from light hearted topics and teacher spotlights to more serious topics, all depending on the writer and what’s going on in the world at the time. Often writers will pick a topic that interests them. When writers struggle to find a topic to write about, the newspaper staff brainstorms as a group to come up with an idea. At the beginning of the 2021- 2022 school year, the current newspaper staff had a group meeting to discuss article topics for the future. The staff maintains an evolving list of topics that can be chosen from or used as article inspiration.
Many students enjoy their experience in Newspaper and can see the outcome of the effort they have put into improving themselves as writers. Students who joined Newspaper were already capable writers but hoped to improve. “My ability to plan out my writing has been drastically improved. With practice, I feel more confident starting a piece and I actually know what grammar is. I often think, after I do something, that if Ms. Bates would be inspired to teach a lesson about it, I should probably stop.” said Mallory Butcher, a sophomore and reporter for The Hive.
“Being a part of the Hive is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I look back at my previous articles, and it’s crazy how much I’ve improved as a writer. The tight-knit community of the newspaper staff and process of interviewing students for articles has broadened my social horizons beyond what I ever thought was possible. I love being an associate editor, and I can’t wait to see how our little newspaper will continue to expand,” said McKenna Burchett, a junior and associate editor of The Hive.
DECEMBER 2021 – Many schools, including Bio-Med Science Academy, use dress codes as ways to show professionalism and identify students. Each school’s dress code is unique, designed based on school colors or future career attire. While dress codes have their benefits, many may feel that they are overly restrictive, or not enforced enough, potentially leading to the breaking of the code.
Bio-Med enforces a unisex, casual attire dress code for all students. They are required to wear the following:
A single-color polo shirt or button-down dress shirt as a top, and khakis, trousers, or jeans without holes.
Sweatshirts with the Bio-Med logo printed on them. (if the sweatshirt does not have the school name or logo on it, students must purchase a Bio-Med patch and apply it to the sweatshirt.) These patches— along with a selection of school-branded sweatshirts— can be purchased at the NOOK, a bookstore on the NEOMED campus.
Their student ID, which must be clearly visible at all times.
“[The dress code] empowers students to adapt attire to professional settings,” explained Mr. Randy Riniger, Bio-Med’s dean of students. Continuing, he explained that “Since the seven through 12 building is on the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) campus, it enables us to represent our school in a positive light.” The school’s close proximity to NEOMED allows Bio-Med students to represent the school professionally while in NEOMED spaces, such as the NEW Center.
Student opinions about the school dress code are mixed.
“I think we should have a full dress code, or no dress code,” junior Sarah Bungard stated. “A full dress code would make it easier to get ready and [have] less judgment.”
“I don’t think that what we wear makes a big difference to me personally,” Bungard stated. “If there are issues with bullying and judgment over clothes, that’s more a problem with our community than with the actual dress code.”
More business-casual style dress codes like the one Bungard proposed have benefits. They have been shown to encourage student discipline, and create more structured classroom environments, according to the International Journal for Educational Management.
Others feel that the dress code should be expanded, allowing a greater range of personalization.
Clinton Myrla, an eighth-grader, spoke about his thoughts on the matter. “I think it’s a good thing,” he stated. “It should have more customization to it, but I think that [it’s] pretty good.” He said that he was in support of using the Bio-Med patch to cover up logos on branded sweatshirts, but not on plain-colored sweatshirts without any print. “I don’t think that it should be needed, because there’s no branding on it,” he said.
Dress codes with a greater emphasis on self-expression also have shown benefits in the classroom setting. A study published in the SAGE scientific journal showed that mainly unrestricted dress codes could lead to increases in student self-perception and self-expression in the classroom. On the other hand, some fear that completely non restrictive dress codes could encourage bullying based on clothing choices. Even an unrestricted dress code would still need to have a set of ground rules to discourage profanity or hate speech.
Sophia Hankinson, a seventh-grade student, praised the dress code policy. “Polos and jeans are really fashionable, really modern, and unique,” she stated.
Jeans were added during a revision to the dress code in the 2019-2020 school year, giving students a third option alongside the usual khaki and dress pants. Pants like these are often praised for their ability to complement a wide variety of shirts and colors. They tend to blend into the wide range of polo shirts that fit the dress code, as well as the different types of sweatshirts offered.
Many Bio-Med students feel that the uniform policy benefits them. However, just as many would like to see it altered. Though decisive, the policy makes up a part of the school’s identity, and it will continue being a way for students to represent the school into the future.
DECEMBER 2021 – As Bio-Med Science Academy continued to expand its grade levels and shuffle grade levels to different buildings, the process of dropping off and picking up students at the Rootstown campus has changed over the years. Safety concerns, efficiency, increased capacity for student grade levels, and a surplus of traffic in NEOMED parking lots has led to this change.
Students who are driven to school may remember being dropped off at the front of Bio-Med, while bus riders were let out on the other side of the school near parking lot B prior to the current changes. However, with more students came more cars, and the front parking lot of Bio-Med was not large enough to hold enough cars for everyone to go in and out in an efficient manner at once.
“Cars were backed up all the way to [highway] 44,” recalled Deanna White, one of the staff members who oversees the students in the morning and afternoon. “Parents were getting frustrated and dropping [off] kids wherever.”
Parking lot B hosted the arrival of the morning buses. This parking lot is also used by members of NEOMED, who were blocked from entering the pharmacy or from their car by the giant wall of buses waiting to release students. The interference with NEOMED is what ultimately caused the decision to finally change the dropoff system.
“We’re on a college campus. There are a lot of medical offices everywhere. We can’t just do whatever we want,” White said.
To make drop-off faster and more convenient, car drop-off was moved to parking lot B and bus drop-off was moved to the front of Bio-Med. Parking lot B is much larger than the front entrance, allowing more cars to drive up at a time. This resulted in less traffic for the parents to get in and get out. It also allowed the staff to keep track of everyone.
The buses were also much quicker when they began dropping off students at the front entrance. “We didn’t want to block the pharmacy parking lot. [The buses] are in and out in a matter of minutes and having everyone in [parking lot B], the people can still get where they need to for NEOMED,” said White. “Some of the [NEOMED] students that have classes park in the same area at around the same time, but we’ve worked it out.”
At the end of the day, both car-riding students and bus riders will head to lot B to be taken home. Bus riders are sent down five minutes early to be loaded into the buses before the car riders are allowed to walk to their vehicle. This was a change made after safety was called into question.
“We used to let the bus riders out after, but then you had kids walking between buses and it was very dangerous. We try to take all the danger out of the whole thing,” explained White. “Now that the kids are on the buses, and the buses go, it’s much easier to deal with car riders too, and watching them cross and be safe. It was [difficult] at first, but that’s why we’ve adjusted everything.”
White stated that these adjustments have allowed pickup to go by very quickly. “Usually, the parking lot is cleared by 3:30, so 15 minutes, where in other schools, it’s a nightmare. People are there sitting in line for 45 minutes. We try to make it so it’s smooth.”
Some students have expressed that the pickup system can be too restrictive as they can’t be picked up at any other place besides the designated parking lots. The crowd of students has grown much larger now that grades seven and eight have been added to the Rootstown campus. This can make things more difficult for someone who wants to make a quick B-line to their car. White clarified that while this might make things more convenient for the individual, it wasn’t their decision to make.
“A lot of it came from campus security because they designated where we were allowed to have pickup, explained White. “We don’t have a lot of crosswalks and that’s the problem. The parking lot can be like a road out there; it’s 25 miles per hour on that road, and kids will just walk across. We’re just doing what campus security needs.”
She went on to explain how specific crosswalks and pickup areas keeps parents from interrupting the flow of cars entering and exiting the premise as well remarking that “We had parents just stopping in the middle of the road picking up kids.”
An issue that’s recently been addressed is that cars are not obeying the “pedestrian first” rule at the crosswalk. Some cars will either not slow down or stop for students beginning to cross. White assured that the administration knew this was happening. This is why staff members are stationed at the cross walk in the morning to signal cars to stop for students trying to cross.
“[It’s especially a problem] on the main road in front of the whole campus,” said White. “I’ll tell the students ‘stop there, I know you’re at the crosswalk, make eye contact with the driver because sometimes they just blow right through.’”
As of now, the staff believe that drop-off and pickup are working well. The administration is prepared to make more changes to the procedure if necessary. White concluded, “We’ve said ‘this doesn’t work’ or ‘what can we do to make it safer?’ ‘what can we do to make it quicker and [how can we make this] less stressful for the parents?’” The hope is that everyone has a straightforward and safe journey to and from school without complication.
DECEMBER 2021 – Starting with the class of 2024, Bio-Med Science Academy students will be able to choose a Career Tech Education (CTE) Pathway to follow their junior and senior years. Many underclassmen don’t fully understand the difference between the CTE classes they have taken and the new pathways, nor what CTE is. Sophomore Maya Kline said, “I know of the CTE classes and pathways, but I am still confused on what exactly they are.”
Mrs. Charmayne Polen, the adviser of Bio-Med’s CTE programs, explains the goal of CTE classes is “[to allow students to gain] knowledge and the content skills in that area, and what are called IRC, which are Industry Recognized Credentials.”
The Ohio Department of Education’s website explains IRCs as “a verification of an individual’s qualification or competence. Industry-recognized credentials are valued in the labor market and are a validation of knowledge and skill. They can take many forms, including certifications, certificates, and licenses.”
Bio-Med’s CTE Pathways will allow students to take CTE classes within the subject of their choice, and gain IRCs that will assist them with college applications and joining the workforce. To gain IRCs, students will have to take an IRC test as part of the class. Students can choose the following pathways: Health, Engineering, Technology, Education, Agriculture and Environment, and STEM.
Students can also choose specializations within their pathways, such as specific engineering doctrines, including Aerospace Engineering, taught by Ms. Rachel Hughes. Students’ senior Apex will depend on the pathway they choose; if a student chooses the engineering pathway, their internship must be in the engineering field.
Polen said the administration is still working on specific details of the pathway program, such as the date to meet with the sophomore class and allow them to choose their pathway. The meeting will most likely occur before the end of the current academic year.
CTE classes have already been integrated into the Bio-Med curriculum since 2017. All students are currently required to take the same CTE classes. For example, the sophomore class has CTE Multimedia Image Management and Engineering Design classes, and the freshman class has CTE Biotechnology, Programming, and Engineering Logic classes.
Ms. Carrie Sinkele, the 10th grade Engineering Design teacher, said the main goal of her class is to give students experience working with 3D modeling software SolidWorks. Her students will take the SolidWorks credential test in the spring to gain their IRC.
Miss Britany Hickey, the 10th Grade Multimedia teacher, said her class is working towards being able to take the Adobe credential test to gain their IRC, but it most likely won’t happen this academic year.
Hughes noted that it depends on the teacher if a student’s performance on an IRC test will be graded, and there is no charge to the student to take the test.
Hickey, who attended Trumbull Career and Technical Center, a CTE school, said earning the Adobe IRC via CTE classes allowed her to enter the workforce directly after high school graduation. Hickey said, “They were willing to bring on a high schooler who didn’t have a college degree but had a portfolio of work I had created and the credentials I had earned.”
Polen said teachers must take college courses to gain their certification to teach CTE classes. Most CTE teachers at Bio-Med take these courses at Kent State University. “I think it gives me a new perspective of just how much I actually do like the CTE pathways in the courses,” Hickey said about taking these courses.
Both Hickey and Polen put emphasis on the importance of being able to gain IRCs in high school. They said, for most people, IRCs aren’t gained until college or when they are in the workforce. “The ability to gain IRCs so young definitely gives students a leg up in the future,” said Hickey.
“I think our CTE program is great,” said Sophomore Alana Smith. “It gets us students to consider our career choices and manage our goals early on.”
Polen stressed that when it comes time to choose pathways, “Students need to take the time to make a serious decision and give it the consideration that it deserves. Because it really could affect the path of your life in a really positive way.”
NOVEMBER 2021 – Recently, schools have seen a significant increase in behavioral issues caused by social media trends. The social media app TikTok has been the main app to find and start these trends. TikTok has more than 1 billion users, and studies by Statista and wallaroommedia show that 25-32 percent of those users are ages of 10-19. More than 285,000 children are being exposed to these trends monthly, and a lot of them want to repeat what they see.
TikTok has a lot of influence over younger generations. The prevalence of TikTok in teenagers’ lives can begin to affect their lives outside the internet. Schools are one area that have seen the effects of these trends. Users of TikTok have started to create trends that have negatively and positively affected the schools they attend.
The original videos that started the chain of school-based trends was known as the “Devious Lick” trend. The trend encouraged the theft of school property like sinks, mirrors, paper towel dispensers, and many other school appliances.
The trend quickly gained popularity in only days, with the number of videos that were showing up on students’ “For You Page” (TikTok’s homepage) quickly arose. The number of videos did not seem to show any signs of slowing down, with many videos being posted every day of the crimes teenagers were committing.
Over sixteen thousand videos have been posted that can be attributed to the Devious Lick trend. More videos have been posted under the hashtag “#DeviousLick,” but TikTok has taken them down for violating community guidelines.
Within Bio-Med, there have been examples of students participating in these trends. Ms. Stephanie Hammond, the guidance counselor for grades 10 through 12 said, “There’s been vandalization in the bathrooms. I thankfully, knock on wood, have not heard of anybody getting assaulted.”
Several counter-measures have been taken to curb participation in these trends at Bio-Med. “We cannot take phones into the bathrooms. We can only go into bathrooms one person per class. It’s really annoying,” said Hope Sprague, an eighth-grade student. “For the first few weeks, there was a teacher that waited outside of the bathrooms, they took phones, [we] had to put phones away in class, [and] all these consequences have come from TikTok.” Sprague is frustrated with the punishments her entire grade is facing due to an individual’s choice of participating in the Devious Lick trend.
Along with Bio-Med, schools like Kent Roosevelt High School have started to take more precautionary measures. Students are finding themselves being stripped of privileges that they are used to because of the behavior these trends are causing. Multiple students going to the bathroom at once is no longer allowed, and students must ask permission before leaving the classroom for any reason.
The effects of the Devious Lick trend are seen as disruptive and dangerous to schools, the staff, and other students. These trends that stemmed from the many Devious Lick videos contain the illegal activity, including theft and vandalism while introducing new crimes such as assault, battery, sexual assault, truancy, and more.
Mr. Randy Rininger, the Dean of Students at Bio-Med Science Academy, listed trends that may occur during the coming months, cautioning students not to participate. Some of these trends include “Vandalize School Bathrooms,” “Smack a Staff Member,” “Jab a Breast,” and “Ditch day.”
Students at other schools are facing criminal charges for participating in the “smack a staff member” trend, including at Lancaster County School District. Hammond is familiar with these trends and how they can affect the school, saying, “I think about this whole Devious Licks, the slap a staff [and] these ones that are coming up. I am not trying to date myself, but I truly don’t understand how vandalism is a trend if you boil it down, or literally physical assault is a trend.”
Parents of Bio-Med students are advised to be aware of these trends that may be coming in the future, and are told to communicate with their children with Rininger saying, “Please talk with your student about social media and help them to set boundaries and understand both the good and the bad that come with it. That message needs to be consistent at home and at school so, together, we can help our students have a healthy relationship with social media and use it for positive purposes.”
Many trends are short-lived, so there has been a major decrease in the number of students participating in these trends. However, these trends are still scary to a lot of people, with Hammond saying, “There’s other ones coming up that I’m really worried about, with Devious Licks being the biggest one.”
Not all trends are having negative effects on students. In retaliation for the Devious Lick trend effects, other students have started “Angelic Yields.” The Angelic Yield trend encompasses cleaning or adding things to schools or public places like furniture, soaps, and other convenient items.
Hammond supports this trend, saying, “I think Angelic Yields is a fantastic idea! Doing random acts of kindness, especially without people knowing, is so impactful and can really make someone’s day! Typically, then that individual pays it forward and now you have a movement! I had not heard of this yet but I think we need more trends like this!”