The Women Behind the Screen: QHSS’ Third Movie Day!

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By: Pelumi Omotosho

On February 17th, at 9:00 am, our school will be venturing on a day trip to see the movie Hidden Figures at Jamaica Multiplex. Much like similar outings a couple of years ago, during which we saw the movies The Great Gatsby and Selma, this “Movie Day” aims at entertaining and informing QHSS students. In its 127 minute runtime, Hidden Figures tells the untold story of three female African American mathematicians whose calculations were imperative to Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight program of the United States.

Hidden Figures, which is based on the book, chronicles the impacts of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, as they broke barriers in space and their professions.  

In the midst of pressure caused by a successful Russian satellite launch, Katherine Johnson was assigned to the Space Task Group, which made her not only the first African American woman on the team, but also the first in the entire building. Katherine would go on to aid in the dissolution of segregation within the Space Task Group and calculate the trajectory for the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon: Apollo 11.

Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson experienced similarly impressive breakthroughs. Dorothy Vaughan became supervisor of the West Area in 1949, making her the first African American woman to supervise staff at the center. She also prepared for the introduction of machine-computers that can perform the jobs of her and her colleagues by teaching herself and her staff the programming language FORTRAN. Her knowledge in the area would lead to her heading the programming section of the Analysis and Computations Division. Mary Jackson became NASA’s first black female engineer in 1958 and, after 34 years at NASA, would earn the highest title for an engineer. Her focus later turned to highlighting the accomplishments of women in her field.

Despite their very impressive feats, the stories of these women have been concealed for several decades. Hidden Figures aims to bring the undervalued achievements of these women out of the dark by telling the story in a way that could only be captured on the big screen. Hidden Figures makes it so that the incredible impacts of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson aren’t hidden any longer.

 

New York to Move Towards Free College Tuition

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaking to students at LaGuardia Community College.

By: Kevin Megnath

On January 3, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan to fully cover the cost of tuition for college students in low to middle income households. New Yorkers who are accepted to state or city universities, and whose household earns less than $125,000 per year are qualified to receive this government aid.

This plan resembles the proposed policies of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who appeared with Mr. Cuomo at LaGuardia Community College to discuss the plan. If the plan passes the state legislature, New York will join Tennessee and Oregon as the only states in the country to offer free tuition to students of community colleges. Not only that, New York will be the first state in the union to offer this program to four-year colleges. Senator Sanders also hopes to expand the idea of tuition-free colleges to middle-class families nationwide and believes that New York’s adoption of the plan will convince other states to get onboard.

Current tuition costs average roughly $6,470 (and $16,320 for students on campus) per year for SUNY schools, and $6,330 per year for CUNYs. According to Cuomo’s administration, the proposal is estimated to cost the state $163 million per year. Governor Cuomo expects this plan to roll out as soon as this fall, and hopes that every qualifying family will be able to receive this benefit by 2019. He projects that 80% of New York families are entitled to free college tuition.

However, there is some opposition towards Governor Cuomo’s proposed system. Opponents argue that free college tuition has little to no effect on New York households. While families would be entitled to free tuition, students will still need to pay approximately $14,500 in other fees. The costs of commuting to school, boarding, food, and other expenditures are not covered by Cuomo’s plan. Additionally, tuition-free college is limited to only full-time students, meaning many students who attend college part-time are not entitled to this benefit.

Nonetheless, Governor Cuomo still intends to roll out his plan as soon as possible. Stated as a “revolutionary idea for higher education” by Bernie Sanders, the establishment of tuition-free college in New York and across the United States would be groundbreaking.

Modern Twist on a Musical – ‘La La Land’ Movie Review

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By: Ashley G’18 and Britney Y’18

Damien Chazelle’s La La Land follows a jazz pianist named Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling and an aspiring actress named Mia, portrayed by Emma Stone. The movie takes place in modern day Los Angeles but also pays tribute to classic musicals such as Singing In the Rain and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

When watching La La Land, expect the film to be filled with mellifluous tunes and a variety of dances, from tap dancing to ballroom dancing to modern dancing. Although the movie is mainly about two struggling artists trying to achieve their dream, it also incorporates a love story.

The film includes a variety of scenes that take place in some popular locations in LA. There is the Griffith’s Observatory, The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, the back-lot of the famous Hollywood Center Studios, and many more.

Our reactions to the two hour movie were along the same line. We both believe Chazelle successfully captured and displayed the emotions, trials and tribulations of a person in the arts industry. Being a creative artist exposes you to excessive rejection and embarrassment– especially if you’re constantly going to castings for films, TV shows, etc. Throughout the movie, a recurring theme is “rejection can really beat a person’s self esteem.” However, Chazelle’s movie also displays the idea that with an encouraging person by your side, nothing is impossible.


Britney’s Rating: ★★★★☆

Personally, I thought this movie was brilliant. However, it was a little confusing for me to follow in the beginning considering I did not know what the backstory of the movie was. Before watching it in theaters, I expected it to be the usual boy meets girl, girl meets boys, they fall in love, the end. To my surprise, Chazelle did a wonderful job creating a unique storyline for the movie to engage his audience. Furthermore, the soundtrack to the film is entirely original. If you’re a music geek like me and you play an instrument, it’s almost impossible not to become obsessed with the songs. In fact, I looked up the music sheets of the soundtrack so I can play the music myself. Here’s a fun fact, Ryan Gosling learned piano in 3 months just to play his role in the movie!

Ashley’s Rating: ★★★★★

Since the day I watched the first trailer, I had been eagerly awaiting the premiere of this film. The idea of an original jazz musical with a modern twist on classics drew me in, and I had a feeling that it would have a lasting impression in one way or another. Just as I anticipated, the film proved to be original, inspiring, magical, and genuine. Chazelle brought out the best of the old and new in a way that complimented the other. I appreciate and admire the creative decisions that went into the film, from the camera directions, to the choreography of the dance numbers and the one shot scenes. In addition, the soundtrack includes an eclectic range of songs composed by Justin Hurwitz, with upbeat and tuneful scores, piano solos, as well as graceful symphonies.It also showcases meaningful lyrics and the smooth sound of the double bass and the vibrant trumpet. With that being said, I encourage anyone with even the slightest bit of interest to watch it. After all, it won all seven of the categories it was nominated for in the Golden Globes!

QHSS Girls and Boys Bowling Teams: Season Review

By: Dharam M’19

The QHSS boys and girls bowling teams have recently capped off the 2016 season with improvements in showings.

The boys bowling team, coached by math teacher Mr. Lopez, finished up the season with a 4-8 record, sixth place in the Queens II League. The tightest game took place on October 13, when QHSS pulled out a victory in the final frame of the game. The strongest outing came a day later in a victory against Bayside High School, in which QHSS put up a cumulative score of 1446.  By pinfall average (game score average), the team ranked forty-third in the city.  The team narrowly missed the playoffs, for only the top forty teams qualified.  The boys bowling team has been dominated by seniors for the last two seasons, with ten seniors in 2015 and six seniors in 2016.  

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The boys bowling team, with head coach Mr. Lopez.

The girls bowling team, under the guidance of Assistant Principal Mr. Reo, dominated the Brooklyn/Queens League with a first place win. The team finished with a 11-1 record. The strongest outings coincided with victories. The team won against Richmond High School on September 29, putting up a total score of 1160. Following the match with Richmond was the team’s October 6 play against Cambria Heights Academy. The team bested Cambria Heights with a total score of 1148. In terms of pinfall average, the team ranked twenty-seventh in the city.  Unfortunately, the team was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, losing against Beacon High School.  

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The girls bowling team, with head coach Mr. Reo.

Four seniors on the QHSS bowling teams – Sandra Cantillo, Jackie Shi, Henry Li, and Jerry Lu – were selected for the PSAL (Public School Athletic League) Individual Players City Finals. For the girls individual, Sandra came in 9th place and Jackie in 14th. For boys individual, Henry came in 9th place, with Jerry following in 11th place.   

Jackie Shi, captain of the girl’s team, offered a few comments on the experience of playing in the PSAL finals.

“It was rewarding to lead my team. Considering that most of the girls on our team were rookies and never bowled competitively before, I was really happy with the way we ended our season, despite our loss at the end.”  

She described her time on the team as a fun and enjoyable experience, and she encourages future QHSS bowlers to keep practicing. After all, “one [pin down] is better than none!”

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PSAL Individual Finalists (from left to right) Sandra C’17, Jackie S’17, Jerry L’17, Henry L’17.

Senior Interview with Sandra Cantillo

By: Ashley Gong & Britney Yee

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Ranking 9th in the individual borough competitions and achieving a high score of 202, Sandra Cantillo demonstrates one of her many assets on the QHSS Girls Bowling team. However, that’s not all to her; she loves helping her schoolmates and putting smiles on others’ faces as well.

Like all specialized high school students, Sandra took the SHSAT exam and got accepted to our school. What differentiates her from our fellow schoolmates is that she has a very optimistic outlook on life and carries herself in a way that exudes positivity.

We asked her a couple questions regarding school and her life, ranging from the best academic advice she has received to the funniest moment in her life so far.

Q- What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?

One accomplishment I am most proud of is competing in my first smoker. It was my first amateur fight in a ring,and I was so nervous but also excited to be doing it. I was training for a good 4 months, where I had to go through gruesome workouts and countless sparring sessions. However, once I got into the ring, I knew that all those months of training paid off, and it was the best minutes I ever experienced.


Q- Who is your role model and why?

One of my role models is Toph from Avatar the Last Airbender. She was born blind and treated condescendingly by her parents because if it, but she didn’t let that stop her from becoming one of the most powerful earthbenders of her time. She choose to take the harder road in life and accompany the Avatar. Also, she was a very skilled fighter and I’ve always admired her approach in a fight.

Q- Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the future, I see myself working for a government agency such as the FBI or CIA. I would probably have my own home with maybe a husband and children to come home to but definitely at least one dog, preferably an English Bulldog named Leo or Gaia.

Q- Describe your high school experience in 5 words.
Stressful, crazy, fun, new friends.

Q- What’s the best academic advice you’ve ever received?
The best academic advice I’ve ever received is to not stress too much when you fail a test. For me and countless other students in any high school, there is so much pressure to get the highest scores and so much worth in your overall average. Before high school, I was so used to getting the highest grades and being considered the “smartest” but once I entered QHSS and became surrounded by others equally as smart, I didn’t know how to process not being the best. Eventually I learned that it’s okay not to be the best, it’s okay to fail a test. There will always be a next time and in 5 years, people will not remember you for how well you did in school, but who you were.

Q- What is your favorite subject that you have taken in this school, and why?

My favorite subject would probably have to be Trig or Precalc because math is like a puzzle that at first seems impossible, but once you start to break it down and apply everything you learn, you are able to solve. Mainly I love how everything in math is connected and once Mr. Lopez shows you the relationship between two things, your mind is literally blown and the whole class just goes “WOW”.

Q- Tell me about the funniest moment in your life so far?

The funniest moment of my life would be when I was about 5 years old and just learned how to write. One day, my dad and I were together and I must have done something bad so he scolded me. I felt so hurt that I made a plan to run away. I took my sister’s backpack and put my stuffed pig in it along with a pair of underwear and a couple of chewy granola bars. Before I left, I made sure to write a note to my dad that said “Me no love you no more, Love Sandra”. I was only five years old and the only ending they taught me was Love. I left the note on the table and walked right out the door to my neighbor’s house where I was fed chocolate chip cookies and milk. My neighbor did call my parents so they wouldn’t worry and eventually I got homesick but that was my first runaway story.