10 Years After Sandy Hook, History Repeats, and Little Is Being Done to Change That

by The Hive editorial board

JUNE 2022 — The second deadliest U.S. school shooting occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were fatally shot and killed May 23. The severity of the attack is only preceded by the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary school Dec. 14, 2012, where 20 students and seven adults were killed. Though 10 years have passed since Sandy Hook, students are still being subjected to the horrors of gun violence; history is repeating itself, and little is being done to fix it.

At Robb Elementary, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos barricaded himself in a classroom around 11:30 a.m and shot those inside. The tactical team forced the door open, shooting and killing Ramos more than an hour after entering the school.

Prior to the shooting, Ramos shot his grandmother, who is in the hospital. Ramos crashed his truck in a ditch near the school before entering, wearing a plate carrier with no ballistic armor and exchanging fire with school officers.

Pictured above are people visiting Robb Elementary School to leave flowers by the school sign May 25 in light of the shooting. Photo obtained from Jack Gruber, USA Today.
It has been almost 10 years since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, and after this event, politicians and lawmakers across the country have promised, “never again.” Despite this, 229 mass shootings have taken place on U.S. school grounds in 2022 alone, according to the gun violence archive. 

That number is more than one school shooting per day this year.

Regardless of what people blame, the promise of “never again” has proven to be false time and time again, and countless lives have suffered as a result.

Following the events, Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted, “What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas.”

However, in the past year, Abbott has signed numerous legislation that lifted restrictions on gun laws. Some of these laws include HB 1927, which allows Texans to carry guns without a license, background check, or training and HB 2622 which prohibits local government agencies from enforcing federal gun laws.

In total, Abbott signed and enacted 22 laws to make it easier to obtain, buy, and carry guns, according to Houston Public Media.

On top of this, Abbott tweeted the following Oct. 28, 2015: “I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in the nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans.”

For someone who claims that school shootings “cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott has single handedly enacted legislation that has enabled individuals to obtain weapons of destruction in a more efficient manner.

According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, it was found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide for all genders and age groups.

“Regardless of what people blame, the promise of ‘never again’ has proven to be false time and time again, and countless lives have suffered as a result”

The Hive Editorial Board

In instances like Uvalde, the shooter was able to obtain the gun legally with little restriction as a result of these actions. Ramos legally purchased two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition just after his 18th birthday. One of the rifles was found in the back of his truck, the other located in the school.

Even so, the issue lies deeper than just gun control; having strict gun control will not magically eradicate the issue of gun-related violence. In other cases, while less common, the guns were purchased illegally or underground.

Most commonly, the Sandy Hook promise outlined that 68% of guns in gun-related incidents at schools were taken from a family member who purchased the guns legally. Though gun control will not completely erase the issue, requiring permits, training, background checks, and licenses for obtaining firearms could prevent certain acts of gun-related violence.

Controlling fire-arm access was not the only repeated message from history.

The infamous 1999 Columbine High School shooting saw police officers arrive on the scene, only to wait hours to enter and secure the building. In Uvalde, they took roughly 90 minutes to breach the classroom the shooter stayed in.

From worries of officer safety to police chiefs making “wrong decisions” during desperate situations, police training must be questioned. With the infuriating frequency of these events, they need to be prepared. If the police refuse to be disarmed of their guns for public safety, they should at least use their guns when the public needs them.

Another aspect that is critical to consider is offering better mental health support. A common argument against gun control is that “if someone wants to obtain a gun, they will, whether it is legal or not.” Instead of just preventing individuals from obtaining the gun, a focus should also be placed on preventing people from committing these violent acts altogether.

Watching out for threats of violence and flagging them before they escalate is another key factor in preventing shootings, which is often not considered until it is too late.

Prior to the shooting, Ramos used Yubo, a social media site, as a platform to make threats about rape and shooting the school. If these threats were taken seriously and brought to the attention of officials, these events could have been prevented; lives could have been saved.

The issue, though, is that most people preach looking for “warning signs,” but when actions are flagged, few repercussions occur. Noticing these actions and dealing with the threats is crucial to preventing violent actions in schools.

In fact, 93% of school shootings were planned in advance in almost every documented case. In those cases, the Sandy Hook promise noted that one or multiple of these warning signs were shown.

Many of these signs include things like bullying, withdrawing from friends, making direct threats, and recruiting accomplices or audiences for the attack. In these cases, these signs are able to be caught early, and actions can be taken to prevent these harmful acts.

“Schools are supposed to provide a comfortable learning environment for children to learn and grow as individuals. In spite of this, the world of today has seen school shootings rip away that right from students; these places can no longer feel safe.”

The Hive Editorial Board

As outlined by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “school shootings typically involve a mix of suicidal thoughts, despair, and anger — plus access to guns.”

Though many pin the blame only on weapons, recognizing the signs and knowing how to deal with them is important. Taking threats seriously and having repercussions for these threats, along with implementing more mental health initiatives to prevent shootings that result from mental illnesses would provide a step in the right direction.

In the span of 10 years, instead of putting any legislation in place — whether it is gun control, taking threats seriously and recognizing the warning signs, better mental illness check-ins, or other actions to lessen the amount of violence in this country — America has decided to train schools and students to be “prepared” against active shooters instead of attempting to eradicate the issue all together.

After all of the ALICE drills, lockdowns, talk of or implementation of arming teachers, walk-outs in protest of the violence, and all the thoughts and prayers to the victims, how many more conversations have to occur before any action is taken?

We said “never again” after Sandy Hook. Since then, 947 school shootings have occurred, and an estimated 12 children die from gun violence in America each day. At what point, if ever, will this statement hold true? How many more lives need to be lost — in schools, in supermarkets, in places of worship — until anything changes?

These places where gun violence occur are supposed to be safe. Schools are supposed to provide a comfortable learning environment for children to learn and grow as individuals. In spite of this, the world of today has seen school shootings rip away that right from students; these places can no longer feel safe.

There’s a terrifying fact that looms over the heads of every student when an ALICE drill is practiced: This is the sad reality of the world we live in, where it is a necessity that students know how to increase their chances of survival in the event of a shooting. As the instances of school shootings increase, the terrifying thought of our community falling victim to the horrors of gun violence becomes increasingly more probable.

Though the thought of the community being exposed to gun violence is frightening to even imagine, it is likely that, even then, America will continue to argue and fail to act; that fact is even scarier.

General Interest Opinion Politics

A Bee’s Farewell to The Hive

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

MAY 2022 — It is with a great degree of sadness that I say goodbye to The Hive. As I prepare to graduate next week, I must retire from my role as editor-in-chief. No words can adequately express how much I’ve gained from this experience. I am so incredibly proud of the staff, and as I embark on a new journey, I hope to find another community merely half as great as the one we all created.

The Hive was created during the 2019-2020 school year. It was founded by a group of students who wanted to form a newspaper club. Then, the following year it was converted into an elective class.

Pictured is a plaque displaying the former, current, and future editors of The Hive. As Bio-Med Science Academy’s student newspaper continues to evolve, this plaque will reflect the passing of the torch from editor to editor. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

This school year, as a staff, we wrote and published 109 articles which garnered a total of 9,638 views on our webpage. Additionally, The Hive won eight awards at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association 2022 state conference.

“I’m really proud of The Hive’s progress,” said newspaper adviser Ms. Jenna Bates. “We had some growing pains the first year. I think we worked out a lot of those last year, but because of Covid, it was on a very limited basis. So this year, we’ve really seen what [The Hive] can do.”

When I joined The Hive last year as a staff writer, eight students were on the staff, with five of them being virtual. Since then, The Hive has expanded to 15 staff members, the largest it’s ever been.

Bates commented on the expansion, saying, “I think it has worked out very well…. Obviously, three in-person writers and five virtual ones can only cover so much. Having the 15 staff members from grades nine through 12 was very helpful in terms of wider coverage of topics and developing a cross-grade community.”

Associate editors Alyssa Cocchiola and Ken Burchett discussed their experience as veteran members of The Hive.

“Starting out as a staff writer sophomore year was a bit intimidating at first, because I didn’t know what to expect. After my first article, I really started getting into the swing of things. I was fortunate enough to be the associate editor in my second year. And that was a really beneficial experience, because I was able to take the knowledge I learned about the AP style and apply it to editing. While I was able to help others, it also showed me how much I had grown as a writer,” said Cocchiola

Burchett remarked, “Recently, I was looking back at my old articles from last year, and they were really bad. Frankly, I believe I deserved more criticism for them. But looking at my article now, I can see the improvements I’ve made. My articles are longer, and more in-depth, and I know how grammar works. I am proud of my progress.”

Newer members reflected on their first year writing for The Hive.

Jesse Mitchell, a sophomore, said, “Coming into newspaper, I was terrified. I never really saw myself as a good writer, but I had many teachers who believed in me…. I didn’t know how I would do with journalistic writing. It was scary, and I didn’t have high hopes for myself. But looking back at it now, it was the greatest choice I ever made. I think I’ve come a long way.”

“Through writing for The Hive, I was blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and I met some great people along the way.”

Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Senior CJ Delaney, said, “I came in without any experience writing in a journalistic style, so it was hard to immediately jump into writing articles. Everything I wrote didn’t feel natural to me, and I made a lot of the big mistakes journalists are often criticized for, like editorializing and sounding too much like an essay. As the year went on, I got a lot more comfortable with writing in this way, and I think that shows in my writing. I still feel like a beginner in a lot of ways, but I’m glad to have a year’s worth of experience.”

Many staff members recalled how their journalism skills had helped them outside of the newsroom.

Senior Elise Miller stated, “The interviewing process has almost forced me to learn how to talk to various types of people. This is essential in any area of life, and it’s helped me greatly. It’s also helped my communication with learning how to tell a story. I’m essentially communicating the story with whoever reads my article, so learning how to convey that has helped a lot with my communication skills.”

As a writer, Burchett gained awareness, saying, “Because I am a journalist now, I have to think about issues in a certain way. And I have to think about the different sides and what is contributing to an issue. So I think it’s helped improve my critical thinking skills about the way the world works around me.”

Cadence Gutman, a freshman, shared a similar sentiment, saying, “I think I’m more aware of the world. I’m constantly paying attention to things that happen around me now.”

The members of the staff all said that their favorite thing about The Hive is the environment and the community. From our matching sweatshirts to our themed potlucks and inside jokes, I would have to agree.

During the beginning of the school year the NOOK, Northeast Ohio Medical University’s bookstore, began making merch for The Hive. Additionally, for our December potluck, Ms. Bates gifted the staff matching bee headbands. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

“I love our group. It’s just the weirdest little oddballs, and they’re all fantastic,” exclaimed sophomore Mallory Butcher.

“The environment of the classroom was always a highlight. Even if I was stressed, tired, or in a bad mood, it was never the collective feelings of the room. People always seemed like they actually wanted to be there, which was nice. And Ms. Bates was able to put up with our bullcrap which was impressive,” said Delaney.

“As much as I love my friends in my other classes, Newspaper feels like a home to me. It feels like what Bio-Med wants family groups to be,” Burchett remarked. “It’s this community of people across grade levels. Even though we’re all different and only see each other one period out of the day, we all feel this family environment where we can trust each other and joke around.”

“It has been an incredible opportunity and honor to serve as the editor-in-chief. I am endlessly grateful and hopeful for the future of the newspaper and student journalism as a whole.”

Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Though I will miss the great times we had, I know I am leaving The Hive in extremely capable hands. Next school year, Alyssa Cocchiola will serve as the editor-in-chief, and Mallory Butcher will join Burchett as an associate editor.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to be editor-in-chief. And I’m just as excited to help more people grow as writers and  keep up with what we’ve created so far with The Hive,” said Coccihola.

Butcher also looks forward to her new role, saying, “I am really excited. I love writing, and I love being able to fine-tune different aspects of my writing. I believe being an editor will make me a better writer.”

Looking to the future, many staff members have made plans for the upcoming school year.

“I am looking forward to doing more of the journalism process. I want to improve my writing, specifically my grammar and mechanics,” said Mitchell.

“I can’t wait to see what articles we can produce next year,” stated Cocchiola. “This year, we kind of all started out on the same page minus the editors. No one had taken a journalism class before, so we started at the beginning and learned the basics. But next year, we will only have incoming freshmen, so we can streamline that learning process. The current staff members will already have that experience, so they will be able to pursue the articles that they didn’t know how to this year. We also can all help the freshmen learn those skills and keep getting better.”

Through writing for The Hive, I was blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and I met some great people along the way. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and our adviser, Ms. Bates. Without them, The Hive would not have been possible.

It has been an incredible opportunity and honor to serve as the editor-in-chief. I am endlessly grateful and hopeful for the future of the newspaper and student journalism as a whole. I wish next year’s staff an even better year of reporting.

Bio-Med Bio-Med Journey

What is the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools?

by Alyssa Cocchiola, associate editor

MAY 2022 — Throughout my educational journey at Bio-Med Science Academy, I never once heard the term “independent STEM school.” In fact, I had never even considered what type of school Bio-Med was or how it received funding — that is, until I found myself standing outside the Ohio Statehouse building on a cold March morning, preparing to present to members of the Ohio General Assembly about the importance of independent STEM schools — a topic I first heard of on the car ride there.

It was then that I learned Bio-Med was not the only school of its nature.

In total, there are seven independent STEM schools in Ohio, meaning that they are not affiliated with a public school district.

These seven schools are Bio-Med Science Academy STEM School, Dayton Regional STEM School, Global Impact STEM Academy, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School, Metro Early College High School, Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, and Valley STEM+ MF2 Academy. 

Together, these schools make up the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools, otherwise known as OAISS (pronounced oh-AY-sis).

Pictured above is a map of what counties contain an independent STEM school in Ohio. (Northeast region) Bio-Med Science Academy is located in Portage County, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School is located in Lake County, (Central region) Metro Early College High School is located in Franklin county, (Southwest region) Dayton Regional STEM School is located in Montgomery County, Global Impact STEM Academy is located in Clark County, (Southeast region) and Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School is located in Lawrence County. Four out of the five regions in Ohio contain at least one independent STEM school, with the Northwest region containing none.

It is projected that in fall of 2022, Community STEAM Academy, an independent STEM school in Xenia, OH, will open its doors to sixth through 10th grade students. Xenia is located in Greene county, and is a part of the Southwest region of Ohio. It is unclear whether this school will become affiliated with OAISS upon opening. More information about the Community STEAM Academy can be found on its website. Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola.

The mission of OAISS is to approach learning in a way that meets the workforce demands of Ohio. To fulfill this mission, each school focuses on mastery learning, hands-on education, holding themselves to a “higher standard,” and having a non-selective admission process, according to the OAISS website.

Bio-Med Science Academy’s Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Stephanie Lammlein, provided insight on this mission statement.

“The direction and pace our world of work is moving demands schools change to better prepare our learners for their adult journey.  One way to achieve this is through STEM. The work the independents are doing is helping to drive much needed change,” she said.

OAISS was initially formed just before the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020. Though the group is relatively new, the school districts had been collaborating with one another long before the official formation of OAISS.

“As the Superintendent of Metro Early College STEM School, I felt it necessary to continue the advocacy of Ohio’s STEM schools,” Meka Pace, the president of OAISS and superintendent of Metro Early College STEM School, recalled. “We have great programs — each uniquely different by location — but our schools are truly preparing students for jobs of the future. OAISS has been a tool that the independent STEM schools have utilized to further amplify our voices and our programs.”

This amplification of voices is especially relevant to how OAISS schools receive funding.

Pictured above is the official logo for the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools which was initially formed in 2020.In 2007, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the creation of STEM schools through Ohio law 3326. This law allowed for a school to be defined as a STEM school if it met the outlined criteria, which only applied to public schools, charter schools, joint vocational schools, and community schools. Later that year, the 127th General Assembly allowed for the creation of public independent STEM schools with Ohio Revised Code 3326 and a provision of the biennium budget. Graphic provided by Meka Pace. 

“We are funded through a state formula that looks at many categories and arrives at a number for each school,” Pace explained. “On top of what the state gives you as a base cost, there are some federal dollars that each school receives to support students with special needs, or students whose families have a financial need.”

Despite the state formula, a major difference between independent schools and district-affiliated schools is that independent STEM schools are not able to levy funds from taxpayers. As a result, if a STEM school wishes to expand, renovate a school, or build a new building, funds must be acquired differently. Typically, these funds are acquired through donations or grants.

“Our funding stays relatively flat,” Pace admitted. “On average, a STEM school receives around $8,000 per pupil, while some districts may bring in $12,000 per pupil.”

Lammlein added to this, stating, “We are still unpacking the new school funding formula in Ohio and how it has changed our revenue. At this point, I can say [independent] STEM schools are the lowest funded ‘type of  school’ in Ohio.”

Since the schools are primarily funded through the state, representatives of OAISS will occasionally speak to members of the Ohio General Assembly to discuss the importance of STEM education and independent STEM schools.

OAISS members strive to coordinate these meetings around two to three times a year, according to Lammlein.

I was recently able to take part in how these schools received funding during the most recent trip to the Ohio Statehouse March 2.

Pictured above are the students from different independent STEM schools (including Bio-Med) who were invited to attend the meetings at the Statehouse. These students were either juniors or seniors enrolled in OAISS schools. In total, OAISS representatives met with 55 officers. Photo provided by Stephanie Lammlein.

“The purpose is to ensure that our representatives know of us and remember OAISS schools when they are creating new funding opportunities or legislation,” Pace elaborated. “Since we are few in number, it is sometimes easy to be forgotten or overlooked, so we strive to make sure that they are aware of the good work we are doing and the need to have equitable funding for our programs.”

Representing Bio-Med, alongside me, were Lammlein and seniors Kelsea Cooper and Daniel Zalamea.

Prior to this trip, the three of us were asked by Lammlein to attend several conferences and meet with other students from Bio-Med’s partner schools in Columbus. Upon receiving this invitation, I accepted and didn’t think much of what these meetings would actually entail. I figured this experience would be a general, nondescript meeting about Bio-Med and how the school operates differently.

It turned out that my assumption was far from the truth. After a two-hour car ride to Columbus, I found myself standing right inside of the Ohio Statehouse building.

I remember looking in awe at the building when Cooper turned to me and said, “Did you know this would be at the Statehouse?”

I said that I had no idea the meetings would take us there.

Shortly after this conversation, Cooper, Zalamea, and I were separated into different groups, accompanied by other administrators and students from other schools. Each group attended meetings with different members of The General Assembly, addressing how independent STEM schools prepared students for the workforce.

Popular topics addressed were internships, mastery learning, learning pathways, and exposure to different careers early on.

“At this point, I can say [independent] STEM schools are the lowest funded ‘type of  school’ in Ohio.”

Stephanie Lammlein, Chief Academic Officer at Bio-Med Science Academy

“I had an overall positive experience with the OAISS Columbus trip,” Zalamea said. “Not only was it interesting to meet students from across Ohio who have had similar experiences to the one I have had at Bio-Med, but the opportunity to talk to members of the General Assembly and help push for a better system of education was fulfilling. I hadn’t heard about OAISS until the trip, and I imagine that the vast majority of Bio-Med students don’t know about it.”

Cooper agreed with this, stating, “I’ve heard of OAISS in the past, but I honestly didn’t know what it was prior to our trip to Columbus. I remember other teachers talking about OAISS, like ‘Oh, we’ve got this OAISS training,’ but that’s it.”

In my collaboration with others, it was clear that being unaware of OAISS or independent STEM schools was not a Bio-Med-exclusive experience.

“When the superintendent asked me to [go to the Columbus trip], I had no idea there were other schools like us. At first, it was a little surprising, but then it felt good to know that other areas are getting this kind of opportunity,” Neha Pasupuleti, a junior at Dayton Regional STEM School, stated.

Pasupuleti, Lammlein, and I had attended around four meetings with state representatives during the first half of the day.

Pasupuleti added, “It was important that all of the people who are making laws about funding for education and things like that, that they know that we exist and all the programs that we offer, so that they can help us really strengthen the ones we have and also make sure that this type of STEM school model is available for everyone.”

After a lunch break, the groups were slightly altered to accommodate for schools that left early. Following this, I attended meetings with Lammlein and Haylee Acquah, junior at Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA).

“That day was very humbling and a blessing,” Acquah shared. “It definitely opened my eyes and reminded me how special and resourceful our school is and how much of an impact I and the school itself can make on others.”

One of the groups of OAISS students and administrators were able to speak to Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who posted the following on Twitter that same day: “Lt. Governor @JonHusted met with students and leaders from Ohio’s seven independent #STEM schools this morning to hear from them about how they are preparing for their future careers in the field.”

Both Cooper and Acquah were able to speak to the Governor.

“He did seem to care [about STEM,] and he was the person who is responsible for STEM schools getting funded, so I think it was cool to see us talk about ‘this is what we need,’” said Cooper. “STEM schools can’t levy taxes, so we’re relying solely on state funding. We have to do all of these grants, but the problem with grants is you can only spend them on very specific things. It was cool to see. I think he was pretty receptive to what we were saying.” Photo obtained from the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools Facebook page @OHIOAISS.

While talking with Pasupuleti and Acquah, I realized how unique the experiences our schools offered truly are.

Though I had understood the motive behind having workforce-preparing opportunities, being able to speak to other students with similar experiences allowed for me to see the bigger picture as to why these things were important.

“Oftentimes, I’m like, ‘This is a Bio-Med thing. No one else really understands other than Bio-Med people,’ but seniors at Dayton have internships,” said Cooper. “It’s just [90] hours across two years, whereas ours are 120, 240, or 360, so that was interesting to hear about their project-based learning and how each STEM school has its own specialty.”

For students at Dayton, internship opportunities are usually completed during a student’s junior year. Pasupuleti explained that at the end of the year, students are able to complete internships during “STEMmersion days.”

“We have this opportunity at our school where, for two weeks, we get to immerse ourselves in a topic we like to do and teachers will propose different projects we can do,” she said.

Pasupuleti stated that most juniors complete their internships during those two weeks and/or during “Plan E” days, which are days where students complete coursework digitally. These days operate similarly to Bio-Med’s “Digital Days.”

In talking to students from other schools, mastery learning was also brought up. Like the internships, I expected mastery learning to look similar between schools. To my surprise, not all OAISS schools used the same definition of mastery.

I was informed by Acquah that at GISA, a student must receive a 90 percent or higher to be considered mastered in a subject and able to pass a class. At first, I was rather startled, as Bio-Med’s grading system operates much differently.

Instead of a 90 percent being the equivalent of passing, Bio-Med’s version of mastery revolves around rethinking grades entirely with the use of standards-based grading. When the grades are converted into a traditional letter scale, a passing grade would transfer to a 70 percent.

Despite these differences, however, Acquah enjoys GISA’s grading system.

“The benefits that I have gained from this particular grading system is that it holds me accountable, showing me that 70 percent isn’t enough. It also in some way makes me believe that my teachers know I can do better,” Acquah shared.

Though each school varies in how they approach their goals, each school meets the OAISS mission of preparing students for the Ohio workforce.

Pictured above is Dayton Regional STEM School. When it comes to internship and career-focused opportunities, students attending Dayton are exposed to college and career exploration opportunities in sixth grade by participating in an annual College and Career Fair. When it comes to internships, students are also required to complete a 90-hour internship that is “customized to fit their interests, strengths, and goals,” according to the Dayton STEM School website. Photo obtained from the Dayton Regional STEM School Facebook page @daytonstemschool.

“I like [the differences] because we are all our own school…our independent STEM schools should be able to serve their students in the way they fit best,” Acquah said. “I don’t believe we should have similar curriculums because it gives students a choice if they want to attend an independent STEM school or not.”

Pasupuleti agreed with this, stating, “We’re all super different. It’s not like we have Dayton Regional STEM School and just make that exact same copy in Columbus, Cincinnati, and all these other places. Each school is designed to its community’s needs, and although we have similar principals with project-based learning and stuff like that, I had no idea that there were more schools like us.”

During a rather long two-hour car ride home from Columbus, I was able to truly reflect on how unique each OAISS school was.

Though I had never stepped foot inside any of the other independent STEM schools before, it was apparent that the schools of my newly-acquainted friends had prepared them to be successful individuals just from the way they were able to speak publicly and present themselves.

Despite being in a nerve-wracking situation where we presented to state representatives and governors without a script or prior practice, each person I met that day exhibited the soft skills necessary for any successful individual: resilience, flexibility, self-regulation, problem-solving, and stellar communication skills.

Those skills are ones that, from my experience, are less common in students who were not exposed to workforce-preparing opportunities.

“Being ready for the workforce after graduation is important because the fundamental skills we learn at independent STEM schools are habits that can’t be easily enforced in adults,” Zalamea stressed. “We as Bio-Med students are able to become responsible people with teamwork skills because it is enforced in us while we are young. If you tried to teach an older student the same values, they likely would not accept that they need to work harder.”

Reflecting on the OAISS mission, I thought to myself during that car ride, “How come I didn’t know about OAISS or independent STEM schools before today?”

It was so odd how something could be so familiar and yet so foreign to the entirety of Bio-Med’s community. After all, each student and teacher were teaching and learning in ways that actively fulfilled the OAISS mission, and yet, the bigger picture seemed to be hidden.

Attending school the next day, I realized the answer to this question.

I walked into class and everyone was looking down at their computer screens. Any conversations I overheard were about schoolwork: people complained about how much effort a project required, spoke about how excited they were for their final project to be presented, talked about how they were having a hard time finding a place to job shadow, shared answers on their math homework in preparation for tests, and exclusively spoke of and worked on whatever task was due next.

As Bio-Med students approach the end of the school year, it is easy to miss the big picture, and instead, focus solely on what task is next. However, that mentality loses sight of the reasoning behind why hands-on learning, workforce opportunities, and mastery learning were engraved in the school’s very being in the first place.

After all, every day, students at Bio-Med and the other six independent STEM schools are constantly being exposed to tools, experiences, and lessons that aim to prepare them for what’s next, and after a certain amount of time, it just becomes part of their daily routine — few rarely ever stop to ask why.

I certainly didn’t.  

Though it is entirely possible the mission of OAISS may never be brought to the attention of every student who attends an independent STEM school, its relevance and implementation will continue to leave an impact.

It has impacted the lives of myself, my peers, and newly acquainted friends from the other independent STEM schools, and it seems there is almost no way the impact OAISS schools have will stop there.

The Hive reached out to administrators from Global Impact STEM Academy, Dayton Regional STEM School, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School, Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, and Valley STEM+ MF2 Academy for comment. These administrators did not answer The Hive’s query.

Bio-Med Bio-Med Journey Narrative

Nothing Too Tricky For Bio-Med Teacher Miss Hickey

by Logan Cook, staff writer

MAY 2022 — Gregarious. Affable. Forbearing. These three words were used by Ms. Kaitlyn Long, Bio-Med Science Academy’s 10th grade history teacher, to describe her colleague, Miss Britany Hickey. Hickey is the 10th grade CTE Multimedia and Image Management teacher. She joined the sophomore team at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, along with Long and two other teachers.

Hickey poses with her two dogs, left to right, Gus and Grady. Gus is a labrador retriever and Grady is a golden doodle. Hickey’s favorite way to spend time with her dogs is to take them on walks. Photo provided by Britany Hickey.

Hickey attended the Trumbull Career and Technical Center (TCTC) for her final two years of high school. According to its website, TCTC allows students to gain experience and credentials in a field via Career Technical Education (CTE) classes. Hickey was a student in TCTC’s Interactive Multimedia program. Hickey was drawn to the hands-on nature of TCTC.

“I always thought I wanted to do sports broadcasting; that was my dream job growing up,” Hickey said. “In high school, I got to take a tour of TCTC, and going into the classrooms and seeing the state-of-the-art brand new broadcast studio there, where students could actually use it, that was a big draw.”

After graduating from TCTC, Hickey joined Baker Bednar Snyder & Associates Inc., an architecture firm in Howland, Ohio, as its marketing representative.

Through TCTC’s Interactive Multimedia program, Hickey was able to gain her Adobe certification and create a 20-page portfolio of her work, which she said was essential in getting the job at Baker Bednar Snyder.

“Leaving high school, I was able to show, for example, Baker Bednar Snyder, when I was applying that I don’t have a college degree, but I am qualified. Here’s my 20-page portfolio and my Adobe certification,” she said.

While working at Baker Bednar Snyder, Hickey attended Youngstown State University (YSU), and worked on the staff of The Jambar. The Jambar is the independent student newspaper of YSU.

“When I started at The Jambar, I would take videos for the paper. When I started at Baker Bednar Snyder, I changed to designer of [The Jambar],” Hickey recalled. “So I designed what you saw when it was sent to the printer. I took all of the stories and did the layout of the paper and sent it to the printer, got all that stuff ready to go.”

Hickey graduated from YSU with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and a minor in journalism in December 2020.

“I really like working with people, like being hands on. It allowed me to take what I love to do in terms of the content, and gave me that experience that wasn’t necessarily working in the nine to five office, and just make a difference.”

Miss Britany Hickey

Soon after graduating, Hickey applied for the CTE Multimedia and Image Management teaching position at Bio-Med.  

“I never thought about being a teacher. It was never something that I wanted to go to school for anything like that. I saw the position open up and I thought about it for a week or two,” Hickey said. “I was like, ‘I’m not really qualified to be a teacher, because I didn’t go to school for that.’ Then I learned about the CTE license in Ohio that allows me to use my work experience to get me in the door.”

Teachers in Ohio can teach under an Alternative Teaching License (AEL) if they have prior field experience. A teacher with an AEL is required to take certification courses, typically through a local college. Hickey’s field experience allowed her to teach her CTE Multimedia and Image Management course under the license.

Hickey was drawn to Bio-Med’s hands-on nature, alternative teaching style, and being able to make a difference in a student’s life.

“I realized that it was a really good fit for me. I really like working with people, like being hands on. It allowed me to take what I love to do in terms of the content, and gave me that experience that wasn’t necessarily working in the nine to five office, and just make a difference,” she said. “This was a different kind of making a difference. I get to change someone’s life, hopefully, or inspire someone to be creative or try new things.”

Hickey’s CTE Multimedia and Image Management class is a part of Bio-Med’s CTE program, which is integrated into every student’s curriculum. Having been a CTE student, Hickey said the transition from student to teacher was smooth.  

“It gave me that experience to base it off of, as opposed to if I came in here and was like, ‘Okay, now you’re teaching this new thing.’ I have been a student in the CTE field, and now I teach it. So, it helps me make you guys understand why you’re taking it. I can truthfully explain to you how [it] can be beneficial,” Hickey said.

“Bio-Med helped make the transition smooth. Bio-Med and CTE mesh really well together…. If you look at CTE learning, it’s very hands-on and project based, the same as Bio-Med,” Hickey said. “But you still have to find that balance of teaching, CTE versus Bio-med, and integrating the whole well-rounded experience. I just really think they fit well together.”

Despite the easy transition, Hickey’s position didn’t come without its challenges.

Hickey poses at a Cleveland Browns game versus the Indianapolis Colts. Cleveland won with a score of 32-23. Hickey is a lifelong fan of Cleveland sports, and enjoys collecting memorabilia of Cleveland’s sports teams. Photo provided by Britany Hickey.

“It is different being at Bio-Med teaching CTE because a lot of times, if you’re teaching CTE, it’s at a career center where students are coming there and picking a program. Now, I have to figure out an approach of ‘how I can teach students who couldn’t care less about Multimedia.’ They’re here for the engineering, or the STEM. How can I teach them and make them be passionate about this work?” Hickey asked. “So, now I’m teaching self skills, of how to market yourself as a small business owner to take pictures for social media to edit your photos. That’s the approach I’ve learned throughout the year, trying to teach something that everyone can apply.”

Hickey is looking forward to her second year of teaching and using the experience she gained to improve her teaching style. “I’m really excited to build upon the feedback that [students have] given me… [and] the feedback that I’ve given myself on these projects. Going forward next year, [I’ll be] just kind of changing, changing some things, making it more of an authentic learning experience.”

Outside of school, Hickey enjoys attending Cleveland Browns games, skiing, traveling, eating pizza, and spending time with friends and family, including her twin, Jasmine.

“I’m one minute older than [Jasmine]; she doesn’t let me hold that against her much though,” said Hickey.

Hickey enjoys collecting memorabilia of Cleveland sports teams, mainly the Browns and Guardians.

“I have a box of everything I’ve ever collected from brands, games and Guardians games, like all my memorabilia. I have a chair from Municipal Stadium that my dad gave me. I have a Pete Rose bat. My most prized possession is an Indians [now the Guardians] hat that I got passed down from my grandpa,” Hickey said. “I’m excited for the upcoming Browns season, and it starts right around the time Bio-Med starts too.”

Hickey plans to stay both a Browns fan and a Bio-Med teacher for years to come. “I love teaching, I am so passionate about what I’m doing. It makes everyday exciting. The kids just add to that, I love every single day here,” she said.

Bio-Med Spotlight

Immigration Detention Profits Off of Injustice. It’s Time to Change That.

by Randall Hatfield, staff writer

MAY 2022 — For more than 200 years, America has been seen as a cultural “melting pot,” a place where people from all backgrounds could come together and find a new, better life. Yet, the legislation of the immigration system creates a hate-filled, dangerous road for prospective immigrants to the U.S.

Language services are meant to be present during deportation hearings, but some of these services may be inadequate—or even absent—in violation of the law. As a result, many immigrants wait day after day for their chance to plead their case in an unfair trial.

“How can we call ourselves the land of the free if we’re so willing to abide by a system that makes money off of imprisoning guiltless people for profit?”

Randall Hatfield, staff writer

First, it’s important to clarify the difference between immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees. Amnesty International defines an immigrant as a person who intends to move to a different country for permanent residency, possibly for work, or civil unrest in their home country. Asylum-seekers are people who have fled their home countries in order to escape persecution or injustice. Asylum-seekers, once granted asylum, become refugees and are granted legal protection against being sent back to their home countries.

Because immigrating for asylum is typically done out of necessity, the law states that all asylum seekers should have the opportunity to formally apply for asylum in the United States, regardless of whether they entered the country legally. As long as asylum-seekers are able to prove before the law that they were at serious risk of being unjustly persecuted in their home countries, they can be considered for refugee status.

Despite this, undocumented asylum-seekers’ rights have been infringed upon countless times, resulting in the unlawful detention of many—the very thing that they came here to escape.

The 1903 Supreme Court case Yamataya v. Fisher established that all immigrants, entering unlawfully or not, have the right to ask for legal due process in a court of law. While this was a step forward, accessing information about the trial can be incredibly difficult. Even harder, detainees are not guaranteed the right to legal counsel, so those who cannot afford a lawyer may have inadequate legal help, or even to represent themselves in court without easy access to learn how to do so.

Data from an American Immigration Council study shows that only around 37 percent of all U.S. Immigrants have access to legal counsel to represent them in court. Graphic obtained from the American Immigration Council.

Immigration hearings can take months to happen, and in the meantime, detainees are sent to detention centers to wait. It would be more appropriate to call these centers prisons, as many of them are offloaded by ICE to private prison companies for profit.

Demographics in detention centers vary widely. Of those imprisoned, many have no criminal record, and many of those that do only have minor offenses, like traffic violations, on record. Ages vary, typically, those in ICE detention are between 26 and 35 years old, but people as old as 79 have been detained. Children are also detained frequently. In 2019, 69,950 children were imprisoned, according to NCSL.

Conditions for detainees are often poor. Cells are frigid, and many state that they were forbidden from showering, brushing their teeth, or practicing personal hygiene while stationed there.

Reports also indicate that many are deprived of proper nourishment, and the risk of disease transmission is greatly increased due to the close quarters and weakness. Since the pandemic, according to statistics on the ICE website, the spread of COVID-19 has affected 43,153 detainees, and 11 have died.

How can we call ourselves the land of the free if we’re so willing to abide by a system that makes money off of imprisoning guiltless people for profit?

A graph from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse outlining the percentage of detainees without a criminal record. This data was taken April 24 and uses a sample size of 19,502 people. Graphic obtained from Transactional Records Access Clearance.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was put before the 117th Congress on February 18, 2021, and intended to reform the U.S. immigration system. The bill, if passed by the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, would work to open up immigration opportunities to all, making it easier to apply for permanent residency, and readdressing qualifications for employees of Customs and Border Patrol centers.

The bill will not magically repair every issue and injustice within the immigration system, but it will be a much-needed start to repairing this critical issue affecting so many people.

For more information about immigration in the U.S. and all around the world, I recommend the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Amnesty International. Movements like Amnesty’s National Week for Student Action are ways to get involved, and influence legislation at the national level.

At the end of the day, these are people — sons, daughters, husbands, and wives — are striving for the human right of a free life. We need to do better for the migrants and asylum-seekers that our country attracts. Only once all have equal rights and opportunity, can we have liberty and justice for all.

Opinion Politics

Bio-Med Students Travel To Europe!

by Avery Miller, staff writer

MAY 2022 — When most people travel to Europe, they picture stone villages, grand architecture, and beautiful scenery. Five students from Bio-Med Science Academy experienced the real thing with Education First (EF), a company that provides experiential learning programs through international travel, March 26 through April 4. 

Shown in the picture above is the Marienplatz Cathedral in Munich Germany. During the international trip, students spent an afternoon in Munich and got to see the Cathedral on their walk. Picture provided by Ms. Sass.

Ms. Laura Sass, the STEM quality and curriculum administrator, explained the different activities students participated in.

“On European trips, we visit different museums, castles, city centers, and other places important to that location. For example, on the most recent trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we visited cities such as Vienna, Munich, and Lucerne,” Sass said. “We went to Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the inspiration for the Disney Cinderalla castle, Dachau concentration camp, and up a gondola to see Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland.”

Sass continued, “My favorite activity from the trip this year was called the ‘Swiss Alps Experience.’ This was a fondue dinner and show of different musical instruments from the Alps and Swiss culture. Students were able to participate by playing the Alpine Horn and practicing their yodeling. It was a fun way of learning about Swiss Culture, while also having the students be involved.”

Ana Sadeghian, a senior who attended this trip, said, “I really enjoyed all of the places we toured. I wish that we spent more time in some places like Liechtenstein and the Alps. Because we were on a tight schedule, we didn’t have as much time to tour these places.”

Her favorite activity was, “visiting Vienna, Austria. It was so beautiful! I also really enjoyed going to Dachau even though it was a very heavy day because of all the history we learned.” Dachau was the first concentration camp built by Nazi Germany.

Pictured from left to right is Ana Sadeghian, Lily Hritz, Zach Boyden, Ian Ruehr, and Robert Greenwood. These students are standing outside of Nymphenburg Palace in western Munich. This place is known as being a summer palace for Bavarian kings for over 300 years. Photo provided by Ms. Sass.

Though Sadeghian enjoyed the trip, she learned about the challenges traveling can present.

“I learned that traveling is not a vacation; it is very intense. When traveling, you really have to dress for comfort and wear layers. We went to four different countries, all with different climates. So if you don’t dress accordingly, you will not have a good time!”

Sadeghian said that she “would recommend this trip to other students if they think they can handle it!”

The students’ routes are illustrated in the picture above. Sass said, “We visited different castles and palaces such as the Schonbrunn Palace and Linderhof Castle. At these places, we typically have a guided tour with someone who we can ask questions and learn about what we are seeing.” Photo provided by Ms. Laura Sass.

Lily Hritz, a tenth grade student who also participated in this trip, said that her favorite part of the trip was, “being in Vienna and all of the free time [the students] got.” Students often spent their freetime further exploring the local attractions. She also said that she enjoyed “getting to be in another country and learn about [that country’s] customs.

“I’m glad [the trip] was offered. I probably wouldn’t have gotten to go otherwise …. I would recommend going. It’s not an opportunity [people] get a lot in life,” said Hritz. “My biggest takeaway was to try new things. There’s a lot I wouldn’t have done, but since I was there, I did.”

Sadeghian enjoyed the trip, but was glad to return home.

“Although I experienced many great things and came home with good memories, I learned I am not a world traveler,” Sadeghian said. “I was extremely homesick the entire trip and it was really hard to cope with.”

In contrast, Hritz said, “Adjusting to the time difference after I got back was really hard, but leaving was the most difficult …. I wanted to keep going.”

Sass concluded, “Our tour company, Education First (EF), does a fantastic job of putting together the itineraries and activities for the students. We work closely together planning the trip and adapting it to the interests of the students. Overall, I have really enjoyed all of the activities on the trips.”

Bio-Med Bio-Med Journey Culture

Climate Change May Be Irreversible and Bio-Med Students Aren’t Fine With It

by Cadence Gutman, staff writer

MAY 2022 — Climate and environmental scientists are saying, “It’s now or never,” in response to the most recent climate change report, published April 4. The report, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), indicated that a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is necessary by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects by the year 2100.

After the release of the most recent 3,000 page climate change report, scientists of the group The Scientist Rebellion started a worldwide protest in more than 25 major countries.

During this protest, Dr. Peter Kalmus and three other members of the Scientist Rebellion group chained themselves to the outside of the JPMorgan Chase building. Since 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co, a multinational, financial services and investment banking company, directly poured slightly more than a quarter of a trillion dollars into fossil fuels.

In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, Klamus stated, “We are currently heading directly towards civilizational collapse.” He continued, “We need to switch into climate emergency mode as a society.”

Scientist Rebellion posted photos of various protests. “Frankfurt, 22.04.2022, 8 am: At a blockade at untermainbrücke in Frankfurt this morning, Scientist Rebellion have today expressed their solidarity with Letzte Generation. Several people glued themselves to the road,” they captioned one. Photo obtained from the Scientist Rebellion Instagram page.

Kelsea Cooper, a senior at Bio-Med, said that while she thinks the protests are justified, she believes there may be other ways to get the point across. “I don’t know if that method is going to make those people understand, because when it comes down to it, they don’t have an open mind about it. They’re set in their ways,” she said.

Freshman Zachary Phillips, doesn’t feel the issue is as serious as Cooper does. “Personally, it [climate change] doesn’t affect me directly or the people around me. I think people make it out to be a bigger deal than it is. Like it still matters, but it’s not like ‘world ending’,” he explained.

Sophie Wiley, a freshman who had been involved in environmental activism, responded to the reports from the recent protest: “I can get wanting to keep business clean and tidy like the bank, but if they are peacefully protesting, it is within their rights,” she said. “People with power can make laws and be a voice to help ignorant people understand what they can do, and people with money have supplies to create sustainable living innovations.”

“I think that change is possible, but sadly unlikely. Our politicians don’t care to use their power to actually make a change,” Wiley continued. “Not just politicians, but too many people want to put the responsibility onto someone else.”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, human activities are almost completely responsible for the overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere within the last 150 years. The largest source of these gasses is the United States of America, which gets 81% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels. Human-induced climate change has been thought to have been an issue since 1830, during the industrial revolution. It’s only recently been a focus as a national issue within the last 30 years.

The freshman BioTechnology teacher, Heidi Hisrich, expressed her opinion on the social impact of climate change. “I think it is absolutely a social justice issue. The people who will suffer most are the poorest and most disadvantaged people on the planet and the ones from places that have contributed the least to the problem.” She continued, “People like us who are relatively wealthy and contribute the most and most likely to be able to survive the changing climate with less impacts and that is really unfair. I think we need to recognize the impact that we are having and the people it is affecting.”

Cooper discussed generational responsibility concerning climate change. “Each generation is always like, ‘Oh, the next generation will fix it.’ They keep passing it off to one another,” she said. “I think our generation, because of how much access to knowledge we have, is capable of creating change. But the harder part is getting the other generations to try.”

“What are the effects of climate change going to look like in my lifetime? Is it going to be good enough for me to have kids or want to bring kids into this world? Like, what is that situation? Why should I be robbed of those rights?”

Nora Haddon, a Bio-Med Senior

Senior Nora Haddon, who is planning to study environmental studies in college, expressed her opinion on whether or not humanity can create enough change to affect the world positively. She explained that while it is sad to believe, she thinks it’s unlikely, saying, “Because of the way people live their life, I’m gonna say no.”

“A lot of people are so set in their ways, they don’t want to change. You know, they’ve always done it a certain way, they don’t see the imminence of the need for change,” Haddon further explained. “I think if people understood why change needs to happen, humanity can do the right thing and make a difference.”

Cooper explained how larger corporations could make a difference. “If they help implement policies for production within the United States, like limiting production of materials that are hurting our planet, then maybe other larger countries will see the U.S. doing it and be like, yeah, we should do that too.”

She continued, “But also, there are already other smaller countries that don’t have as much power but they’re doing great. Some of them have really good environmental policy implementations that are really helping with climate change.”

Costa Rica is an example of the phenomenon described by Cooper. In 2017, Costa Rica was named the second most sustainable country in the world by the World Energy Council. Currently, the country uses 99.2 percent renewable energy, 78 percent from hydroelectric and 18 percent by geothermal.

Another example is Iceland, which currently is powering a significant portion of its country with green energy from hydro and geothermal sources. The only exception is its reliance on fossil fuels for transportation.

Haddon elaborated on her fears for the future, saying, “[Climate change] does definitely scare me. I want to make a difference because it’s so important. That fact that we’re already to a [place] where it’s almost irreversible, that’s terrifying. What are the effects of climate change going to look like in my lifetime? Is it going to be good enough for me to have kids or want to bring kids into this world? Like, what is that situation? Why should I be robbed of those rights?”

Haddon added that anything someone can do, will make a difference: “Sometimes, people look at recycling and think it won’t make a difference, and I know it can feel that way. But if you look at it that way, nothing will ever get done. If you as an individual think you can’t make a difference, then why would a whole company? So do what you can.”

Ms. Elissa Fusco, the junior Biomedical Engineering teacher at Bio-Med, talked about what she believes Bio-Med as a school can do.

“A little goes a long way, and it breaks my heart watching globs of paint get thrown away because students only need a paintbrush-full. Paper for projects, seeing markers go uncapped that have to be thrown away, and pencils being broken for no reason are all things that we as a community can become more mindful about the waste we produce.”

Cooper expanded on this, saying, “Using less plastic and helping to reduce plastic manufacturing [will help]. Try and help restore wetlands in Ohio, which are extremely important to our environment. It’s the small things that really matter.” She continued, “I think understanding what it is, and not just looking at it from a political point of view, looking at it from a scientific perspective and looking at the facts and what they say, is really important.”

To read more about the report, go to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s website

Bio-Med Journey Politics

The Colorful Cords of Graduation

by C.J. Delaney, staff writer

MAY 2022 — Cords have been used as symbols of achievement and awarded during ceremonies since the 14th century, and are worn around the neck. To showcase various accomplishments, seniors at Bio-Med Science Academy receive cords of recognition upon graduation. There are five senior cords, and it is possible to earn each one of them over the course of a student’s time at the Rootstown campus. 

Civic Engagement Cord

To graduate from Bio-Med, each student must complete a total of 60 community service hours that can be accumulated from the start of their freshman year. The Civic Engagement cord is awarded to those who complete 120 or more hours of community service.

 One of those students is senior Ian Ruehr, who has logged around 183 service hours. 

“My advice [to those who want to earn the Civic Engagement cord] would be to try to find a volunteer staffing position for a camp or retreat. If you can, you can also see if there are any community projects that are looking for volunteers,” said Ruehr. “I was lucky enough to get all of my hours in one week. I staffed a summer camp in June of 2019 that ran from June 8 to June 15. The camp is called National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), and it is run through the Boy Scouts of America.”

Competition Cord

While Bio-Med might not have a football or soccer team, the school still offers competitive clubs like Science Olympiad or Quiz Bowl, where students can earn the Competition Team cord after two years of membership. 

In Science Olympiad, students prepare to face off against other schools in various science and engineering-related competitions that involve experiments, machines, tests, and more. 

The captain of Science Olympiad, Kelsea Cooper, has competed since her freshman year. 

“If it weren’t for Science Olympiad, I would not have discovered my love for genetics,” said Cooper. “I would encourage others to get this cord because Science Olympiad is kind of like our own little community where we get to be science nerds and have some fun. Yeah, we don’t always place very well at competitions, but we always have fun hanging out as a team and we get to expand our scientific knowledge.”

Club Cord

The club cord is given to those who have been a member of a club for two or more years. The diverse selection of clubs available and the unique experiences offered have been a highlight for senior Zack Kelly. Kelly has been a member of the Esports club for the past three years.

“[My favorite part about Esports has been] playing with different schools,” he said. “[To earn the club cord], just have fun and it’ll be easy.”

National Honor Society Cord

Those who are inducted members of the National Honors Society receive the NHS cord. One of those students is senior Nora Haddon, who was invited to join NHS in her sophomore year and has been a member since. 

For students to get this cord and keep their membership, there are rules that must be followed. 

“To maintain an NHS membership, you needs exceeds mastery in all your classes except one,” said Haddon. “You are expected to attend all chapter meetings. You can have five excused absences and two no shows.”

 If these expectations are not met, the student no longer qualifies for the cord. 

Some may find the idea of being in NHS daunting, but Haddon suggests it’s achievable for every student. Haddon’s advice for those seeking to join is to “work hard in your classes to get good grades, demonstrate good character and leadership skills. Once you’re in NHS, stay an active member of the chapter and participate in chapter activities.” 

According to Haddon, it’s a worthwhile goal to strive for:“Overall, my experience with NHS has been great! I really enjoy volunteering as a group and hosting fun activities and fundraisers for the school and chapter.” 

Honors Diploma Cord

To earn an Honors diploma in the state of Ohio, a student must meet the requirements listed on the Ohio Department of Education’s website for both Academic Honors and STEM Honors. A minimum GPA, ACT/SAT score, and class credits must be met. Students may omit one of the requirements. 

“The hardest requirement, in terms of Bio-Med, was the foreign language,’’ says senior Daniel Zalamea who has earned STEM honors.“In general, the hardest is the ACT. The ACT is also important for both STEM honors and Academic honors. Getting a 27 on the ACT is probably easier than doing an entire extra credit for math.”

Both he and Haddon both highly encourage students to begin working toward an honors diploma in the first half of high school.. 

“If you want honors you gotta be on top of it at the beginning of sophomore year.” said Zalamea, “If you want to start CCP in junior year, which is probably the best way to do it, you should sign up for it during your sophomore year.” Haddon added that “[It’s also really helpful to] go to your counselor and let them know that you want to [earn an honors diploma] so you know what you need to study for and you’re on the right track.”

Bio-Med Bio-Med Journey

The Batman: An Incredible Reminder of What Comic Book Movies Can Be

by C.J. Delaney, staff writer

Editorial Note: This review is spoiler-free

May 2022 — After 10 years since his last solo film, the Caped Crusader has returned to the spotlight in a reboot directed by Matt Reeves. Portrayed by Robert Pattinson, Bruce Wayne is two years into his career as the masked vigilante cleaning up the streets of Gotham City by striking fear into thugs and criminals. During his tenure protecting the city, he’s developed the persona of “The Batman,” calling himself “Vengeance.”

Official poster for “The Batman” (2022), with Paul Dano as the Riddler (left), Colin Farrell as The Penguin, (center), Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle (right), and Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne. (top and bottom).

With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), he sets out to halt the killing spree of the masked criminal known as The Riddler (Paul Dano), who unveils the truth about Gotham City’s corrupted leaders. All of the moving pieces of this film culminate in what might be the best live-action Batman movie ever made.

Setting this two years into the start of Batman’s journey allows the viewers to jump directly into the action. Origin stories are often the standard for comic book movies, but it’s something we’ve seen with Batman many times before. It also would have been incredibly difficult to beat Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” in that regard. By skipping the origin, a story risks missing out on a meaningful portion of the character’s personal journey, but seeing Batman at this stage presents the opportunity for a different type of character arc.

This version of Batman is young, reclusive, and vengeful. He’s so completely consumed by his life of crime fighting that he hasn’t developed the party animal playboy persona traditionally seen by Gotham’s public eye in other outings.

This lack of separation between Bruce and Batman has been the center of debate among fans as it can be considered an integral element of the character, but for this movie, in particular, there isn’t a need for it.

Part of what makes this movie so enjoyable is that Batman, suit and all, is in nearly every scene. One of the most significant drawbacks of other Batman films, such as “Batman Returns” and “The Dark Knight,” is that they opt to focus so heavily on the villains that the “main character” ends up being sidelined.

“The Batman,” however, is truly a Batman-focused film, and all the better for it.

Many moments would not have held up as well if it wasn’t for Robert Pattinson’s amazing performance in this gritty and violent role. Many remember Pattinson from films such as “Twilight” or “Harry Potter,” so seeing him put on such a drastically different performance to such high success is incredibly entertaining.  The amount of subtlety conveyed through movements and expressions, even with a mask, completely sells Pattinson as a candidate for best live-action Batman.

A great hero must also be matched with a great villain, and Paul Dano’s Riddler is not only enjoyable to watch but also terrifying at the same time. This version of the character is a far cry from the goofy green spandex-clad menace from Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever.” Dano’s Riddler proves that it’s possible to reinvent a character to fit the style of a new piece of media while still retaining the core characteristics of what made them great.

Here, the Riddler is genuinely intimidating from his voice to his mannerisms, and especially in the way he disposes of his victims. The giddy confidence emanating from Dano is as infectious as it is frightening.

There are a few scenes where the Riddler loses his temper and begins to scream as he speaks, and when villains do this, they often come off as childish and unthreatening, (see General Hux from “Star Wars” for reference) but here it made him even more unnerving. That type of over-the-top is perfect for The Riddler.

The zodiac killer was a key inspiration for “The Batman’s” Riddler, and as such, he leaves clues and ciphers behind after every murder to direct Batman and the Gotham P.D. to move his plan forward.  

The Batman sets itself apart in the vast sea of superhero movies by ditching the traditional formula in favor of a detective noir style of storytelling. Unlike its contemporaries, “The Batman” doesn’t have an overreliance on jokes, one-liners, or bombastic CGI action scenes every 15 minutes. Instead, the film is very content to have slower and more intimate scenes dissecting clues and discussing evidence.

Jim Gordon partners with Batman on the hunt for the criminals of Gotham, and the scenes of them together picking apart crime scenes are major highlights of the film. The friendship between these two characters feels so natural. The ease they feel and the way they speak when the two of them are alone make it very clear that they know and trust each other more than any of the corrupt officials around them.

While Gary Oldman left big shoes to fill after “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Jeffrey Wright’s take on Gordon feels very authentic and at home for this story. He also actively takes part in the narrative far more than Oldman’s Gordan did in the first two Nolan Batman films, which is a plus. It’s hard to imagine “The Batman” without him.

One of the issues with this film, however, is that Batman and Gordon are always playing by the Riddler’s rules. Batman is supposed to be “the world’s greatest detective” yet is always a few steps behind his enemies. For a character like The Riddler to work, this is understandable, but Batman should have also been looking beyond the intentional clues given to him and instead for unintentional ones to neutralize the threat. This way, he could trail the Riddler while still exploiting his mistakes, making the chase more exciting.

Instead, we have Batman following the path made for him by the Riddler and not stopping to think that he might be playing into his hands. While it doesn’t drag the film down, it would have made for a more engaging mystery if Batman kept getting closer using his own methods.

“While it has its flaws, ‘The Batman’ excels at what it sets out to do. It proves that comic books and superhero films don’t need to follow the checklist created by its contemporaries.”

C.J. Delaney, staff writer

Selina Kyle, or Catwoman, plays a supporting role as opposed to an antagonistic one. Kravitz plays a much more down-to-earth version of this iconic character with a very convincing performance. What’s particularly notable is the dynamic between her and Bruce on their views of justice, making for standout character moments for each of them.

The romance subplot, however, is incredibly half-baked. It’s not that they don’t have chemistry, but they didn’t explore it from a romantic standpoint until it just happens out of nowhere. The direction they took is understandable, as it’s based on source material, but after it’s all said and done, the romance doesn’t feel authentic.

Whenever he appears on screen, Colin Farrell completely steals the show as The Penguin. In looks and voice, he’s unrecognizable. The crime boss’s carefree gangster attitude contrasts heavily with Batman’s serious demeanor.

Unfortunately, The Penguin does not have as much plot relevance as he should have. He still has a large presence in the film, but only impacts the overall narrative in a few key scenes. It works, but it could have been more.

There’s one action scene that includes The Penguin, which has been praised almost universally, but it’s hard to enjoy as it results in many civilian casualties that no character cares to acknowledge in any way. This is hard to believe as Batman has a strict no-killing rule and values human life. The fact that he would ignore and not try to prevent such collateral damage is out of character, dragging the otherwise great scene down.

The action overall is fantastic. The hand-to-hand combat choreography is a very noticeable upgrade from “The Dark Knight” trilogy. Instead of a close up camera quickly cutting between actors flailing their arms. giving the illusion of a fight, “The Batman” brings the camera back and shows everything.

Watching Batman pumble thugs with his fists and other objects around him is endlessly entertaining as the viewer can really feel the impact of each punch thrown. Even though most fights don’t last long, they feel like they do because of how much is going on during them. It’s fast paced, brutal, and riveting.

As expected, the score by Michael Giacchino ties everything together perfectly. The music elevates every scene with goosebump-inducing tracks making the already dark and imposing city even more immersive. The inclusion of Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” was a strangely good decision as it fits the mood of the hopeless city and has already become synonymous with the film.

While it has its flaws, “The Batman” excels at what it sets out to do. It proves that comic books and superhero films don’t need to follow the checklist created by its contemporaries. It proves that a slow paced character driven noir style can work to great success. It’s grounded while still retaining the feeling of a graphic novel. Thanks to the fantastic acting, writing, cinematography, and choreography, this is the best superhero movie in years and will send a loud and clear message to those in its genre.

Opinion Review

Updates on COVID-19 Border Restrictions After National Week of Student Action  

by Camryn Myrla, staff writer

MAY 2022 — A U.S. judge temporarily blocked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from lifting restrictions on the country’s land borders April 25.

Section 252 of Title 42 prohibits entry into the U.S. when the Director of the CDC believes “there is a serious danger to the introduction of disease” into the country. The order was issued by the CDC in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the CDC had reported in early April 2022 that Title 42 was no longer needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 due to vaccines and other advancements that counter the virus. As a result, the public health agency called for the termination of the order by May 23.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, the judge who blocked the CDC from lifting border restrictions, was supported by many Republicans who believed that the order was vital for preventing illegal immigration. Officials predict that lifting Title 42 will cause an influx in migrants crossing the border, with the highest estimate being up to 18,000 people per day.

Meanwhile, Title 42 has been opposed by certain groups that advocate for human rights. Many of these groups argue the order unjustly turns away migrants searching for asylum in the United States.

For example, student groups for Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization focused on human rights, work together annually for its National Week of Student Action (NWSA). For 2022, the week was dedicated to defunding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  

Bio-Med Science Academy’s Amnesty International chapter participated in NWSA, which took place April 4 to April 8 — several weeks before Judge Summerhays released any statement on Title 42.

“We really only focused on ICE and their work in the past,” reported junior Keira Vasbinder, the secretary of the club.

In the past, Bio-Med’s Amnesty chapter focused on climate change, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and abortion rights. For NWSA, the group researched current immigration policies and put up a station with brochures, pins, and a banner. Photo by Camryn Myrla, staff writer.

“None of us knew that this was going to happen, especially not even twenty days after [NWSA], but I don’t think any of us are that surprised,” she said.

“And the news came at such a bad time, where it’s too late in the school year to focus on this and get some real work done to protest anything,” Vasbinder explained. “The only thing we have time to do is post about it online, and maybe make posters. But it’s important that people hear us and understand how serious of a problem this [order] is.”

Katie Davos, the Youth and Student Program Specialist at Amnesty International, directed all student groups through NWSA.

“The Biden Administration cannot forget about the hundreds of thousands expelled at the border under Title 42,” Davos stated while advising student groups online. “Instead of harming and endangering people seeking safety, President Biden should take action to get people home, safe, and with their communities in the U.S.”

Editorial Note: Camryn Myrla is the coordinator of Bio-Med Science Academy’s Amnesty International chapter.

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