Combating Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying is a growing issue not only in the United States, but in the whole world. According to, nearly 43% of teens have been bullied online and one in four kids have had it happen more than once. An even more alarming statistic from is that 90% of teens who have witnessed cyber-bullying on social media ignored it. One way that Academy of American Studies is trying to combat this rising problem is by having cyber-bullying presentations to help educate its students on the rising issue. Michael Grossman, a presenter, said “Putting the presentation together and preparing for it takes a lot of time and dedication, but I feel like we’re really making a difference. I think that this presentation helps the students understand how serious this issue is and helps them see how they can help make a change by simply speaking up.” The presentations were held in every english class so that every student could participate in it.

Written by: Konrad Czekanski


Climate Change

“It’s almost a different season every week” says Anthony Soto, a young man from a local neighborhood in Jackson Heights in response to the outrageous weather patterns. This Fall, temperatures throughout New York City have fluctuated drastically. The average New Yorker may have gotten used to the bipolar weather, but many people feel there is reason to be concerned. There is not enough awareness of the real problem at hand, climate change!

Over the years, climate change has been a significant problem that has been impacting communities around the world. The earth’s climate has been shifting for centuries, however, based on an article by AtmosNews, temperatures have increased rather dramatically over the past 30 years. This is mainly due to increasing levels of carbon monoxide on earth, and as a result, ice caps have been continuously melting. A statistic taken by NASA shows a 13.3 percent decrease in Arctic Ice and an increase of 404.42 parts by million in Carbon Dioxide.       

These rising numbers pose a threat to the human race, however some scientists have embarked on different expeditions to try to prove that Climate Change is a hoax. They said that in 2014 the Artic sea ice made a great comeback and heavy snow fall occurred in different regions on earth. Elmer Beauregard, a man who blogs on the subject in, believes that climate change is fake. He stated “If climate change was real, many kids wouldn’t know what snow is because of continued rising temperatures.” Nevertheless many of these expeditions weren’t confirmed and they don’t explain why polar bears as well as other species are declining within the arctic region, as reported by

“The globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015,” as revealed in a study by NASA, and these numbers surged again to new records in the past few years. This is partially the result of El Nino (a cycle of warming and cooling that affects the weather of the whole planet). All the extra heat caused by El Nino at the surface of the tropical pacific, releases vast amounts of heat energy into the atmosphere which could temporarily raise global temperatures, even affecting New York communities.  

According to, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuel has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The most damaging greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels from factories, negatively impacting the climate.

One example of this is in New York City’s streets as well as other major cities around the world which have garbage accumulating within them. As a result, 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage are dumped into landfills each year within different districts. In addition, a research study led by the University of Leicester, has shown planet Earth’s oceans and land will be buried by increasing layers of plastic waste by the mid-century due to human activity.

In New York specifically, a study in an article by confirmed that not enough effort is going towards these kinds of issues. People would dump their recyclable garbage in regular bins and vice versa, but who is to blame? “ There is not enough awareness within communities and with this ignorance, our negative impact on the process of climate change will continue to rise,” says Caitlin Doscher, a student at the Academy of American Studies. In September 2012, New York was named the #1 “America’s Dirtiest City,” by a Travel+Leisure readership survey that rated the environmental quality of 35 prominent cities in the United States. Without enough education about the issue people will often ignore the facts about climate change and will continue their actions. Lately, organizations such as the GreenThumb Youth Leadership Council (YLC) have been recruiting students to help their fight for Climate Change. Students are educated and volunteer at local gardens to plant and conserve the environment. “Without a clean world, how do people including students around the world expect to keep living in it, for their future” claims Anthony Soto.

Written by Mohamed Ghanem

Homework: Is it Effective?

Coming home from work, team practice, hanging out with your friends, or even from school, the last thing that’s on your mind is doing more work than you have to. That is what many students face when it comes to homework.

According to an article by, on average, students in the United States can receive as much as 17.5 hours of homework a week with each teacher assigning about 3.5 hours of homework. Homework usually consists of reviewing material that they learned in class to work that teachers were unable to complete in class thus making it homework. While homework is seen as a necessity that can enhance the student’s knowledge of the material they learned in class, others view it as a nuisance; work that is unnecessary and simply a waste of time. A question that is continuously brought up is the effectiveness of assigning homework to students; does it help the student at all? If so, what is considered too much?

“Sometimes homework is another burden” says Kache Foreman, a senior at Academy of American Studies, “I understand how homework helps us reinforce our knowledge in the classroom, but there’s a limit where it’s too much for one to handle. Teachers sometimes go over the limit which then makes it a burden.”

With the amount of work that has to be completed, a student’s social life might be affected severely as they will have little to no time for anything other than homework.

The main issue is that some students in prestigious schools such as the specialized high schools, Bard High School Early College (Manhattan and Queens), Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Millennium High School, NEST+m (New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math), Townsend Harris, and many others prioritize school work over life in general because according to an article written by, what they do now will mean the ticket to college.

While some students are able to handle the heavy workload and have a social life, some don’t have the time because of the stress caused by homework. According to Clifton B. Parker, a researcher at Stanford University, “56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, and  33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category.” These could lead to potential problems in the future which can include being uncomfortable talking to others. This may impact situations like job interviews, or just meeting someone new. This lack of socialization can create anxiety or nervousness when speaking to a group or large crowd of people.

This doesn’t have to be the case. People can get a high quality education without the heavy workload or stress that many face in the United States.

According to an article published by The Telegraph in March of 2015, students in Finland get an average of 2.8 hours of homework a week yet their test scores and education overall is still one of the top in the world. On the other hand, students in the United States on average have 6.1 hours of homework a week, yet our country is trailing behind Finland within the education rating system. However, it must be kept in mind that the demographics in both countries are greatly different. 89% of the population in Finland is from there while in the United States, except for Native Americans, almost everyone is from another country. The United States is way more diverse than Finland, which might be a contributing factor to the correlation of homework and test scores.

There are signs of changes in effect in some classrooms across the country where teachers are no longer assigning homework to their students. The chances of changing the status quo nationwide could take years as there will always be conflicts between the two ideas.

Written by Sammy Jiang

The Life of a Student-Athlete

“Tired, fried and sore” are the words student athlete Matthew Wotulo uses to describe his day at school after a big game. Student Athletes all across New York City all have similar experiences as both students and as athletes. Many have lesser quality in class work in comparison to students who don’t participate in a sports team. With a more demanding school system and large workloads balancing of academics, sports and family/social life can all seem very hard, and almost impossible.  

If you are a varsity athlete being both a student and athlete is no easy task. AAS student Bryan Vilchis, who is on the boys cross country team in the school (long distance running), states “By the time I get home from practice I’m tired and usually don’t even do my homework. It’s even hard to keep my brain working throughout the rest of the day to focus on something like homework.” he says. Students also rarely have time to spend with their family and friends. “I can’t even spend time with my family, there isn’t enough time and with all the work provided, I get home at 7 o’clock.” Sacrificing time with your loved ones is definitely something you have to deal with when joining a team. However, it’s not all that bad all the time. Many student-athletes have the opportunity to make new friends and bond with people on the team that they play on. “I met some of my best friends on the volleyball teams that I joined.” Says Matthew Wotulo.

A large number of student athletes find it hard to find time for themselves, usually it’s just school and their sport. A majority of those say it makes it hard to work on their studies in school. Statistics show that it actually improves their work quality on average compared to the student that isn’t on a sports team, interestingly. According to a research study led by the Los Angeles Unified School District, it is a good thing as on the average, student athletes were present in school about three weeks more per year than non-athletes and boasted higher grade point averages by as much as 0.55 to 0.74 points. This is due to the fact that these students are doing what they love and it motivates them to do well in school. They must also be present and have good attendance in order to play. Although this may be true, their brains are still tired and drained. Student athlete Matthew Wotulo says, “Even though volleyball motivates me to do better in school, I still feel tired, drained and dead throughout the school day. At the end of the day though, it’s all about time management.” If students manage their time correctly sports can boost their schooling as it promotes motivation.

Whatever your priorities may be and however you decide to manage your time will determine your experience as a student athlete. “Sometimes kids don’t get to play because of their grades, but that’s their responsibility.” says Ms. LaBarbera the Academy of American Studies coach. Before joining a sports team the student must first ask, is the sport worth working harder for, or not.

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Written by Saleem Zeideia