Community Perception of Bio-Med

by Logan Cook, staff writer

Pictured is Bio-Med Science Academy’s entrance. The new entrance was part of a building expansion project completed in 2021, in collaboration with NEOMED. Photo by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer.

MARCH 2022 —  Bio-Med Science Academy’s unique designation leads to many questions and varying perceptions from the community. Bio-Med’s mission statement, according to its website, is to create “a national model that leads the educational system to evolve, enabling schools to embrace innovative practices.” Bio-Med has a formal STEM designation from the state of Ohio, and is one of 76 schools to be part of the Ohio Stem Learning Network. Additionally, it is only one of eight to be considered an independent STEM school by the Ohio Department of Education, of the 3,009 public schools recognized in Ohio as of 2022.

Many students and members of the community feel Bio-Med prepares people for their future well. Senior Alex Hale-Hartman stated, “I feel that they give students a lot of great resources to follow their career dreams, especially in the STEM field.”

Eric Kline, parent of sophomore Maya Kline, said, “The tech and engineering skills are above what they would learn at most schools. I work in engineering management and have hired and developed many new engineers, and I believe Bio-Med is an example of what many more school systems should be doing to prepare students for the technical workforce.”

Sarah Schofield, parent of sophomores Abigail and Lillian Schofield, agreed with Kline’s positive perception of Bio-Med, adding, “[Bio-Med] is harder than a traditional public school – it expects more of its students… We have been impressed repeatedly at the way our kids learn/are taught. [My children] have learned to advocate for themselves and are held accountable by both the school and by us at home. We feel that our kids will be better prepared as they enter adulthood [by attending Bio-Med].”

Sophomore Zach Totaro agreed with the perceptions of Kline and Schofield but added, “Other things like communication [between the administration and students] aren’t the best.”

Lily Smith, a seventh grader, elaborated on this, saying, “[Some of our privileges], specifically dress down days, have been taken away because of a miscommunication between the students and school staff members.” Hale-Hartman agreed with Smith, stating, “I feel that Bio-Med sufficiently lacks communication skills, which caused increased stress for me.”

Abigail Schofield believes the lack of certain classes, namely foreign languages, to be a negative aspect of Bio-Med. “It can be very difficult to take CCP classes [with our normal school work],” said Schofield. In addition, Schofield noted there seems to be a lack of janitorial staff as well, saying, “the school [seems] to be dirty looking, like the bathrooms are very unclean.”

Despite the negative aspects students described, many said Bio-Med was still a great fit for them.

“Bio-Med has still been the best learning place for a good education,” said freshman Kiara Krunich.

Smith agreed with this, saying, “Bio-Med is a great school. It allows students to be taught with interactive and group assignments that help students better understand and grasp what is being taught. I think it is definitely worth putting up [with the negative aspects].”

Students complimented the community of Bio-Med, saying it was stronger than the schools they had been at before. “I can always find something to get enjoyment out of without the fear of anyone making fun of me, as we truly are all weird here. The friends I’ve made here have been those I can always turn to, and so have the teachers,” said sophomore John Garden.

Bio-Med teachers felt the same about the community. Eighth grade Language Arts teacher Mr. Aaron Ettinger said, “I would like to say that our Bio-Med community is ‘buzzin.’”

Many teachers agreed with Ettinger. Tenth grade Social Studies teacher Miss Kaitlyn Long said, “Of course, there are cliques like in every school, but that doesn’t stop students from talking to someone. I really wasn’t expecting an environment where students are able to be true to themselves and their peers welcomed it.”

Seventh grade Social Studies teacher Mr. James Pennell emphasized that the strong community aspects extend beyond the students into the teacher relationships as well. “Once I got the job offer to work here, I was immediately happy. I was very quickly brought into a group of people that I enjoyed working with,” said Pennell.

Ettinger believed that the community could be further improved, since students miss out on certain events from a public school. “Pep-rallies, the fight song, Friday night football games, or living in the same neighborhood as [your peers], all contribute to the culture of a student-body,” said Ettinger. “I think that providing students more opportunities to come together at school in larger groups to celebrate students’ efforts and achievements could be a really cool way to bring everyone together.”

Garden added to this, saying, “We haven’t been in a public school for so long, five, six years, it’s hard for us to compare it to Bio-Med. We haven’t gone through public high school, we don’t know what it’s like.”

People outside of Bio-Med often aren’t fully educated about the school. Pennell noted, “When I started subbing, I had no clue that [Bio-Med] even existed.  I grew up in Portage County and I had never heard of [Bio-Med].”

Ninth grade Social Studies teacher Mr. William Ullinger and Eighth grade Social Studies teacher Mrs. Morgan Brunner agreed. Ullinger said, “I think there is a lot of ignorance of Bio-Med. When I am asked where I teach and I say ‘Bio-Med,’ I often have to explain what and where it is. Then I get asked if it is a school ‘just for smart kids?’ Public perception is that [Bio-Med] is for the highest achievers rather than it allows for hands-on and student-centered teaching that is offered to everybody and anybody.”

In-line with this perception, 10th grade Rootstown High School student Trent Gauer asked, “Isn’t Bio-Med just a school for smart kids?”

Ninth grade Language Arts Teacher Mr. Brian McDonald said that he expects the perception of Bio-Med to change as time goes on. He said, “[the perception is going to change] a bit over time.  Instead of students choosing to go here, as the grades that feed into Bio-Med go lower and lower, it’s the parents that are making the choice to have their students attend instead of the students making this decision for themselves. This is not fundamentally better or worse.  It’s just different.”


How Have Google’s New YouTube Settings Changed Bio-Med?

by C.J. Delaney, staff writer 

MARCH 2022 — Bio-Med Science Academy students under the age of 18 received an email Sept. 7, 2021 from Team YouTube notifying them of the coming changes to their experience on the site. Due to a new policy at Google, school accounts used by students under 18 years old are no longer able to write comments, participate in live chat, receive most notifications, and upload videos.

Not only are these students no longer able to upload anything onto the site, but any existing content has also been removed from public viewing and can only be accessed by the owner of the account by download. Many student projects have been uploaded in video form in the past.

Pictured is the message that students will receive when clicking on “your channel” on school YouTube accounts.

Google has yet to release a statement on why these changes were made, but it is in line with the many alterations made to the site over the past several years. YouTube has been pushing for child safety more and more, and this particular update specifically targets children in school.

Bio-Med’s technology support specialist, Matthew Schneider, says that the school is unable to reverse this change “since it was a decision made by Google.” Regardless of school policy, “At the beginning of the school year, Google required schools to identify users that were under the age of 18.”

For students wishing to keep everything they’ve uploaded to their account, Google details how to save videos on the “YouTube Help” page. If anyone wishes to access videos uploaded by students no longer attending Bio-Med, there is nothing that can be done without contacting the owner of said account.

This has led to complications for both teachers and students when trying to share videos.

“One of my internship supervisors needed me to send some video projects that I had, but it was much harder to access,” said Randall Hatfield, a junior at Bio-Med. “I had to look through tons of video files [on my computer].”

Along with access to old student projects, many teachers have had to reconsider how students would upload videos for assignments where YouTube was previously used.

Ms. Tracie McFerren, the 10th-grade English teacher, highlighted alternatives to video sharing outside of YouTube with her upcoming Stop Motion project. Instead of uploading final stop motion videos to YouTube, students were instructed to save them to Google Drive. While it will not be as publicly accessible, videos can still be shared via a link and submitted in a similar manner to those submitted to YouTube.

To do this, students will still need to download a video project before uploading it to their Drive. There it can be organized with various folders with complete control over who is able to view the work.

“I don’t think the changes to YouTube have really affected my courses that much this year,” says junior History and College, Career, and Civics teacher Whitney Mihalik. For the juniors, the only video project they needed to complete for Mihalik’s class was a project titled “Save the World” (a challenge where juniors proposed a way to improve the quality of the planet in a video format). Despite the Save the World project being entirely on YouTube before, the junior team found another way around it. Mihalik reassured, “Students couldn’t upload their ‘Save the World’ videos to YouTube this year, but we simply had them submit video files.”

Before the project officially began, the Junior team had gathered examples of the project from previous years to show the students. All of these examples were YouTube videos uploaded by former students. To the teachers’ and students’ frustration, none could be accessed. This left them in a situation where they had to seek out students to request files of their videos or other places where they may have saved the projects. However, as Mihalik stated, this did not affect the remainder of the project.

While the new Google settings seemed concerning to many members of the Bio-Med community at first, future projects have adapted to other methods of uploading videos and seem to be continuing as usual.

General Interest

Panchyshyn: Hard to Pronounce but Easy to Understand

by Avery Livezey, staff writer

Pictured is Panchyshyn with her brother Stephen and her niece Sage. When Panchyshyn isn’t teaching, she enjoys cooking, baking, and going on walks with her dog Fiona. Though, her favorite pastime is spending time with the people she loves. Panchyshyn says she’ll take, “any excuse to be with family and friends.” Picture provided by Ms. Panchyshyn.

MARCH 2022 — Ms. Catherine Panchyshyn (panch-sure-shin) is the newest Chemistry teacher at Bio-Med Science Academy. Panchyshyn is one of the many new tenth grade teachers, having joined during the 2021-2022 school year.

When Panchyshyn was deciding what to major in at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, education was on her mind, but she fell in love with biology. As a result, she became a nutrition sciences major. According to Panchyshyn, “The major itself is mostly preparation for graduate school, but I enjoyed it because it encompassed all of the natural sciences.”

“As I got further into biology, I really liked the connection between chemistry and biology. So, my favorite [class] was organic chemistry.” Panchyshyn enjoyed that class because she always found it interesting to “learn things down to the electrons.”

Panchyshyn moved back home to Ohio to finish earning her undergraduate degree and enrolled in The Ohio State University to be closer to her family and friends. During her sophomore year of earning her undergraduate degree, Panchyshyn began doing academic research at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in nutrition, cognitive science, and bioinformatics. During her academic research in a nutrition lab, Panchyshyn said, “I studied nutrition in relation to children with ADHD. I would look at biomarkers for patterns and see if nutrition had any relation to [the children’s] symptoms.” Finding patterns between symptoms and biomarkers would allow doctors to diagnose ADHD and autism from someone’s biomarkers instead of waiting for symptoms to become more apparent. Panchyshyn continued this research for the next three years.

After her research in the nutrition lab, she worked in a cognitive science lab where she studied a new way to understand and diagnose ADHD and autism using data modeling. Panchyshyn modeled the reaction time and accuracy of new information of children with ADHD and autism. This research was done in order to better understand these neurological disorders and find a better way to treat them. Using reaction times, those in the lab were able to diagnose the children and better understand the way their brains work.

Pictured above is Panchyshyn holding a research award she won at DENMEN, in 2018. DENMAN is an event held for one day at The Ohio State University. Around 80 percent of those that apply get accepted. The over 500 students accepted then presented a poster displaying their research projects and results. There are multiple winners from each field of study who receive cash prizes. Picture provided by Ms. Panchyshyn.

In the same lab, Panchyshyn also researched new ways to classify those diagnosed since there is overlap among neurological disorders, mental health issues, and learning disabilities. After working in the cognitive science lab, Panchyshyn put an end to her research, realizing that she would rather be teaching.

Panchyshyn has always been teaching one way or another. “My first teaching experience was in high school. There were a lot of Syrian refugees in Columbus and I tutored a lot of them in French. Since my family is French Canadian, I speak a little bit of French, and I tutored at the Columbus libraries for three years,” she said. Then, she worked at a psychology lab where she taught Introduction to Psychology students. She also worked at a summer camp with teenagers at Ohio State for two years, and was a clinical aid nurse and nanny for special needs children, specializing in autism.

Teaching was always a side job for her, but she noticed that she never felt as tired coming home from those jobs. “I feel like [the students] energize me. [They] keep me coming to work every day. It’s nice.”

Panchyshin was certain that teaching was the path for her after she worked as a student teacher during her senior year of undergraduate work. “I wanted to see if I would like it, and I did. So, a year later, I applied for M.A.T.(Master of Arts in Teaching) and that’s why I’m here.”

The M.A.T. program is a partially online program that has an accelerated eleven-month track and a two year track. This program is offered to those who recently acquired a bachelor’s or graduate degree and wish to become a certified teacher in Ohio.

Panchyshyn will be graduating from Kent State with her Masters of Arts in Teaching this May. Since Panchychyn is still in the M.A.T. program, she can’t apply to work at most schools. However, Bio-Med works with Kent State and the M.A.T. program, so her adviser informed her of the position, and she is happy she applied.

Pictured is Panchyshyn’s M. A. T. cohort at Kent State this year. Picture provided by Ms. Panchyshyn.

She thinks that working at Bio-Med has many up-sides. “I do, in general, love [Bio-Med]. I like that I’m able to make my own curriculum and do those things with [the students]. I also love how integrated the grade teachers are, that we get to do things as a grade. If I have a crazy idea about something I want [the students] to learn, [the other teachers] are always like ‘sweet, how can I help you do that.’ It’s really fun to work here for that reason.”

Though Panchyshyn enjoys the opportunities she has because of Bio-Med’s flexible schedule, there are some downsides to it. It can be an inconvenience to “reorganize, replan, and reschedule” her previously decided lessons for the students’ schedule change.

Panchyshyn also enjoys how she can use her past experiences in the classroom. “It’s cool teaching at Bio-Med with a research background. I can be realistic and tell [students] when [they] would need to use that information in a chemistry lab, since I have first hand experience.”

Panchyshyn specifically enjoys teaching teenagers because, “[The students] are still impressional. [Teachers] can still teach [students] positive ways to look at the world, but at the same time, [students] also old enough to make these decisions for [themselves] and start using evidence and justifying [their] reasoning for whatever it is, whether its a math question or a personal belief.”

Panchyshyn also said, “I think it’s a really cool age. You’re starting to make your own decisions, and your personalities come out.”

Panchyshyn has two goals when teaching her students: to help teach the nature of scientific thought so that her students can make educated choices throughout their lives, and to build kids’ confidence. “[The students] are all so intelligent and so smart and have so much potential. I want [them] to be able to use it and know how to use evidence to feel confident in what they have to say,” she said.

Even after Panchyshyn graduates from the M. A. T. program this coming May and she’ll be able to apply somewhere else, she enjoys Bio-Med and has no plans to leave any time soon.


Schools Supporting Students: How Do Teachers Handle Students’ Mental Health?

by Cadence Gutman, staff writer

MARCH 2022  In recent years, the condition of teenagers’ mental health issues has been at the forefront of many discussions among teachers at schools across the country, including Bio-Med Science Academy.

Pictured is a mental health resource guide given to teachers on Mar. 7 during a professional development day. The guide features information on symptoms of depression and suicide. It also contains resources and advice about what to do when struggling with mental health. Photo by Cadence Gutman, staff writer.

According to the World Health Organization, it’s estimated that as of November 2021, a reported 3.6 percent of 10 through 14-year-olds and 4.6 percent of 15 through 19-year-olds experience an anxiety disorder. Depression is estimated to occur among 1.1 percent of adolescents aged 10 through 14, and 2.8 percent of 15 through 19-year-olds.

In accordance with these statistics, teachers at Bio-Med have taken measures to ensure that their students are mentally well.

As the seventh through ninth grade counselor, Mrs. Emily Lee helps students work through issues they may be facing. She said, “I can’t ‘fix’ anything for them, but I can help them find the tools to hopefully improve their situation while providing support along the way.” She continued, “Sometimes, this means I connect them with outside resources, too. We have great community resources for students who need more than what I can provide here as a school counselor.”

One of these resources is Children’s Advantage, an organization whose main goal is to improve mental health and behavioral issues in adolescents. Children’s Advantage can be applied inside school and outside of school. “It’s a great opportunity for our students who would benefit from therapy and consultation but have time constraints in the evenings, transportation issues, etc.,” Lee explained.

Teachers such as Heidi Hisrich, the ninth grade science instructor, have also made an effort to understand what students may be going through.

Hisrich explained that she was dealing with her own mental health struggles during the week of Feb. 21. “I think it might make you more sensitive to noticing when other people are struggling.” She added, “I also had a couple of students mention how much they were struggling, and that was kind of the tipping point for me.”

Hisrich continued, “Thursday during the flex project, it felt like there was this darkness in the room. Then that was the same day that I knew my dad was dying.” On Feb. 22, Hisrich’s father passed away after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease; she explained how this allowed her to become more aware of students’ behavior. “I made observations like body language and comments and stuff that made me think, it’s not just one person. Everyone’s really struggling.”

Ms. Rebecca Putman, the seventh through 12th grade art instructor, noticed a change in the school environment, and how that can affect students. “You know, post-winter break, when I think academic content has picked up and intensified, I think that due dates have started overlapping and expectations have been raised.” She elaborated, “Students are definitely more stressed out, at least from what I’ve seen and what they’ve told me.”

On Feb. 23, Hisrich sent an email to the ninth grade student body, asking how they were doing. She asked several questions that included, “How would you describe your mental health right now?” and, “What can I do to help your mental health?”

Hisrich was surprised by the responses, saying, “I was surprised by how open students were, and how long some of the responses were. Also that some people would apologize for their responses being long, or that they over-shared, when I had requested that they share. They still somehow felt like they needed to apologize.”

Vali Epling, a ninth grade student, responded to Hisrich’s email. “I have therapy every other Monday, but, you know, it certainly helped that someone who I’m around constantly asked how I was.”

Another ninth grader who responded to Hisrich’s email is Anna Turell. “It did [help] actually. It helped me realize that there are teachers out there who genuinely care, and aren’t just in the building to get paid.”

Turell had been enduring her own mental struggles. “My personal life definitely stresses me out much more compared to my grades. I’ve always been a straight A student but also accepting of B’s, and the mastery system has made me a little more laid back about it,” she described. “In my personal life, I tend to be an overthinker and overstress myself out about small little things.”

Mrs. Whitney Mihalik, the 11th grade College, Career and Civics Instructor, explained how students’ reasons for stress could vary. “Some students that are grade-oriented are going to be more anxious about their school work, and some students are more anxious regarding what’s going on in their personal lives.”

This can also differ between grades, she explained. “Teaching juniors, coursework changes a bit as we start transitioning students to prepare for college, so there is always a little stress around that.” She continued, “In recent months, I’ve noticed way more anxiety and issues among friend groups than ever before, so I’d lean toward personal life causing more stress at this point in the year.”

Although caring about their students’ mental health, many teachers aren’t trained to be professional psychologists. Charmayne Polen, the seventh through ninth grade chief operating officer, commented that while it is important for staff to have training in mental health issues, having the full professional training to the extent of a counselor or social worker, is not realistic. “It’s important for teachers to be able to recognize signs, but then also have the connection to the professional mental health workers, social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, to report these signs and then work together to support the students.” Polen stated, “Knowing about the resources available to schools is vital to give students what they need in terms of mental health support.”

General Interest

The Portrayal of Teenagers in Television

by Camryn Myrla, staff writer

MARCH 2022 – From “The Brady Bunch” to “Euphoria,” the depiction of teenage characters has changed dramatically as the television and film industries have developed over the years. Originally being shown as perfectly well-behaved, teenagers in the media can now be seen as nuanced young adults. Is this new portrayal helping its viewers by being realistic, or is it a bad influence?

During the mid-twentieth century, teenagers were typically minor characters in family-friendly television shows. In classic sitcoms from the 1950s like “The Real McCoys” and “Father Knows Best,” these characters often only made mistakes when they were used for comedic relief.

Throughout the next twenty years, through TV shows like “The Brady Bunch,” which first aired in 1969, teenage characters continued to be either popular and sporty students, or outcasts with low self-esteem.

This blueprint of superficial teen characters was slowly erased. By the late 1970s, the trope had been practically abolished, as teenagers in television were then written as young adults. At the same time, older actors were cast to play teens due to labor laws; minors could not work the same amount of hours as adults.

One example is a 30-year-old Olivia Newton-John playing a high-schooler in the 1978 “Grease,” alongside a 34-year-old Stockard Channing.

“Grease” was one of the first movies to defy the “goody-two-shoes” era in teenage characters, depicting sex, smoking, unwanted pregnancies, and more.

The late 1990s and early 2000s challenged the old-fashioned stereotype even more through shows like “My So-Called Life,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Pretty Little Liars.”

These pieces were among the first to depict high-schoolers facing genuine problems in their lives. However, as the popularity of this portrayal of teenagers increased, so did the displays of nudity, drug use, and violence.

Today, it is normal to find these concepts in shows like “13 Reasons Why” and “Outer Banks,” which have millions of viewers. For example, the second season of “Euphoria,” which aired in January 2022, has gained around 16.3 million viewers.

Since these new depictions have been in place for decades, multiple generations have been affected. 10th-grade history teacher Ms. Kaitlyn Long, born near the end of the Millennial generation, recalled this type of portrayal and believed that it was not accurate of how teenagers behave.

“For as long as I can remember, it feels like teens in TV shows are always played by people older than teenagers… and I don’t think that’s a very realistic depiction of teenagers that age,” she said.

Additionally, some oppose these shows, as they think teenagers should not be shown taking part in inappropriate activities. Even older Bio-Med Science Academy students believed that the nudity of teen characters is unnecessary in media.

Junior Keira Vasbinder regularly watches TV-MA shows involving teenagers, despite believing that they do not accurately depict students her age. “Drugs, sex, and more are being made the main focus in shows today. Even if that’s not what [the show] is trying to promote, kids our age can take it that way because that’s what they want to see.”

Meanwhile, others believe it is a realistic depiction of teenagers, even if it may be hard to watch.

“We live in such a privileged place where not everyone is doing what is being shown in these shows,” said Kylee Staggs, an 11th-grader. “I think it’s so bad to ignore that these things are actually happening to [teenagers].”

“The issue is that many [TV shows today] are catered to teenagers, but written by adults,” Staggs continued. “Kids are very impressionable–it can leave a very big impact if they aren’t taught about these things correctly, and adults are showing everything in a very stereotypical way.”

At 13 years old, Destiny Wheeler, a seventh-grader, watches “Euphoria,” a show that is rated TV-MA for its displays of violence, nudity, and drug use involving teens. A notice addressing this content can be seen at the beginning of each episode. Photo by Camryn Myrla, staff writer.

While she believed that it is not appropriate for people her age, Wheeler appreciated the realistic depiction of “Euphoria.” In particular, she enjoyed the portrayal of Rue Bennet, a high-schooler suffering from drug addiction.

“If [viewers] are using these kinds of shows to normalize [its content], it’s a bad influence, but if [people my age] are okay with watching this kind of stuff, I would recommend it to them. I like that [‘Euphoria’] shows the side effects of drugs on Rue,” Wheeler said.

All students interviewed believed that certain shows depicting high-school students in mature scenarios, like “Riverdale,” “Euphoria,” and “13 Reasons Why,” are not appropriate for people their age, yet had watched at least one of them.

This could be due to peer pressure, which Vasbinder struggled with when “Euphoria” was first trending.

“I only started watching ‘Euphoria’ because everyone around me was watching it. I had to stop watching because I had a strong emotional reaction to it,” Vasbinder said, regarding the graphic scenes in the show. She chose to stop watching “Euphoria” after finishing its second episode.

“If the peer pressure around me was just a little stronger, I would have kept watching, even though the show gave me such a negative reaction,” she added.

Though many teenagers and adults alike think that they are inappropriate, modern shows depicting high-schoolers still receive audiences of millions.

“I’m not sure if the question is whether or not [teenagers] should be watching these shows,” Staggs said. “The bigger question is ‘How do we raise the average teen’s ability to discern what they should and should not do?’ Adults need to figure out how to properly write about [teenage characters], or else teens will keep thinking that we are supposed to do what’s being done in these shows.”

General Interest

What is Wordle, and Why is it Everywhere?

by Randall Hatfield, staff writer

MARCH 2022 —As a result of pandemic lockdowns, puzzle games rose in popularity, and even as restrictions eased, a public interest in simple games like 2021’s Wordle remained.

Wordle was initially created by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle in 2013. The game, which was a prototype at the time, had been set aside, until the pandemic caused Wardle to release it. His partner, Palak Shah, was a big fan of word games, and so he dedicated himself to finishing and releasing it to pass the time.

In October of 2021, Wardle decided to release the game to the public, where it steadily accelerated in popularity. As of January 2022, the game had three million global players, a number that has continued to grow over time.

The principle of Wordle is to match each day’s hidden word within six guesses. Yellow squares mean that the letter is a part of the hidden word in a different spot, while green squares mean the letter is in the correct place. Gray squares indicate that the letter is not used. The Wordle website allows people to share their results via emoji, correlating different colored square emojis to match the players’ guesses. Photo by Randall Hatfield, staff writer.

The game has found an audience among many in all walks of life, and many students at Bio-Med Science Academy have played it.

Students attempt to solve the daily Wordle during a school break on March 17th, 2022. Photo by Randall Hatfield, Staff writer.

Clare Haddon, a sophomore at Bio-Med, first heard about the game through her family and social media. “I saw people talking about their streak and how hard the word was,” she stated, “and it kind of became more popular from that.”

“I want to keep my streak, and it’s fun,” Haddon said about the game.

Junior Skyler Earl stated that she has been playing an average of one to two times per week, since around January 2022. “It’s quick, and pretty easy to play,” she stated, “and my friends play it.”

Wordle is not the only game of its kind to have gained popularity. After its meteoric rise, many other reimaginings have been made using the game’s basic premise. Simple iterations, like Dordle, involve maintaining the same rules as typical Wordle, while doing two puzzles simultaneously. Also available are Quordle, Octordle, and Sedecordle, to solve four, eight, and sixteen puzzles simultaneously.

Other Wordle-adjacent puzzles have taken a completely new approach to the puzzle. Nerdle, created by Richard Mann, encourages the player to find a hidden math equation using the numbers zero through nine as well as simple mathematical symbols.

Though the basic interface of Nerdle seems different from Wordle’s, the principle stays the same. Problems can also have two different signs, adding a level of difficulty to the puzzle. Like Wordle, the squares tell players if the numbers and symbols are found in the hidden equation. Black squares indicate that the number or symbol is not used, purple squares indicate that it is in the incorrect place, and green squares indicate that it is in the correct spot. Like Wordle, Nerdle gives its players six tries to guess the problem, and can also be shared via text message through emojis. Photo by Randall Hatfield, staff writer.

Mrs. Christina Aronhalt, the eleventh-grade math teacher, spoke about Nerdle. “I like the challenge. It pushes my mental math skills and makes me think more about order of operations, and the satisfaction of getting it completed in the least amount of tries possible is intriguing.”

With her praise, she also acknowledged that there are some things about it that could be improved: “I feel like I would redesign part of Nerdle, because it doesn’t consider order, even though operations within Nerdle could be done in different ways to still get the same value,” Aronhalt said.

Further iterations include Worldle and Globle, both tasking the player with identifying a specific country in the world based on its shape or proximity. Another, the Heardle, plays a progressively longer clip of a popular song that players must guess. Prattle, by the Folger Shakespeare Library, lets players uncover a word present in the works of Shakespeare.

Olivia Opritza, a junior at Bio-Med, spoke about her favorite Wordle parody, Taylordle. “The Taylordle is a Wordle that uses words related to Taylor Swift,” she explained. These words can be related to song titles, or notable events.

Part of the appeal of Wordle and its iterations is how cyclical the game can be. Each day, players can only complete one puzzle, and the puzzle is the same for everyone. This makes it easy to compare and compete with others. It also helps space out each attempt, to ensure that players will not get burnt out too quickly.

Puzzle games like Wordle can have personal benefits as well. A study conducted for the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on word games shows that they can increase cognitive function in older adults. The members of the study who regularly played these games had improvements in memory over those who did not.

Wordle, overall, has been a simple source of daily entertainment for many, as well as a way for people to connect with each other in the post-pandemic world. The game’s audience, like the puzzles, is varied and it has something for all age ranges to enjoy. Though simple, small puzzle games like Wordle can give players a quick intellectual challenge that they can enjoy as well.

General Interest

Commentary: Teachers Are Quitting And I Don’t Blame Them

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Many American workers are taking part in the “Great Resignation.” According to NPR, the phrase refers to the roughly 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. Teachers across the country have followed suit, leaving their profession in a mass exodus. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

MARCH 2022 Unsurprisingly, schools across the country are struggling to find and retain permanent teachers. Educators are quitting, and they will continue to leave in record numbers. Teaching was once seen as a stable career with the potential to positively impact the next generation; however, in recent years, teachers have been left without support while being expected to thrive in a broken system. At a certain point, they must choose what’s best for themselves, which may involve leaving their profession. If the education system continues down this path, will we have any good teachers left?

According to a poll conducted by the National Education Association, 55 percent of educators say they will leave teaching sooner than they had initially planned. The specific reasons for contemplating resignation vary from concerns about their health or frustrations with an education system that never met the needs of its students and staff.

While some teachers struggled with remote learning, others did not want to return to the classroom. The sudden quitting and retirement of teachers created a teacher and substitute shortage, exacerbating a problem that existed prior to the pandemic. Due to the shortage, administrators and teachers struggle to cover multiple classes throughout the day. As a result, teachers are losing valuable planning time, reducing the quality of instruction that teachers are able — and expected — to provide that day.

Unfortunately, many of the problems leading teachers to resign were not addressed before the pandemic either.

For instance, teachers are extremely underpaid. In Ohio, the minimum starting salary for a teacher is only $30,000. Many educators do not choose their profession for the money, but that does not mean their salaries should be an afterthought. We need to recognize that choosing a career in teaching is one of the most important and impactful decisions a person can make. Teachers are vital to society, so they should be compensated as such. When the profession can no longer compete with outside positions offering more flexibility and higher pay, teachers might run out of reasons to stay if they do not receive the support they deserve.

In addition to classroom instructors, educators might find themselves as makeshift social workers, surrogate parents, security guards, nurses, or gears operating in a broken system. Being a teacher is no small task. With the job comes unparalleled physical, financial, and emotional stressors.

Outside of school, teachers are also scrutinized by parents and lawmakers.

There’s been a wave of policies designed to regulate curriculums and control teachers throughout the past few years. For example, legislation like the “Teacher Transparency Bill” would require schools to post all instructional materials online at the beginning of the school year. In theory, the goal of this bill is to allow parents the opportunity to examine their child’s educational content. However, it will undoubtedly be used to further restrict teachers from effectively doing their jobs and remove “divisive topics” from the classroom. Instead of labeling teachers as proponents of indoctrination, people should trust that they are qualified and capable of teaching their students.

Our teachers need help. We must find a path forward that draws more people to education careers and keeps good teachers in the classroom.

The Center for American Progress found declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs. According to the report, “nationally, more than one-third fewer students were enrolling in 2018 than in 2010. Ohio posted a decline of nearly 50 percent, and was one of nine states where the drop in enrollees totaled more than 10,000 between 2010 and 2018.” Not only are teachers quitting, but people also are not entering the field. We cannot afford for teaching to become obsolete.

I believe that the majority of people who go into education want to make a positive difference in the lives of their students. People are not quitting because they want to. It’s because they are not left with many other options. America’s shortage of teachers has long been an issue, but the effects of the pandemic will only worsen the situation. Policymakers and administrators must meet the needs of teachers to prevent burnout and increase retention. We must listen to teachers’ concerns to prevent the foundation of our education system from collapsing.

If teachers are resigning because that’s the best choice for them, I don’t blame them. Quite frankly, I would probably quit too.

General Interest

Women’s History Month Continues to March Towards Equality

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

MARCH 2022 – This year is the 35th annual Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month was created to celebrate the contributions of women throughout history. Every year, a Presidential Proclamation is issued to honor the achievements of women in the United States. President Joe Biden stated in a press briefing, “This Women’s History Month, as we reflect on the achievements of women and girls across the centuries and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way, let us recommit to the fight and help realize the deeply American vision of a more equal society where every person has a shot at pursuing the American dream. ” He continued, “ In doing so, we will advance economic growth, our health and safety, and the security of our Nation and the world.”  

In 1980, President Carter first declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. Six years later, The National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the week to the whole month. In 1987, Women’s History Month became a month-long celebration observed annually in March.

The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” The theme was chosen to highlight the work of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to recognize the many ways women have provided hope and healing over the years.

Bio-Med’s Feminist Club watched a video trying to determine if all feminists think the same. They later talked about Women’s History Month and the significance it holds. Photo provided by Meadow Sandy.

Bio-Med Science Academy junior, Lorna Benden, is a member of the school’s Feminist Club. Benden offered their opinion on how Women’s History Month is recognized, “I think we should be more vocal about it. It should be discussed and I feel like we should just celebrate people [as a whole.]” They continued, “Feminism plays into it because feminism is about equality for everyone, so I think during Women’s History Month we should be teaching how feminism has opened up opportunities for everybody.”

“It’s a month to celebrate women as a whole and the struggles they had to go through,” Alex Silvers, a freshman, stated.

He continued, “To me, it means that both men and women should be treated equally. I think we should make it [Women’s History Month] much longer.”

Many colleges and organizations around the country host various events to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Kent State University celebrates Women’s History Month by setting up different events throughout the month, which can be found here. Kent State’s Women’s Center Program Coordinator, Winnie Bush, commented on how Kent State will celebrate. “Kent State University hosts various educational programs to celebrate. Various offices, academic departments, and centers across campus are hosting different events/initiatives to educate the students, staff, and community at large.”

Bush elaborated on the importance of celebrating Women’s History Month, saying, “There is nothing I would necessarily change [about celebrating] but I would just encourage people to celebrate women all year round. We should not wait for March to celebrate the investment of women in our country.”

To find events celebrating Women’s History Month, click here

General Interest

Sexual Education at Bio-Med

by McKenna Burchett, associate editor

Bio-Med’s Governing Authority’s Policy Manual, states that “the materials and instruction shall further recommend and emphasize abstinence from risk-taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse.” On Feb. 22 and 23, ninth and 10th-grade students gathered during advisory to attend a program about substance abuse. This program was instructed by Ms. Tiffany Rittenour, a school counseling intern and substance abuse prevention specialist at Townhall II. There, students discussed why people choose to use drugs, why people choose to remain drug free, commonly used and abused substances among teenagers, and ways to resist peer pressure. “I’m not here to scare people. I just want them to be aware of what can happen and things they could do to their bodies, providing them with all the information to make their own choices,” Rittenour said.

MARCH 2022 — Sex ed, short for sexual education, is receiving a change in the way it runs at Bio-Med Science Academy by introducinga cohesive year-by-year program. 

Ms. Tasha Jackson, the school case manager, described how Bio-Med currently chooses programs. “They’re going based off of what they see in here. So if, say for example, you get multiple kids who come into the principal’s office talking about the same thing. So maybe sex, maybe they have questions, breakup questions, say something comes up in the student body, say a student says they have had sex. They just track those numbers, and if the numbers are high enough, they will deem that as a need,” she explained. “We go off the pace of the students and what they are disclosing at the time.”

During March 2020, all programming for sex ed was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that all Bio-Med students have returned to school in-person, sex ed programming has resumed, and Lindsey McLaughlin and Charmayne Polen, chief operating officers and principals, are planning future programming for Bio-Med. 

“This summer, our goal is to sit down and map out the programming for grades seven through 11 for the entire year and get it on the books, and hopefully that creates a framework for every single year,” McLaughlin explained.

Most of the planning of specific programs is done by Jackson. She is currently in the process of discussing how to create a yearly program with Planned Parenthood Director Mackenzie Burchett. 

“In the past, Planned Parenthood has come to Bio-Med to do presentations before, so this is just kind of restarting that old contract,” Jackson described. “We’re in conversation. Right now, we’re just trying to get dates that the principals want the presentations to take place. I believe these are most likely going to take place at the beginning of next year.”

Planned Parenthood tries to limit each instructor to 40 attendees each, so knowing the roster of students is an important factor in planning these programs. Since each class at Bio-Med has around 100 students, multiple instructors will be coming to Bio-Med, and students will be broken into smaller groups. 

“Planned Parenthood will give us an outline of their curriculum. I will forward it to the principals, and the principals will look at the school’s policies. Every school has a policy on what can be covered in sex ed,” Jackson said. “Then of course, parents have to sign off on those permission slips to make sure those topics are okay for discussion. It’s a lengthy process, but that’s how we decide what topics are most appropriate.” 

The topics covered in Bio-Med’s Sex Ed program are decided by the Governing Authority and described in Policy No. 3842 of the Policy Manual. As described by the manual, “The Academy’s sexuality education program has been established to provide information and skill development for students in K through 12th grade so that they may reach their highest potential for physical, emotional, mental, and social health.” It further reads, “Instruction may include but is not limited to: anatomy, hygiene, puberty, healthy relationships, peer pressure, consent, relationships, abstinence, sexuality, STD prevention, life planning and skills, and family planning.”

McLaughlin explained how others influenced policy as well. “I think it was Emily Baldwin, [a Bio-Med alumnae.] She did her internship with [Stephanie Lammlein, the chief administrative officer]. It was developing the sex ed program that’s based in the requirements of the law. Student Council also, five to six years ago, I remember them coming to board meetings and talking about what they wanted to see,” she said. “So it was law, student input, what we have access to — all those sorts of things were taken into account.” 

The Governing Authority adopted much of its policy on sex ed from the Ohio Revised Code, Title 33 Education-Liberties. Section 3313.6011 instructs that schools must emphasize that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy and STIs. It also must “stress that students should abstain from sexual activity until after marriage; teach the potential physical, psychological, emotional, and social side effects of participating in sexual activity outside of marriage; teach that conceiving children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society; stress that sexually transmitted diseases are serious possible hazards of sexual activity; advise students of the laws pertaining to financial responsibility of parents to children born in and out of wedlock; advise students of the circumstances under which it is criminal to have sexual contact with a person under the age of sixteen pursuant to section 2907.04 of the Revised Code; and emphasize adoption as an option for unintended pregnancies.”

If a school plans on instructing any topic that is not specified by the Ohio Revised Code, parents and guardians of students under the age of 18 must give written permission for their child to learn about those topics. School districts also must provide lesson materials upon request. 

Parents may also opt their child out of sex ed instruction at any time. “When a student opts out, they are given advisory time and it’s up to the parent’s prerogative to determine how [the student] is given their sex education,” McLaughlin explained.

The classes of 2023 and 2024 have received instruction about consent and healthy relationships with Townhall II, as well as anatomy and safe-sex lessons from Planned Parenthood. 

Sophomore John Garden recalled his experience with these lessons. “From what I remember, it was okay. At times it felt too serious,” he said, citing an activity where students moved to different sides of a room to indicate what they would do in various situations. “I think it more became trying to go off what they thought the best answer was, rather than actually doing what we thought the best answer was.”

Junior Lucas Hagen believed that Sex Ed was important for students, beyond teaching abstinence. “Most people are going to do it anyway. I feel like if they’re going to, you might as well educate them a little bit to make sure they’re being safe, so they don’t affect themselves and their life later,” Hagen commented. “I feel like introducing it earlier is a better idea. Maybe do a little intro in early middle school, like sixth grade, and then really get into it freshman year of high school.”

McLaughlin agreed, saying, “I think it’s exceptionally important for it to be done early, especially when it comes to consent, because we want to try to help empower our students to know what is wrong and where they can go if they need help.” 

Garden believed that inclusion of LGBT+ people would be beneficial to students, as most Sex Ed only encompasses heterosexuality. “It should be taught as well. It also is a whole thing of like, not keeping it as something that’s taboo, and normalizing it to a point.”

Jackson is unsure if Planned Parenthood’s program will include information for LGBTQ+ students. “They didn’t go into that much detail if that would be covered, but if the principals feel it should be included, then we will vouch for that,” she said. “I want it to be fair across the spectrum. Sex for everyone is not the same thing.”

McLaughlin does believe that sex ed for LGBTQ+ students is needed, saying “It’s super important for all students, whether they are heterosexual or part of the LGBT community, to have accurate informationabout being safe, about protection, about consent, and all that stuff. All students need it, and heterosexual sex is not the only sex that is had.” 

Jackson concluded, “I’m hoping that parents and students can see that sex ed is definitely a need in the school. I feel like it would definitely be beneficial, and I’m just hoping they’re open to learning these things, even though some of it may sound repetitive. I’m hoping that they open up their hearts to receive the information presented.”


Not so Makerspace

by Alexandra Levy, staff writer

MARCH 2022 — The makerspace, a room dedicated to students learning new technologies, is left mostly unused at Bio-Med Science Academy.

Pictured is Ms. Rachel Hughes fixing a 3D-printer while preparing a print for a Neo-Med student. Hughes has assisted professors and students at NEOMED by collaborating with them to make parts they require for their projects. Photo by Alex Levy.

“The makerspace is a lab where students can make prototypes of their designs,” explained ninth grade engineering teacher, Ms. Rachel Hughes. “Whenever we are working hands-on with projects that involve things like soldering, building, woodworking, or 3D printing, I like to take my classes into the space.”

The makerspace is designed for students to exercise their skills in industry-standard technology; there is a makerspace present in every Bio-Med campus.

While Hughes tries to take her class into the room whenever she can, she also encourages other teachers to do the same to better use the space.

“The room is open to everyone, but it’s a matter of training for the makerspace and its machines. I encourage the other engineering teachers to use the space and recently did a workshop to train the staff on how to properly use the equipment.”

The workshop that Hughes referred to took place Feb. 19. Throughout the workshop, she explained to her fellow teachers what the function of the different equipment in the makerspace is and what programs they would need to install to run the machines.

Pictured is the warning sign posted on the makerspace. Underneath the warning sign are the core lab’s safety rules. The core lab safety rules are the rules that apply to all students running a lab within the makerspace during their core periods. The paper reads, “One, labs must be signed out by a teacher. Two, no student may work in a lab without a teacher present. Three, Appropriate attire and safety equipment must be worn by everyone. Four, Students may not use equipment or tools without training.” Photo by Alex Levy.

Along with training, staff members are required to supervise students in the makerspace. A sign was hung by Hughes approximately two months ago on the doors of the makerspace with the warning, “Must have a staff member to enter! No students allowed unsupervised! Do not use any overhead outlets!”

Hughes discussed the reason for the warning signs about students needing teacher supervision to go into the room, “The overhead outlets need to be inspected. There are no current updates on those. But students should have always had supervision because there is a lot of electrical equipment with safety protocols, and the staff is responsible for that. But the signs on the 3D print labs themselves are just because the outlets need to be checked.”

Sophomore Logan Cook worked on a project in the makerspace within the past year to repair and maintain the quality of the 3D printers in the lab with Hughes.

Cook commented on the frequency of use in the makerspace, stating, “The issue with 3D printing is that it’s such a niche opportunity. The number of things you can reasonably use it for is not things that we normally do. I think that we can print projects, but we shouldn’t because they don’t necessarily have a purpose, so we would be essentially wasting filament and money. However, I would be interested in a 3D printing training program to teach students how to use the makerspace. The idea of the space is to teach students how to use the printers, and that idea has not been utilized. However, I do understand that it is hard to integrate into classes.”

Cook also described his past experiences working in the makerspace; he was a part of a group of students tasked with repairing 3D printers that were not functioning properly in the makerspace. His task was to fix a printer that had been broken during the last school year.

“I was set to recalibrate that printer and make it functional. I started to work on that, and the printer is pretty fine. Those specific printers should only be used by people who have previous experience with 3D printers unlike the Ultimakers, which are the other printers in the makerspace. I only worked in the space a few times, so I haven’t gone into there much more since then,” explained Cook.

Cook added that he has not worked in the makerspace recently and that he was told students could not go in there unsupervised because of the outlets hanging from the ceiling after he stopped working in the room.

“I was never directly told to no longer work there. Over time, I stopped working there as frequently, however, Ms. Hughes has made it clear that I can go in there to work on things during advisory as long as I have her or another teacher present to supervise,” said Cook. “I am pretty sure the outlets just need to be inspected, and from my understanding, as long as you’re not plugging into the hanging outlets, there is no threat.”

Junior Sarah Bungard, a teacher’s assistant to the sophomore engineering teacher, Ms. Carrie Sinkele, explained her opinion regarding the makerspace.

“I haven’t ever worked in the makerspace in the new building. I have worked in the engineering lab in the old building. From my understanding, you need a teacher’s permission or keys to work in either space, but no one has ever specified that I can’t work there,” said Bungard.

Bungard felt as though the makerspace should be used more by students.

“I think it’s a nice space that we should probably use more, because it always looks empty when I walk by,” said Bungard. “I think my freshman year, a former teacher offered a way to get trained on the machines, but I don’t think there are any opportunities like that currently. Although, I am not entirely sure about that. Our school has a lot of 3D printers and woodworking tools that we do not take advantage of enough. I think it would be great if we could use this technology in our everyday projects more.”

Junior biomedical engineering teacher, Ms. Elissa Fusco, estimated that the only students that know how to use the machines are engineering teacher’s assistants like Bungard.

“In terms of students knowing how to use it, it probably ends with the engineering teacher’s assistants.”

Fusco expressed that she wants to find a way to use the makerspace for her class. Fusco also felt as though the use of the makerspace would be beneficial in all teacher applications and projects.

“I used it once last year just for a big room for post-state test activities,” said Fusco. “I would use it more if I knew how to use the stuff. I think a big problem with its use is that not enough staff know how to use it, especially because there’s so many new staff members.”

Fusco expressed that the problem with the amount of use in the makerspace is a matter of teachers being trained in the machines as well as students.

“If the staff were more knowledgeable, they could help the students become more confident and knowledgeable. Then the students could have help to get certified and credentials for their college applications,” she explained.

Additionally, Fusco commented on the benefits that learning about the equipment in the makerspace could have for students following Bio-Med’s technology and engineering pathways. The pathways are a series of career technology education classes to prepare students for their future, whether that be for college applications or the workforce.

“I wish students had the opportunity to use the machines and work there more frequently,” said Fusco. “I think that career pathways could utilize the makerspace a lot more and it would help students a lot more to have those skills and credentials on their resume.”

Sophomore student Cooper Lappe agreed with Bungard and Fusco and hoped that the makerspace would have a more regular use in the future.

“I’m interested in an engineering career, and I enjoy working with 3D printing inside and outside of the classroom,” said Lappe. “I do wish that we had more opportunities to go into the makerspace and learn more about the individual machines.”

Lappe had previously worked in the makerspace to help teachers as well as during class time.

“Although I’ve been in the makerspace a few times, I want to be trained and learn how to use all of the machines in there, because that is what personally interests me,” Lappe remarked.

Many students, similar to Lappe and Bungard, appreciated their time spent in the makerspace but hoped for a more in-depth tutorial of the machinery.

Lappe concluded, “The teachers are trying their best to allow the students to work in the makerspace as much as we can. I hope that later in the school year, we’ll be able to experiment more and learn about the technology there. Until then, I am happy and excited any time that we have to work in the makerspace, and I think that a lot of my classmates feel the same way.”