Hi Welcome to Meals with Momo and Paige- brief lunch update. On Friday November 9, Domino’s pizza will be served along with a garden salad, seasoned broccoli and fresh fruit. On Monday, there will be no school because of Veteran’s Day. Make sure to thank those you know who have served or serve our country today. We wouldn’t be here without them. Tuesday, there will be french toast bites with some sausage, a hash-brown, fresh fruit, and juice. Then on Wednesday, fish sandwiches on whole grain rolls will be served. That will come with sweet potato bites and baked beans. Finally, on Thursday, another preview of Thanksgiving is hitting the lunch trays! There will be hot turkey with gravy and biscuits. That will also include mashed potatoes, seasoned corn, fresh fruit and a frozen juice cup. Enjoy your lunches!
Johnny Keib and Marcus Payne
Story Editor and Assistant Producer
When you walk into Jamesville-DeWitt High School, you may notice several changes. The cafeterias and bathrooms were redone and the large group room is still being remodeled. But possibly the biggest change is the auditorium. The whole auditorium has been gutted and is in the process of being reconstructed. The reconstruction of the auditorium is affecting the music program in many ways.
Due to the loud construction noises, the classes in the chorus room have been disrupted. “Sometimes the noise gets pretty loud during classes,” said chorus teacher Annie Park. The band has an entirely different problem. The practice rooms are part of the reconstruction, so if a group of people need to practice, there is nowhere for them to go without disrupting another class.
The reconstruction of the auditorium also affects the Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School. The middle school chorus, orchestra and band performances are usually in the auditorium, so they will have to find a new venue to perform as well.
One of the biggest questions raised about the construction was where the where the band, orchestra, and chorus would perform. Instead of altering schedules, the school was able to find an alternative. The performances will be held at the Redhouse Arts Center in downtown Syracuse as well as Eagle Hill Middle School in the Fayetteville-Manlius District.
Although it will have taken a year for the construction to be finished, Mr. Blumenthal thinks it will be worth it. “It’s going to be a lot nicer,” said Mr. Blumenthal. Despite having to overcome numerous obstacles due to the construction, the music department remains optimistic about about the end result.
J-DHS has had more network outages this year than the past 25 years combined. They happen sporadically and are disruptive to every student and teacher.
In April, what seemed to be a mishap to everyone turned out to be something much bigger. The network outage in April was a cyber attack on the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM-BOCES). BOCES took immediate action, implementing a new system to defend against future attacks.
After months without an attack, the BOCES administration was convinced they had fixed the problem. However, in September, J-DHS had another outage. This was due to a different kind of attack on BOCES -- a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack.
After the DDOS attack, security specialists from BOCES were assigned to analyze it. They found that this was a direct attack on BOCES. This is why the attack was more effective than most DDOS attacks targeting multiple random networks through a broadcast or the use of a tool found on the dark web, just to cause chaos. Furthermore, since this was a DDOS attack, there is no way to block these attacks from happening in the future.
Education Manager Phil Luckette said around 135,000 students, 50 school districts, and hundreds of schools are being affected. He does not know why someone would target BOCES, especially because the last attack was described as “volumetric.” This means the attack happened rapidly with so many requests that the network shut down within minutes. Unless someone has a grievance with a BOCES, there is no motive for the attacks. There was no financial gain, no data loss, no compromised passwords.
How does a DDOS attack work? As mentioned above DDOS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. DDOS attacks start on one computer. The attacker will download/write a program to send viruses to other computers. This virus will be hidden from view and will not harm the computer. Any computer receiving the virus will distribute it out to others. Also, each computer with the virus will send requests to a designated network. The network then receives too many requests, becomes overloaded and shuts down.
Math and computer science teacher Jay Lang described a DDOS attack in a useful way. He suggested imagining you own a pizza shop. A rival pizza shop sends millions of customers into your building. It would become so crowded that you would not be able to move or fill any orders. This is what a DDOS does to a network.
Since the network outages can bring lesson plans to a halt, our administration has brainstormed ideas to make us more flexible. One possible idea is a backup network hosted locally with an internet provider like Spectrum. The school would not be able to access email or financials, but access to the internet would not be interrupted.
These network outages have affected many teacher’s and student’s abilities to get work done. Both Lang and English and Public Speaking teacher Diane Rushford described the attacks as “crippling.”
The network outages have put Rushford’s class two full periods behind. Moreover, without internet service, she also could not contact students, other teachers, or parents through her email.
Many teachers post their homework on Google Classroom. Sometimes the actual document is posted, or they just post assignments for absent students. Along with this, teachers could not post grades online. They could grade papers but since the network was down, they couldn’t move any further. Students aren’t able to complete their classwork either. Many teachers have gone paperless, posting the actual assignments online.
Band, Orchestra, and Music Theory Teacher Daniel Blumenthal explained the music department’s struggle with the network outages. This year, J-DHS is renovating their auditorium. The music department needs to communicate with each other and other high schools to see where they can hold their concerts. Blumenthal said, “It throws a wrench in the way you’ve planned your day to go.”
Homeroom suffers significantly from the outages as well. Without internet service, teachers cannot submit attendance efficiently. Neither can they present the Positivity Project slideshows or access Ramfeed.
Take Time to Breathe and Smile With The Happiness Club
Happiness club has had more interest from students in the 2018-19 school year than in the past years. The club’s main goal is to help students manage stress and overall improve their mental health. Painting rocks, hiking and yoga are some of activities taken place during the club’s meetings.
The Power of Unity -- Girl Up
Since starting in 2015, Girl Up teaches girls about the reality of gender inequality around the world. The club creates fundraisers for the Girl Up foundation, sends letters about girls rights to representatives and keeps up to date with what is currently happening in the Girl Up community. “Girl Up gives a very worldly perspective of what other people are going through,” said senior Chloe Butler.
Making a Difference, One Dance at a Time with Bust-a-Move
“Bust a Move is basically a play on words,” said senior Mia Antonucci. The club donates the proceeds of many dances including the semi-formal to a breast cancer foundation. The meetings consist of planning out roles and tasks for each member in order to benefit the foundation. “The club teaches leadership and gives leadership opportunities because everyone in the club has a big role and responsibility,” said senior Chloe Loewenguth.
Key Club’s Keys To Volunteering
Key club shows students how they can impact their local community by volunteering and raising money. This includes bake sales, collecting money for UNICEF and volunteering at places like the Samaritan Center or the Ronald McDonald House of Charities. “We want to show students the importance of community service and how it can be a fun thing,” said senior Ana Dieroff.
Spreading Culture Awareness with French Club
“Our goal is to encourage the spread of french culture and language through various culture activities,” said senior Sofia Liaw. Playing games, listening to French music and talking about seasonal French events and holidays are some of the ways their goal is achieved. The club also takes a trip to Québec City, Canada where students engage in a new environment and culture.
Here at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, many students and teachers are not afraid to put themselves in another person’s shoes. They understand the importance of looking at a situation from all angles before rushing to judgment.
J-DHS social worker Will Hartley often uses the ability to look at a situation from a different perspective. Every day, he puts himself in a student’s situation and really thinks about what it would be like if he actually was that specific student. “I think you sort’ve figure it out, as you go through life. You just realize that everybody has something going on, and it doesn’t make sense to be judgmental. It doesn’t serve a purpose,” said Mr. Hartley.
Many J-D students have put themselves in the shoes of another person. Senior Escince Hines says that, to her, “perspective is the way you look at things.” She uses perspective very often: “I try to think about how other people would feel.” As a captain on the cheer team, Escince uses perspective often to be a good teammate and leader.
Sophomore Hayden Gladle says that, to him, perspective is “the way you look at things-- everybody has a different perspective.” To Gladle, perspective and empathy go hand in hand. He tries to take time to understand how certain things make people feel the way they do and why they feel that way.
The Positivity Project defines open-mindedness as “the willingness to actively search for evidence that goes against one’s favored belief, plans, or goals.” People who are open minded do not jump to conclusions. Instead, they look at all situations from every angle before making a decision. Open-minded people are mainly described as being understanding and willing to take chances.
Whether or not someone is open minded has a strong effect on relationships. Jamesville-DeWitt High School Guidance Counselor Amy LeStrange said, “If you’re not open minded your friends probably know that and those friends are gonna be a little less likely to share than if you were open minded.” Therefore, if one were to judge everyone they meet before really getting to know them, then they are going to miss out on opportunities to make new friends and keep friends who feel comfortable confiding in them.
“People who are open minded are more likely to have a more rich and full life compared to others who aren’t,” said English as a New Language teacher Kristine Wisnieski. Being open minded comes with the willingness to take chances and explore new opportunities. If someone is closed off, they will not get the chance to experience new ways of culture and learn new things.
Being open minded is an important quality to have, especially in a school so diverse. J-DHS has students from many different cultures and backgrounds, but being open minded does not come easily to everyone. “Everyone is on their own journey and has their own path and respecting the experiences we all have leads us to the perspectives that we have currently,” said Mrs. Lestrange. Being able to understand that there is more than one way to do something will help people listen to the opinions of others and learn something new. “Deep down everybody has their own sense of judgment, and we all need to work on being not as judgmental about things,” Mrs. Wisnieski said.
“The better we understand each other, the better and richer our community will be,” said Mrs. Lestrange. Being open minded affects everybody, no matter what environment they are in or where they are in their life. If everyone in society became open minded, our community would be more well rounded and a better place to live.
Teamwork is a key character trait practiced in the classroom and on the sports teams at Jamesville-Dewitt High School. “When we have teamwork, good things happen, and we want good things to happen,” said senior football captain, Kelvin Huynh.
Teamwork is shown through each team working together in their own way to achieve a goal. Senior swim captain, Chryssanthi Tzetis described teamwork as “trying to achieve success as a team and not individually.” Senior volleyball captain Liam Kaplan added how he and his teammates “definitely work more towards winning as a group than personal stats.”
Teamwork is important to achieving success, but the traditions and bonds of a team play a big role, too. “Our traditions are what bring us together and help us win as a team,” said senior boys cross country captain Alan Gao. Gao explained their tradition of a stick that the team found during the season. “We found a stick, and this stick is very special to our hearts. At first we thought we lost him, then he walked himself back into our lives after we lost to Central Square and we have been undefeated ever since.”
Though teamwork is a big part of sports, that is not the only place it is demonstrated at J-DHS. Teamwork is also shown in the classrooms. The Corporate Communications class at J-DHS is a half year, senior elective, business class run by English teachers, Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Gallivan. The class does not focus strictly on academics but focuses more on reading writing, speaking and group work. “Teamwork is a part of life...they have to learn to work together whether they’re friends or not,” said Mrs. Eaton. “Teamwork means not only being able to work with others but to actually listen to them and to let go of what just you are wanting,” she continued. Teamwork is a group effort, as the Positivity Project claims, and it is shown in all aspects of J-DHS.
Jamesville-DeWitt High School has done a great job of welcoming new freshman students. This year students have entered the halls of the high school from not only the middle school but from being homeschooled and from as far away as Russia. These new students had to find where they belonged at J-DHS. With the help of students and staff, the new ninth graders feel very accepted at the high school. “The people here are very nice and welcoming and that’s pretty cool,” said Emma Velardi.
The new freshmen all have different impressions about coming to J-DHS. Brianna Fay is thrilled for the upcoming years. At first she was terrified to come to this school environment because she was homeschooled previously. ”I’m just excited to try something new” says Brianna Fay. Although it is very different, she has found a way to get used to it.
Jonathan Lyndaker on the other hand was confident from the start about coming to a new
school from a school not too far away. Although he is a new 9th grade student, it is his 3rd time moving. Jonathon is very hopeful that this year is going to be great.
Gregory Burenin comes to J-DHS all the way from Russia. He has spent half of his life going between Russia and the United States. He has been to school in the United States and Russia, and was also homeschooled at one point. Gregory says that it is hard to come to a new place all the way across the world.
Emma Velardi moved here from Connecticut at the end of August. “I was really sad to leave my friends and my old home, but I knew the academic system here was good, and that’s why my parents chose to move to this area.” She has felt very accepted at this school. “Everybody’s being super nice, just letting me sit with them, and hanging out with them in class,” she said.
J-DHS is a place where people can come from all different places and be accepted in a community. While the new freshmen all had different degrees of confidence in the beginning, they have settled in nicely to Jamesville-DeWitt.
Many can agree that the change from Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School to Jamesville-DeWitt High School is difficult. The school is bigger, there are more people, and the work is harder. People react to change differently than others. Some prefer the new environment and others resent going to school everyday. When Jamesville-DeWitt High School freshmen got interviewed, they told how they’re adjusting to the big change.
A majority of the freshman say they like high school a lot more than middle school. Many say the biggest difference between the middle school and high school is the block scheduling and the 80 minute periods. When asked about how he deals with the long classes, DeMarco Lopez says, “I try keeping myself distracted because most classes can be boring.” Freshman Class President Josh Aitken says, “I always do my homework the night that I get it,” when asked about how he adjusted to the block scheduling.
Throughout high school, many freshmen hope to keep their grades up to their standards and achieve other academic awards. Kate Dorazio says, “I hope to be a club president someday and I hope to get all A’s by the end of my senior year.” When asked about his goals, Evan Jaglal says, “Mainly keeping...98+ average. I’m also doing creative writing as an elective so I was hoping to earn a key or an honorable mention in the Scholastic Competition or any other writing competition.” To get good grades, one has to work hard for them, and sometimes that’s not easy. For Gregory Burenin, a transfer from Russia, his aid said his biggest challenge will be to learn English, because of how fast the switch from Russian to English is. Students know the work is tough and starts to counts now, so many stay after school when they need help from their teachers.
All of our J-D students are highly motivated and have many hopes and aspirations. Kira Pawletko and DeMarco Lopez say they may want to pursue a professional music career. Kate Dorazio and Luke Renaud are very serious about sports and are looking to continue throughout college and hopefully play professionally. When asked about if plans for the future have changed since coming to highschool, Bobby Diel says, “Since I’m taking DDP I’ve been really interested in a career in engineering now and I never thought that I’d like it that much.” Claire Huyck agreed with Bobby; she said, “I’m taking AP Computer Science and it’s kind of the same thing. I’m finding that I...like it when I didn’t think I would.”
Overall, the freshmen are liking the high school a lot more than middle school. Of course, there are some things that they need to adjust to, which is expected with a big change. High school can be a scary place, but most ninth graders are looking forward to the rest of high school.
This fall season has brought an outbreak of the common cold and some cases of mono at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. The best treatment for the common cold is to get enough sleep and drink lots of water, but not much can be done to help it other than just letting it run its course. Students with the common cold should still attend school even though they may not feel well.
Heather Cavalluzzi, the school nurse at J-DHS says students should stay home from school if they have vomited or had a fever in the past 24 hours. Students should also stay home for 24 hours after taking a new antibiotic. Other than staying home, one way to prevent others from getting sick is to sneeze into an elbow instead of a hand. Washing hands is also important, especially after Christmas break and before February break. Ms. Cavalluzzi said that is the time most students get sick.
The nurse’s office does not only deal with common illnesses. Students can go to the nurse’s office about anxiety, depression, sports injuries, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, and more. Ms. Cavalluzzi said, “Anything that has to do with the body, I’ve probably dealt with it.” The nurse’s office is always open during school hours so students can stop by whenever they do not feel well or have questions.
The Positivity Project defines integrity as “being honest and speaking the truth while presenting yourself in a genuine and sincere manner.” People with a strong characteristic of integrity tell the truth and have the ability to control their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. They are described as honest, authentic, and trustworthy.
Integrity is vital for growth and helps individuals to embrace hard work and achieve their goals. “Being able to make the right decisions in situations even if it is the harder choice shows integrity,” says Jamesville-DeWitt High School guidance counselor Amy LeStrange. Integrity is also a base for teamwork, organization, and a positive society. People with integrity are more likely to be trusted by others and achieve their own goals because they are honest and real.
Integrity contributes to a positive working and learning environment at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. “It is important to have integrity in school because when your teachers, friends, and yourself have integrity, it makes for a better community,” says Jamesville-DeWitt High School social worker William Hartley. Many adults just like Hartley feel that having integrity helps students grow. Hartley also explained, “Integrity isn’t something you see in the halls or the first time you meet someone. Once you get to know them and learn about who they are the characteristic shines through.”
Students at Jamesville-DeWitt High School also feel that integrity helps them make the right decisions and leads them to success. Freshman Isabella Essi said, “I feel having the characteristic of integrity helps me to be honest with myself, my teachers, and my classmates. It also helps me to be a better person and be there for anyone who needs me.” Integrity is a trait that people can portray now, but also in the future. Sophomore Madi Ancone added, “Integrity will definitely help in the future, from work to relationships. It will also help me to make the right decisions in the future. “
People with integrity can decipher what is right and wrong and are true to themselves and everyone around them. These people help teach others how to act in a honest and truthful manner. Integrity is a very important characteristic in the Positivity Project and can help many people achieve their goals and lead them to success.
Curiosity is the strong desire to learn something new. The Positivity Project includes curiosity as a key character trait to building a positive outlook and school culture.
“Curiosity has everything to do with education.” says Ms. Panek, the librarian at J-DHS. If students are curious about something, they want to learn more about it, and learning is education’s goal. “I think it’s really important to show students that you’re not just learning to pass a test or getting into college, that you’re finding things so you can have your own interests and hobbies,” said science teacher Mr. Adler. What this means is that students can be distracted by the idea of a limited, boxed-in education when, in actuality, education can do so much more if students engage their curiosity.
Sometimes students need helpful resources to guide their curiosity. “Adults are experts in their subject area.” said Ms. Panek. She strongly believes students should reach out and talk to the faculty here at J-DHS regarding their curiosity. “Communicating and being a good listener is always important when learning new things,” said Mr Adler. He strongly that students should go outside their boundaries to learn something new and positive.
“The Positivity Project is trying to express that people who are different aren’t bad. They may not be great, but they could be interesting people, and so curiosity is great to have. Someone may seem different but you may be similarly curious,” said Mr. Adler. The Positivity Project wants to bring people together, and that is exactly what curiosity can do. It expands perceptions and connects people in new and exciting ways.
Creativity is something people cannot live without and makes them unique. This trait saves lives, helps people to come up with ways to make tools that protect them, and build sturdy shelter that gives them more survivability. Creativity also adds zest to their lives, by allowing themselves new, fun activities all just by them using their brains to make something new.
There are many examples of creativity in the everyday lives of students. New, hip dances; rockets; songs; clothing ideas; Fortnite; and other popular trends are all from the form of creativity. At Jamesville-DeWitt High School, students and staff utilize creativity throughout their days. Creativity is displayed in the arts, sports, assignments, and programs at J-D.
“I love the arts here. We have an outstanding program here in J-D… I think creativity is the key to bringing an organization alive,” said Principal Paul Gasparini. J-DHS studio art teacher, Jacob Brodsky, found creativity to be one of his top five character traits. “Creativity is a very complicated thing, and is not something that emerges out of nowhere,”said Mr. Brodsky.
J-D students also demonstrate creativity. “I think creativity should be influenced in every class, and used throughout the day… I feel creativity fuels me throughout the day,” said freshman E.J. Crabbe. “,” resumed Crabbe. “I think it’s powerful and it can go a long way,” said junior Sydney Baker.
Creativity is full of opportunities for all to enjoy. From implementing it into the arts programs the students do, to improvising in a project when the guide was lost, or even in the sports field when the other team knows your strategy. Creativity is influential and prevalent in J-DHS which creates a unique environment, making it positively creative.
Jamesville-DeWitt High School has done a great job helping new students from other schools feel welcome. This year, five new juniors and seniors have joined the J-DHS community. These new Red Rams agree that the other students and staff at J-D have made them feel like they have support and are not alone. “The teachers have been very nice to me,” junior Jeffrey Winwah from P-Tech said.
Winwah is one of the five students that is now a Red Ram. Prior to going to J-D, he went to P-Tech Syracuse. Winwah said the most positive thing that has happened for him at J-D is meeting the other students and having really nice teachers to help him.
Senior Kyra Filighera is also a new student at J-DHS who previously attended Westhill High School. Filighera agrees that J-DHS has a very welcoming community. “Kids were coming up to me and trying to get to know me,” Filighera said, while describing how Westhill and Jamesville-Dewitt differ.
Senior Meghan Pilger went to Carthage previously and also agrees that J-DHS is a very welcoming and positive school. Pilger explained that joining the J-DHS Varsity Volleyball team was the most positive thing that has happened to her so far at J-D. The players have made it easy for her to feel like active member of the team.
Andrew Goldberg used to attend Christian Brothers Academy and is now a senior at J-DHS. Goldberg, like Winwah, plans to join one of J-DHS’s various clubs. Goldberg said “meeting new people” is his favorite part of becoming a Red Ram.
Henninger was Daymarc Smith’s school before coming to J-D as a senior. Smith’s favorite part about J-DHS is the students and everyone he has met. He is most impressed with “the positivity they give out.”
All seems to be going well so far for the new juniors and seniors. Moving schools can be tough, but obviously the Jamesville-Dewitt community has given the new students a very warm welcome.
Just a year ago, some new faces at Jamesville-DeWitt High School were hustling through the halls of a different school. Starting a new school year can be intimidating for most students, let alone starting one in a different school, but these new sophomore arrivals make a tough transition look easy.
Almost all of these new students have gone to school in the J-D district before. Katharine Bennett started at J-D, moved to Maine for seven years and then moved back to the high school for her sophomore year. Sidra Jawed went to Tecumseh Elementary School, Fayetteville-Manlius until eighth grade, Maryland for a year and then recently moved back to the J-D district. Hannah Brooks went to Holy Family School and Christian Brothers Academy for three years and then moved to J-DHS. Although she had not been at J-D before, she did stay very close, with CBA right across from Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School.
One might think that transitioning into a new school would be difficult, but when asked if it was hard for them, these sophomores replied easily that it was not. “It was not as hard as I thought it was going to be,” Brooks said. Jawed also said, “Not really, because I’m a tenth grader, so I had that [high school] transition last year.” Bennett added, “Not really because I knew people here from before.”
In terms of differences between J-DHS and her previous school, Brooks said that her old school, CBA, did not have block scheduling. “I like [the block scheduling] a lot because it gives me time to prepare for my tests,” she said. Jawed and Bennett added that there were only minor changes in the way J-D does some things as compared to their old schools.
Moving to a new school is not easy, but these sophomores have handled it like true Red Rams.
Steven Baker and Tarky Lombardi
Officer Tiffany Pienkowski began her experience as a member of the Jamesville-DeWitt community on Sept. 18 2018.
Officer Pienkowski has a “great background” according to principal Paul Gasparini. This is her first time being a Student Resource Officer. Officer Pienkowski was first stationed as a Town of Dewitt Police Officer. She has been an officer in New York City and outside of DeWitt.
Officer Pienkowski works 7:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday with weekends off. Sometimes if there is a specific event or game, she may provide security to that on the weekends.
Being an SRO consists of many tasks. Some of these include patrolling the hall, making sure that everyone is behaving, checking doors, and making sure everything is secure . “First and foremost the safety and security for the students,” said Officer Pienkowski.
The administration is excited with the acquisition of Officer Pienkowski to the staff. “She has a nice personality, she is very interested in working with the students… and she has already made some connections with kids” said Mr. Gasparini.
So far Officer Pienkowski has had a great experience for her first few weeks at J-D. “ I love it, I have started to develop relationships with the student and staff, and people are starting to come to me with questions and concerns” said Officer Pienkowski.
“ I have always wanted this position…I think every school should have a SRO,” said Officer Pienkowski.
Lucas Bort and Reinaldo Colon
Since the Girls Who Code program started in 2012, it has reached 90,000 girls. With these numbers increasing, the gender gap between men and women in STEM careers has been closing. Although Jamesville-DeWitt High School is no longer affiliated with the Girls Who Code program, J-DHS has created their own version called The Girls Coding Club.
There are various reasons why girls have chosen to join the Girls Coding Club. Senior Rebecca Teitelbaum joined after taking Intro to Computer science and AP Computer Science in past years. Teitelbaum said the club the gave her the opportunity to learn more in depth coverage of coding. Like Teitelbaum, senior Amanda Sumida joined after taking computer science classes in past years. “I took computer science and AP Computer Science in my freshmen and sophomore years so when they started the Girls Coding club I thought it would be a good idea to be around other girls who were also doing coding,” said Sumida.
The Girls Coding Club has had a huge effect on the girls who have joined. “It has given me an opportunity to see real world applications of coding,” said Teitelbaum. Teitelbaum said one opportunity that came from her involvement in the club was when she was able to see the JD server system. The club has also helped students make new friends. With the program being for girls in grades 7-12, the girls get to meet others of different ages who share the same interests. Freshman Alli Good has made friends with some of the seventh graders from J-DMS.
Although the Girls Coding Club has done a lot of work to get more girls interested in coding, participation has declined. This has also shown up in math teacher Jay Lang’s AP Computer Science class, which has three girls in it compared to the 17 boys in the class. “We had a good fall semester, but the spring really dwindled down,” said librarian Mary Panek.
Although Lang’s AP Computer Science class is low on girls, his Intro to Computer Science class has one of the best boy-to-girl ratios he has ever had at 50:50. “I think that Girls Who Code is making strides, especially since it is only a couple years old and most of the girls in my intro class are freshmen,” said Mr. Lang.
In the past, computer science and coding had been mostly male dominated. “I don't think it’s tougher (for a girl in coding), I just think it takes a certain personality and sometimes girls just don't have that personality,” said Sumida. Lang, who is experienced in the career of coding, said that part of this might have been due to a lot of the curriculum being based on mostly male interests. But now, more girls are starting to join in. Next year, J-DHS is adding a new course, AP Computer Science Principles which Mr. Lang says will be more friendly to both genders.
Mr. Lang, who worked for a consulting company for five years before becoming a teacher, said that there were hardly any female coders during his time there. “I can probably count on one hand, how many (female coders) I worked with, (but) that is hopefully, I think changing,” said Mr. Lang.
There are a few volunteers that help make the Girls Coding Club possible here at J-DHS. As the adviser, Ms. Panek does the coordination between marketing and getting the word out that the club exist. She also is in charge of setting up the time for the students and the instructors.
All three instructors of the Girls Coding Club are students at Le Moyne university. Miranda Ryan, one of the student instructors, has been involved with coding since middle school. She is currently majoring in computer science and is in her first year of teaching the Girls Coding Club. “Our role as students instructors is to give middle and high school students fun and exciting projects,” said Ryan.
Most of the girls plan on using their coding skills in the future whether it is for future classes, college, and possibly in a career. Then, a new wave of students will come in and join the club and help decrease the gender gap in coding. “Things are changing pretty big...we’re gonna see over the next few years a lot more girls in coding in high school and thats gonna translate to college and hopefully that translates to careers,” said Mr. Lang.
Michael Bratslavsky and Johnny Keib
Today, Jamesville-DeWitt High School students and staff all rely on the internet in school to do homework, assignments, and daily activities. There are two new people on the tech staff who are tasked with the crucial job of making sure it works. Network administrator David Birdwell Jr. and network administrator Henry Burhans III joined the faculty in April, and are already helping improve the technical issues we face here.
Mr. Birdwell and Mr. Burhans have both settled in nicely to the J-D community making their daily routines and duties much easier. Their typical day consists of a variety of different things. “There’s so many facets of what we do,” said Mr. Burhans. On any given day, they might have to check the network status making sure everything is secure and running. Also, both of them make sure everyone else that is connected to the district’s technology is communicating with them to make sure everything is working. They address any clients needs about technologies and help fix issues throughout the district making a better community.
The two new members of the tech staff here will help change the J-DHS community in a better way. They have started a list of issues they have already found. “Some enhancements will improve not only the quality of what the school district experiences, but hopefully the betterment of everyone that is here,” said Mr. Burhans. They will be installing equipment, cleaning spam filters, and fixing network crashes when they occur.
In their previous jobs, both dealt with technical issues. Mr. Burhans worked at several banks before he settled into a job at National Grid. He would work there for 22 years before coming to work in the J-D School District. Mr. Birdwell was in Ontario, NY, to work with computers and face technological issues at a nuclear station.
They both liked their jobs and worked at them up until about a month ago, but when they saw that there were job openings at J-DHS they couldn’t resist. Both of them agreed that there are many more benefits of working in a school environment, like “less stress and better people,” said Mr. Burhans. “When I saw the job posting I couldn’t submit my application fast enough. The reputation of the district is well known,” said Mr. Birdwell who also prefers this setting more than prior jobs.
When most people get a new job, getting used to their new setting is tough. But for Mr. Birdwell and Mr. Burhans, that has been easy. “We are doing quite well. Everyone has gone out of their way to make us feel welcome,” said Mr. Birdwell. “Everyone has been very accommodating and very nice, and it’s just a very nice change from the environments we were used to,” added Mr. Burhans.
In 1990, the internet became a reality. When the it came out, Mr. Birdwell struck up an interest in computers, and his future took off from there. Mr. Burhans was fascinated with communication, and loved how things could be networked together. Both would go on to work at a variety of different tech related jobs.
After deciding on the career path they wanted to follow, they needed to get the proper education to pursue what they loved. Mr. Birdwell attended SUNY Alfred. Mr. Burhans went to school at Onondaga Community College. Mr. Burhans has his degree in informational technology, while Mr. Birdwell has his degree in computer and electronics science.
Mr. Burhans and Mr. Birdwell have only been at J-DHS for about a month, but they are already making contributions to the community. They will be here for years to come and will benefit the school in ways unimaginable.
Lucas Bort, Reinaldo Colon, Michael Bratslavsky
After a successful season with the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Math team, six students were selected to compete on the Onondaga County Math Team at states. There was an A team and also a B team, both consisting of 10 students from local high schools, like Baldwinsville, East Syracuse-Minoa, and Cicero-North Syracuse. Seniors Somil Aggarwal and Billy Leiker participated on the A team, and came out victorious in the state competition. Senior Kangbo Li, junior Ben Catania, junior Albert Wang, and freshman Xavier Plourde (alternate) also participated, on the B team.
The state division win came as a surprise for the J-D contestants. It was the team’s first time winning their division. “It was really nice, it definitely wasn’t expected,” said Aggarwal. Most teams at the competition lacked members who had been there before, which is something that helped the Onondaga County team excel. “We had a lot of experienced people on our team, and it was nice to know what we were doing,” said Leiker.
Math teacher and Math Team club adviser Michael Klemperer was very pleased with the performance of the individuals that made it to states, as well as the J-DHS Math team as a whole. They won against some of the best teams in the county, like Fayetteville-Manlius High School, during the regular season. “It was really good, it was the best year we have had in a long time,” said Mr. Klemperer. The J-DHS Math Team placed second overall in the county, behind F-M.
Although not all the participants were selected to compete in the state competition, many students gained a lot of experience. “Math team helped me to learn the basics to harder math,” said freshman Colin Revercomb. Along with that, Revercomb said that he learned a lot while working alongside upperclassmen that acted as “mentors.”
Another aspect that helped the team was their ability to work together. Plourde said that the team was very diverse this year, consisting of students from all different grades. Li said that the team’s greatest strength was that everyone could help each other out and get along well. Leiker added that everyone knew each other pretty well and it was easy to talk with teammates.
Many of the members on the Math Team said that they will use math in college and in their careers. Plourde says he already likes to use math a lot, primarily in his computer science class. Catania said that he will most likely use it when goes into business. Aggarwal thinks that he will go into a STEM career so math will be necessary for him. “Math is valuable in pretty much any career you go into, so we will all be using it a lot,” said Leiker.
On May 12 the Model United Nations Club will be hosting their second annual conference at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. There will be several schools attending the event including Fayetteville-Manlius, East Syracuse Minoa, Manlius Pebble Hill, Christian Brothers Academy, and Baldwinsville.
At the conference there will be a wide variety of issues discussed and debated. “There are security issues, environmental issues, and everything that’s troubling the world,” said Club President senior Somil Aggarwal. These are very important and pressing issues, so it takes a lot of preparation going into the event. The students participating in the conference have to study the issues and figure out what they will say when debating. “I usually start preparing a week before,” said freshman Linda Shen.
The people who have to set up the conference also go through a lot of hard work. “Especially since we do this ourselves, a lot of the preparation and hard work comes from the students and the advisers. And for us it’s our first time doing some of this stuff. So it’s difficult for us but a rewarding experience,” Aggarwal would add.
The Model UN conferences take a lot of hard work and effort from the students and people who set it up. Hopefully this year’s conference will be as big of a success as last year’s.