Thursday, April 7, 2016

Anniversary of the Modern Olympics By Nicholas Isaacs

Anniversary of the Modern Olympics
By Nicholas Isaacs
Sports and Olympic fans everywhere, April 6th to 15th is the anniversary of the first ever Modern Olympics. The Olympics had stopped about 2,000 years ago when Rome conquered Greece and the Romans didn’t like the idea of the Olympics.  
In 1896, a Frenchman named Baron de Coubertin (also known as Pierre Fredy) brought back the Olympic games and called it the “Games of the 1 Olympiad”. They were held where the games had been created, in Athens, Greece at the Panathinaiko Stadium. It was opened by King George I of Greece and it contained 43 events in 9 sports, 241 athletes, and had over 14 nations participating. Some of the sports were Track and Field, Swimming, Cycling, and a Marathon. The winners of some of these events were Alfred Hajos who won in swimming twice for Hungary, Paul Masson who won three bike races for France, and Spyridon Louis who won the first ever Olympic marathon for Greece, and was a national hero for the rest of his life.
The event was considered a huge success, and set the example for many Olympic games to come. And after that, Greece didn’t hold the games again until 2004, over 108 years later. Some nations who had participated in the first modern Olympics were the United States, Great Britain, France, Greece, Germany, and more. If you want to find out who won the first games, visit:
The Olympics games continue to this day. The next Summer Olympics are Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.      

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Finals Are Coming Soon, Better Start Preparing! By: Thomas Hennessy

Finals Are Coming Soon, Better Start Preparing!
By: Thomas Hennessy

Now that the state tests are finishing, it’s time to start preparing for something that will actually affect your grade: finals. For us middle schoolers, the finals are from June 17 to June 22. Unfortunately for the fifth graders, they have to stay after the tests, while the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders get to go home. (Woo hoo!) It is best to start preparing for the finals now because you really don’t want to be scrambling the day before.

Tips for Preparing for Finals

  1. Study a little bit everyday: Go over everything that you learned from the beginning of the year, to what you’re doing now, to get a fresh memory of everything.

  1. Separate your studying: It is best not to study all of your subjects together or do it for a long time, which will cause your brain to become baffled. Separate your studying by subjects, and make sure to not to do it for a long period of time. I recommend studying about 5-10 minutes every day.

  1. Don’t stress: It is better to not get worked up over these tests, which will cause you to do worse than what you’re capable of.

Mr. Cava: An Interview By David McKinney Jr.

Mr. Cava: An Interview
By David McKinney Jr.

This is an Interview with Mr. Cava.

  1. What is your favorite part about teaching?
Answer: Working with all the different students.
   2. What is your least favorite part about teaching?
Answer: Lots of paperwork.
   3. What is your favorite movie?
Answer: Fox and the Hound.
   4. What is your favorite class project you’ve done so far as a teacher?
Answer: The naturally amped project.
   5. If you had 1 million dollars, what would you spend it on?
Answer: Buy a house.
   6. What is the best vacation you’ve ever gone on. (If you don’t have a favorite just write “All of them”)
Answer: Puerto Rico
  7. Do you have a favorite Star Wars movie, or scene? If so, which one?
Answer: episode 4
  8. What are you looking forward to most about the new year?
Answer: Bringing my new jeep on the beach.
  9. What is your favorite sport?
Answer: Baseball
 10. In 20 years, do you still see yourself teaching?
Answer: Yes.
Bonus: Who is your best friend?
Answer: My dad.

A Sneak Peek: Science Olympiad Competitor Interviews By Sheryl Lin

A Sneak Peek: Science Olympiad
Competitor Interviews
By Sheryl Lin

Welcome back to our sneak peeks! Here are a few interviews of some of our Science Olympians themselves. See our other interview with Mr. Wagner as well, to see if you’re interested in joining!

Victoria Pietrusiewicz (7th grade) - 1st place winner in Anatomy and Physiology, Air Trajectory
What event did you just finish? - “Air Trajectory!”
How was Air Trajectory? What did you have to do? - “Make a ball… fly.”
What was the building like? - “Coooooooool.”
Was it fun? - *nods*
Victoria seemed a bit tired since it was about 8 in the morning on a Saturday, so I moved on to bother someone else.

Keith Macias (7th grade) and Lauren Jablonowski (7th grade) - 5th place in Microbe Mission, 7th place in Disease Detective
What event did you just finish? - Lauren: “We just finished Microbe Mission, and we did very well, and we guessed on one. We were going to erase it, but it was actually right.”
Keith: “It was the gas that yeast produces, and I guessed methane, and then I said carbon dioxide as a joke, and guess what?”
Lauren: “It- it was carbon dioxide.”
So, how was it? - Keith: “It was pretty awesome, we knew everything!
Lauren: “Yeah, I knew some that Keith didn’t know, and I call that an accomplishment! Keith knew half of it though.”
What was the information you had to study about? - Keith: “It was about microbiology, some microorganisms, microscopy, yeah. A lot of stuff!”
Lauren: “I’m gonna go get some pizza, peace.” (we actually bought out all the pizza before any of the other schools that day, it was great)
Was it fun? - Keith: “Of course it was!”

Dylan Santiago (8th grade) - 5th place in Optics
What event did you do? - “I have two events at the end of the day; I did not go. All of my events are at the end of the day.”
I nodded and, seeing that Dylan was likely about to do some preparation for his upcoming events, I left.

Marcus Llorente (8th grade) and John Bellisio (8th grade) - 4th place in Astronomy
What event did you just finish? Was it fun? - John: “Reach for the Stars, Astronomy, yeah.”
Marcus: “It was stressful.”
John: “Are you gonna post this onto Youtube or something?” (I was recording video on my phone.)
Nah, it’s for our newspaper.
John: “Oh. Well, we did good in Reach for the Stars, so hopefully we get a medal.”
What were the questions like? - Marcus: “Well, they were locating objects, locating constellations, stars, things like that.”
John: “Yeah, it was deep sky objects.”
Ryan: “And shallow space objects?”
John: “I think we’re gonna win a medal.”

Ryan Talbot (8th grade) - Meteorology, Experimental Design, Bridge Building and Bio Process Lab
What event did you just finish? - “Bio process lab!”
Was it fun? - “No!”
What was the test about? - “Bio process lab! General science, food chains, acidity, weather! Nutrition!”
Food science?
“No, not exactly food science.”
Suddenly the room had burst into chaos, something involving a balloon, popping, and a lot of screaming. I moved onto the next closest person.

Alyssa Kemp (7th grade) - Bio Process Lab, Experimental Design
What event did you just finish? - “Bio process lab.”
What were the questions like?
Alyssa was covering her face, both in fear of my camera and the continuing screaming in the room.

Johnny Martinez (7th grade) - 10th place in Wind Power, Crime Busters
Hi Liam, what event did you just finish? - “I’m not Liam, I’m Johnny, I thought you’d know that!”
Oh, sorry, Johnny, what event did you just finish? - “Crime Busters.”
Was it fun? - “No, it was hard.”
What kinds of questions were they? - “Hard questions, like, powders, reactions to iodine, and acidic acid… I’m done here.” *walks away*
Wait, did you have to take a test or did you do lab things? - “It was like a test.”
Oh. Dang. - “Well, no, it was kinda like a lab. Kinda like a lab, kinda like a lab!”

Looks fun to you? Are you a 7th or 8th grader that’s enthusiastic about science? Come along and join us!

A Sneak Peek: Science Olympiad Interview with Mr. Wagner By Sheryl Lin

A Sneak Peek: Science Olympiad
Interview with Mr. Wagner
By Sheryl Lin

Today we bring to you a sneak peek into our school’s Science Olympiad team! Here is an interview with one of the coaches, Mr. Wagner.

Q: What’s Science Olympiad like?
Well, Science Olympiad is a national competition where students get to compete in various science tests, knowledge tasks, construction tasks, different kinds of tests what students have to think on their feet and figure out problems. Competitions are held regionally, and the winners of those competitions get to compete in the state championship. Then the winners of the state championships get to compete in the national championship. It's a very big and very organized competition.

Q: What are the events like? What kinds are there?
Events come in three types: the first type is knowledge events where the students simply have to know more about a particular field of science that our competitors. Some examples of this would be Fossils or Astronomy or Microbiology or Anatomy.

The other more exciting events for some kids are the construction events where we have to build a device that outperforms our competitors’ devices. Examples of these would be catapults, airplanes that stay up in the air the longest, vehicles that travel across the floor and stop at a pre-designated distance, Bridges that have to hold the most weight. Those are examples of the construction events.

And the most odd and difficult to prepare for events are the “think on your feet” type of events. These events include Write It Do It, Picture This, Science Word, Experimental Design… and there's another one (whose name escapes me) where the students have to build a structure on the spot with whatever materials they are provided with.

Q: What are the tests like? Are there any notable or particularly interesting tests?
In Science Olympiad, tests refer mostly to the knowledge events. Those events are very difficult; they're much more difficult than the middle school tests are or even high school tests in some cases. Often students in Science Olympiad are learning their material at a college level and they have to compete at a college level. They also make the events particularly difficult because they don't want people getting a 100% on any event that they give - then there could be a tie. The one thing that they never want to have is a tie because they won't know which students to give a gold medal to, and who to give a silver medal to! So, if they make the tests advanced and very difficult they reduce the likelihood of any two students having the same score. Therefore they can sort out the medal winners more easily. But I do have to make sure that students understand that their mission is not to get a 90% on their event; it's simply to defeat their opponents.

Q: What do you think was your most successful team, and what was that year like?
In 1998 I believe we had a team that medaled in 10 of 17 events. 7 of those 10 medals were gold medals so we won Nassau County by a significant margin. We could have literally not competed in the 17th event and we still would have won the entire County, that's how dominant our team was in 1998. That team went on to be 6th place I believe in New York State. That was an excellent, excellent team.

Then, about three years later I had a team that was entirely 7th grade and that team just barely missed going to the state championship by one point. The following year that team came back as 8th graders with all the experience and the that team performed tremendously at the state competition, averaging a little more than 5th place in each event they competed in. It is becoming more difficult recently to get those kind of scores because back in the nineties we competed in 17 events and now the regional competition we are competing in has 22 events, 23 events in some occasions. Only having two coaches, 23 events is way too much for a small team like us to be competitive. It was it was much more easy for us to dominate and be competitive when there were only 17 events to master.

Q: What kind of people make the best Science Olympians?
Well, one might assume that the best student makes the best Science Olympiad competitor -  that is not necessarily true. Although great students often do make great Science Olympiad competitors I've had many medals won by students who are diligent hard workers with good imaginations. I think to be a good Science Olympiad competitor you have to be interested in your event and you have to be willing to put in the time and learn. You have to be curious and you have to have a good work ethic. I don't think you really have to be a straight A student to be a medal winner in Science Olympiad although it doesn't hurt. This is particularly true for the construction events. Builders are a unique breed of student.

Are you a 7th or 8th grader interested in learning about science? Join us in Science Olympiad!