The Storm - October Issue


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October Issue 2015 The Storm Staff Editor in Chief Alessandra De Luca Advisor Ms. Topp Layout/Graphic Design Genesis Vega Assistant Layout Alessandra De Luca Sofía Langan Op-Ed Editor Samara Kleiman New s Editor Alexa Charak Sports Editor Adriana Rodríguez Feature Editor Robilee Frederick In-Depth Editor Abby McCarley Photography Sila Avilés Journalists Monica Aponte Claudia Arbona Sila Avilés María Báez Ivia Bou Victoria Calero Catalina Camus José Luis Casas Andrés Estrella Isabel Fernández Julia Glago Jake Grossman Patricia Hernández Olivia Katz Ania Santana


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October Issue 2015 By: Sila Avilés SJS Life Places  to  go  out  for  fast  lunch  close  to  school:   • Pinky’s • Moyo • Subway • Taco Maker • Burger King • Crush • Freshmart Saint John’s School Juniors and Seniors are allowed to leave the campus during lunch. For the first quarter, students are allowed to go out, if they bring a permission slip. However, for the rest of the quarters they need to have at least a B average. All that sounds great, but the question is; is there enough time to go and eat with only 49 minutes of lunch? *NOTE: Since this article was written, snack and lunch have been extended.   Enough to go out or Stay alive ? Do you have time to go to a restaurant or does it have to be take out food? Sophia Shapiro à 11th grade “We [Patricia Ferrer and Sylvia De Jesús] went to Freshmart and we had to run back with our food. When we got here, we only had 5 minutes left to eat everything.” 40 9 minutes: Is 40 minutes enough time to go out and get food? Do you have time to eat calmly? Lucas Miranda à 11th Grade “I don’t like it because going out to eat probably takes about 30 minutes so you only have 10 minutes to eat, and definitely no time to study, do homework, or play sports. Last week I went to eat at Subway, and there was a long line. So I had to run back to school and I had 10 minutes left, but I couldn’t eat it calmly.”   Do you prefer having different options of food or eating @ Alive? Catalina Camus à 12th Grade “I actually prefer eating in Alive, because I’m very indecisive. If I don’t know what food to get outside, Alive is right there, so I like how I can get food quickly. But sometimes the food is not that great, it lacks variety throughout the week.” 2    


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life ARTISTS IN SJS reshman, Camille Vidal and sophomore, Sam Rosero, have absolutely no idea that an art club exists in Saint John’s. How could this be? Deep in the hallways of Saint John’s School lays the hidden Annex where Art teacher, Maru Fusté, teaches more than five different art classes and advises the Art Club. She explains, “The art club is new this year, and is very informal. I expect to have students interested in different types of art come to the studio and work on their own projects, under my guidance, while By: Ania Santana learning new techniques.” The Art Club meetings are held Tuesdays from 3:15-4:00PM and require absolutely no previous artistic experience. 9th grader, Oscar Garnier, recommends joining the Art Club, "Personally, I really like art, it’s relaxing, and a nice way to get your head off of school work and stress. Getting into an art club can provide that for you." The Art Club is a great way to expand your creativity and get your mind off the books for a while. So what’s stopping you? For more information on the art club, take a look at the Clubs and Organizations Bulletin Board in front of the courtyard.     3  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life Alfredo Ortiz 9th NEW        STUDENTS   By: Samara Kleiman “I was born in Wisconsin, but I moved to Brazil when I was very little and learned Portuguese as my first language. Then I moved to Arkansas, Baltimore, and finally Puerto Rico. I love to kite surf. My first impression of Saint John's School was warm and welcoming.” – Alfredo Ortiz (left)   “My first impression about Saint John’s was that it was super small. My first day was sick.” – Noah Neugenbauer (right) Noah Neugebauer 9th “I moved here from L.A. with my dad to kite surf. The first time I went kite surfing was in Spain when I was 14. I now work after school in a kite surf shop called 15 Knots. My goal is to become a professional kite surfer.” – Cooper Marsh (left)   Fenimore Cooper Marsh 11th When asked about his craziest experience while kite surfing, Cooper responded: “It's all crazy if you’re doing it right.” 4  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life “I was born in Atlanta, and then lived in Hong Kong before moving here to Puerto Rico. I play tennis and volleyball. My dad is the head of the company EVERTEC. I think the people here are super open and welcoming.” – Emme Schuessler (left) Emme Schuessler 10th “I have lived in Atlanta, then Hong Kong, and now Puerto Rico. I really like Saint John’s.” –Swan Schuessler (right) Sw an Schuessler 9th Laurel Coomes 10th “I’m from Alabama. I moved here in January and went to Tasis for a semester. I decided to move to Saint John’s. I take the bus here from Dorado and waking up super early for it is a little much, but I’m getting used to it so it's okay. I was born on a Friday the 13th.” –Laurel Coomes (left)   More  to  come  in  our  next  issue…   5  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life Suarez:  Untold am S ón u z ar e Ro s b le Q: Where w ere you born? A: Cataño, Puerto Rico. I was born after the war and Puerto Rico was very poverty-stricken, so we decided to move to New York where there would be more Q: Who is your childhood hero? A: My father; Don Máximo Suárez Montañez was an inspiration and hero to me. He taught me how to read, write, fight, clean after myself, be polite, and to take care of my sisters. He wanted me to speak and write in Spanish and to learn about Latin American culture while I was with him. Q: Who is your favorite author/book? A: My favorite author is a Lebanese poet named Kahlil Gibran. I like him because he wrote a lot about human emotions. “My Broken Wings” is my favorite poem. Many of us tend to be oblivious when it comes to our surroundings. We forget that a school is composed of many people, not only students. There are people in these halls who have hopes and dreams, just like us students, and frankly we don’t know too much about them because w e’re too afraid to ask. As I’m sure most of you don’t know, Mr. Suarez who has been a part of the SJS family for about 27 years, will be retiring soon. With this article, I hope to introduce you to the real Mr. Suarez, who is not just the guy who says “Good morning ” to you   everyday. Q: What is your biggest success up until now ? A: My biggest success would have to be coming to work at SJS. It’s coming to an end, because I will be retiring soon. These have been very good years. I have had the chance to meet so Q: What is the one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already? A: I think that the one thing that should be taught in school that isn't already is self-respect. That is something you learn, but it is hard to teach someone. Q: What motivates you to w ork hard? A: The beauty and warmth of the parents and the students, it inspires me to come to work everyday. 6   Jo s r éA


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life By: María Báez How often do studen ts get to parody their teach ers onstage in front of th e whole school? This August, our very own Saint John’s School students and several teachers helped create the Centennial Play, which celebrated and parodied several students, teachers, and other faculty members throughout the one hundred years of Saint John’s. What did people really think about the play? Based on the students that have been interviewed, it seems that actors and audience members alike enjoyed the event overall. For example, when Mia Stipes , a 10th grade actress of the play, was asked what she liked most about the play, she stated “I think what I liked most about it was being able to see something that us as students put together and then being able to watch it grow...It really taught us that we could make something really big and make it our own.” She did state, however, that she would have liked to have more time to prepare the play, commenting, “Everything was kind of hectic near the end.” When Mr. Henner was asked if he felt there was anything missing in the play, he said, “Certainly there are a number of great teachers, principals and students who I have in my memories and could have been included. But they aren’t in the students’ memories and it’s hard to develop a theme around them.” It is clear that everyone had a unique take on the play, but, although the play received different responses, it most definitely achieved an important goal: gen eratin g a reaction in th e audience. It was the topic that so many people were talking about after the show, with everyone laughing at things they found hilarious and stating their opinions about things they disagreed on. At the end of an interview with Mr. Henner, he posed an intriguing idea. He said, “...Jesus, Mary and Joseph, wouldn't it be great to have some skits during the year about what life is currently like at St. John’s? I’d probably laugh just as loud as I did with   this one!” An interesting suggestion... Will the SJS community decide to try it?   7  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life Ms. Lorraine Insider By: Monica Aponte Yes and no. No because the cultural part is something I know; I know the students, the administrators, and the curriculum. Yes because managing my time and the duties of my  position has been difficult. The most difficult part has been getting out of the office and going into the classroom, which is what I did in my other position and something I wish to continue doing this year.   Has it been hard to adjust to your new position in the school? Do you think your perspective of the school has changed since you became the Headmistress? No it has not. However, understanding how difficult it is to run a school is something that has   position changed. This involves financial issues, not all education. Trying to raise money for new projects and developing the school is challenging.   What changes would you like to make to the school regarding student life? Getting the Hurricane Center to be something other than a place for just eating. One of my dreams is to make the Hurricane Center   come to life again as a place where students come together and study, relax, listen to music, and socialize. Additionally, getting students more involved with extra curricular activities.   8    


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life On the other hand, Ainsley Cotton (9th) says, “I really like starting at 8:25AM because it gives us more time to leave from Dorado, which is where I live. I used to go to a school that started at 8:00AM, but I like the 8:25AM starting time better because I sleep in longer and I also think 3:10PM is the perfect ending time.”   NEW YEAR New SCHEDULE By: Julia Glago “So one day I was going to snack late, granted, only three minutes late. The line in the cafeteria was very long, so I wasn’t able to finish my snack on time. I had Spanish next, and my teacher doesn’t let us eat our snack inside the classroom.” So what did Amanda Perdomo (10th) decide to do? “Now that snack time is shorter, most of the time I eat my snack in the hallway before going into the classroom because there just isn't enough time.” Amanda isn’t the only one with this situation; Taylor Finn (8th) seems to have gone through the same thing, “I like how we have more time in the morning, but after snack I’m always going into my classrooms with food since I don’t have enough time to finish eating.”   This doesn’t only happen with snack time, but some students say that they don’t even have enough time to finish their food during lunch. Lorenzo Arabía Amanda  Perdomo   usually pack and then eat, but one day I decided to eat and then pack. After being in the super long line, I didn’t have enough time to pack up for my next Taylor  Finn   Lorenzo  Arabía     classes and I ended up being late.”   With a few exceptions, the new schedule seems to be a hit with both students and teachers. Although there are compromises, especially during break times, it’s safe to say everyone should be used to it by next semester. So even though the snack and lunch times are shorter, people are really enjoying the extra time in the mornings, even teachers. Ms. Lopez said, “I like the new schedule because I feel like my students are well-rested, also seem to be more alert throughout the day. It gives me more time to have meetings or meet with students that need extra help. I feel the way the schedule was before, by 3:00PM students and teachers were exhausted so the brainpower input wasn’t there. Plus the way you guys are just way over scheduled, I think that the later start time helps to alleviate some of that stress.” 9  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life COMMUNITY SERVICE By: Isabel Fernández     Recently, more schools are stressing the importance of community service. In the past Saint John’s required community service hours to graduate. However, this year, the service policy has changed. The school will continue their service trips throughout the year. Even though the school provides different organizations, it is recommended to only work in one of the areas. The reason being that by dedicating one’s single attention on a single project, it makes the service more personal and engaging. Although community service can be a drag because of everything going on in life, we should take a step back and see the positive aspects of doing service work; for example it provides us with the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones and help others in need. However, there are mixed feelings towards the school’s requirements. On one hand, 11th grader, Rolando Jatib, who feeds the homeless weekly, believes that the school should not force students to do community service because those who actually care to help their communities will do it out of their own will. On the other hand, Katia Carrady, a Senior at SJS, believes the school should require students to do service work because “If you don’t push kids to see what’s wrong with the world and try to fix it, then they’re going to stay ignorant and in their little bubbles.” Clubs such as the Co mmu nity Service Club and the UNICEF Club offer students opportunities to participate in different service activities. One major reason students joined clubs such as these would be to finish their required service hours. This is no longer a drawing feature for students, due to the school’s new system where the school provides all necessary hours. President of the Community Service Club, María Báez, recognizes that and states, “It’s much harder to find committed students that are willing to put in the time and effort for their community because they want to. The old system motivated more people to join our club.” Doing community service provides people the chance to learn from the community and appreciate the blessings in their lives. For students like Katia, it has given them the opportunity to work on people skills and hone leadership qualities. María Báez, who visits cancer patients, feels that “The effort you put into something can really make people feel like they matter; and that’s an amazing thing to witness.”   10  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life HUMANS OF SAINT JOHN’S   By: Sila Avilés “Hi, my name is S ummer Powers . I’m an 11 th grader at Sain t John’s S chool. What is my bigges t struggle? Well, I move a lot. But, that's not really the s truggle here.” “My parents see houses and living locations as opportunities to grow financially and culturally, so we are always exploring. I’ve moved 10 times since I was born. Along with my parents and 3 siblings, I have moved frequently in Virginia, many times transferring to different schools. However, I must concede that my move to Puerto Rico was the most challenging. Puerto Rico has a distinct culture that I have never been exposed to. Frankly, I was really afraid; I didn’t really know anybody. We came during the summer so I had no friends to talk to, no one outside my immediate family to connect with. My parents threw me into a foreign environment, where I had to find my own path. My feelings were resolved when school came around because I met people that I could relate to. Initially, I connected with people originally from the States. I met Jake and Robi (sophomores), who knew where I was coming from. I asked them how they transitioned, and they said that it was easy since people here are very accepting. As a result, Jake and Robi have found parts of themselves in Puerto Rico. They have learned that it’s not black or white. From moving here and their experiences, they have grown and gotten a different outlook on life. I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I’m making a lot of friends. I enjoy my classes a lot. Saint John’s offers an atmosphere that is very conducive to learning, where everyone is enthused to learn. That really is what made my unfamiliar circumstance more comforting. Now, just having lived in Puerto Rico for 3 months, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. Isn't that interesting? I feel like I’m progressing as a person because I’m experiencing the world, as all of us will have to. I’m glad that my parents are letting me experience this major change in my life with them, because if I fall back, they can help me. I learn things from everywhere I go, from my birth-town, Landsdowne, a more rural area in Northern Virginia, in McLean, a suburban area where I moved in the fourth grade. And now living in a city, I've acquired vast wisdom through crossing different walks of life, which will help me in the future when deciding what I want to do. So, that’s one of my biggest struggles: finding myself.”     11  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life HUMANS OF SAINT JOHN’S   By: Sila Avilés “Mi mayor reto en la vida ha sido quedarme solo con mi hija, criarla, por que su mamá murió hace 10 años. Ese ha sido el mayor reto de mi vida y he salido hacia adelante. Mi hija tiene 13 años, y desde sus 3 añitos he tenido que ser papá y mamá a la vez”. – Víctor Ortiz “Always be yourself, no matter what. No matter how other people react, always be proud of yourself.” – Carlos Nieves   12  


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October Issue 2015   SJS Life TO SIT OR NOT TO SIT By: Monica Aponte Picture this, you get your lunch and look for somewhere to sit. Your friends are nowhere in sight, and the only seats available are in between people that are in a higher grade than yours. What would you do? Some   of   you   lowerclassmen   might   say   that  you’ll  rise  up  to  the  occasion  and  sit  with   the   Juniors   or   Seniors.   But   I’m   pretty   sure   most   of   you  would  go   on   a  search   to   find   your   friends  or  just  sit  alone.     Lowerclassmen   are   scared   of   the   upperclassmen,   maybe   not   consciously,   but   when  a  time  comes,  if  they  have  to  sit  with  a   person   that’s   two   or   three   years   older,   most   would  be  too  shy  to  do  so.       But  Juniors  and  Seniors  don’t   have   this   problem,   they  sit   wherever   they   want.   So  why   should   the   underclassmen   be   afraid   of   sitting   with   them   too?   Is   it   because   they   don’t   like   the   people   from   these   grades?   No,   I   don’t   think  so.  It’s  because  the  students  do  not  bond   enough  and  there  have  been  some  cases  that   have   made   them   feel   uncomfortable  sitting   with  other  graders.  People  sit  with  classmates   from  different  grades  and  conversations  stop,   they   get   weird   looks,   or   they   even   leave   the   I   believe   that   lunch   should   be   a   time   to   catch  up  with  your  current  friends  and  make  new   ones,   yet   I’ve   noticed   that   most   “inter-­‐grade”   friendships   are   made   outside   of   school.   I’m   not   the  only  one  who  thinks  so.     Both   Kyle   Tarbox   and   Porter   Sharpe   agree   that   students  from   different   grades  always   sit   in   the   same   place   and   stay   within   their   grades.  There  are  also  some  cases  in  which  they   sit  with  people  that  are  one  grade  above  them  or   one   grade   lower   than   them   but   most   of   the   time   they  stay  with  the  people  from  their  own  grade.   Kyle   mentioned   that   if   he   knew   any   of   the   Juniors   or   Seniors,   he   would   sit   with   them   but   otherwise   he’d   rather   stay   with   the   other   10th   graders.    I   think   younger   students   should   step   out   of   their   comfort   zone,   meet   someone   new,   and   eat   at   a   random   table.   I’ve   done   it,   and   it   has   helped   me   meet   people   that   I   never   thought   I   would.   13    


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October Issue 2015 By: José Luis Casas SJS Life Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Gutarra The start of every school year is full of new beginnings for everyone; whether you are a teacher or student. This year there are several new faces in the hallways, including new teachers. As done in previous issues of The Storm, we decided to interview one of the new teachers in order to make her feel welcome at SJS. I interviewed Ms. Gutarra, the new 11th grade U.S. History and 12th grade Puerto Rican History teacher. Originally a college professor teaching graduate and undergraduate courses at La Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico and Virginia Commonwealth University, Ms. Gutarra has only just started her new beginning. Q:  Out  of  all  schools,  why  come  to  Saint  John's?   A: I wanted to find a safe environment that also gave me academic freedom to develop my teaching skills; therefore, Saint’s John’s was the best fit for me. Q:   How   is   it   different   being   a   high   school   teacher   rather   than   a   college   professor?   A: The main difference is that you see the students everyday, and something that I’ve noticed very quickly is that I feel very emotionally invested in what I do. I truly care for my students, and I know I’m going to be crying at every single graduation. Q:  Tell  me  about  yourself;  describe  yourself  in  one  way.   A. I would say that I am person that believes in following your principles, even if that represents putting yourself in an uncomfortable position. So, for me, staying true to myself means maintaining my conviction toward human rights. Q:  What's  something  we  wouldn't  know  about  you  without  asking?   A. I am an animal-lover and a vegetarian. Q:  One  accomplishment  you're  most  proud  of?   A. I am really proud of all the time I’ve dedicated to my studies, the time I’ve dedicated to teaching, and being a nerd! Q:   What  do  you  hope  to  accomplish  by  establishing  the  UNICEF  club  here  at   SJS  (what  is  the  highest  point  or  goal  which  you  have  for  the  club)?   A. One of UNICEF’s motives is “Believe in Zero”: zero kids affected by extreme poverty and human rights violations. Therefore, if I’m able to inspire members of the UNICEF Club to believe in that motive, they will become part of an avid workin-progress that perhaps never ends in their lifetime. It’s a little bit difficult to measure accomplishments, but it is vital for students to develop compassion toward every single life story, so that they can truly seize their place as agents of global change.   14  


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October Issue 2015 SJS Life SJS Student Viewpoint   Summer Powers Homework Should Count Let’s talk about why we actually attend school. To learn, right? Well, most people are doing just that…the day before the exam. They don’t do their homework, so they come to class unprepared, sit through a foreign lecture, and walk away with little gained. They coast by until the test date, when they boost into action for a fleeting memorization session. Afterwards, all the information is lost. I love homework. Why? Because I learn best with practice. Practice in class in one thing, but when you introduce the material repeatedly, in your home, in your comfort zone, you leave a deeper imprint of the material on your life. With homework, the material integrates into your thoughts in an environment where you have the time to properly address it and the capacity to store it. Not completing homework affects everyone in the class. Have you ever been frustrated with a partner who didn’t know anything about the unit? If homework contributed to grades in all classes, more people would do it. The same students motivated by the onset of a test would be geared into action every night with their homework, assimilating knowledge evenly throughout the journey of the course. And if they still didn't take homework seriously and decided to copy? Ha ha, then at least I would get a group member who had seen the information perfunctorily and ingrained the words of the unit into their muscle memory before class. Solution: Homework should count.     Have a Heart, Stop the Hate I believe that the school should be part of a Gay-Straight Alliance network because it helps promote an environment of understanding and acceptance in the school. Furthermore, I believe it would allow us to fight homophobia and ignorance by educating the community on crucial issues like these. AGay-Straight Alliance club would also help bring students together, as they would be able to express their individuality and just be themselves, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The point of the club is to create a safe space where students will be able to speak freely and openly without having to worry about judgment or harassment from their peers, and create an inclusive community within the school. With this in mind, I would like to propose the creation of this club for next year, and start a test-run version this school year. 15   Juan Motta  



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