Respecting Personal Pronouns

Respecting Personal Pronouns

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

May 2021 – Bio-Med Science Academy strives to foster an environment where students, staff, and community members are respected, connected, and inspired. This type of environment creates a sense of community, one of the six Bio-Med attributes. One of the necessary pieces required to reach this goal is respecting personal pronouns.

Oxford Languages defines “pronoun” as “a word that can function by itself as a noun phrase and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g., I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g., she, it, this).”

Personal pronouns are used when referring to a person being talked about. There are many personal pronouns with which individuals can identify, and while some are more common than others, they are all valid. Below is a guide on how to use different pronouns from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

A guide to pronouns from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
A list of pronouns and the different forms that they come in.

One step towards accepting personal pronouns, especially ones that may seem new or unfamiliar, is to recognize that pronouns and their usage have not always stayed the same; they have changed throughout history. Dennis Baron is a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois, and for decades has studied the history of pronoun usage. He has compiled his research into his book “What’s Your Pronoun?” Beyond He & She.”

So far, Baron’s list contains over 200 coined gender-neutral pronouns, the earliest being from the late 18th century. He believes these words failed for a variety of reasons, such as not being adopted by enough people, not reaching a wide audience, and being too strange or difficult to read or speak.

One exception to this is the singular “they.” Those who are opposed to the use of the singular “they” claim it is grammatically incorrect. However, according to Merriam Webster’s website, people have been using “they” as a singular pronoun since the 1300s.

People today use singular “they” all the time in everyday conversations. For instance, Oxford Languages lists one definition of “they” as “used to refer to a person of unspecified gender,” and gives an example sentence: “Ask someone if they could help.”

Using the singular “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun for someone who does not identify with the pronouns he/him/his or she/her/hers is a more recent development. Nevertheless, Oxford Languages lists another definition of “they” as “used to refer to a person whose gender or sexual identity does not correspond to the traditional binary opposition of male and female.”

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary also gives a definition of “they” for this usage. The 2017 Associated Press Stylebook includes guidance on using singular “they” as well. The APA Style Guide also accepts this usage: “Use of the singular ‘they’ is endorsed as part of APA Style because it is inclusive of all people and helps writers avoid making assumptions about gender. Although usage of the singular ‘they’ was once discouraged in academic writing, many advocacy groups and publishers have accepted and endorsed it.”

Also, “you” used to only be used as a plural pronoun, along with “ye.” “Thee” and “thou” were used as singular pronouns instead. “You” was not widely used as a singular pronoun until the 17th century, and the use of the singular you is not disputed today. This is an example of how a pronoun’s usage can change and become generally accepted, which is now being seen with the singular they.

So why are there those who are still adamantly against individuals identifying with pronouns other than he and she? That comes down to not a grammar issue, but an issue of respect.

Matthew Fowler is a senior undergraduate student studying public health and sociology at Kent State University. He also interns at the Kent State LGBTQ+ Center, where he advocates for pronoun usage across the campus.

Pronoun pin provided by Kent State LGBTQ+ Center.

“Even though I’m cisgender and I use he/him pronouns, personal pronouns is something that I have been made aware of. Throughout my years growing up on the internet and trying to educate myself about queer issues in queer spaces, pronouns have been one of the earliest things that I learned about in terms of gender identity and respecting others,” Fowler said.

Fowler has friends and has met many people through his internship who are not out or whose personal pronouns are not completely validated in other parts of their life. He believes that by respecting pronouns, he is helping to validate and create a safe space for those individuals.

“[Pronouns] have a lot of personal weight in them when you use it to validate or unfortunately invalidate someone. I totally understand that, in the grand scheme of issues with gender identity, and within the trans and gender nonconforming community, pronouns are not the only thing to be worried about; however it is that baseline of decency and respect. When we talk about issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc., first unfortunately we have to aim for the baseline. [To] me, pronouns is [the] least you can do when you’re fighting against transphobia and general gender discrimination,” expressed Fowler. “Furthermore, it’s just a personal piece of respect, because if you identify a certain way I should respect that. That’s not my life. That is not my thing to judge or to critique or comment on.”

However, not everyone feels this way. In public places especially, Fowler has seen many people be directly misgendered, or the wrong pronouns used in reference to someone outside of the conversation. He explained that while he has never personally been triggered by these instances, he sympathizes with those who have and understands the feelings of sadness, frustration, and anger that come with it.

“At this point I’m used to it. I’m used to seeing it and like I said, as a cis person, it’s not as if it is a personally traumatic experience for me. However, I do respect the trauma that it does promote and…that it creates for people who are not cisgender,” said Fowler.

In those moments, Fowler has pushed himself to step in and correct and educate someone, providing it is a safe space to do so and he has permission if the misgendering was towards someone in particular.

“I often try to assess the situation and see if I, with my cis privilege and the respect that I may have from certain people that I talk to, if I can insert myself in that moment and try to make a change, even if it’s just temporary,” stated Fowler.

Depending on the circumstance, he will try to give the person doing the misgendering the benefit of the doubt.

“Maybe they just don’t understand. Maybe they never looked [for pronouns] if it’s an online thing. Maybe they just need [to be] educated on how to be respectful of that person,” Fowler said.

“Sometimes there are people you can’t talk to. No matter what, there’s nothing you can do that will change their mind, change their attitude, make them feel bad for what they did and try to get them to apologize,” Fowler explained.

In those specific instances, his thought process is: “If I’m going to be mad about it, if I’m going to feel resentment and frustration, how can I funnel those feelings into something productive?”

Fowler does this through his advocacy work at the Kent State LGBTQ+ Center. If there is a frustrating update within the university, or something on the news or online, he gets together with another LGBTQ+ Center intern and they discuss their feelings, thoughts, and ideas of what they can do.

“It’s really nice to be able to funnel that energy now into a specific project that we’re doing that is contributing to the overall topic of personal pronouns, gender identity, and stuff like that. So it’s really nice to have an outlet,” said Fowler.

On a more personal level, Fowler opened up about a cousin of his who uses he/him/his pronouns and a name different from the one he was given at birth. Unfortunately, the cousin’s parents and the majority of his family were unsupportive, and this led to him giving up on trying to get them to use his correct name and pronouns.

“I just couldn’t imagine having to go through that; going home and just accepting the fact that you are going to be misgendered, you are going to be called by your dead name, and you just have to exist as an invalid person there,” Fowler stated.

This is a widly different reaction from when Fowler came out as gay to his family and was met with lots of support, especially from his aunt, the mother of his cousin.

“It’s so hard because I’ve always loved my aunt to pieces. She’s been my number one supporter,” Fowler said.

Fowler learned of his cousin’s coming out during a conversation with his aunt about the situation and her feelings in regards to it. He offered to provide some resources to help with understanding, and to revisit the conversation in the future.

“I try to stay close with her just because I know these conversations aren’t over yet. I have hopes that I can do something meaningful and impactful when the perfect time arises,” said Fowler.

Fowler pointed out that sometimes people make mistakes, and that is okay. He gave the example of Kent State’s Vice President of Student Affairs, Lamar Hylton, using the wrong pronouns while talking about someone during a virtual meeting Fowler had attended. Immediately after, Hylton apologized, corrected himself, and then continued the conversation.

“That’s nice to see what we describe as the perfect scenario of someone messing up, correcting, and moving on. That was, you know, nice to be like, “Oh, well one of the top heads at Kent State University made a mistake, which sucks, but then immediately realized that they made the mistake, fixed it, and then just moved on,’” he described.

Fowler is grateful to say he frequently sees people being respectful, or making an effort to be respectful, of others’ personal pronouns in the circles he is in. When someone he knows comes out online by readjusting their pronouns, he is happy to see the vast amounts of support shown to that person.

“It gives me hope that there is a future where it just becomes normalized. That is the fight for everything. Pronouns aren’t a legal issue, we’re not talking about name changes, we’re not talking about gender identification, we’re talking about informal verbal communication,” Fowler said. “How can we shift the mindset of a culture to not always assume and to not be afraid to ask and to make mistakes and to readjust your own language? And so when I see these good things happening it gives me hope.”

Theo Peppeard is a senior at Bio-Med Science Academy who uses any pronouns at any time, including she, he, and they. Peppeard believes when people are respectful of others’ pronouns, it means they are respectful of who those people are.

“It makes me happy that other people are willing to acknowledge that I’m not just a ‘she’, but that in my case, I am fluid in my identity,” Peppeard stated.

Peppeard praised BMSA on creating a comfortable and respectful environment for its students.

“[Bio-Med] is definitely a school that accepts students for who they are compared to me walking into Ravenna or Southeast schools. There are some students who either don’t understand, which I am happy to help them understand, or just flat out refuse to use preferred pronouns and names. I can’t ever force them because if they are set on their beliefs, they are set on their beliefs. I believe in a way, [Bio-Med] is far up there on the understanding scale,” said Peppeard.

Kaden Starkey is a BMSA senior who uses he/him/his pronouns and is a female to male transgender individual. When he started high school four years ago, he was not out to anyone. Being at a new school and having a fresh start but remaining in the closet was very difficult.

“Whenever someone would refer to me with she/her pronouns, it felt like I was being stabbed in the chest, frozen in time due to the extreme emotional pain. I knew it was because they had no idea I was trans and that they didn’t intend to do it on purpose or cause any harm…but, it still didn’t help the extreme dysphoria that I would feel due to it,” explained Starkey. “I would spend hours, days, weeks trying to figure out what it was that told them I wasn’t male. It was an extremely negative and hurtful way of thinking, but it was a thought process I could not get out of…one that literally almost killed me.”

Starkey recalled the first time someone referred to him as a male, during his eighth grade school trip to Washington D.C: “I was going into the Smithsonian and the security guard gave me my belongings (after checking them for security reasons). As he’s handing me my bag, he says “Here you go sir,” and the engulfing amount of euphoria that poured through my body was an experience I have never experienced. I will never forget that moment because it was the single thing I held onto for that year. It was the thing I kept reminding myself of to make it through the day. Even though at the time, I could not envision a life where I was not hiding my identity from all but a select group of people, this moment gave me hope.”

Unfortunately, the idea of coming out still left Starkey terrified. He was concerned he would be kicked out of the house, alienated from his family, and lose his friends. Fortunately, he was attending Bio-Med, and eventually became comfortable enough to begin coming out.

“Compared to my homeschool and experiences there, Bio-Med made me feel like a human, one that wasn’t a nobody. I was out to all my teachers and a handful of classmates before I even came out to my family all because of how safe and comfortable I felt with the environment. Going into the school, I knew that they had a decent reputation for being LGBTQ+ friendly. But coming from a city school district, it was an entire atmospheric change, a positive one, that I was not expecting. Attending the school’s GSA, specifically freshman year, really helped me come to terms with myself and learn to accept my gender identity,” said Starkey.

Several months later, Starkey had a goal to legally change his name before the start of his sophomore year. Due to legal restrictions, this was not possible until a few weeks into the school year.

“On the first day of school, as I went to each class, I told all of my teachers that the name on the roster is incorrect and that I was going to be getting it legally changed soon, and that I would like you to call me Kaden and use he/him and stuff. I remember Mrs. Rickle was really excited and she would ask me almost daily, ‘Did you get it done yet?!’ All the other teachers were also really supportive and understanding,” stated Starkey. “Overall, the teachers in this regard are highly supportive and immediately started calling me Kaden and using the correct pronouns. There were a few slip ups at first, but that’s because we’re human and it wasn’t on purpose.”

However, Starkey believes there is always room for improvement. He suggested allowing spaces for gender markers and preferred names to be made available to all staff and on rosters, though he acknowledged that legal names can be difficult due to paperwork and legalities. He also described activism as being an important yet simple thing to do.

“[Teachers] could talk to their students and bring awareness and education to the topic. Inform them of the proper respect and ways to go about things. Offer more support to those that are struggling with these kinds of things; though, I know it’s hard when there’s not really ‘certified officials’ on campus to help with gender identity issues and things related. When students go to administration or a teacher about a student disrespecting one’s pronouns, that adult could be more supportive and understanding. And if this happens continuously, that the student [who’s] being disrespectful will actually be held accountable for their actions,” Starkey explained.

Today, Starkey has been doing hormone replacement therapy for two years, and gives himself weekly shots of testosterone.

“The changes that have occurred from taking it has allowed me to become more masculine presenting, and because of this people refer to me by the correct pronouns. Being referred to with the correct pronouns, has allowed me to feel more aligned, comfortable, and even a bit confident with myself. And because of that, it has helped my mental health tremendously,” said Starkey. “Just this year, I have finally been able to say that I felt comfortable in my own skin, and I would not have gotten here without people respecting my pronouns. Sure, there’s still some people here and there who misgender me, but I try my best to shake it off.”

Starkey believes being respectful of personal pronouns is a simple act of human decency.

“If you’re saying ‘During the summer she likes to ride her bike,’ all you have to do is replace she/her for he/him or they/them or another pronoun that one may identify with. I truly don’t understand why people feel the need to purposefully call someone by the wrong pronouns. What do they get out of it? Because if the tables were turned, they would be butt hurt if someone called them another gender. I honestly do not see the reason or need as to why people choose to attack another, verbally or physically. It’s not like they can change those things. People don’t just choose to identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. If they did and that’s how things worked, the mental health of transgender individuals would be drastically better. Some people think, “Oh it’s just some stupid words. Boohoo what if someone doesn’t say the ones you want?” But words are really powerful and more meaningful than what’s on the surface. If we could all just learn to accept people for who they are and not ridicule them over differences that one cannot control, that would be wonderful,” expressed Starkey.

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National Pet Month! Part 2

National Pet Month! Part 2

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

May 2021 – It is National Pet Month in the United States. To celebrate this occasion, here are even more featured pets from the Bio-Med Science Academy community.

Sophia Christian, eighth grader, has a blue and gold macaw named Carla. Carla was rescued from a neglectful household. She can say a few words, including her name. She will lay next to someone or one them to receive pets, and while she cannot fly, Carla enjoys going outside.

Christian also has a new basset hound puppy named Doc, who was adopted because the previous dog Christian’s family had passed away. The family also has many other pets other than Carla and Doc.

“They’re not pets, they are family members. I would die for my pets. Truly I love them all,” Christian declared.

Rio and Echo are two four-year-old green cheek conures belonging to seventh grade student Laci Zamora. Rio likes tissues and plastic bags, and he bites. There is a cabinet he likes to hide under, where he also stores his tissues.

Echo also bites, and is generally grumpy, but can get cuddly if it is quiet and he is alone. Echo also enjoys popcorn.

Zamora is also fostering an aggressive nine-year-old quaker bird named Birdie. She likes pizza and cuddling, though if she is on the person’s shoulder then ears should be protected from her.

Finally, Zamora has a super cuddly three-year-old Hoffman conure named Jabez. According to Zamora, Hoffman conures are very uncommon, and are currently unable to be bought. Jabez always gets first dibs on a cup of water.

Zamora stated having pets means “responsibility, companionship, enjoyment of another living creature, [and] also less food because they steal yours.”

Eighth grader Van Leichliter has Norwegian elkhound and keeshond mix named Solvi. Solvi is very nice and, according to Leichliter, “the best dog you could ever ask for.”

Leichliter said pets are “an extension of [your] family.”

Rachel Mollohan, seventh grade student, has a nocturnal reptile named Ash. Ash is cute and very jumpy. He likes to climb, explore, and eat crickets. Ash also enjoys licking random things, and if they do not taste good he attacks them. Mollohan also has a guinea pig named S’more, who is very cute, cuddly, and shy.

“Pets [are there] to play with when you are bored or sad, and to build responsibility, and they can cuddle with you,” Mollohan said.

Tenth grader Kailan Donecker has four pets. The first is a snake named Knox, whose addition to the family convinced Donecker’s mom to like snakes. Next is a dog named Blu, who is very sweet and likes to lick.

Then there are two cats, Raven and Max. Raven was found under a bush, and after trying to find her a home, the Donecker family decided to keep her. Max enjoys picking on Raven and has twenty-two toes in total.

“[Pets] are family. Even if they are not the same species or related by blood. They make me very happy and I consider them my fur-siblings,” said Donecker.

Monte is a seven-year-old cat belonging to eighth grade student Caroline Brunn. Monte thinks he is the king of the house, and is cute and chunky.

“Pets are like friends you can buy, but in a less weird way,” commented Brunn.

Nona and Bella are two cats belonging to Ms. Stephanie Hammond, a school counselor at BMSA. Nona is nine years old and has spent eight with Hammond. She is small in stature but has a big personality, and is the head of the household with “the demands of a diva.” Hammond described her as a “regal being.”

Bella is eight years old but behaves like she is three with all of her energy. She loves to snuggle and play, even with her puppy friend. Bella is independent but also very loving.

“Nona and Bella are my furry children! While cats are pretty independent, these two love to spend time and be around when I am home! I love sitting on the couch under a blanket with them snuggled up and napping. When I travel I miss them terribly and spoil them to no end every chance I can!” Ms. Hammond expressed.

Twelfth grade student Suzie Krauss has a Boer goat named Jack. Jack is very sassy and thinks he is still a baby. He enjoys headbutting people, including an attempt on a three-year-old child. He has also broken everything Krauss’s family owns.

“Animals are important and they deserve the utmost respect and the best care possible. It’s our responsibility as the overlords of this planet to protect them and their natural environment,” stated Krauss.

Ms. Maggie Huffman, a receptionist at BMSA, has two dogs, Dakota and Paisley. Dakota is a nine-year old English mastiff and Paisley is an eleven-year-old Boston terrier. Both dogs enjoy being lazy and laying by the fire, but then act like puppies as soon as they go outside. They are also incredibly loving animals.

Huffman also has a cat named Hank, who is a nine-month-old rescue. He is crossed eyed, and he enjoys playing fetch with stuffed animals.

“Our pets are additional family members, who need love and attention just like anyone else. Our life wouldn’t be whole with our them,” said Ms. Huffman.

Kloe is a pit bull belonging to Zachary Hamilton, an eighth grader. Kloe is very calm and always itchy.

“[Pets are] calming. I consider them people, not assets,” Hamilton stated.

Tenth grade student Erika Bentley has a three-year-old mutt named Nyla. Nyla’s favorite hobbies include, though are not limited to, playing fetch, running as fast as she can around the house, and barking at the cows across the street.

Recently Nyla underwent ACL surgery, a type of knee surgery, and is currently in recovery. She has been spending her days napping and dreaming of playing with the cows.

“I love my pet Nyla. She is always there for me to play with and she comforts me when I need it. Throughout covid nyla and I have tried so many things. We’ve visited new parks, we’ve learned new tricks, and we have learned a lot of patience and adaptability together. I would not be who I am without her,” Bentley said.

Kat is a retired racehorse belonging to seventh grader Caroline Markulis.

“[Pets] mean a non-human companion, who gives you attention and the other way around,” said Markulis.

Kaytlin Haylett, eleventh grade student, has a yorkie poodle mix named Lacey. Haylett described Lacey as “the most human-like dog in the world.”

Haylett also has a kitten named Sasuke, who has two siblings named Sakura and Sushi.

“They’re my comfort animals,” Haylett said in regard to her pets.

Eighth grade English instructor Mr. Aaron Ettinger has a ball python named Lucy who likes rats and naps.

Ettinger also has a tailless whip scorpion named Grogu who enjoys bugs and hiding in logs.

“Owning weird critters is fun. It keeps me curious and accountable,” stated Mr. Ettinger.

Ms. Brianna While, BSMA’s District Administrative Assistant, has two cats, Catalina and Wallace. Catalina is a twelve-year-old domestic shorthair and is the boss of the house.

Wallace is seven years old and only answers to “Fat Baby.”

“To me, pets have always been wonderful companions that bring joy to myself and my family,” stated Ms. While.

Eighth grade student Sophie Wiley has two goldendoodles named Harper and Finigan. Harper looks more like a poodle, and is very wild and will “do anything to get food.” Finigan looks more like a golden retriever, and is very sweet, shy, and a “scardy cat.”

Wiley also has a hedgehog named Maggie. Maggie sleeps all day, but can be very loud at night when she runs on her wheel.

“Pets are companions…with their own personalities and deserve to be loved like a family member,” Wiley said.

Bricco is an energetic and stubborn mini goldendoodle belonging to Ms. Shana Varner, BMSA’s eleventh grade Anatomy and Physiology instructor. Bricco just turned two years old this past January 26th. He loves big trucks, motorcycles, peanut butter, being outside, all toys that squeak, and his kitty pool. Bricco is best friends with a 120-pound pit bull named Thor, and their favorite game is tug-of-war. He also likes to alligator roll in the bathtub.

“Everything!” Ms. Varner stated in regard to what pets mean to her.

Twelfth grade student Blessing Mupinga had an African pygmy hedgehog named Kashi, who unfortunately passed away in July of 2020 at the age of four. Kashi enjoyed running, playing hide and seek, sleeping, eating, and pooping in Mupinga’s bed.

“Pets are a source of emotional companionship that teach you how to love, care, and provide for something all while being in a symbiotic relationship in which both parties benefit from the love, happiness, appreciation, attachment and care that each gives to the other,” expressed Mupinga.

Dakota Rennecker, eighth grader, has three dogs. First is an eighth-month-old chocolate labrador named Moka, who is very hyper.

Next is seven-year-old Harlie, a black labrador who once grabbed Rennecker by the hood of her sweatshirt and dragged her around the yard.

Then there is a twelve-year-old schnauzer named BooBear. She loves going on walks, sleeping, and watching TV with Rennecker’s father.

Rennecker also has a cat named Mr. Chubbs, who likes to sleep on the piano and follows her around the house. He is very cuddly and sleeps in Rennecker’s room every night.

“Pets are a very big thing to me. A lot of times when I’m upset or not in a good mood they can sense it. They make me calm down and they brighten the mood to any situation. They are also a big anxiety helper,” Rennecker stated.

Seventh grade student Charli Evanish has three cats. The first is a black Persian cat named Smooshie who is very fluffy, fat, and snorts a lot because of his squished face.

Next is a Ragdoll cat named Benson who has blue eyes and a few near-death experiences. Benson is grumpy, not a fan of people, and not very cuddly, but his family loves him anyway.

Last is Bob, who was found in Evanish’s backyard. Originally the family was just going to get him neutered and release him, but Bob stuck around. He is blind in one eye, has a crooked tail, a chipped ear, and many scars. Bob is very cuddly and loves his people.

“All of my pets are family and very important to us, we love them all so much. Pets are more than just animals, they can boost your mood when [you’re] sad and be there for you when [you’re] happy!” Evanish enthused.

Owen Sprague, ninth grader, has a big cat named Cheese.

“Pets mean a lot to me,” said Sprague.

Annie is an energetic seventeen-year-old Paso Fino horse belonging to twelfth grade student Elena Kline. “Annie” is short for Ansiosa, which is the Spanish word for “anxious.” Kline has been riding her for five years. Based on her breed, she is an easy gaited horse, meaning she does not trot. Annie’s favorite speed is fast, and she loves food.

“Sometimes, when horses want to taste something better, they will put their nose up and curl their lip back, making them smile. Annie does this on command if I squeeze her nose!” explained Kline. “She is very sweet to the other horses and she loves to go on trail rides. She can be quite sassy and during shows will sometimes begin sidepassing (walking sideways) or just stop moving altogether. But I am very patient with her and I love her very much.”

“I think pets are a way for people to have a companion that will support them, keep them company, listen to them, and love them unconditionally. Many people need their pets as a friend or as an extension of their family,” Kline stated.

Seventh grader Gianna Copen has a ten-month-old long white tailed chinchilla named Chi Chi. Chi Chi is noisy and playful. One time she pulled her cage apart while Copen was sleeping to make a slot she could slip through. A new cage had to be bought.

Copen also has a three-year-old black mini lop rabbit named Coco. Coco is generally very content, but “will tell you that she is in charge if you make her mad.” She once escaped while Copen was cleaning Coco’s cage outside, and Copen’s mother had to help catch her.

“I just love spending time with animals because they are so fun and friendly to be around,” said Copen.

Cyrus is a beagle belonging to tenth grader Skylar Earl. Cyrus loves to learn and knows around 40 tricks. He and Earl go on lots of adventures together, but they also like simply hanging out as well. Earl called Cyrus “a really good boy.”

“[Pets] really bring me happiness because they’re always there. Picking the right pet for you is very important but when you find the right animal or animals then it’s amazing. Pets for me are something different than friends or people because of their difference from us. They are definitely part of the family,” said Earl.

Kylee Staggs, tenth grade student, has a cat named Stormie. Stormie is around four years old. He enjoys looking out windows and staring at walls at night.

“Pets just make my day because they seem so innocent and sweet. Stormie is always there for me when I’m sad and animals in general just make me happier,” Staggs stated.

Tenth grader Marina Levy has a bearded dragon named Toothless. Toothless is sassy, enjoys climbing on her stick, and “hates bath time with a burning passion.”

Pumpkin is Levy’s goldendoodle. Pumpkin likes jumping into lakes with no warning and sleeping with her stuffed animals, and dislikes going outside.

Levy also has a one-month-old leopard gecko named Little Foot Tyson, who loves to jump at his food and make a mess, and to “wonder at night.”

“[Pets] are friends in the journey of life. They will stay by your side no matter what and always bring a good attitude into your days,” Levy said.

Zoei Zaveson, seventh grade student, has a friendly and playful horse named Maggie. Maggie is twenty-five years old, but acts like she is two. She loves little kids and playing tag with Zaveson around the arena. Sometimes she likes to get out of doing work though.

Zaveson also has an eight-month-old cat named Peach. Peach is playful and affectionate, and likes to kiss people on the nose. According to Zaveson, she is also “the spawn of the devil.”

“I think of pets like people. You want to treat them as if they were your kids,” said Zaveson.

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Buckle Up! The Roadmap to Getting Your Driver’s License

Buckle Up! The Roadmap to Getting Your Driver’s License

by Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

MAY 2021 – Getting a driver’s license is often viewed as a sign of maturity and freedom among teens. However, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. The process to obtain a license is less glamorous than some may think.

“To obtain your license you must study for your temporary license test, take the test and pass, attend driving school, take the final exam and pass,” shared Blessing Mupinga, a senior with her license.

After taking a test on road signs and traffic laws at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), teenagers 15 ½ years old are eligible to get their temporary license. Questions are based on the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws, and consist of two, 20-question sections. In order to pass, 15 questions from each portion need to be answered correctly.

After passing a temporary license test, proof of the following needs to be provided:

– Residency of Ohio
– Identity
– Date of birth
– Social Security number
– Legal U.S. presence

A temporary license allows drivers to operate motor vehicles while accompanied by their parents or guardians. It is required that drivers collect a minimum of 50 driving hours with their temps, with ten being at night.

Mupinga shared the next steps in the process. “Do what’s known as ‘in-cars’ which are four, two-hour driving lessons with an instructor. And then take a road test where they test you on maneuverability and driving,” she continued. “And if you pass, you get your license.”

Drivers who are 18 years and older can get their license without taking the 24-hour classes or in-cars. Instead, they are required to hold a temporary license for at least six months and complete the required amount of driving hours.

Driving Classes
After receiving their temps, the next step for students is to enroll in driving school. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, driving schools operate differently. There used to be a variety of online and in-person classes; however, many driving schools switched to online learning. As a result, doing the driving classes is not as simple as entering a physical classroom.

“I personally think the online/zoom driving classes are better for me because we don’t live close to many driving schools,” Skyler Earl, a sophomore enrolled in All Star Driving School, said. “This means I’d have to drive about half an hour both ways, but with Zoom I can hop on in minutes. I can also either plan [a schedule for] my lessons or look at the clock and realize I have time for a lesson five minutes before it starts. I also feel like I pay attention more than if I were in a classroom.”

Students like Earl are able to get a sense of face-to-face instruction through Zoom lectures as well as transportation benefits. However, being at home still can provide distractions at times.

“One negative is background noise from my family in other rooms,” Earl said. “Another rare problem I’ve had is internet issues, which can interrupt some content from the lesson. Overall I like online driving school a lot; I find it more engaging and convenient.”

However, not all driving schools operate through Zoom. Some are completely asynchronous with online lesson pages.

Blessing Mupinga also took driving classes online and noted it was one of the setbacks for her. “The process [for getting a license] is kind of time consuming,” she said. “I did my driving school online but forgot about it for a while until a month before the program expired.”

Despite the setback, she still managed to complete all the required steps to get her license. She advised future students looking towards getting their license to “only do online driving school if you have good personal agency.”

The Driving Test

“Google Robocar Racetrack Ride” by jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
The maneuverability test, a state required test which examines the students ability to drive.

After finishing 24 total hours of driving classes and getting practice driving time with parents, the last step is the driving test.

Tessa Wood is a sophomore who recently took her driving exam. “Personally I had no problems with me getting my temps,” she noted. “but I did fail my first driving test on the maneuverability section. That was a bit of a setback.”

Wood had to wait one week before she was able to take the test again, and was going to practice maneuverability before then.

“Although if you’re 18 [and fail the test] you have to take a course. I learned that when I failed my maneuverability section,” she said.

Unlike adults, teenagers who have failed their driving test do not need to take the abbreviated course, due to the fact they already took driving classes previously.

Organ Donation
Once someone is 16 years old, they are eligible to sign up to be an organ donor with the consent of their parent or guardian. If they choose to, that information will be written on their license. Currently, more than 113,000 people are registered on the national waiting list for life-saving organ transplants, according to Donate Life Ohio.

Registrations for being an organ donor can be done online or at a BMV when renewing a driver’s license or state ID card.

“I think because it’s such a big decision you make at 16, then I think it should be educated on more,” Kaytlin Haylett, a junior, commented.

Organ donation is an important decision, and making it as a teenager can be a bit overwhelming, especially if someone doesn’t know a lot about what that means.

“I decided to be an organ donor and that’s great,” Haylett said. “I would love to be an organ donor but if people are just like ‘yeah sure,’ and they don’t really know what that comes with, it should be educated.”

The decision to become an organ donor comes with learning to drive.

“In the driver’s ed, we had to watch hours of organ donor videos. A common myth I have heard is that paramedics will not try their best to save your life if you are an organ donor,” Wood said. “However, this has been disproven time and time again. If a person’s sole reasoning for not becoming a donor is based on this, it could cost lives. One organ donor could save 30 lives and it is imperative that people do their best to help others and make educated decisions based on fact.”

Donate Life Ohio also debunked this myth on its website. “When a person is taken to a hospital, doctors aren’t concerned about registry status and have nothing to do with the donation process. In fact, hospital personnel don’t have access to the donor registry – only organ procurement organizations do.”

Opinions on Driving
While driving allows people to gain access to transportation, not every student is fond of it.

“I don’t like driving ‘cause it’s kind of easy to lose focus and it takes a long time,” Randall Hatfield commented. He is a sophomore who drives to school daily.

“Once I was driving at night and I forgot to turn my headlights on,” Hatfield said. “But also I’m worried because I use google maps because I don’t know where I’m going at any given time, and I’m afraid that if the map turns off, I don’t know what I’ll do to get it back up because I don’t want to look away from the road and I’m afraid to pull over.”

Other students expressed fears about emergency vehicles passing them or unsafe situations.

“I feel unsafe most of the time when I’m on highways or unfamiliar situations such as cities where you have to stop often, and there’s an increased risk,” Wood mentioned.

“I was on the freeway once, and the car cut me off and I had to break and also I was in between two semis and it was very stressful,” she said. “I feel scared sometimes when I’m merging onto the highway.”

Driving Advice
To help students overcome driving-related fears, students offered their advice for those looking to get their license.

“Just focus on what other people are doing and kind of compare that to what you are doing, and make sure you’re not doing anything that you recognize as wrong,” junior Zane Ferra commented.

Another junior, Katherine Huntley, advised early drivers to be patient. “It is gonna be scary sometimes when you’re driving; you don’t know what’s going on. Remain calm. Trust whoever’s teaching you. The basic stuff. Don’t try to rush getting your license if you don’t feel ready to take the test or if you don’t feel ready to go on the road, don’t do it, because it’s unsafe if you do. So do what you feel like when you’re ready to.”

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Is Drivers Ed Necessary For Adults?

Is Drivers Ed Necessary For Adults?

by Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer

MAY 2021 – Not all students get their driver’s license when they turn 16. In fact, the amount of 16 year old drivers in America decreased from 46.2% in 1983 to 25.6% in 2018, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Unlike teenagers, adults over the age of 18 are not required to take driving classes.

Federal statistics showing licensed drivers in different age groups.

Based on the data from 2018, the majority of new drivers were not required to take these classes. Instead, after completing 50 hours of driving and holding their temps for more than six months, they can take their driving test. If they fail their first try, they must take an abbreviated driver-training course prior to their next test.

Blessing Mupinga, a senior at Bio-Med stated that she thought it was unfair that 18 year olds could skip the classes, “I do think it’s unfair, “ she said. “But at the same time, by those people choosing to wait two whole years, they’re missing out on a lot of potential opportunities like making money from having a job, that young people with licenses can now do.”

According to the CDC, teens are more likely to speed than adults and less likely to maintain a proper distance between the car in front of them and themselves. In 2018, it found that 30% of male drivers 15-20 years of age and 18% of female drivers in the same age demographic were involved in accidents due to speeding. Many incidents on the road can be attributed to inexperience and distracted or drowsy driving.

“Before I was like ‘why don’t they lower the driving age?’ And then I realized how dangerous it actually is because I took the classes,” said Skyler Earl, a sophomore with her temps. “And they also give you a lot of tips. Yeah, I think you should take [the classes] regardless of age.”

Getting a drivers can open up new opportunities for work or recreation.

State required driving classes cover important topics such as road rules, what to do in certain situations, and consequences for participating in unsafe driving behaviors. Knowledge on these topics could make drivers more conscious of their actions.

“Knowing what I know about starting to drive, I feel everyone should have to take a class or some sort of behind-the-wheel instruction before getting a license,” Kait Antonelli, a senior, said. “I learned a lot in the driver’s ed that I had no idea about beforehand. These things help to keep me safe. Not only this but turning eighteen does not guarantee maturity/ability to make rational decisions. I think everyone should take a class.”

While Antonelli benefitted from driving classes, there were financial setbacks.“I had to pay for my classes as well as my car. I have bought everything for myself, as well as gas. So money was a bit of an issue, however I’m so glad I got my license.”

For Antonelli, she felt that paying for things herself helped her gain independence, and that the classes for drivers were important. However, not all students are able to get a job in high school, and can’t afford to take the classes.According to, the estimated cost for getting a license at 16 is around $350-500. This can contribute to the percentage of teens who take drivers education.

Other students had different opinions on the importance of driving school.

Zach Boyden is currently a junior with his temporary license, who believes that getting a license in high school is not important. “I didn’t need it,” Boyden said, referring to his license. “I wouldn’t need it, and there are probably a lot of people that wouldn’t also need it unless they have to have a job, which I feel like it is early to start having a job in high school unless you’re a senior.”

He felt that he was not missing out on any information by not taking the classes and is just completing the temps test and required driving hours.

Robert Greenwood is another junior who has his license. “My older brother actually doesn’t have his license and he hasn’t really needed it. In high school, I don’t really think it’s a requirement. I don’t think that people really need it. I got around for most of the time without my license and I didn’t really go for it at first. I waited a whole year before I actually got mine.”

Despite this, he still agreed that driving classes should be mandatory for everyone, regardless of age. “My younger brother thinks that he’s ready to drive and he has not taken any of his classes yet, so yeah. I think that when I took mine, there was a lot of valuable information that I got from it,” Greenwood said.

Most students believed that taking the driving classes were beneficial to their driving experience, and should be considered for 18 year olds to take, despite the fact it is not required for them.

“I don’t really care about fair; I just don’t think that’s necessarily safe,” Katherine Huntley commented about driving school not being mandatory for adults. “There are some things they teach you in there that I think are pretty essential for driving, like how to control yourself in different weather, which I guess you learn, but sometimes you need it laid out for you in writing.”

The majority of drivers, as of 2018, got their license after they were 18 years old, and were therefore not required to take the classes. Because of this, they miss out on an opportunity to get a more structured way of learning the road rules and practices.

“There’s not much of a difference between a 16 year old and an 18 year old. So I think that 18 year olds and adults should also be doing that just for safety,” Huntley concluded.

Driving school teaches students knowledge they can take with them on the open roads, but are ultimately too expensive for some students to afford. This contributes to the amount of teens who get their license at 16 years old.

As for the license itself, almost all students interviewed believed that getting a license was not important in high school, and up to the individual and their needs of transportation. However, most students believe that driving schools are really beneficial for driving, and would recommend students who can afford it to take them.

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National Pet Month! Part 1

National Pet Month! Part 1

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

APRIL 2021 – In the United Kingdom and other countries, the month of April is designated National Pet Month. The United States, however, honors pets during the month of May. National Pet Day is also celebrated on April 11 every year. To celebrate this occasion, here are some featured pets from the Bio-Med Science Academy community and why they are so important.

“Pets help us remember not to take everything so seriously, and to enjoy the moment. They help us treat each other better by relying on us to take care of them. And they are always such good listeners…they’re always there just to be with us, with no expectations,” Ms. Mino said.

“My pets are a source of comfort and love for me, and endlessly love everyone,” said Brooke Saxton.

“To me [pets are] something that will always listen to you and love you. They’re also very loyal,” Gianna Walker said.

“Pets to me mean friends and family. They can always be there for you to make you happy when [you’re] upset,” said Abigail Allen.

“Researchers have traced dog domestication back at least 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age! In that time, think about how much these pups have impacted our development as a species. They’ve worked for us, helped us find food, kept us safe, served as a means of transportation. I feel a little piece of that history every time I’m with my HAL, especially when he seems to read my mind or anticipate my movements. It’s that unspoken communication that we’ve developed over thousands of years. It’s an amazing bond, and frankly, I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, especially dogs,”  Ms. Hisey explained.

“My dog means everything to me,” stated Adrian Jones.

“Pets are things that are very special to me and that mean a lot and should be taken care of and spoiled. They are great companions and should be treated really well,” Molly Phillips said.

“Pets are a good way to have a non-conditional friend,” Bristol White said. “And they are cute.”

“Pets are the best thing for companionship or to just make you feel better. They love you as much as you love them. They will always be there for you and will never disappoint you. They are so playful and have their own personality,” said Hailey Mills.  

“[Pets] are the best,” Liam Lindsay stated.

“[Pets] mean a lot because I like to love on my dog when I’m upset,” said Arianna Fiorentino.

“Pets are an absolute blessing in disguise! Not only do they provide companionship, but they lower so many stress, anxiety, and depression levels. That burst of dopamine you get when your fluffy friend runs to you when you get home is one of the best feelings! I may only see Remy and Wally once a week, but they’ll always be my favorite floofs!” praised Ms. Fusco. 

“Pets are family members that you choose. For whatever reason. They provide such a comfort because we provide them the same. It’s really lovely knowing that something can love you so unconditionally and see past every bad thing you think about yourself,” commented Mihalik.

“Having a dog who is always excited to see you when you come home can make your whole day better,” said Ms. Tubbs.

“Pets mean a friend. Someone you can talk to who can’t talk back. Dogs can help with anxiety too,” said Sophia Oprtiza. “I also like talking walks and runs around my neighborhood so having him to run with is great.”

“My pets mean everything to me (don’t tell my children)! They are loyal and sweet and they give so much love,” enthused Ms. McFerren.

Ms. Hughes commented pets mean “companionship and fun!”

“They aren’t just pets but they are part of the family,” stated Aric May. 

“I don’t get really attached to pets but I feel like they are a very important thing that are in someone’s life and can get them through hard times,” Carmen Corbett said.

“My pets are my best friends. Whenever I am sad my dogs comfort me until I feel better. They do the funniest things sometimes. I love to talk to them about how I am feeling because they are great listeners and I enjoy whenever we play ball with each other outside. But sometimes they sleep a lot. I couldn’t ask for better dogs!” Lourden DiNardo enthused. 

“I love animals, I always have. Pets are stress relievers and constant reminders of love,” Kait Antonelli stated.

“Our pets mean the world to us. We often ask ourselves what we would do without them. They are a lot of work and sometimes a lot of money, but they enrich our lives so much; we just couldn’t imagine not having them,” said Ms. Bates. 

“My doggo means the world to me. I come home and she always supports me or makes me laugh. Having an animal teaches you how to love and care for others,” praised Kaitlyn Davis.

“Pets aren’t just another being in the house. They become another family member,” Meadow Sandy said. 

“Words cannot describe how I feel when my dog looks up at me with his beautiful brown eyes. It is one of my favorite feelings in the world. I cannot imagine living without dogs, and I would never want to,” stated Serena Gestring. 

Twelfth grade student Kaden Starkey has a domestic shorthair cat named Kosmos. He described Kosmos as friendly, cuddly, and lovable, and having an obsession with jumping on top of TVs.

Nevaeh Bennett, a sixth grade student, has a 3-year-old German Shepard named Odin, who hates the mailman. She also has a show pig named Winkle and a mare named Hungry. Bennett described her pets as “good comfort animals.” 

Seventh grader Sophia Hankinson has a dog named Luna who loves to stretch on people and provides Hankinson with “love and warmth other than my family.”

Tenth grade Chemistry instructor Ms. Janna Mino has a 35-pound dog named Kona, who is much smaller than she looks. Kona is also obsessed with fetch. 

Layla and Sammy are tenth grade student Brooke Saxton’s two golden retrievers. Layla is two years old and loves the snow, while Sammy is five years old and loves to spend all day relaxing on the couch. 

Winston is an Old English bulldog belonging to ninth grader Gianna Walker. He enjoys chasing Walker’s cat and barking at the wreath hanging from her family’s door. He is normally very lazy and sleeps most of the day, but sometimes he can also be hyper. Winston loves meeting new people and gives really wet kisses.  

Eighth grade student Abigail Allen has three dogs. Rex is a german shepherd and almost one year old. He has a scary bark and likes to jump on people, even with muddy paws. 

Bo is a very nice dog of an unknown breed who likes to follow Allen around. 

Harlee is a fluffy, playful, and fast Siberian husky.

Seventh grader Ellie Spaeth has a dog named Sammi. He is a one-year-old hound-husky mix whose favorite day is Saturday. Sammi loves to eat bacon and play.

HAL9000 is tenth grade Integrated Language Arts instructor Ms. Candace Hisey’s mutt, named after the evil computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL only cares about his mom and dad, and chipmunks; not any toys or other typical dog things. However, he does like having The Lord of the Rings read aloud to him before bed. 

Otto is seventh grade student Adrian Jones’s old pug-beagle mix. 

Seventh grader Molly Phillips has an overweight dog named Tempe. Despite having hip dysplasia, Tempe enjoys going on walks and she gets excited whenever people visit the house. She also likes to sleep in Phillips’s room, and lets herself in whenever she pleases. 

Jynx Derteen, a seventh grade student, has a dog named Finn and a cat named Lulu. Interestingly, Finn barks at everyone except for the mailman. Lulu likes to sleep all day and then “attacks your legs at night to scare you.” 

Darla is a puppy dog of Bristol White, a ninth grader. Darla likes to bark and play with toys. 

White also has a hermit crab called Bristol’s Crab who likes to “climb, dig, and cause a ruckus.” 

Ozzy, named after Ozzy Osbourne, is a Shih Tzu belonging to tenth grade student Hailey Mills. Ozzy is small and loves to play. He also goes outside and catches rats, which Mills described as “upsetting but the smile on his face makes it worth the clean up!”

Seventh grader Liam Lindsay has a dog named Max, who is a “psychic.”

Axl is a caring dog belonging to Arianna Fiorentino, a seventh grade student. 

Eleventh grade instructor Ms. Elissa Fusco has two dogs named Remy and Wally. Remy is a fluffy Shetland Sheepdog and retired agility dog. He enjoys modeling for the camera and chasing squirrels to “show them who’s boss.” 

Wally was surrendered at a shelter when he was eleven years old. He was adopted by Fusco’s parents in August of 2020 despite wanting a younger dog, because they could not pass him up. Wally is very cuddly and enjoys snuggling after a walk. 

Eleventh grade College, Career, and Finance instructor Ms. Whitney Mihalik has a nine-year-old cat named Arya, after the Game of Thrones character, which she takes after very well. Arya was coaxed out from under a Wendy’s parking lot dumpster using a spicy chicken sandwich, though she pretends otherwise. 

“She makes it clear she has always come from wealth and status as she surveys her domain from the bookshelf or while sleeping in a child’s foam chair carefully placed in our dining room window,” Mihalik explained. 

Arya is also very smart, remembering every human she has met and “how they have wronged her.” Despite her dislike towards people, she is very loyal to her family. 

Mihalik also has a cat named Dora, who is quite the opposite of Arya. “Though she was named after the Byzantine Empress Theodora, one of the most intelligent women in medieval history, she is potentially the most unintelligent animal I have ever come across,” said Mihalik. 

Dora snuggles faces and then bites noses to show her affection. She also buries her face in her food bowl when she eats, giving her an always dirty nose. 

Ms. McKenna Tubbs, BMSA’s eighth grade Math instructor, has Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Millie, who will be three years old on the Fourth of July. She is incredibly cuddly, and loves socks, sticks, puppuccinos, dryer sheets, and hiking even with her short legs.  

Thor, which stands for The Hound Of Ragnarok, is eighth grade student Sophia Opritza’s dog. Thor is a toy pom-terrier, meaning half toy fox terrier and half toy pomeranian. He is not one year old yet, but is about fully grown at 8.7 pounds. He likes to play with cat toys. 

Twelfth grade Integrated Language Arts instructor Ms. Tracie McFerren has two dogs, Bruno and Indy. Bruno is an eight-year-old German shepherd and is 127 pounds, earning him the title of “big baby.” He loves to play with his toys. 

Indy is a twelve-year-old Siberian husky who loves to escape and visit the neighbors. 

Stella is a three-year-old dog belonging to Ms. Rachel Hughes, the ninth and twelfth grade Engineering instructor. Stella once got stuck in a gate that kept her in Hughes’s kitchen. The gate had a small door for the cat to use, and when Stella tried to get through herself she ended up tearing the entire gate down. 

Eighth grader Aric May has two dogs, Duke and Baloo. Duke is a red fox labrador, and Baloo is silver labrador. Duke likes to rough house with Baloo; Baloo does not. 

Carmen Corbett, a seventh grade student, adopted a whippet named Cozmo in June of 2020. Cozmo is one year old, but seems like a ten year old dog with his laid back demeanor. He does not do very much other than playing, sleeping, and eating.  

Diablo and Layla are both English mastiffs belonging to ninth grader Lourden DiNardo. Diablo is eight years and very large, but likes to sit on people anyway. His favorite hobby is playing with a deflated basketball outside, and he enjoys a nice slice of cheese after a hard day. He is also known for taking the stuffing out of stuffed animals and sleeping with the pieces of material.

Layla is seven years old, and despite being shy she likes to give little kisses. She enjoys lettuce and jumping on Diablo when he is playing with his deflated ball. 

Twelfth grade student Kait Antonelli has a two-year-old cat named Ember, nicknamed Emby. Antonelli’s family adopted Ember after receiving a notification that a kitten had been found in a storm drain by firefighters. Ember has been Antonelli’s friend ever since. 

Ms. Jenna Bates, eleventh grade Integrated Language Arts instructor, has two cats, Atticus Melville Finch and Sawyer Bean. Atticus was adopted thirteen years ago. During the time Bates was teaching a speech class, Atticus had been a visual aid in one of the student’s speeches. Sawyer was adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Sophie is a one-year-old golden retriever belonging to eleventh grader Kaitlyn Davis. Sophie loves running outside, snuggling, and peanut butter.  

Eighth grader Meadow Sandy has a maltese and poodle mix named Murphy. He is an energetic puppy and sweetheart, and loves to meet new people and play all the time. 

Twelfth grade student Serena Gestring has a four-year-old pit bull named Deimos, which is the Greek word meaning “dread.” Deimos is a complete baby. He needs to have fluffy blankets spread out on the couch for him to lay on or else he will whine. He will also whine if another dog is in laying where he wants to sit, even if there is still room on the couch. Deimos has a tendency to roll onto his back and thrash around until someone rubs his belly. If he does not get consistent attention he will whine. Gestring loves him with all her heart. 

Gestring’s family also very recently got another ball python. She is an albino, hence her yellow color, and her name is Ilios, the Greek word for “sun.” She is around three to four months old, but will grow to be four feet in length or longer. Ilios has pretty golden eyes. Gestring is very excited to have this new addition to the family.  

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Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis Awareness Month

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

MARCH 2021 – March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. This is a time to spread awareness of a little-known illness and hear the approximately 176 million voices of those living with it all over the world. 

Endometriosis is a medical disorder in which endometrium, the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside of the uterus, usually onto the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic tissue lining, and sometimes other pelvic organs.   

According to the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis can be very painful. This is because the endometrial-like tissue growing outside of the uterus also congeals, breaks down, and then bleeds with each menstrual cycle like normal endometrium does. Unlike endometrium, however, there is nowhere for that blood to go, and so it is trapped in the body. 

Other complications can arise as well. If endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts referred to as endometriomas can form, causing the surrounding tissue to become irritated. Scar tissue will eventually form, as well as adhesions, or abnormal bands of fibrous tissue. These can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick together. Fertility issues are also common with endometriosis. 

Christine Whyde is a senior Bio-Med Science Academy student who was diagnosed with endometriosis when she was fifteen years old. The process that led to her diagnosis was long and repetitive. 

Pictured above is Christine Whyde, a 12th grader at Biomed Upper academy, who was diagnosed with endometriosis.

Although Whyde did not provide details, she said she could tell something was wrong  at around age ten. Whyde went to a doctor who put her on birth control. According to her, normally doctors will start patients on a basic hormonal birth control, usually an oral medication, as many reproductive conditions are treated with those. For Whyde, the birth control made her symptoms worse.

If previous attempts do not work, doctors will move on to a shot to regulate hormones. Whyde tried this medication option, but that also made things worse. Then she went to another doctor who gave her a new medicine that ultimately did not work as well.  

“I was just passed around from doctor to doctor for over three years,” Whyde said. “Basically it was a chain of that [until] I finally had to go to an adult OBGYN when I was fifteen, which was unusual because I was the youngest person that was in there.” 

At that point, Whyde underwent surgery so the doctors could look with a small camera to see any problems that could be the cause of her symptoms. They also biopsied the surrounding tissue for examination. Afterwards, Whyde was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. 

“I’m trying to think of a way to word this that isn’t very depressing,” Whyde said in regard to living with this condition. Whyde went on to say that it makes her feel bad because she cannot do things that regular people her age can do at times because of her symptoms. 

“Sometimes when my parents are outside doing yard work and they need help with something, I feel terrible because since I’m in pain a lot of the time, I can’t help them do anything. It really kind of limits me,” she said. Whyde also had to be exempted from gym class due to her illness. 

The immense pain that can come with endometriosis was one of the major reasons Whyde pushed to get diagnosed. 

“[The pain] was so bad that I was missing days of school because when I would have a flare up or something, I couldn’t even get out of my bed. I couldn’t even sit up or do anything,” she stated. “So it was affecting my education at that point, and my social life because I was just staying home instead of doing anything.”

Whyde’s condition also makes her sad because of its extremity. 

“Some people will just get put on birth control or something and it gets fixed for them, which is great,” she said, “but it sucks that the condition is different for everyone who has it and unfortunately I am just one of those people that it just gets worse as I get older … I had two separate doctors look at my parents and say that there was like nothing else they could do for me.” 

Having endometriosis has limited Whyde’s future as well. 

“I wanted to be in the military for example, and [I] can’t do that because technically … endometriosis isn’t considered a disability yet because again there are some people who aren’t in any pain at all, but it’s a chronic condition regardless,” she said. 

There is also the possibility of Whyde not being able to have children or needing to have a hysterectomy at a young age. 

“It’s put me into some difficult thing, like I have to think about things that other kids our age don’t have to think about,” she said. 

There are millions of people with stories like Christine Whyde’s. It is estimated that one in ten women have endometriosis, but not all of them are aware of it. According to the Metro OBGYN Team, a lack of awareness of this illness and the normalization of its symptoms has contributed to delaying a diagnosis for many women. The National Institute of Health and US Library of Medicine reported that it can take between three and eleven years for someone to be diagnosed with endometriosis. 

Yellow is the color of endometriosis awareness. March is endometriosis awareness month.

Becoming educated is a start for correcting this issue. Get familiar with what endometriosis is and its symptoms. This will provide the ability to educate others. Then begin talking about it. Yellow is the symbol of Endometriosis Awareness Month. Wearing yellow clothing or a yellow ribbon is a simple conversation starter anywhere. 

By spreading awareness about endometriosis, more people will be diagnosed and treated sooner for this illness. Endometriosis Awareness Month is a great time to start. 


January is a SOUPer month! The National Month of Soup

January is a SOUPer month! The National Month of Soup

By McKenna Burchett, staff writer

FEBRUARY 2020 – According to a survey conducted by The Hive, only 12.9% of students at Bio-Med Science Academy knew that January is National Soup Month. National Soup Month was started by Campbell’s Soup Company in 1986 to promote the company. Campbell’s is a multinational food company headquartered in Camden, N.J., with annual sales of approximately $8.69 billion. It was founded in 1869 by Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson. The company initially started selling only soup, but have since expanded to other foods. 

However, is there more to soup than just selling it? 

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

“Soup is a very relaxing food,” said freshman Nathan Jimenez. “It’s for calming.” 

Eighth grader Zachary Hamilton agreed, calling soup “warm and comforting.” 

Meanwhile Kali Crawford, a sophomore, recalled a very emotionally charged experience involving soup. “One time I burnt my entire hand making soup, but the soup was good. It didn’t feel that good, but the soup was worth it. Soup is one of my favorite foods, so it makes me happy.”

Soup itself came about around the development of clay pots, as the waterproof pots allowed for boiling of ingredients. The oldest evidence of soup dates back to 20,000 BCE. The word originates from French’s word for soup, which is “soupe.” This in turn came from a Latin word, “suppa,” meaning bread soaked in broth. This is also where the word “sop” comes from.

As for the big question, “Is cereal soup?” a variety of answers were given. 30% of students said yes, 46.7% said no, and the rest said “sometimes.” Students said things ranging from “Soup contains broth, milk is NOT a broth,” to an entire rant about how “Soup is a job killer for inner mouth and jaw muscles. ”  

Further elaboration was gathered from a few students. Hamilton says that cereal is soup. “Soup is a liquidy substance with things in it that you can drink. Some cultures heat cereal up and make it warm, so that makes it soup. I think that if it’s thicker than runny, then it’s stew.” However, on the topic of gazpacho, a cold soup, he says “I don’t know, what is soup? It’s almost like a conspiracy theory…”

Crawford, however, disagrees with that notion. “I feel very strongly about cereal being soup, just like hot dogs being a sandwich, because soup is defined as a liquid dish with stuff in it.” When further probed about other solids within liquids, she clarified “If it’s not edible, it’s not soup.”

Here are a few soup recipes provided by Bio-Med students: 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe


6 slices bacon

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk, or more, as needed

1 cup chicken broth (no salt added preferred)

5 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 green onions, thinly sliced

1 small clove garlic, finely minced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Evenly lay the bacon on a 2-3 ply paper towel- lined plate, cover with a paper towel and microwave until cooked and crispy– about 6 minutes. (You can also do this in a skillet, and remove and blot on paper towels.) Coarsely cut most of the bacon, finely chopping 2-3 tablespoons, as a garnish. Set aside. If using a pressure cooker, place the prepared potatoes in a steamer basket, on top of a trivet, with 2 cups of water. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes, do a quick release and remove the lid. Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds; add the green onion. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, and chicken broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If not using a pressure cooker for the potatoes, add them in at this time and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, add the steamed potatoes, stir in cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately, garnished with green onion, cheese and bacon, if desired.

Taco Soup


2 tsp olive oil

1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef

1 medium yellow onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional)*

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 (14 oz) can low-sodium beef broth

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp chili powder**

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp ground paprika

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, or 1/3 cup chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (see notes***)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5 oz) can can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Shredded Mexican blend cheese, chopped green or red onions, diced avocados and corn tortilla strips/chips


Heat a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle lightly with oil. Add ground beef in a large along with chopped onion, crumbling and stirring occasionally until browned. Add jalapeno and garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Drain excess fat from beef mixture.  Stir in tomatoes with chiles, beef broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, ranch dressing mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot with lid and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in corn, black beans and pinto beans and cook until heated through. Add 1/2 cup water to thin soup if desired. Stir in cilantro and lime if using. Serve warm finished with desired toppings.

Creamy Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Tortellini Soup


1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/3 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)

1 1/3 cups diced carrots (about 3 medium)

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup unsalted butter, sliced into 1 Tbsp pieces

1/3 cup flour

2 1/2 cups milk

9 oz refrigerated three cheese tortellini

4 oz fresh spinach (4 cups)

1/3 cup heavy cream


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and mushrooms and saute 3 minutes then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add in chicken broth, chicken, oregano and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot with lid and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly 1 minute. While whisking vigorously slowly pour in milk. Season with salt and pepper and bring mixture just to a light boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove cooked chicken from soup and transfer to a cutting board, let rest 5 minutes then cut into pieces. Meanwhile, add tortellini to soup in pot, cover pot with lid and allow to boil over medium heat about 7 minutes (or time directed on package) adding in spinach during the last 1 minute. Stir in chicken, white sauce and cream. Serve warm with parmesan cheese.

general Uncategorized

2020 Election Results

2020 Election Results

by Aliscia Phillips, editor and chief

NOVEMBER 2020 – At the writing of this article, Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States. Despite numerous recounts in states like Georgia and Wisconsin where the results were close, Biden has maintained a significant lead with a current total of 306 electoral votes versus Trump’s 232. The election has been officially called by the Associated Press in favor of Biden and it is unlikely at this point that any major changes will occur state-by-state.

Jarrod Cummings, a junior at Bio-Med explains that the results were not incredibly shocking to him. “I am honestly not surprised as President Trump has lost a good amount of support this past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and other major issues. I am surprised, however, by how many votes Joe Biden was leading by. I thought it would be much closer, to be honest.”

The way the pandemic was handled by the Trump Administration likely played a role in his loss. Bio-Med Science Academy senior Avery Coates describes, “Personally, I felt that President Trump’s COVID-19 response was lackluster. The strategies that took foreign nations and local cities weeks to implement took months for the President to enforce, if at all. Even then, these efforts were not consistent, and have led to several spikes and periods of lockdowns. However, not all of these failures can be attributed to Trump. The executive branch, while powerful, cannot create many policies and mandates (such as cash stimuli) without support from Congress, and both the Republican Senate and Democrat House have refused to work together and with President Trump on meaningful solutions to the pandemic. Countless Americans remain sick, hungry, and at risk of eviction due to petty differences and political party lines. While many can argue that the COVID-19 virus is overblown by the media and government, the crisis would have ultimately been resolved, or at least reduced, if Trump created a consistent, bi-partisan effort. Other nations, such as Australia and Japan, have returned to some sense of normality as the US must re-enter lockdowns once again.” 

Another hot topic this election has been voter fraud. Bio-Med senior Jacob Fergis expresses his worries about possible voter fraud: “As far as the elections themselves, especially the general election for POTUS, I have no doubt that there was some foul play going on, most likely on both sides, but I’ve seen videos of people going through and filling out multiple ballots, and I’ve heard reports of there being ballots found thrown out or discarded.”

The United States does struggle with election fraud according to The Heritage Foundation database which holds a sampling of 1,285 proven cases of voter fraud within the last four years. However, this year’s results have not been disproportionately affected by voting fraud, and President Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election aren’t backed by evidence. The New York Times called election officials from many states who said there has been no evidence to support the claim that fraud has influenced the election results. In fact, the process has gone very smoothly considering complications due to the pandemic, according to both Democratic and Republican officials. In a released statement, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”

While the results of this year’s election should not be doubted, it is important to students that the United States continues to keep voter fraud under control. Jacob Fergis says, “I was hoping that because of more public knowledge about the fraud, it might actually be exposed and dealt with. I know Trump will be and already is taking legal action to get recounts and investigations, but there’s a lot of resistance against it, and I just want the fraud exposed, no matter what side it’s on.”

At the writing of this article, however, most of the legal motions filed have been withdrawn by the Trump campaign or dismissed or denied by the courts.

Other students are less worried about what is to come. “While people say the election is scary, I don’t see much change happening,“ says Coates. 

Despite his political worries, Fergis also believes that his personal life won’t be majorly impacted. “Most likely, my day-to-day life won’t change much. I think it’s likely that things like taxes and gas prices could go up, maybe Biden/Harris will try to raise the minimum wage, which would get me more money as a minimum wage worker, but I am against raising the minimum wage. Another thing that could change is more restrictions due to Covid. Other than some of those things, I don’t think my everyday life will be affected much.”

Younger students at Bio-Med are showing interest in the election as well. Seventh-grader Molly Phillips was happy about the turnout. “The results were unexpected, but turned out to be good. I didn’t like Trump’s treatment of POC, the LBGT community, or women.”

It’s never too early, or late for that matter, to get involved with politics and practice civil duty by voting. The next presidential election will take place in 2024. 

general Uncategorized

Seniors take on Civic Responsibility

by Christine Whyde, staff writer

OCTOBER 2020 — Millions in the United States will be casting ballots Nov. 3 to elect a president for the next four years. This year, a number of Bio-Med Science Academy seniors will be eligible to vote for the first time. While many high schoolers have had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election in the past, this year is no ordinary circumstance. The current election has put many Americans at odds as strong opinions have formed about the potential candidates and issues at hand. 

Seniors at Bio-Med are choosing to vote for multiple reasons. Some feel that they are fulfilling their civic duties while others hope to sway the course of the election. Madison Gibbons says, “I think it is important. Our country has fought hard for the rights we have and I’m going to make sure I use them.” 

Being eligible and making the choice to vote does not mean that every senior is comfortable voicing their opinions. Each senior interviewed stated that they were only willing to detail their views in the right situation. 

For Jacob Fergis, this is mostly due to his political leaning: “I only talk about my political beliefs when asked, and only in smaller groups of people. Among people my age, conservatives are often just automatically viewed as racist, sexist, and insensitive. I’d rather not be seen that way, and I think that it’s ridiculous how political beliefs can divide people. I’d rather not be known for my politics.” 

When asked why others are choosing not to vote even though they are eligible to do so, many believed that it was partially due to dislike of the candidates. Suzie Krauss also suggested that some have actually been silenced by those with opposing views: “One of the presidential candidates has an extremely aggressive following and other voters could be targets for harassment. “ 

A few seniors strongly felt that others should be voting regardless of their apprehensions. Jacob Fergis explained that, “People will say they dislike both candidates, and so they just don’t vote at all. You’re surrendering your say in the matter. If you want things to change, you have to pick, even if that decision is the lesser of two evils.” 

As the election nears, the candidates are making their final efforts to sway voters. Most recently the televised presidential and vice presidential debates allowed millions of Americans direct access to the perspective of the major party candidates. Third parties were excluded. Many viewed the presidential segment as a particularly chaotic display, including Stephanie Kover. 

When reflecting on the debates she stated, “I watched some of the debate, but eventually decided to turn it off as it wasn’t really worth watching. Just by the way the candidates talked to each other, I knew nothing beneficial was going to be talked about. I feel as though the vice presidential debate was a lot more informational on how each candidate felt on certain topics.” 

The debates were not the first time that the presidential election was covered through the media. For many months, there have been dozens of news segments, magazine articles, and radio shows put out daily to give Americans the latest updates. For some, these interactions have altered their political beliefs and decision making. Many of the seniors expressed that they try to steer away from mainstream media due to bias. 

When asked if the media impacted his decision to vote, Kevin Akers replied, “No, I’ve purposefully only done my own research and found my own beliefs…” 

Madison Gibbons acknowledged the impact of bias on her personal views: “I would say I normally lean one way no matter what, but I’m sure the information I receive from the media makes me feel positively or negatively towards certain political beliefs.” 

Although the seniors were in general agreement on various topics, their political leanings and candidate choices are wide ranging. Some did not feel comfortable naming their candidates of choice while others got straight to the point. 

Jacob Fergis, for example, plans to vote for the re-election of Donald Trump. He explained, “I’ll be voting for Trump. First, he’s the Republican choice. Being Republican/conservative, my stances align with his more. Not only that, but I’ve seen all of the great things Trump has done in his time as POTUS already. I support what he’s done in Israel, as well as his Middle Eastern peace treaty. I also believe he’s done very well for the economy. Biden on the other hand is in clear support of leftist ideas that I disagree with, and it seems clear to me that Biden is really just a puppet. When you get sheltered in your basement for the whole campaign and only speak with the help of scripted questions and teleprompters, I don’t trust you to be president.”

Other students, such as Stephanie Kover, are choosing to vote for Democrat Joe Biden: “I will be voting for Biden. Not necessarily because I support him, but because I don’t want Trump to get re-elected. I hope in future elections there will be a candidate that aligns with my views more, such as Bernie Sanders.” 

Two of the seniors have yet to decide who will earn their ballot, but have very different perspectives. Kevin Akers is presumably deciding between the two major party candidates, “waiting for the final debate” to make a decision. Suzie Krauss on the other hand, is considering third parties. She stated, “I’m not sure who I will be voting for just yet, but it will absolutely not be Donald Trump. I feel he threatens many of America’s core values and should not be in office.” 

Regardless of their choice, each of the seniors is embarking on a new journey. Many feel nervous to be given such a responsibility. Others are disappointed given the current political climate but hope for something better. Stephanie Kover says, “For this being my first time voting, I am disappointed in the candidates that are running. The choice is between a very moderate Democrat and a far right Republican. I’m just hoping next election I will be able to vote for a candidate I’m actually proud of.” 

Senior Madison Gibbons at her home, after voting for the first time. By Owen Baird.

Even though there may be downsides, there are still positives to find in the experience. Each of the seniors is excited to be opening a new chapter into adulthood. Some also feel that voting will allow them to learn more about the government, politics, and even themselves. Madison Gibbons looks forward to the experience, stating, “I feel nervous yet excited and proud to be voting.” 

No matter the outcome of the election, each of the voting seniors can be proud of the fact that they fulfilled their civic responsibilities and took part in a moment of American history.

bio-med journey general Uncategorized

Bigger Bio-Med: the Expansion to the Rootstown Campus

View from new wing which contains classrooms for grades 7-8. By Owen Baird.

by McKenna Burchett

OCTOBER 2020 — The Bio-Med Science Academy Rootstown Campus now features a new addition. This new building, dubbed the “Contemporary Wing,”  includes classrooms for grades 7-12, common spaces, IT rooms, and a cafeteria, all spread across the three floors. Students and teachers both enjoy the large space, the decor, and of course, the slide that stretches between the third and fourth floors. 

Students say they find this change to be exciting. They say they are adjusting well to the new environment and classmates, though some of the younger students say they’re a little intimidated by the older ones. The layout of the classroom is such that students don’t need to walk too far to get to their next class. This makes navigating the large space far less intimidating, sophomore Mady Hunter reports. Freshman Irene Scherer compares the transition to be similar to that of switching from the Shalersville Campus to the Rootstown Campus, as she’s wandering around a new building with her friends. The teachers enjoy the new space and the ability to have their own classrooms. They enjoy the potential for collaboration provided by the Contemporary Wing.

The idea for an extension to the Rootstown Campus originated four years ago from the desire for more space. 

“We were out of room,” says Stephanie Lammlein, chief administrative officer and superintendent of Bio-Med. “We needed more room, we needed more class space, we needed larger lab space, larger commons, [and] collaborative space to allow our programs to grow.” 

She described the aesthetics of the building to be “industrial rural,” incorporating the small town aspect of the county and the cutting-edge future the school is trying to build. The layout of the classrooms specifically were designed to facilitate collaboration, with room for larger gatherings (when safe.) The Bio-Med space sits atop land owned by Neo-Med, and the building itself is a combined partnership paid for using OFCC (Ohio Facilities Construction Commission) money. Moving forward, a few classrooms in the Vintage Wing still need to be painted white, as well as some designs on the walls of the Contemporary wing. Right now, the administration is happy with where it stands, and no further expansion plans are yet in the works.