In September of 2007, two anonymous Stuyvesant students under the pseudonyms of Hiro and Chase founded the Web site stuywatch.com, in order to unite the student body against what they believed to be the unfair policies of the administration at the time. The Web site gained popularity in the following weeks as supporters hung posters that donned the slogan “Kids First.”
SWITCH TURNS STICKY
In December of 2007, the concept of the Student Union (SU)-College Office switch, first introduced in 2006, resurfaced. The switch would involve the relocation of all the student organizations that have offices within the SU (Big Sibs, ARISTA and Student Union), except for The Spectator, to the current college office. In turn, the college office would set up in the SU.
Those in favor of the switch argue that the majority of the student body does not make enough use of the SU to make it an essential component of student life. The college office, however, would use the increased space of the SU to have a more accommodating environment for interviews and organization.
Other students, however, are unwilling to give up their working space in the SU and put at risk their hang-out space at the senior bar. “Just because one entity needs improvement doesn’t mean you need to detract from another entity, especially from students,” SU President Jamila Ma said.
In the case that the SU agrees to the switch, the parents would discuss “what we could do to, for lack of a better word, reward them,” Weinman said. “It’s your space, it’s your territory. I understand why it’s important to you.” So far, the majority of the SU has voted against the switch.
In an effort to show the administration that students are responsible and capable of keeping Stuyvesant clean, Building Stuy Community (BSC) launched the Stuyspace campaign in January 2008. The campaign consisted of handing out free T-shirts and hanging up posters that encouraged students to clean up. The primary goal of the campaign is to gain more space for students to hang out in during their free periods.
Although the school did look slightly cleaner in the following months, the campaign now seems to have been forgotten.
TRACK TEAM ACCIDENT PLACED A DAMPER ON THE STUYVESANT COMMUNITY
The accident that befell eight members of the race-walking team and their coach on Saturday, January 12 had a significant effect on the Stuyvesant community.
Assistant Coach Erin Taylor was driving the girls to Dartmouth College for a race when the van swerved off the road. Three passengers, these being Taylor, junior Lucia Hsiao and junior Valerie Piro, were seriously injured by the accident. Taylor and Hsiao both fractured their necks and Hsiao also suffered a fractured wrist and a bruised lung. Piro was the most seriously injured with a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the waist down and forced her to undergo surgery.
All students except for Piro have returned to school. Piro is currently hospitalized at the Rusk Institute at New York University Medical Center.
A fund was created on Monday, April 28 in Valerie Piro’s name to help the Piro family. Alfred Piro, Valerie Piro’s father, said, “We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from the school, administration, Parents’ Association and individual parents.”
He plans to use the money gained from the fund to cover Valerie Piro’s needs after she returns home, such as extra wheelchairs, a ramp for the house and rehabilitation equipment.
The race-walking team has been fundraising through bake sales and T-shirt sales. “It’s just no matter how much we help her, it’s still going to be a great cost [to her family],” senior and co-captain of the race-walking team Huili Zhu said.
Those who want to donate to the fund should write checks payable to Stuyvesant High School with “Valerie Piro Fund” written on the memo line and send the checks to Stanley Teitel, Stuyvesant H.S., 345 Chambers Street, NYC 10282.
STUYVESANT REVELS IN INTEL SUCCESS
Earlier this term, the Intel Science Talent Search named seven Stuy students semifinalists and four Stuy students finalists—making Stuyvesant the high school with the most Intel finalists in the nation. In the past nine years, Stuyvesant only managed to place two finalists in the top 10. The winners from Stuyvesant were seniors Katherine Banks, Paula Bu, Tim Chang, Annie Chen, Artur Dmowski, Alice Fok, Olivia Hu, Andre Lazar, Elizabeth Min, Theodore Westling and Linda Yin. Banks achieved fourth place in the entire competition.
FIRST CAREER DAY
Junior caucus president Philip Kim and vice president Jenny Han organized the first Career Day open to all students at Stuyvesant on Monday, April 28. The aim of the event was to inform students of different professions. It featured NY1 reporter Roger Clark, former National Aeronautics and Space Administration worker Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, United Nations (UN) Deputy John Washburn, UN Human Resources Representative Nelly Keita and accountant Daniel Zica. Although the attendance rate was lower than Han expected, those who did attend felt the event was helpful.
TEACHER DEATHS IN THE STUYVESANT COMMUNITY
In the recent months, Stuyvesant has mourned the deaths of four members of the Stuyvesant community—English teacher Lynne Evans, chemistry teacher Dalia Bulgaris and former World Languages teacher Emil Lugo.
Evans was an active member of the Stuyvesant chapter of the United Federation of Teachers and is remembered fondly by and students alike. She passed away due to pneumonia in April.
Bulgaris was devoted to her students and enjoyed music and ballet. According to music teacher and chorus director Holly Hall, she attended many of Stuyvesant’s music concerts. She died from complications with lung cancer in May.
Lugo was the winner of the 2000 New York Times sponsored “Teachers Who Make a Difference” award and the Stuyvesant Japanese National Honor Society chapter is also named after him. According to the Stuyvesant website, he died from a “lengthy illness.”
THE NEW YORK CITY BUDGET CUTS IMPOSE NUMEROUS THREATS
Due to the failing U.S. economy, the Department of Education (DOE) plans to cut a sum of 850,000 to 1.3 million dollars from Stuyvesant’s budget. Stuyvesant already lost 277,000 this year as a result of a 1.75 percent budget cut.
Teitel worries that the budget cuts may obligate him to cut students’ classes, only being able to guarantee them their seven core classes necessary for graduation. The budget cuts could also affect Stuyvesant’s extracurriculars. In addition, Stuyvesant may not be able to fund replacements for teachers that leave the school.
Stuyvesant parents attended a public hearing on the education budget at City Hall on Monday, May 27 as well as a protest at the High School of Fashion Industries on Thursday, May 22. The Parents’ Association plans to raise an increased sum of money hoping to fund and gain back some of the lost materials.
However, specific plans for dealing with next year’s budget cuts are up in the air. Teitel will make decisions over the summer.