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Teacher tiers exposed: our educators ranked

Lauchlan Presley Associate Staff Writer ——————–——— Brighton High School would be nothing without its teachers. From the ever-conversational AP World Quinn-Clements duo; to the Madames, Senoras, and Frau who teach our languages on the upper floors; to the English teachers with their amazing classroom decor; and the STEM teachers with their inside jokes – these are the people that turn the educational wheels of our school.  But what some people may not know is what goes on behind the scenes of the teaching world; the tier system. Mr. Porta, president of the teacher’s union, shared that the teachers get placed into different groups of retirement conditions and salaries based on when they started teaching. This system is comprised of six different tiers. The Tier Six plan was introduced for public workers – including teachers – who began their careers after 2012.  The Tier system is currently facing backlash within the education world because of drastic difference between what is provided in each Tier. Teachers in Tier Six typically must pay out more of their salary for pension contributions and work for an average of eight years longer than teachers from previous tiers.  The retirement system as a whole, shares Mr. Porta, was created to “give dignity to people after finishing their career.” The Tier system, however, might be failing at achieving this. People across the state have been negatively impacted by these tiers. Now, teachers are asking for a change. Yet why pass this legislature in the first place? “The reasons why this is in place is because if other teachers are retiring at 55, then we must pay out more as a system, so they need people to work longer to afford that,” Mr. Holcomb-Pierce, a participant in the Fix Tier Six plan created by teachers, notes. For context, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) is the statewide teachers' union which Mr. Porta, Mr. Holcomb-Pierce, and Ms. Weeks, along with many other teachers, are part of. Former Governor Cuomo supported this union for a significant time, but after some comments he made on the value of teachers NYSUT withdrew their support. Mr. Porta believes that the instatement of this sixth Tier is, in part, a political response to this.  “I get it,” insisted Ms. Weeks, who is also involved in the Teacher’s Union. “But you’re asking people to work 10 extra years for the same benefits – in Tier Six a person makes 24% of their last five years of work averaged, but in Tier Four, it’s an average of the last three years and they would be making 50% of it.” In short, this means that the salary of a teacher in Tier Six is based on a quarter of the average pay they received in the last five years, while in the upper tiers teachers will receive half of the average of their past three years. This leads to a much greater salary for the upper tiers.   She added, “Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job; but at the end of the day, it’s a career and how you support yourself. So, you can love something as much as you want, but if you can’t afford to buy a house and you can’t afford to raise kids, that is going to hurt you. I know people who got their degrees in education but don’t work in the field because the salary just isn’t livable, and on top of that there is already a shortage of teachers in so many other areas, so this is becoming a pressing issue.” There is also the aspect of age, and the diversity of age groups within the school. Mr. Holcomb-Pierce added, “when I ask a student, ‘Do you really want me teaching until I’m 65 years old?’ a lot of them will most likely say, ‘Oh, no, I wouldn’t want a teacher that old,’ in response.”  Feeling the impact of the Tier Six disparity, teachers are acting fast. “We have been reaching out to our local representatives, and we’ve been sending out letters and emails as teachers,” Mr. Holcomb-Pierce told The Trapezoid. “And so far, I’ve gotten responses from our legislatures saying they will fight for us and they’re putting in the work so we can get more teachers in and avoid this crisis before school can no longer handle it.” The young teachers of the Brighton community are working towards change for the betterment of their careers’ financial futures. Whether this tier system changes in the future or remains the same, it can be said that the impacts of it can be felt throughout the Brighton community. Many inspiring educators are holding their heads high for change and equality, and we should wholeheartedly support them.


Gun violence streak shoots through community

Noah Biedenkopf Staff Writer ———————–—— Gun violence continues to be ever prevalent in the US. It is feared to such an extent that it is often referred to as a national epidemic. According to Brady United, every day, 327 people are shot in the United States; 23 of which are minors. Furthermore, as of 2022, the United States has 121 firearms per 100 residents, making it the only country with more civilian-owned firearms than people. The Monroe County, NY Sheriff’s office reports there are hundreds of victims of gun violence in Monroe County each year. In April, the issue of gun violence came uncomfortably close to our Brighton home.  On Thursday, April 11th at approximately 1:39 p.m., Brighton High School, Twelve Corners Middle School and Central Office were unexpectedly put on “lockout”. Lockout procedures were announced from loudspeakers and the district sent out a text announcing the lockout and that Brighton Police were investigating a matter outside the buildings.      The lockout was lifted 18 minutes later. No reason for the lockout was officially given, but the community has since learned that a pedestrian was carrying what appeared to be, but was ultimately not, a large gun.  Weapons of any kind are prohibited on Brighton’s school grounds and each school has a trained Emergency Response Team. BCSD does not require people entering its buildings to go through metal detectors but there are cameras located inside and outside district buildings and district emails are continually screened for threat warnings. BHS students interviewed for this article reported that they believe that the school acted correctly by going into lockout mode on April 11th. They thought it best that the district erred on the side of caution.  Taking precautions against gun violence is also the norm at other Rochester establishments. For example, Wegmans supermarkets employ Asset Protection teams at their stores whose job is to monitor and protect Wegmans stores and shoppers, especially in the case of an emergency.   Taking precautions against gun violence is also the norm at other Rochester establishments. Wegmans supermarkets employ Asset Protection teams at their stores whose job is to monitor and protect Wegmans stores. On the morning of April 24, Wegmans’ Asset Protection and the Monroe County Sheriff responded to a gunshot in the Wegmans Pittsford parking lot, just two miles from Twelve Corners. At approximately 9:22a.m., the driver of a grey Nissan with no license plate shot once into a car waiting for “curbside” grocery pickup. Following a similar protocol to BCSD, the Pittsford at Wegmans was placed on lockdown, which was lifted around 11 a.m. The store reopened to the public around 1 p.m. The Monroe County Sheriff’s office confirmed no one was hurt in the shooting and a suspect has not been brought into custody.  While gunshots unfortunately are frequent occurrences in the City of Rochester, it is rare for gun violence to occur in Pittsford and the Twelve Corners area of Brighton, and even more rare for it to occur in public in the morning hours at a respected grocery store frequented by members of the Brighton and Pittsford communities. However, shootings at grocery stores in our area do happen, calling to mind the mass shooting at a Tops Market in a suburb of Buffalo less than two years ago.    Two gun-scare incidents near BHS within a two-week span unsurprisingly raise the question of safety and security at BHS. Principal Dr. Hall believes that “We are as safe as a public school can be.” Dr. Hall also mentioned that while it is impossible to guarantee our absolute safety, school leadership, security, and the BCSD Emergency Response Teams do the best job they possibly can to ensure the safety of students at BHS.


Flock of flamingoes captures students' attention and hearts

Gigi Messalti News Editor ———————–—— The typical habitat of a flamingo does not include stair railings or poles in the Business corridor, but Brighton is not a typical school. This year, to increase student-body engagement in the visual and performing arts, the cast and crew of Midsummer Night’s Dream organized a glorified scavenger hunt, hiding 100 mini flamingos all over the school. For each flamingo found, one lucky student was entered into a raffle with hopes of winning a basket of candy and two front-row seats to the spring play. The BHS adaptation of Midsummer Night’s Dream is a somewhat modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s five-act comedy written between 1594 and 1596. While the setting of the original play is split between the court of Athens and a mystical, supernatural forest beyond the city, the adapted version is set in the 1950’s, with setting split between the Athens Drive in and Malt Shop, and the Woods Drive in Theatre. In both interpretations, a major theme is the juxtaposition between “the rules of the city and the absence of rules in the wild or woods”, expressed Mrs. Parent, director and adaptor of the script. “It is metaphorically the split between our intellectual and instinctual selves,” she added. In the 1950s adaptation, this divide was manifested through contrasts between the blissful, parent-free environment of the local Malt shop, and the more chaotic, rebellious environment of the drive-in theatre which was populated by the rebel gang dubbed “The Fairies”. As for the flamingos, “the connection is more about the interpretation than the Shakespearean play,” explained Callan Comeau, who played the role of Oberon, king of the Fairies. “We set the play in the1950s. Plastic lawn flamingos were invented in 1957. Mrs. Parent likes that fact.” “That fact” subsequently became the inspiration for the school-wide flamingo hunt and raffle. Leading up to the raffle, a group of cast members were given about five flamingos each and were assigned specific domains of the school to use as their hiding grounds. Taking pride in his flamingo-hiding skills, Callan revealed, “they were all over! I had the second-floor physics and business area, so …“I put one [flamingo] on top of the glass case outside of the career center, one on the pole by the business classrooms, and one on a stair railing.” As fun as it may have been for the cast to scatter 100 flamingos around the school, it is also important to note that this initiative was intended to serve a larger purpose—get more students interested and involved in the visual and performing arts. Regarding the type of crowd typically attending performing arts events, Callan explained, “typically, I’ve noticed that the majority of people who attend the shows are friends or family of performers.” Further, “the plays usually get the least attention and smallest crowds in comparison to the musicals and concerts”, explaining the push for engagement with this project. Overall, the flamingo raffle has been proclaimed a huge success. “I heard that a lot of people found flamingos not knowing what they were and started to hope they would win the raffle”, Callan noted. “Maybe it was only for the candy…but hey—there’s no way to really know”. Regardless, any engagement is good engagement. Other engagement efforts include opportunities for the various acapella groups to sing at sports games and including the visual and performing arts in the sports assemblies and pep rallies. To that end, Callan concluded, “I think it’s always worth it to participate or come see the shows because we work really hard on them—and they are meant to entertain the students!” Ultimately, the success of the flamingo raffle is two-fold. On the one hand, using the flamingos as publicity for the play prompts students to gain awareness in a more interactive and hands-on manner, leading them to be more inclined to attend. On the other hand, even if students find themselves scavenging without any intention to attend the play, the simple act of searching for the flamingos is a way to promote friendly competition and a sense of community. Very few students walk into school expecting to spend their day searching up and down for plastic flamingos. After seeing how this project—and the play itself—have played out, however, very few students would complain about the sear ching that they did.



Soiree: gaslight, gatekeep, galaxy

Lauchlan Presley Associate Staff Writer ——————–——— Kicking off 2024 with a blast from the past, the new year was rung in at BHS with a magical night reminiscent of the 70s. With special performances including features from Macapella, the Crazy Pitches, and the Bruinettes, Galaxy Soirée has once again outdone itself – if that was even possible to begin with. The night featured an alluring setlist of live renditions, poetry readings, karaoke, and even original compositions by our very own Brighton High Schoolers. The event could not have been held without the co-editors in chief Tara Lama and Ivy Bergin, who began planning the event a whopping three months ago.   Curious as to how Soirée ’24 transpired, Trapezoid sat down with Lama to get the inside scoop. Regarding the planning leading up to the event, Lama remarked, “It can be a really fun process but stressful at the same time. That said, it’s a very fluid process, too; you just have to accept that not everything will turn out the way you want, and you must be okay with that. It’s also a lot to work out the finer details of things like who is going to go in what order to keep people entertained.”   Naturally, all this effort would have been in vain had it not been rewarded with a considerable number of attendees. To spread awareness about Soirée, the Galaxy Staff “put up posters with QR codes all over the school and made many posts on social media — especially on the Galaxy TikTok page (@glxy83) — and encouraged all of [their] friends and staff to repost things in order to spread traction.”   Regarding the process for acquiring performers, Lama added, “we also went to some classes and presented what Soirée was, but we weren’t really focused on getting people to come as much as we were focused on getting people to perform. Because when you get a lot of performers, you get more people to come — usually friends and other connections. Lastly, differentiating Soirée from other performing arts events, Lama explained, “the high school always has things like acapella performances, theater productions, and musicals, but Soirée is a lot more personal and has a more intimate vibe with the audience because if you’re going, you more than likely will know the people performing and it’s more up-close and special for everyone involved. You probably won’t be able to see anything else like it around here.”   For a memorable farewell to an event that took a village to orchestrate, Galaxy Soirée 2024 has undeniably brought a community closer once more. Taking its graceful bows as it exits into the thoughts of next year, this enchanting night promises to continue uniting people for years to come. Despite changing themes, shifting faces, and occasional location switches, each Soirée will remain a magical evening etched into the memories of everyone lucky enough to attend.


Have Rochesterian snowfall totals fallen for good?

Jayden Vogler Associate Staff Writer ———————–——- Another lackluster winter is in the making for Rochester, with seasonal snow totals currently a staggering twenty inches below average. Accumulating snow on the frozen ground has been hard to come by thus far, and when it does manage to stick, it certainly does not last.   Rochester, historically one of the snowiest cities in the country, benefits greatly from winter recreation and tourism in the region whether it be through ski resorts, community ice-skating rinks, or ice fishing on lakes.   Yet, across the country, winter recreation is suffering because of these recent below-average snowfall accumulations. From 2000 to 2010, the winter tourism and sports industry supplied on average 211,900 jobs and $12.2 billion in revenue for the nation, with nearly $154 million in ski resort earnings and up to 27,000 jobs lost during low-snowfall years.   Snow and cold temperatures are fundamental to winter economies, but the threat of global warming is growing stronger each year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2023 was the hottest year on record, and likely the hottest in at least the last 100,000 years. Earth’s 2023 average surface temperature was 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit above 20th century averages.   Winters are warming faster than any other season, and cities that typically expect snow are observing fewer below-freezing temperature days. Looking ahead, one would assume Rochester faces a snowless future – but climatologists are suggesting otherwise.   The reason for these claims is that much of Rochester’s yearly total results from lake effect snow. The lake effect occurs when arctic air moves over relatively warm lake water, causing moisture to rise and quickly freeze into clouds.  These clouds become concentrated and move inland, dropping snow downwind of the lake. Since winds in the Great Lakes region tend to move from the west and northwest, locations along the southern and eastern shores see significant accumulations – and Rochester, situated on Lake Ontario’s southern shore, is no exception.   In a typical winter, the Great Lakes begin to freeze over by late December through January, switching off the moisture source and thus ending lake effect snowfall for the season. However, according to NOAA data, average ice cover in the Great Lakes is decreasing by 5% per decade, meaning increasing access to warm lake moisture, and as a result, more lake effect snow! Therefore, contrary to popular belief, cities in lake effect snowbelts such as Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse may see a subtle increase in yearly snow totals for the next decade or two – until Arctic air blasts responsible for lake effect fail to dip below freezing themselves due to global temperatures climbing.  National Weather Service climate data suggests that this increasing trend has already begun. Rochester’s 30-year snow average from 1981 to 2010 was 99.5 inches, and the current 30-year snow average from 1991 to 2020 is 102 inches. This equates to a 2.5-inch increase that, while small, is quite remarkable in the context of today’s warming world.   However, not all parts of Upstate New York will encounter these promised snows. Lake effect snow is highly localized, meaning some locations receive drastically more or less than their neighbors. Traditional snowbelts such as the higher terrain east of Lake Erie – including towns south of Buffalo – and the Tug Hill Plateau east of Lake Ontario will likely keep enjoying their snow.   Skiers at Holiday Valley Resort and Kissing Bridge may have more luck than their Swain, Hunt Hollow, and Bristol Mountain counterparts. Bristol Mountain, for example, is too far south and east of Lakes Ontario and Erie, respectively, to attain sizeable accumulations from lake effect snow – the ski resort will therefore likely need to keep artificial snowmaking in the picture for the long term.  However, climate predictions to such a localized extent are hard to pinpoint, so this should be taken with a grain of salt. The past two winters are proof that lake effect snow cannot, and will not, happen if cold air does not exist. Either way, snow shortages will eventually catch up to Upstate New Yorkers. Ultimately, a large sector of income for the region and local businesses will suffer.  Students and their families must keep doing their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – either through supporting carbon-reducing policies or investing in clean energy for their own homes – to safeguard winters for themselves and generations to come.


Dial M for Murder is sure to dial students into theater

Clara Milosevic Local News Editor ———————–—— For many BHS students, student IDs are just another accessory added to our wallets, never to be used in our everyday life. However, there is one thing a student ID can do: swindling a cheap ticket for an experience at the Geva Theatre.   Located in the heart of downtown Rochester, Geva seems to be a place overlooked by the young. Trust me, from seeing the surrounding sea of white hair while I watched their current performance, Dial M for Murder, it was clear that interest for theater amongst students wasn’t “a thing.” Referring to my teenage mentality, I was awestruck by Dial M for Murder and its widely proclaimed adaptation. The play was a rendition of one of Hitchcock’s masterful movies, a thriller packed with love, secrecy, and of course, murder. Set in London, the play featured a contemporary look into love affairs and social rigidity in the time of the 1950s.   Tony, a failed writer but a successful book publisher, is the mastermind behind a plot to kill his wife, Margot. The heiress to her aunt’s wealth, Margot, is a gullible wife who enjoys her simplistic lifestyle of housekeeping and visiting museums.   Hidden behind the curtain of Tony and Margot’s perfect relationship, is Margot’s secret lover, Maxine. Beginning as a friendship, Margot and Maxine became increasingly closer as Tony worked with Maxine to publish her acclaimed books. Maxine is American and her foreign influence unbalances the delicate social norms established in London at the time.   Soon enough, Maxine and Margot’s relationship is exposed to Tony after one of Maxine’s affectionate letters to Margot is uncovered. Abandoning his vows of loyalty and infinite love Tony’s only goal becomes taking Margot’s money. And so, that sets up Dial M for Murder. I will spare you the most stunning details so you can enjoy the play at your own time. To visualize the 1950s and the lavish lifestyle of Tony and Margot, the set is a view of their elegant living room. The deep blue walls, emerald-colored couch, and a constant source of booze all serve as components to illustrate Margot’s elite status the play examines.  According to a whispered comment from a fellow viewer in the row behind, booze “is the cure for everything,” and the characters seemed to certainly be in agreeance to this by their copious consumption of alcohol during every scene of the play.   To highlight the suspense of the performance, the set used an eerie balance of light and darkness to create deep shadows and an ominous feel to the play. Sounds of rain and riveting music made my second-row seating from the stage even closer to the fictional world of Dial M for Murder.  Though the setting choices and acting were great, my experience was dimmed by the fast talking of every character. This performance requires a keen ear to ensure major details and foreshadowing props aren’t missed. However, I found it hard to keep up at some parts of their performance due to the rapid paced speech. A slower speed would have allowed me to analyze details more deliberately while viewing, and for my post-show debrief session of the plot to not be clouded by obvious confusion and misinterpretation.  No matter how long my debrief might have been, Dial M for Murder was an enjoyable way to spend a Friday night. With its engrossing plot, fascinating set design, and perfect excuse to do something fun with friends, more students should venture to Geva. As a bonus, after providing a student ID, a student viewer can receive tickets for just 15 dollars if purchased online or in person within the last two hours before the curtains open.   Yayoi Kusama is a globally renowned 20th and 21st-century Japanese artist who left traditional Japan to launch her career in New York City in the 1960s. Known for her experimental and immersive artwork, her work is composed mainly in existential themes of repetition, infinity, and self obliteration.    Experiencing hallucinations and OCD from a young age, Kusama channeled her experiences with mental illness into her art and used it as a therapeutic outlet. The hallucinations often involve patterns, dots, and visions of infinity, which became iconic features in her works and were inspirations for the immersive environments she has made.   This year, Rochesterians are lucky to have Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever at our very own Memorial Art Gallery (MAG).   The exhibition was opened in September and will be on display until May 5, 2024, on loan from Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario. Let’s Survive Together is one of Kusama’s 20 unique infinity rooms. These rooms are not something visitors leisurely view but rather something they must actively experience. Let’s Survive Together features hundreds of mirrored spheres arranged on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. Those hanging from the ceiling are hung with invisible string to give the illusion of flotation. A mirrored column inside the room has circular windows on each side, inviting viewers to look at infinite spheres through a different perspective.    Visitors only have sixty seconds to experience the room and only four are allowed in at a time. Once sealed inside the small room by the curator, viewers are met with complete silence and infinite reflections of themselves. Each of the mirrored walls and spheres captures their image and makes them a part of the installation itself. There’s an awe and fascination at being multiplied in infinity.  Viewers can walk around the center mirrored pillar, avoiding the fragile mirror balls, both on the floor and hanging from the ceiling around the room’s edges. Visitors experience Kusama’s artistic philosophy of “self-obliteration” by being immersed in the illusion of endlessness. They become part of something infinite, straight out of Kusama’s imagination, as well as their own. With her infinity rooms, Kusama aims for a viewer’s identity to be forgotten as they “become one with eternity” and their “environment." It almost seems contradictory, as you see yourself everywhere, yet are erased.   There are a couple of pieces of wall text in this exhibit, including a timeline of Kusama’s life, that all provide important and interesting information that enhances the visitor’s experience later on. Arguably, the most significant of these wall texts is this quote: “The silver ball is also representative of the moon, of sunshine, of peace. In essence, it symbolizes the union of man and nature. When the people see their reflection multiplied to infinity, they then sense that there is no limit to man’s ability to project himself into endless space.”   The quote takes up the entirety of the wall at the entrance to the Infinity Mirrored Room and addresses the oneness of the universe, something philosophers have always discussed. For those wanting to visit the exhibit, the MAG is open Wednesday–Sunday. Admission is $9 for children and $20 for adults, plus an additional $5 for the Infinity Mirrored Room. Tickets for the exhibit are timed and must be purchased at the MAG the day of visiting. Niraj Lama, to learn about the history of the store, it was clear its history was richer than the flavors of our warm chais. Lama grew up in India as a journalist but found it hard to continue when he moved to America in 2010. Soon after Lama arrived, he realized being a journalist wasn’t a job he felt comfortable doing in his new home away from India. This discomforting feeling motivated Lama to forge a path for something he was familiar with: making tea.   Lama comes from Darjeeling, India, which is famous for its tea. In fact, while Lama was growing up, he would drink the beverage so often that he never fully appreciated it. However, once he moved to America, he realized that he couldn’t find many good cups of tea. So, Lama began selling his own tea at public markets in efforts to connect to his roots back in India. His small selling market grew, and soon enough Lama decided it was time to begin an established business.    The desire to create a business might have been easy to think about, but acting on his desire proved to be challenging. The upfront problem, at first, was how expensive starting a business was and the risks that followed. Lama described this challenge, explaining that, “in business you end up spending a lot of money to make money … you should make sure that you don’t overspend what you make. It’s very easy to do that.”  To overcome this daunting reality, Lama learned to be very mindful about how he spent his money, a skill he only mastered through years of experience and trial and errors.     Another challenge Lama encountered was importing tea. Happy Earth Tea sources their tea from India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Columbia, and Nepal. Importing a good source of tea can be quite challenging, considering the need to have correct documentation to ensure the purchase is reliable.Lama mentioned that he visits the tea gardens to check that the tea is of good quality to sell at Happy Earth Tea. Furthermore, the tea shop sources all their tea from organic tea gardens and from farming businesses that emphasize workers' rights. This made Lama pour countless hours into the research of possible fair trade businesses to buy from and sell.   No matter the challenges Lama encountered, it didn’t hinder his appreciation for the worldwide beverage. In fact, it deepened his appreciation for tea. “All of the sudden, tea becomes so much richer than you think … you know who’s grown the tea, you know where they come from,” Lama said as he reflected on the diverse cultures and people he has met over the years. In our visit, right as we entered the door, a calming and pleasant feeling from the staff enveloped us. And not to mention the sweet aroma of fresh tea! In the future, Lama hopes to expand to locations in nearby cities. As the weather grows frigid, Happy Earth Tea is the place to go for an experience that will warm you from the outside in.  Curtis into the Rochester Red Wings Hall of Fame on September 3rd marks a monumental moment for athletics in BHS history. Mr. Curtis currently coaches at BHS and has been doing so for the past 30 years.Coaches like him are instrumental in the success of teams and individuals who want a chance in competition at a high level. A coach’s job on a team is to provide guidance, support, and advice to the team to help them improve. A team’s success can mostly be attributed to the strategies and help that a coach provides.The Rochester Red Wings are a Minor League Baseball team located in Rochester, New York, and are affiliated with the Washington Nationals. The Red Wings play all their home games at Innovative Field, a stadium in downtown Rochester. The Red Wings were founded in 1899 and are the oldest continuously operating sports franchise besides the MLB (Major League Baseball) in North America. After competing for such a long time, the Red Wings won their first International League in 1966, with Earl Weaver as manager. Their most recent first-place finish in the International League was in 1997, with Marv Foley managing the Reed Wings. Having grown to be an influential part of professional baseball and the Rochester athletics community over the past decades, The Rochester Red Wings give awards to local coaches who have unique contributions to coaching and baseball.  In 1989, they started selecting people deemed worthy of the award. Among one of the first award winners was Joe Altobelli; the legendary coach and manager. Him, along with several other people were elected to the hall of fame because of their significant contributions to professional sports in Rochester.  When interviewed, Mr. Curtis stated that he had approximately 3 decades of experience coaching at the high school level, leading both varsity and JV girls’ lacrosse. Considering he has over 430 career wins under his belt over the span of his career, it’s no surprise he is being recognized. Along with his team, he has won 13 Section-V titles and has had 6 state finals appearances. He also stated that he was one of the first coaches in the Rochester area who helped kick-start high school sports in the community. He helped turn a miniscule sports league into a league where competition came from all over Rochester. He aided the development of girls' sports across the board.Mr. Curtis recounts that he maintains his team’s win rate at a high level by utilizing practice time during both the season and off season, explaining that it keeps athletes in peak shape and facilitates the chemistry needed to excel. He remarks on how the extra practice had a major effect on the team’s performance and confidence. He mentioned that he has coached approximately 100 female athletes in Divisions I, II, and III, some of whom have gone on to become very professionally accomplished athletes in their sport. When asked about what kind of strategies worked in girls' lacrosse, he elaborated that they have developed plays around switching up defenses, play zones, and trying to recognize who was the best two or three players on the opposite team to ensure they are locked up by defense. These strategies have worked wonders for the girls’ lacrosse team at Brighton, and Mr. Curtis hopes to accomplish more victories in years to come.Due to Mr. Curtis’ contributions to athletics in Brighton, sports in our community have bloomed into what they are today, attracting the attention and skills of hundreds of Brighton students each year.



In: BHS holiday flea market; out: fast fashion

Ellie Schnittman Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— The holiday season is all about the spirit of giving. Giving love, giving laughter, and, in this case, giving the environment a break from fast fashion and pollution. This year, Brighton’s Fashion Club and Climate Club showcased their commitment to the spirit of giving with the Holiday Flea Market, a joint effort to provide an affordable way to find unique clothing without harming the environment. Although the Flea Market may sound like a novel tradition at BHS, similar events have been organized in the past. “Last year we had an event called ‘Say No to the Throw,’ where we raised money for environmental agencies with encouraged donations. So many people brought in clothes to exchange for other clothes they liked,” explained Jade Inzinna, a member of the Brighton Climate Club leadership team. “Say No to the Throw” was an idea cultivated by Bridget Mousaw, Jayden Vogler, and Lizzie Stewart last fall. Looking back on the framework and inspiration for this year’s event, Jade credits their creativity: “Climate club wanted to do something like what we did last year.” Keeping up a tradition of fighting fast fashion, working with Ruby Brotherton of Fashion Club was a perfect collaboration to carry out this idea. With regards to the logistics of the Holiday Flea Market, the diverse array of clothing came from the donations of teachers and students. The Fashion Club and Climate Club collected and organized the clothing for two weeks leading up to and during the event. The selection was arranged in neatly folded piles and hanging from racks around the room, which was adorned with delicately twinkling fairy lights. The combination of the soft lighting, complementary hot chocolate, and friendly correspondents contributed to a welcoming atmosphere. The garments themselves were in prime condition, consisting of an abundance of well-kept, stylish options. The selection was diverse, ranging from casual jeans and t-shirts to elegant formalwear. “We have a diverse array of students with many ways to express themselves; it’s important for people to be exposed to different kinds of clothing without having to pay a super high amount,” Jade made sure to explain. Not only did the clubs lend a helping hand to Mother Earth, but they also gave back to the community, with all the proceeds of the event going to the Clean Clothes Campaign. This organization helps amplify voices in the garment industry. They deal with many enduring issues with fast fashion industries including low wages, unsafe working conditions, pollution, gender discrimination, and more. The members of the Fashion and Climate clubs were excited to see the success they had of this project. Jade was happy to help the environment and watch their hard work paid off, remarking “It’s nice to feel like you’re helping to fight something that is a big problem in today’s society. It’s nice to see people donating and helping an important cause.” The Holiday Flea Marked provided an outlet for eco-friendly shopping while still staying in check with the latest trends. Although the Holiday Flea Market was only open for one week, thrift stores like Plato’s Closet or the local Op Shop provide opportunities to ensure the giving spirit stays alive. Ultimately, the Flea Market instilled in all of us an awareness of our environment and the motivation to do our part in protecting it. Thrifting is a low-cost, high-benefit way to do so; even little lifestyle changes can make a big difference. The Holiday Flea Market was a perfect way to encourage these small steps.


The FABulous group promoting the arts in style

Maria Shalaeva Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— How FABulous would it be to have an organization which supports the performing arts, partnership in our community, and occasionally a little bit of style? Well, Brighton knows! Friends of the Arts in Brighton – also known as FAB – is a non-profit, parent-launched program led by Claire McLauchlin and Melissa Pheterson.   FAB works closely with our school district to celebrate every area of the arts and stay in touch with parent and student needs alike. Through clothing drives, concessions, scholarships, and responses to teacher requests, FAB is always there to support the community. Soon after FAB was founded in 2012, the group advocated for the district to renovate the BHS auditorium, which the district quickly acted on and realized. FAB has also organized teacher projects and festivals at the Brighton Farmers’ Market, raised funds to honor retiring teachers, and collaborated with the town to convert Buckland Farmhouse into an art gallery. More recently, they have developed programs aimed at increasing equitable access to all areas of the arts.  Now, making donated items available to students is a big aspect of FAB. They aim to reduce costs of supplies for the community while creating a more environmentally friendly way of sharing items throughout the district. This includes instruments, sheet music, concert clothing, shoes, art supplies, and anything else that can benefit a performer. Dr. McLauchlin expresses that FAB seeks to identify “the cost or the barriers for people who want to try out the arts...”, asking“ can we source the resources of the community to help people out?”  The concept of having closets of concert clothes originated before the pandemic at the suggestion of chorus teacher Sarah Staebell but was limited to BHS choral students. This year, after seeing teachers in other buildings so enthused about this resource for their own students, Friends of the Arts made the decision to “go big and make clothing closets for all performing arts students in all three buildings' students, which is great... It's an open resource for everybody.”  Our clothing closet at BHS is in Mrs. Staebell's room. Furthermore, if a costume or an item of clothing needs adjustments, or if a performer becomes attached to a piece, they can keep it for themselves. “If it’s your style and it would work the whole year, you can have it as long as you want. And we just ask people to donate back something that doesn't fit or donate it back when it no longer fits you, to pay things forward,” says Dr. McLauchlin. FAB will be more than thrilled to have students take advantage of their vast clothing closets.  Dr. McLauchlin notes Facebook as a connection to like-minded people in Brighton, highlighting how FAB receives many of its donations.   She recalls, “a couple of months ago, somebody said, I have all these dance costumes and I don't know what to do with them, so we checked with dance directors and started a lending closet for those... Someone else had a whole bunch of sheet music. And so all that got distributed to music teachers. And we also have a collection of instrument donations from the community which get rented to students at a much lower fee,” sharing how this giving nature of Brighton helped create the Clothing closet as well as other opportunities for Brighton students and staff.  FAB is also a supporter of the Summer Arts program, which includes visual and performing arts experiences for students ranging from elementary to high school. FAB sells concessions at events throughout the year and the profits are cycled back to the district for the Summer Arts program scholarships.  Dr. McLauchlin emphasizes the value of the FAB by concluding, “parents are happy to watch their kids be involved in the arts and have great friend groups. The arts are a wonderful place for people to feel like they belong. They can also often be a haven for students who are LGBTQ+ and there's so much that the arts give to students that help them later in life.”   Dr. McLauchlin encourages students and volunteers to participate in the FAB’s planning committee. Send a message to their email at to learn more. FAB recognizes needs change over time and they try to be responsive in what they offer, so they are very open to suggestions. This wonderful organization wishes to create a meaningful impact on people involved in the arts community!



Brighton falls victim to grand theft auto epidemic

Lauchlan Presley Associate Staff Writer ——————–——— Brighton, New York is commonly regarded, by both residents and the public, as a peaceful suburban town with a safe, tight-knit community and a diverse and outstanding education system. However, Brighton is not a town that is completely untouched by crime – in fact, it is plagued by motor vehicle theft. To give some statistical context, in 2022, the Brighton Police Department recorded a 55.6% increase in the number of reported motor vehicle thefts, a 165.3% increase in theft of motor vehicle parts, and interestingly, a 25.1% decrease  in the number of thefts from motor vehicles, compared to the year prior. At Brighton High School, Doctor Hall has asserted that he is definitely “only aware of one vehicle that was stolen and only one vehicle that was broken into. The first car was stolen sometime in the spring. It was a staff member’s car who was here for the SAT/ACT exams. The car was taken out of the (high school) parking lot in under a minute from the time the person pulled in to steal the car to the time the vehicle was out of the parking lot.” Speaking on the recovery efforts, Dr. Hall explained, “We collaborated with Brighton Police, and eventually it was found. I think maybe even a day or two later. The other car’s window was smashed in, but from what I recall, nothing too valuable was taken.” “Both incidents occurred during the day, one on a Saturday morning, maybe around 9 am, and the other one around 5:30 pm. If there were an uptick of vehicles being stolen during the day,” he added, “we would have to devote some sort of security body to patrolling the parking lot more than we currently are.” Though the principal praised BHS for its safety and finds that there is little car theft on campus, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the entirety of the Brighton area and surrounding communities. According to a Rochester First article written by Gio Battaglia, as recently as November 13th, Brighton police had to get involved in a case where two teens approached a Rochester resident and demanded his vehicle. When the man refused, the teenagers stole his vehicle. Fortunately, no one was injured; however, at this time the car still has not been located and the thieves have not been caught. This incident took place on Oakdale Drive, a mere four minutes from Brighton High School. A Rochester resident who was asked to weigh in on the issue responded, “I had the window to my Kia smashed last year, and then again this summer, my car tires got slashed.” The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, added, “Both happened in public places directly under security cameras at my apartment, and the thieves were never caught. Thankfully, my vehicle has never been stolen, though just items when I got my window smashed. But you never know, Rochester’s full of surprises.” Another Rochester native, Heather Major, witnessed her car being broken into in May of this year. When asked for details regarding the crime, Major responded, “My car was parked right out front of my office on East Main Street... I heard my car alarm go off and went out to check out what was happening. When I got outside, I saw three young men in my car with broken glass, and one of them was half-hanging out of the back passenger window. I went out screaming with my co-workers, yelling at them to ‘Get out of my car!’ They all ran away...” and “...drove off with about five young men in a car.” Although Major was able to record the license plate and photo of one of the attackers, this information was largely disregarded by the RPD. While she did end up getting her car fixed, the process took six weeks and ended without the justice she desired. Expressing her disappointment at the handling of the situation, Major added, “Needless to say, I was very disappointed in the response from the police and the attitude they gave off, having no interest in trying to catch the men I watched break into my vehicle.”   Finally, Rich Sidoti and Harvey Westbrook- security guards at the high school for fifteen and seven years, respectively – were asked about any motor vehicle thefts on campus in the past few years. “In the years I’ve been working here, there haven’t been many thefts or stealing of motor vehicles,” Sidoti responded. “Of course, every year there’s accidents like fender benders, but like I said, there haven’t been many thefts. A few years ago, there was an incident with Brighton students vandalizing school vans and vehicles on campus, esponded. “Of course, every year there’s accidents like fender benders, but like I said, there haven’t been many thefts. A few years ago, there was an incident with Brighton students vandalizing school vans and vehicles on campus, and then there was a time when a student on drugs stole the driver’s ed car and broke into the school, and I’m sure you heard of the car that was stolen during the SAT exams... If there ever were any, I think it’d be because some students leave their keys in or leave valuable things out on the seats, and if somebody sees that, they’re more likely to try and take it.” On a final note, Sidoti advised, “If you don’t want your car messed with, people should remember to roll their windows up, close the doors, take their keys, and lock the car. Even if they just did it, check it twice. It’s better than having your car stolen.” With all these findings and a very prominent current rise in motor vehicle thefts, one may reconsider seeing Brighton simply as a staple place of security. Though Brighton remains an excellent standard known for its top-tier education, safety, and low crime rate, just like any other town, Brighton is most certainly not a place untouched by crime.

It’s giving volunteering: Bruins spread holiday cheer

Vivienne Biedenkopf Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year, is a time of social gatherings, food, and giving. Filled with celebration and festivities, it is for many their favorite time of year. And what better way to share love and appreciation this season than by giving back?   For those looking, there is no shortage of ways to spread the holiday cheer locally. Opportunities range from big to small, including collecting for The Salvation Army, donating winter clothes, helping at Foodlink, or sharing music and joy with retirement communities. What better way to ring in the holiday spirit than by ringing the famous Salvation Army bell? It will be the second year that T Tombs, a sophomore, is doing just this. To raise funds for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, volunteers stand next to red kettles ringing a bell to bring in donations. Nearly all the money raised goes towards assisting the homeless, victims of drug and alcohol abuse, and many others.   When asked why he volunteers for The Salvation Army, T replied that he is fortunate enough to have a nice holiday season and wants to give others a chance to enjoy this time of year as well.   T is just one of many BHS holiday volunteers. Brighton students are volunteering their time all over the community, from Foodlink and the Red Cross, to churches’ nativity plays. Others are volunteering their time at soup kitchens, providing people in need a hot meal and company at a time that can be very lonely for the homeless.  Demand is high for soup kitchens this time of year, so many volunteers are needed to support these facilities. Some soup kitchens include St. Peter’s Kitchen, Asbury Dining and Caring Center, and the Open Door Mission Samaritan House.   Replenishing Rochester, a new club at BHS, is also offering volunteer opportunities. This holiday season, they are planning on volunteering at Cameron Community Ministries’ soup kitchen around Christmas time.   For those more comfortable donating than volunteering, the Brighton Food Cupboard and Foodlink are both accepting food donations. Many places of worship run food drives and offer other opportunities to give back as well.   Brighton students are also spreading joy at senior living communities, especially during the holiday season.   Harmonies for Healing is an organization of student musicians that performs at senior homes and other venues throughout the school year, especially known for their repertoire of Christmas songs during the holidays. Junior Evan Hoefen lauds this form of volunteering, describing his experience with Harmonies for Healing as a fun way to play music with friends and brighten seniors' days without much pressure. Further, performing for the seniors is extremely rewarding, as the seniors are “happy to hear live music,” without having to leave their homes.   Maya Torres-Panzer, a junior at BHS, visits senior living facilities during the holidays with her certified therapy dog, Crosby, through ROC Dog, a therapy dog organization. Maya and Crosby worked with ROC Dog last holiday season, a practice she wishes to continue so that she can “share Crosby’s cuteness with others (he is an extremely cute golden retriever) and give people who don’t have an opportunity to have a pet a chance to be around the very sweetest one there is .”   There’s no shortage of Brighton students giving back this holiday season and trying to make a difference in the community. Both inside and outside of school, there is a multitude of organizations looking for help. To get involved, contact any of the organizations listed above or Google search “Rochester holiday charity and volunteering” to get more information on local organizations looking for help.


Daily disrespect at 12 Corners — a closer look at Bruins’ behavior

Simran Mohile Gloria Milosevic Associate Staff Writers ——————–——— “Volume!”, a worker calls to the 3 PM rush of Brighton students after their undisciplined entrance into the store. Walking in, there was a noticeable mass of students waiting for their new seasonal drinks or refreshers. Once you squeeze through the throng, it is even more difficult to get in an order over the constant clammer of teens. Attempting to get work done before 4 PM is out of the question. Kids are seen running through the stores while being reprimanded by the employees, whom they pretend not to hear.   Even after the rush has ended, its effects are still apparent. Chairs and tables are in a state of disarray as employees pick up bags, napkins, and half sipped drinks that were left littered around the store. This is the everyday reality of the Starbucks at Twelve Corners. After interviewing employees from Scoop ‘n Twist and Five Guys, their cases seemed less extreme to that of their Starbucks neighbors. The employees said that the worst things to happen at the stores were kids leaving trash or in the most extreme cases — purposefully trashing the bathroom at Scoop ‘n Twist. Ellie, a Scoop ‘n Twist server, explained that after the trashed restroom incident, the students were confronted about the situation. For future disciplinary rules, Ellie said, “we’re a fairly new and small business in the area, so we don’t really have anything in place for that yet, but we’ll see what happens in the future.”   Across the street, Long, a Five Guys employee, said that he feels nothing should be done about the student rowdiness issue as no one has been affected by it and he feels it is not a disturbance to the business. “Kids are still customers, so we still need to respect them” said Long.  It’s no secret that shops at Twelve Corners get a lot of business from students during the day and after school, so preventing students from coming to a store would greatly reduce the number of customers and the income that the business would generate. This may be why stores are reluctant to create policies that would limit the number of customers, even if students are disruptive.   Employees know that they cannot do much to stop kids from being troublesome. “Kids will be kids; I can’t force them [to obey rules]” said Long.  Though some 12 Corners businesses are not considerably affected by students, Starbucks, the most popular destination for students after school, is greatly impacted. It begins with a group of students all ordering venti waters — the free beverage allows them to stay at the establishment without a loitering accusation. After their ironic purchase they stay at Starbucks for hours and treat the place as a playground. The workers have to constantly remind the kids that they cannot run, yell, and be a disruption to others in the store. We witnessed a customer praise the baristas for their and how much they appreciate all their work with the constant barrage of students. Afterward, the baristas were so appreciative they gifted the customer with a five dollar gift card.  Other stores like Panera, which sufficed the desires of Charged Lemonades and Baja Bowls is no longer a viable after school treat. The once popular hang-out spot for students, made a rule last year which stopped students under 16 from sitting without an adult. Employees at Panera declined to leave a comment, though, the ban is an adequate summary of their views on students and their effects. Stores in Twelve Corners have all experienced disrespect from students, weather it be trashing the bathroom, not cleaning up, or disrespecting employees, students have left a definitive mark on these businesses. The effects of the disturbances show that while some workers are not greatly impacted by students, it is still imperative to be considerate of them. Most importantly, this could be just saying thank you. Simply saying the phrase can make the busy afternoon rush a little bit easier.

BHS Perspectives: unfolding Israel-Hamas conflict

Isadora Moon Associate Staff Writer ——————–——— On October seventh, a Palestinian-based group called Hamas launched an attack onto the citizens of Israel. After decades of building tension, the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated into all-out war. Over land, air and sea, Israel was hit and hostages were taken by Hamas. Shortly after, Israel’s cabinet declared war on Hamas and started to launch their own attacks and recover hostages taken by Hamas. They mainly dropped bombs on Gaza, a strip of Palestinian land on the Mediterranean sea. In doing so, thousands of civilians were killed while their buildings and vital infrastructure were completely destroyed. Gaza’s electricity, food, and water supplies were almost completely shut off by an Israeli blockade and around one million of their civilians displaced. Hundreds of Israelis have been found dead with roughly 240 hostages taken by Hamas militants.The opening month of the war has sparked global protests, with many Israelis bearing the names of hostages held by Hamas while Palestinians and supporters uphold pictures of the men, women, and children killed by the assault on Gaza.The Israeli government and America’s president, Joe Biden, have come to an agreement addressing the humanitarian crisis that the people of Gaza are now in. The U.S has agreed to put 100 million on dollars towards humanitarian aid, and both countries will get said aid to Gaza during this time. The war is still going on. Many Israeli hostages have not returned to their homes, while hundreds of thousands of Gazans remain displaced and in fear for their lives. Brighton High School is unique for its large Jewish and Muslim student populations, creating unique perspectives on the unfolding events. Students were asked for their perspectives on the war and its effects, and here are their responses.  What does the statement “I stand with Israel” mean to you?“I support their efforts to try to defeat Hamas and get Israeli hostages back home,” (Hudson Sloan, Brighton sophomore). “When I see ‘I stand with Israel’ I feel there is a double standard and overlooking towards people's lives. It is also the lack of information and bias people do not realize they have,” (Anonymous, Brighton senior).“To me I think that means that you are supportive of Israel, maybe in a spiritual, religious, or in a financial way (donating), or in a political way. It means different things to different people ... empathetic to Israel,” (Anonymous, Brighton teacher). "People are in solidarity and support Israel defending themselves during this crisis. They have empathy for the victims,” (Anonymous, Brighton sophomore).What does the statement “I stand with Palestine” mean to you? “To help the people in Gaza who need support from being in the crossfire of this war,” (Hudson Sloan, Brighton sophomore). “When I see ‘I stand with Palestine’ it is for voices that cannot be heard, it is for standing up against a system that has been abused for decades, and it is not letting history repeat itself while conveying that I am not antisemitic,” Anonymous, Brighton senior). "You believe that the Palestinians need a place of their own ... you don’t necessarily have to be anti-Israeli, you are just recognizing that side of the conflict,” (Anonymous, Brighton teacher). “You are showing your support for the people of Palestine and having empathy for the victims,” (Anonymous, Brighton sophomore).How would you describe your personal opinion on the issue?“I believe that what Hamas ... has done is horrible ... I believe that Israel should do what they can to put a stop to Hamas ... but should do their best to continue to try and remove civilians before they engage Hamas,” (Hudson Sloan, Brighton sophomore). “I believe that Palestine should have every right to respond to the conflict that Israel does. There is a bounty of misinformation being spread, especially about Palestine, with many news outlets using aggressive words surrounding Palestine and less aggressive terms for Israel. I believe that Palestinians deserve to have a voice in the Euro-centralized and favorited media in the U.S, and that being allowed to talk about different viewpoints without being called anti-Semitic is important,” (Anonymous, Brighton senior). “I personally stand with Palestine because the attacks on Israel were committed by Hamas, not the Palestinians. Thousands of Israelis were killed but even more Palestinians were killed in Gaza,” (Anonymous, Brighton sophomore). These attacks have resulted in many casualties. How must all nations approach this global issue?“Nations should be spreading facts and limiting misinformation. Leaders should demand for a ceasefire no matter what side they support because civilians are being killed and have little access to food, water, hospitals, electricity, gas, and other supplies." (Anonymous, Brighton senior).“Israel has the right to protect itself against threats ... but to what degree? At what point is it defending yourself versus at what point is it retribution? It is tragic what is happening on both sides, innocence, women, children ... noncombatants are getting caught up in this. In a place like Gaza, it is so densely populated, so there are so many civilians in the heart of the conflict,” (Anonymous, Brighton teacher).“Negotiations and not automatically resorting to violence when a conflict happens, whether it is violent or not,” (Anonymous, Brighton sophomore). Israel is a very strong government with allies, while Hamas is independent. Ethically, how should both sides approach this situation?

Interview: Brighton’s 2023-2024 language interns

Lauchlan Presley Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— For over thirty years, Monroe County has been participating in the Amity Institute Program: a program where intern students from around the globe are paired with host families. The program aims to build international friendships and understanding of different cultures through foreign teaching exchanges.  Monroe County, specifically Brighton, has been partaking in this program for over thirty years, and has won a few awards through it. The program lasts from September to June, spanning the course of a school year at Brighton. This year, we’ve been gifted with two interns: Jill Lantermann, a twenty-two-year-old university student from Germany, and Luna Bautista, a twenty-one-year-old student from Columbia.  Neither of the university students are blessed with an abundance of free time. However, when they do have some time to spare, they both enjoy a long list of hobbies.  Luna enjoys embroidery, reading, and going out with her friends; usually, they eat out together and then gather at someone’s house to watch movies and eat ice cream. Other times, she likes to go dancing with her friends. When asked what she wanted to major in, Luna told Trapezoid, “I’m an art major, so I think I’m going for an art teacher. I chose the major in art because that was my favorite subject in school, and I also have a little experience teaching English. That is the plan, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen quite yet.” Similarly, Jill is very preoccupied with school and hardly has time for her many hobbies. However, when time permits, she loves to spend time with her friends, read fantasy novels, do taekwondo, or play with her two beloved dogs. When asked what she’s majoring in, Jill told Trapezoid that she’s studying English and Biology, recounting that, “English and Biology were always my favorite subjects in school. At university, studying science is not easy, so I was very unhappy with my major, but I was still private tutoring because of COVID-19. So, I decided, ‘Hey, I love biology, and I love tutoring, so maybe I should combine these two things and switch to teaching.’” Next, we asked Jill and Luna about some of the differences between the U.S. and their home countries, such as food: “I’m used to our traditional plate of meat with some rice and potatoes or plantain, a salad. Something like a grain, juice, and soup,” Luna responded, “then I got here, and it’s completely different.” Luna added that “what was very shocking was the sizes of drinks in restaurants.” Jill added that her meals in Europe were a lot smaller in comparison to the United States. “In Europe,” she said, “we don’t have free water, and everything is smaller. I remember I shared a meal with Luna at Five Guys and got a medium fry to share. It was huge; we couldn’t even finish it!”   For our final questions, we asked Luna and Jill about America’s nationalism. “I’ve never seen a country that [stands for the pledge],” Jill told Trapezoid. “I’ve talked to many people from different countries, and I think it’s a very American thing. If you go to Germany and ask a German student to sing the national anthem, they won’t have an idea of what to say.” Columbia, on the other hand, as Luna said, is a bit more patriotic. They will stand for the anthem, but they do not have a flag in almost every room like American schools do. They pledge allegiance, but only during assemblies and notable events, as opposed to everyday. As a finishing thought, Jill added, “I feel like right now we’re just having very bad culture shock, but I feel like it’s getting better, and I’m getting more normalized with the country. If you had asked me only two weeks ago, I would’ve told you how much I dislike it; it was a huge phase of culture shock, and it’s been hard adapting. People may not realize this, but simple things like cup measurements can ruin your entire day.”  Wrapping up our conversation, Jill and Luna both told Trapezoid, “If you interview us again in say, a few months, we’ll have an entirely different perspective than we do now,” saying that in time to come, they both will learn to appreciate all the unique differences between cultures and make lasting connections with the people they meet.


Brighton students form strong ties during red ribbon week

Daniela Nobles Associate Staff Writer John Luger Staff Writer ———————–—— Best known for the tiny satin ribbons that descend over BHS once a year, Red Ribbon Week has an unexpected origin story. Its role as a poignant reminder of the consequences related to drug use began in response to the tragic death of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985.   A lifelong law enforcement officer, Camarena was kidnapped and murdered while investigating a prominent Mexican drug pipeline. His wrongful death led to the establishment of Camarena Clubs at Calexico High School, Camarena’s alma mater. Members wore red ribbons and fought drug use to further Camarena’s work.   In 1988, with help from President and First Lady Reagan, Red Ribbon Week was brought to fruition; today, it is celebrated by millions of children in thousands of schools nationwide.  Though each Brighton school celebrates differently, one thing remains the same: each student is given a red ribbon. These seemingly trivial badges represent the belief that every person can make a difference, just like Camarena did. Over the years, the message has changed to reflect different times. Now, vapes and e-cigarettes have taken over as the predominant narcotic used by teenagers – and Red Ribbon Week has needed to adapt accordingly.    Reflecting on the objective of Red Ribbon Week and how it has evolved, BHS principal Dr. Tom Hall remarked, “[Red Ribbon Week] is all about healthy lifestyles and living a drug-free life,” contrasting that “back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, nobody knew what vaping was; now, vaping has become a serious problem. It’s the addiction to the nicotine that is putting a hold on so many teens here and all around the world.”   In recognition of Red Ribbon Week, BHS students took time to watch an anti-vaping video with their homerooms. This new focus has been the culmination of several developments such as bathroom vape detectors, regular security checks, and accessible counseling.    Throughout the year, BHS students are afforded the same level of support, encouraged to turn in any drug paraphernalia to receive drug counseling. Furthermore, a new partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center provides additional aid to those interested in a “Vape Escape” program. Brighton Board of Education member Dr. Susan Gasparino is one of many who play a role in these flexible programs designed to help keep teens healthy.   At the same time, Red Ribbon Week reaches further than current drug users. Brighton students were invited to participate in several spirit days that spanned from October 23 to October 27. Mismatched clothes, band t-shirts, Brighton apparel, red clothing, and future career attire all made an appearance at BHS. These initiatives aim to create a community in which fewer people feel pressured to use drugs — around one-third of vapers do it due to peer pressure or as a social activity — and encourage healthy choices.   At the elementary school level, this secondary point is essential to the program. Kindness and healthy lifestyles are emphasized; in past years, students have watched videos on smart decision-making, self-acceptance, and the Brighton Believes qualities of kindness and respect towards others. These practices are intended to create a safe, open, and welcoming environment for each and every student. Within the Brighton school district and community, fighting the onslaught of drugs through cultivating strong interpersonal connections are key priorities for administrators and parents. Such connections engender a greater sense of community and self-control. Ultimately, Red Ribbon Week serves as a time to recognize anti-drug fighters like Camarena and instill similar values in Brighton students. These principles will last a lifetime.

S.H.E.L.L. procedures simplify BHS safety advice

Shelter in Place: when it is safer inside the building. Report to the nearest classroom! If outside, return inside immediately! Lock up (windows and doors)! Take roll! Warning: You may need to move to another area during this procedure! This method is used when there is a threat outside the building! This procedure will end via an announcement on the PA System. Hold In Place: short term emergency meant to clear the halls and restrict movement. Report to the nearest classroom! Lock up (just doors this time)! Continue class instruction. Stay vigilant for updates over the announcements! Take roll! This process is used during medical emergencies to ensure that the hallways are clear for the gurney to travel through! It will be announced on the PA system when the procedure is over. Evacuate: evacuate everyone from the building. Leave your personal belongings behind! Staff are exempt from this rule and required to bring their phones, computers, and any other personal belongings they desire! Go to the advised area (the turf or TCMS). Lock classroom doors after exiting. Organize in the designated area by grade and homeroom. Take roll! After you make a rapid exit from the classroom, stop to ensure the door is locked. Then, head to the designated area! Lockout: students and staff are locked inside the building for threats that are outside school buildings. Lock all exterior doors and windows. Outdoor activities are suspended: return inside. Continue classroom instruction. Take roll! Stay vigilant for updates and instructions on the status of the threat! A Lockout will end with a PA system announcement. Lockdown: secure students and staff inside classrooms during threats inside the school. Gather students from hallways into classrooms. Lock the door and turn off the lights. Keep quiet, silence cell phones! Stay hidden. DO NOT: communicate. DO NOT: respond to PA announcements. DO NOT: respond to fire alarm (unless you see fire). Take roll! Do not forget to barricade doors and windows if necessary! Remain in hiding until released by a school official or law enforcement officer.

COVID-19 sees yet another back-to-school spike

Since the first day students returned to their classrooms, a new COVID subvariant of omicron was rising. Monroe County has expected new variants and spikes post pandemic, and New York State is preparing to deal with it. As of October first, 2023, Monroe Country has reported 133 active cases. Governor Kathy Hochul updated New York on the CDC’s approval of an upgraded virus vaccine and is urging citizens to get the shot once it is available. “... this updated vaccine addresses newer strains of the virus that are currently circulating,” she states. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will cover the COVID-19 vaccines, giving many New York State citizens access with little to no copay at their primary care providers or local pharmacies like Wegmans or CVS. Brighton High School is no longer tracking COVID-19 cases, but that doesn’t mean the virus is gone. “It’s prevalent, it’s with us, and it’s becoming to the point where we are going to be living with it, probably on an annual basis,” says principal Dr. Hall. Multiple students and faculty have taken leave due to illness this year. According to Ms. Clark, one of Brighton’s school nurses, the day a student tests positive, they must stay in isolation for at least five days to keep others safe. Many students and parents are concerned that the rising cases could potentially shut down the schools again, but Dr. Hall assures that this scenario is unlikely. He believes that “... there is a different climate, more research, more vaccines, and more medications… I can’t imagine the world shutting down the way it did before.” However, Dr. Hall concedes that no one “can predict the future...there certainly could be and most likely will be a new thing that happens in the world that could cause a lot of illness, but as far as COVID goes, they are getting a good hold on the variants, the vaccines are changing.” When students return to school, masks are recommended. In addition, the school advises that students follow the new updated CDC guidelines. These recommend universal masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. As years pass, COVID is becoming an annual but not dangerous visitor, like the unfortunately unbeatable flu or common cold.

Should students call teachers by their first or last names?

Would you call your teachers by their first name? Would teachers and faculty be comfortable being referred to by their first name by you? Would school staff prefer to be on a mutual first-name basis? In mid-September, an anonymous survey was sent out to all Brighton High School staff to investigate this question. The vast majority of faculty at Brighton High School are already referred to by their last names by students. Whilst there were no teachers on our survey who said they were already referred to by their first name with students, some of them recorded that they would like to be. One of these teachers is Ms. Annese, an English teacher here at BHS. In an interview held with Ms. Annese, she told Trapezoid that if given the option, she would prefer to be on a first-name basis with her students. She’s currently referred to by her last name, but she’d like to create a sense of familiarity with students in the belief that students would begin to view their educators as human beings, not just people required to teach. However, she said, this would come with some exceptions: if her students were to begin to call her by her first name, she would want this to be a whole school policy. Having this as a vacuum policy could result in alienation from her students and could create too much of a sense of familiarity, making discipline and classroom order harder to execute. Other interviewees had similar thoughts to this: for instance, Mr. Enis. Mr. Enis, one of the Brighton High School librarians, is currently referred to by his last name in school settings. In an interview, Mr. Enis was asked if he’d be comfortable with being referred to by his first name, to which he said, “I think I’d be uncomfortable with it. Some other teachers might feel a different way, but I’d be concerned with the loss of professionalism & respect in school.” This was a common theme throughout all interviews: that teachers would fear the downgraded level of respect their students had towards them. Mr. Enis also added that he would be ready for this change, but that he doesn’t believe that the students themselves are ready for it, especially not freshmen. “Mutual respect and trust are built,” he told the Trapezoid. “With new students, there is no trust yet.” Moreover, he described how when he was younger, there were strict limitations on how one could refer to a superior. Even with his neighbors, they were always on a last-name basis unless they were close family friends, as that’s how he’d referred to them all his life. In the unlikely event that the state of New York changed its school policies and allowed students to call their teachers by their first name, one person would undergo the change without question: Brighton High School’s Principal, Dr. Hall. Whilst he told Trapezoid that he would not be necessarily comfortable with this change, he would be willing to follow it without question. He believes that a first name basis is too friendly for students with their teachers/staff. Even though Dr. Hall is on the side of students using last names, he occasionally will make an exception. For example, if he were to go on a summer trip with students, he would be fine being referred to by his first name, Tom. He also told the Trapezoid, “if, on the day of graduation or after, a student wants to call me by my first name, then by that time, the student has earned the right to do so.” While 71% of faculty that responded to Trapezoid’s survey said they would dislike being called by their first name by students, some teachers in Brighton have different opinions. In the survey, roughly 21% of the participants remained neutral in their answers to their preferability of being referred to by their first or last name, and 8% said they would embrace this change. Based on comfortability with a first name basis, an additional 11% remained neutral, and 18% of teachers recorded that they would be comfortable with it. Regardless, students will continue to call their Brighton teachers and faculty by their last name for the foreseeable future.

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