Top Tech Tips for the Class of 2022

June is quickly approaching, and with that comes the impending break of summer that most students look forward to. But it’ll only be two months until the start of school, and with that comes a new class of freshmen at Staten Island Tech.

Being a freshman at Tech may seem daunting at first from the new classes, a new environment, and new standards that are set for you. However, with a few simple tips, it’s easy to get into the swing of things at Staten Island Tech!

Now, without further ado, here are some of my top tips for your freshman year at Tech!

Don’t procrastinate. This is probably the biggest piece of advice that any Tech student can give you. Staying on top of your homework and classes can leave you with enough time to pursue other extracurriculars, like sports, clubs, or volunteering. Try keeping track of homework; there are lots of tutoring services and resources available at the Tech library. Allotting your time earlier in freshman year helps you deal with tougher classes in junior and senior year!
Try joining an activity. Freshman year is a time for trying out new things to find out what you really want to put your time into. At Tech, there’s tons of opportunities that cater to all sorts of different people. There’s lots of sports teams, clubs like the JSA, Key Club, and the various multicultural clubs. There’s also major events like SING and Spring Musical, and Spirit Week which the whole school takes part of and enjoys. There’s also activities such as Student Organization, the Science Engineering Research Program, and Math Team that can help you find other people with similar interests!
Find your way around. Tech can be a bit confusing when you first try to navigate its hallways, especially when you get your schedule for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers for directions, or fellow upperclassmen. Get a feel of the hallways of the school- it will definitely pay off later.
Think about what comes next. Freshman year is still fairly early to think about colleges and the SATs and the ACT, but it never hurts to venture into the area. Your guidance counselor is a great source of information for this. You can also get in touch with them later to talk about class choices and any thoughts on your mind. It always pays off to have an idea of what you want to do later. But remember…
Don’t worry. Tech is a great place to find opportunities tailored to certain career choices and opportunities. But it can be easy to get overwhelmed with so many choices and thoughts about what to do next. In freshman year, don’t let these decisions weigh heavily on your mind- just try to get adapted to Tech first.

Hopefully these tips help you out with your first year at Tech! Remember, it’s a time to adjust and adapt, which comes first. With that in mind, I hope to see you next fall at Tech!

Showcase Assembly (6/1/18)

On Friday, June 1st, Staten Island Technical High School held its 17th annual student showcase. Students hurried to the Salvatore Eretto Auditorium, buzzing with excitement and eager to watch their peers perform. On the way to the auditorium, they were immediately met with the sound of the opening band consisting of William Albee, Tyler Almquist, Daniel Donnelly, and Justine Molinari, who played passionately as the students filed into their seats.

There were many different acts over the course of the showcase, with students displaying talents such as dancing, singing, spinning flags, and playing instruments.

Some of the day’s performances included renditions of “What’s Up” by students Tess Lynch, Ivy Fan, and Felix Mastropasqua, “This is Me” by Katie Schermerhorn, Ivan Bourov, and Mike Albdewi, and “You and I” by Jess Liu. In each of these performances, students sang, and, in “What’s Up” and “You and I” students played instruments to accompany the vocals. Each of these performances were met with great praise from the audience; viewers clapped and cheered for their peers.

Tech senior Felix Mastropasqua, who was in multiple performances, reflected on his experience with the showcase: “It can be nerve-wracking to put on a performance, but I was motivated to make my last show at Tech as memorable as possible.”

Students involved in different school activities also performed in the showcase. Glee Club sang “Some Nights”, the Dance Team danced to “The Greatest Show”, Dance Gym students danced to various Rihanna songs, and the Color Guard showed off their skills to “Confident”.

Rachel Kneitel, a Tech senior in Dance Gym, said of the performance, “Giving your all during practices is worth it in the end when you see the crowd focusing only on the performance.”

The audience truly did focus on the performance, captivated by the many dancers on the stage. In fact, the audience was thrilled by each performance, encouraging the performers with their energy and enthusiasm towards all of the acts. Towards the conclusion of the show, Xenia Rudchenko and Anton Logochniak sang an incredible duet of the song “Stay”, wowing the audience as they walked down the sides of the auditorium, then onto the stage, singing.

To wrap up the showcase, the final act was Anton Logochniak’s rendition of “My Way”. As he sang, photographs of the senior class were projected onto the stage as a tribute to the graduating Class of 2018.

Overall, the students in the showcase gave remarkable performances, a testimony to the many talents of students at Staten Island Technical High School.

 

SAT Book Review of The Month: The College Panda

The SAT is a source of anxiety for hundreds of thousands of students around the United States. Touted as one of the most important tests of a student’s life, the pressure some students feel to perform well leads to their preparation starting as early as their freshman year, loading up on books and finding the best tutors to get them through this test.

I am a firm believer in the fact that most people can perform well on standardized tests- all one needs is practice and the right tools. In my own preparation for the exam, I examined many different sources and reviews to find the most effective books. This knowledge, in addition to my observations within the tutoring company I work for, has led to my discovery of several lesser-known resources that I believe could be beneficial for those looking to prepare for the SAT.

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The College Panda by Nelson Phu

In my opinion, the College Panda Math books are suitable for anyone looking to bring their math score up into the 700s. The College Panda SAT Math Advanced Guide and Workbook,  broken down into 27 different overarching topics, covers every concept you could see on test day, providing tips and techniques I have yet to come across in any other book. The book includes easy to follow explanations in a conversational tone and provides ample practice, with dozens of chapter questions following each topic.

To supplement his workbook, Nelson Phu captures the art of SAT questions in his 10 Practice Tests for the SAT Math book. Each test, structured similarly to the actual SAT, allows you to practice the math section under test conditions, preparing you for your actual test. Furthermore, his questions, while realistic, are slightly more difficult than the actual SAT, leaving you over prepared.

From personal experience, using Phu’s book helped me work faster and prepared me for the types of questions I saw during the real test. Because he tests each concept in a variety of different scenarios, I learned to identify exactly what the question wanted from me in a matter of seconds, allowing me more time to check my work. He also provides numerous shortcuts that helped me avoid silly algebra mistakes by simplifying my work. While many people gloss over this book in favor of more well-known companies, such as Princeton, I believe that this book is well worth the $30 price tag. Whether you struggle with the basic concepts of mathematics or are simply looking to get more efficient at answering SAT math questions, the book is likely to change the way you view the SAT math section.

Disclaimer: this is my own personal experience with the book and may be subject to bias. I do not promote the purchase of this book over others and would actually recommend taking this book out from the library or borrowing from a friend to save money.

Microsoft DigiGirlz Trip

From May 18th to May 19th, Microsoft held another DigiGirlz event, offering an opportunity for girls to learn more about careers for women in the field of technology, interact with other inspiring women, and gain hands-on experience with different tools and new high-tech products.

The trip was divided into two different days:

On the first day of the trip, excited Tech students gathered at the Microsoft office and took part in different workshops. They were shown some of the new and impressive technology that Microsoft has developed.

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A scene from the DigiGirlz trip.

The girls also took part in a coding workshop, which encouraged them to empower themselves with the language of computers. Fun activities allowed students to explore with code and gave them a base to develop the rest of their coding superpowers on.

The last workshop was a personal learning experience, where girls were divided into smaller groups to work with professional women in a male-dominated field. They learned how to pitch themselves later in their professional career, and practiced with each other several times as well. The experience was eye-opening and helpful for the soon-to-be college students and working women.

The meeting ended with a Q&A session in which students asked all of their personal questions and curiosities to a panel of professionals who were eager to respond and encourage them. Students came out of many of the sessions inspired and motivated.

On the second day, DigiGirlz met at the Microsoft Store and were able to experience the VIP tour of the building and newest technologies and innovations as well as meet staff. Some of the experiences included playing in a new gaming room filled with equipment worth thousands of dollars, watching a 3D film in a small theater, learning about LinkedIn and how to create a professional social network, and trying out the Halolens – a new holographic computer which utilizes augmented reality.

How Can Students Effectively Use Their Summers?

A common advice for underclassmen this time of year from seniors is, “Start preparing for it early.”

Take this advice to heart, underclassmen.

For students who seek experience in a specific field or the working field itself, there are many available opportunities that you cannot miss!

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For starters, students can take advantage of the Backpacks To Briefcases (B2B) meetings that are available during lunch periods, as they provide useful information for the many students who don’t have a good idea of what career or field they want to pursue and for students who may have a good idea of the major they intend to study. Asking questions and getting advice or a realistic idea of what the future holds for you is a great idea – especially with something as important as your career. B2Bs can also give you an idea of what type of schedule you may have as a clinical psychiatrist or established attorney. Perhaps you may find that being a teacher requires a lot more patience than you thought, or that you might not enjoy the lifestyle a typical dentist may live. It’s always a good idea to explore before tying yourself down to one career path. For more information on B2Bs, you can see Mr. Levine in the Room 139.

Secondly, summer is a great time to get involved in some activities without pressuring yourself to maintain academics and extracurricular activities. For example, many students take advantage of the school summer programs, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and Ladders for Leaders, that allow students to gain work experience. These opportunities are limited to a certain number of students via lottery, which means that a seat is not guaranteed. However, there are other external programs that students can apply to if they are not selected for the school programs.

Other great opportunities include extensive programs designed for students like you: involved and eager students wanting to learn and experience a specific field. There are an incredible amount of available programs, and a great source for finding some of these programs can be your teachers! Otherwise, a little internet research can also help you find a school or organization offering opportunities for students to get involved.

Another opportunity can be in research. By reaching out to school professors or even by talking to some of your school teachers, you can find places to gain experience through lab work, research, and other involvements. Of course, internships are also a great source for experience, even if the work involves simple shadowing or paperwork. Learning about the job by watching the experts work is a great source of information that confirms your passion for a specific line of work. SERP is also a notable opportunity for students interested in research during the school year.

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These experiences are clearly wonderful opportunities for learning, but they are also great for improving social skills or communication, which means the experience can go a long way to prepare you for your future as part of the workforce even if the working experience is not specifically in your line of future career interests. Networking is a great advantage of working as well, and having connections will never hurt, especially making connections with professors capable of giving you a recommendation for college.

Lastly, don’t forget to check your school email, because any available opportunities may be shared with students by email. Activities like Science Olympiad, MakerSpace, Newspaper Committee, and Literary Magazine can also help develop interests during the school year, so check them out!

 

Russian Olympiada State Finals

What are you usually doing at 4:45 AM? On April 25th, while most of us were still sleeping, 20 dedicated students were just arriving at Tech. Why, you may ask? These students were selected to compete in the state Russian Olympiada: a yearly competition held at SUNY Albany. Competitors are separated into levels 1 through 5 based on their experience with Russian, and are further divided into native and non-native speakers. On their respective level, they must be able to answer questions about themselves, talk about Russian culture, recite poetry and speak about a story.

Competitors Kelly Chan and Rida Akhlaq getting their final moments of studying before the Olympiada begun.

As the bus left Tech bound for Albany, you’d expect many competitors to doze off and await arrival. However, nerves and excitement kept most awake as they reviewed study materials and made final preparations for the competition later that day. Sophomore Kelly Chan was reviewing the stories she could be questioned about; the end of a study process that first began in February. Kelly remarked: “For preparation I studied a little each day. There have been days when I was really tired but studying for 5 minutes is better than not studying at all. Practice is key.” With the amount of energy in the air, the three-and-a-half hour journey seemed to pass in mere minutes and soon enough, Tech’s delegation to the Russian Olympiad arrived in Albany, ready to compete.

Shortly after arriving, the competition began. Competitors waited for an event to be called for their level. They would then walk in, and complete one section of the competition: oral, civilization or reading. This process repeated itself until every student had completed every event. The environment was fast-paced and hectic, as competitors tried to fit in last moments of studying before running to compete in their event. Competitors ran in and out of rooms, letting others know if the judges were fair and what kinds of questions they’d been asked. Even though everyone was competing against each other, they all helped and supported one another as one team.

Competitors Kelly Chen and Iandra Ramos before entering the competition.

After an hour, nearly everyone was finished competing. I caught up with Kelly shortly after she completed her last event. When asked how she thought she did, she noted: “The actual process took only a few minutes. In the testing room I was polite and cheerful. It’s always important to have a good impression with anyone really, especially the judges. I think I did alright, but I guess I’ll see later”. Many shared that sentiment: at this point, there was nothing to do but wait.

At 1:00 PM, results were announced. Tech placed and won at every level we competed in.

On Level 1, Philip Dulas won first place and Jasky Karem won second

On Level 2 non-native, Kelly Chen came in first place and Scott Rappaport came in second. In Level 2 native, Andrei Klepach came in first place.

On Level 3 non-native, Jerry Li won first place and Evan Rubenstein came in second. In the heritage category, Elizabeth Nikolaeva came in first place.

At Level 4 heritage, Sophia Kobzarenko came in first place, and at Level 5 Heritage Timur Ibragimov came in first place.

Student Organization 2018 Elections

This past week, Staten Island Technical High school held its annual Student Organization elections. Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior students campaigned for positions as officers serving for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.

Student Organization Advisor Mr. Dellegrazie poses with Student Activities sign.

Being a Student Organization officer comes with a big responsibility. Officers are expected to attend all meetings and events, devote their lunch periods to the organization, and voice the opinions and concerns of the student body, along with many other responsibilities. Each and every one of the candidates this year were prepared to make this commitment to better benefit the school and uphold all of their expected duties as an officer and student leader.

With over 40 candidates this year, competition was extremely tough. After long weeks of applications, interviews, campaigning, preparation, and nerves, results are finally in.

The new S.O. Executive Officers for the 2018-2019 school year consists of: President Ryan Crimmins, Vice President Jayith Samaraweera, Secretary Sabrina Gambino, Parliamentarian Jocelyn Chin, Historian Cassidy Williams, and Treasurer Manav Sharma.

Senior Class Officers include: President Jordan Daugherty, Vice President Ivan Bourov, Parliamentarian Christopher Molina, and Co-Historians Aya Osman and Adam Ibrahim.

Junior Class Officers consist of: President Stamatia Angelides, Vice President Thomas Malloy, Secretary Laila Gad, Co-Parliamentarians Bryan Boyd and Trisha Vinay, Historian Veda Balte, and Treasurer Angelo Scaringella.

The new Sophomore Class Officers are: President Reina Lau, Vice President Michelle Cho, Secretary Unsa Imran, Parliamentarian Sofia Gianquinto, Historian Jasky Karem, and Treasurer Lauren Regan.

Congratulations to all of the candidates and new elected officers!

 

Spring Musical 2018: Mary Poppins!

On April 20th and 21st, Staten Island Tech presented a practically perfect production of Disney classic Mary Poppins to an audience of students, alumni, teachers, and family. Whether they were from the cast/ensemble, band, stage crew, tech crew, or studio crew, the students involved in this year’s annual spring musical had been working hard on the show since January.

Ensemble performs during a rehearsal.

The cast wowed us with their passionate acting, singing, and dancing. The musical’s story follows the flawed Banks family and the arrival of their new magical nanny. It’s a story about family, being kind, and the whimsicality of life. With everyone speaking in British accents and never missing a beat in their lines, the actors shared the touching story of Mary Poppins. The dancers and choreographers showed impressive skill from the quick gestures of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to the neat tap dancing in “Step in Time.” The costumes dazzled us; the actors sported Victorian-era wardrobe, shimmering drapes of statues, professional monochrome attire of bankers, eccentric fashion adorned with colorful wigs, and chimney sweeper outfits complete with soot on their faces.

Julianna Torres, who played Mrs. Brill, commented: “Being in spring musical this year was absolutely surreal. The play we put on felt straight out of Mary Poppins’s handbag, and although I never dreamed I’d grow so attached to the show, I can safely say that there’s no show and no cast I’d rather have had the honor of being a part of!”

The band brought even more emotion to the show with their lively melodies. The orchestra pit accompanied the cast, playing songs like, “Chim Chimney,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Anything Can Happen,” and softly played under some dialogue. Like in a traditional Broadway play, there were several students who played more than one instrument during the show. Maximus Saenz, who played trombone and tuba, shared: “Being a part of band is very rewarding. You are surrounded by so many talented people and you learn so much. Band for spring musical is interesting because of how non-traditional it is; there are harmonicas, recorders, and the brass has many mutes.”

Emmett Bergeron (Bert) and Victoria Nicoletta (Mary Poppins) pose backstage.

The studio crew recorded the live show, while tech crew provided lighting and spotlighting, operated the microphones and sound system, and controlled special sound and visual effects. Tech crew member Serena Low helped with the iconic shadow projection of Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella and expressed, “There are a lot of different people in tech crew and working with all of them has given me much diverse knowledge. Working in the show made me feel good because I was able to be a part of something bigger than myself that needed a whole lot of cooperation between a whole lot of people.”

The stage crew displayed vibrant backgrounds for the stage and matched the magical character of Mary Poppins. The students showcased various sets, including the Banks home, the children’s room, the kitchen, the park, and a city skyline from a rooftop. They also showcased colorful kites, seemingly infinite space within Mary’s handbag, and self-moving kitchen utensils. Stage crew member Debby Lin commented, “My favorite scene was probably the kitchen scene. Since I was one of the students tasked with moving and turning the giant flies, (whilst trying to do it as quickly and quietly as possible), the 10-to-15-second change was pretty stressful to make. But once the scene began, it was pretty incredible to see. Students literally hid inside tables in order to make it seem as if the pots, pans, bowls, and spoons were moving on their own […] Everything was meant to look effortless, but there was clearly a lot of passion and dedication put into the show. I hope the audience could sense that passion that was present throughout the entire auditorium.”

The cast, orchestra, studio & tech crew, and stage crew made the spring musical a delight to watch! Thank you and congratulations to the production team, the teachers who directed the students, and all who were involved in it. Until next year!

 

 

Reading: 8 Second Attention Span

“There are worst crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” -Ray Bradbury

Reading is defined as “the action or skill of reading written or printed matter silently or aloud”. This can occur through any media evolving from the earliest historical records written on papyrus in ancient Egypt to modern-day E-Books from the Internet. During periods of history, only scholars and the privileged were allowed to learn to read making it a defining factor between the rich and the poor. This shows how literacy was valued as a skill throughout history and how now that almost everyone has access to it, we have to utilize it to educate ourselves.

In the 21st century, technology has advanced so far from its earliest forms especially when talking about access to literature and related subject matter. The creation of the Internet allowed for the development of digital libraries and thousands of databases that gives people access to unrestricted amounts of information at their fingertips. Instead of only professionally published works being available, now anyone can publish their writings through blogs and websites, consequently supporting the lack of quality control on the Web that can affect the public’s literacy and comprehension.

But, despite the issue of quality from the Internet, there is a more pressing concern.

Students are not reading. Current studies have shown that this generation only has an attention span of around 8 seconds. These 8 seconds make them unable to pick up a book and finish it without getting distracted, and compared to the decade prior, it takes more effort to complete a book.

Staten Island Technical High School students are no exception to these discoveries.

Mrs. Callan, an English teacher at SITHS shares that “Having taught 15 years I [can] see a decline in the student’s love of reading and reading outside the class.” After surveying a couple students about the last time they read, many of the responses demonstrated parallels to the discoveries.

Many couldn’t remember the last time they read a book of their own choosing but many did remember the last time they read, which were the textbooks pages assigned for homework by the school.

Kids aren’t reading for pleasure. Sabrina Tang, a Junior and member of the Creative Writing/ Literary Magazine Club reflects on the value of reading prior to this year. “Reading was a pastime for me… to relieve my stress… forget reality [and] all the troubles that were there.” But nowadays some of the books she reads are often school assigned.

With a keen interest in reading Ms. Callan similarly reflects that reading is, “a way to enter different worlds and places and to expand knowledge and thinking.”

However, despite the positive response and acknowledgment of reading there is still a problem that prevents kids from doing it. Distractions from social media platforms and the lack of time places a strain on kids and reading, widening the gap between them.

With many students at SITHS taking rigorous classes and extracurricular activities, the time left over is often devoted to spending time on social media platforms in order to socialize with friends or to relax. Online videos and television shows can extend the 8-second attention span of youths which lead reading to be defeated in comparison.

Although this decline may be seen as nothing but a side effect of technological progress has been reported it is detrimental. Studies have found that those using the online medium translates into the hobby of “skimming” in order to collect the most amount of information in a short period of time. However, regardless of the speed of information, there are also studies indicating the detriment to cognitive functions as people are constantly skimming such as the decline in reading comprehension.

However, how can youths change this decline?

They can start with themselves.

“Always have a book on you digitally [or] a hardcopy,” Mrs. Callan shares, a valuable piece of advice she has learned from Mr. Callahan himself who has an authentic passion for reading. While this may still be a challenge it can be considered a first step in the right direction.

Senior Franklin Zhu also offers another piece of valuable advice, “Read what you want to read [because it’s something] you should enjoy.”

As reading continues to decline it is useful to accept the idea that school commitments and lack of time pull away even the most avid of readers. But to all students out there, it is never too rekindle that dying flame.

Tech’s Annual Multicultural Show

On Friday, March 16th, Staten Island Technical High School celebrated its annual Multicultural Show: a whirlwind of songs and dances that lit up the stage all evening. At around 7:30 PM, people filed into the auditorium, which eventually became a full house. Whether they were there to support a student involved in the show, to appreciate culture, or to spend an otherwise uneventful Friday night, the audience members were buzzing in anticipation of the performances to come.

The Asian American Club (AAC) performing one of their final numbers.

Before the show began, we caught up with performer Allyson Pan. This was her first year being a part of both the Multicultural Show and Desi Club. What drew her to this club in particular were her friends, who have been part of the club for a few years. Being in the club for a few months now, Allyson was able to give us an insider’s look into the club and the making of its number for the Multicultural Show.

She told The Tech Times that the Desi Club had been practicing their dance for about three months, starting in January. The dance the Desi Club performed was almost entirely modeled off of Bollywood movies, with a dash of Western and Latin influences. Thankfully, those who were inexperienced in the art form had impeccable guidance from the club’s presidents: Aruni Ahilan, Priyal Thakkar, and Shruthi Satty. All three are experienced Desi dancers. Not only was the experience informative, but it was widely enjoyable, as shown by Allyson’s newfound interest in dance. Though she was a not a dancer before, she enjoyed her experience in Desi so much that she plans to continue participating in dance extracurriculars in college.

Participants showcase their respective flags at the end of the performance.

Back in our seats, all eyes were glued to the stage up front as the show began. From the more mellow movements of the Greek and Russian clubs to the sharp and rapid movements of the Korean Culture and Jewish Clubs, there was never a dull moment. In between dances, seniors Anton Lagochniak and Xenia Rudchenko delivered stunning renditions of Russian songs. To wrap up the show, Desi Club took the stage with music and dance moves that were impossible not to move along to, leaving the audience in enthusiastic applause. The cheers in the crowd only grew louder as all of the show’s performers ran out on stage and held up their respective flags, representing cultures from Hispanic and Chinese to Indian.

Of course, like at any good show, refreshments were served. Perhaps refreshments is an understatement, as the school’s cafeteria was essentially transformed into a buffet of food from various cultures. Lines of people formed outside the cafeteria, all eager to delve into cultural foods such as Russian cookies, fried rice, churros, empanadas, chicken, or cupcakes decorated for St. Patrick’s Day. Once their plates were loaded up with goods, people sat down with either their friends or families, still buzzing with adrenaline from the show. The general consensus regarding the show appeared to be positive, but then again, who isn’t happy when they’re surrounded by seemingly limitless delicious food?