Monthly Archives: April 2011

Greetings From Japan

by Marisa Kaplita

As much as any Branford student says they hate being here and wished they could go to a different school, they can’t deny that going to Branford High does have its advantages.  One of the coolest advantages by far is we are so close to Yale and therefore are presented with a variety of different exchange students each year whose parents came to America to study there.  In the past we have had students from Turkey, France, Italy, China, and this year we are presented with three Japanese exchange students.

Eisuke who is a freshman and Shunsuke and Hisashi who are both sophomores, came to Branford at the beginning of this year and are now used to much of the school, language, and wild American lifestyle.  They have been here for half the year and their English is improving immensely, but even Eisuke told me that, “the hardest thing about learning English is reading and writing.”  Which is true, we have one of the strangest languages and spelling systems, I feel for anyone who has to learn English as a second language.

Being a new student is a difficult adjustment, so begin a new student in a new country must have been a real shock, but they all seemed to adjusted well into our school and seem to be enjoying it greatly.  I’m hoping that they will have great things to say about Branford to all of their friends and family back home.  Hisashi even mentioned that he thought, “All the people here are so kind and the teachers are all very nice.”  He has yet sees the dark side of America, so as long as he stays clear of watching Jersey Shore while he’s here he should have a pretty good view of teenage life in America.

All three students are also very much into music, Eisuke plays the piano, Shunsuke plays the violin and Hisashi plays the cello.  Both Shunsuke and Hisashi play in the school orchestra, taught by the wonderful teachings of Mrs. Christine Cohen.  Both Shunsuke and Hisashi both love playing in the school orchestra and Shunsuke even said that,” [His] favorite thing about Branford High is that there is a class for orchestra.”

So, if you haven’t gotten a chance you met any of our new friends, make sure you do quickly, because Hisashi will be leaving soon in March, and Eisuke and Shunsuke at the end of the year.  We need to make sure they leave America with full knowledge of fist bumping, Lady Gaga, Fruit Roll Ups, and the rest of our goofy American ways.


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Set on the Pedestal: BHS Art Students Honored at the Scholastic Arts Contest

   by Sidney Mao

Our BHS community’s art students have worked long and hard before and during the December break to complete their submissions for the Scholastic Arts Competition. This is an art (and writing) competition designed to encourage the spirit of the arts in students across the United States. Students submit their best high quality pieces of art from different mediums including pencil drawings, paintings, sculptures, photos, etc. The competition is open to all American schools from grades 7-12. There are limited submissions per school and all works are sent to be judged at a regional level. At this level, contestants will be judged and can be awarded Honorable Mention, Silver Keys, or Gold Keys. A Gold Key grants the contestant a chance  to participate at the national level. From there, if the contestant is lucky, their piece will be exhibited in various museums across the country and they can receive grants or scholarships to art schools.

This year, over 140 schools participated in the contest with over 1700 selected total entries in the regional level. 296 pieces have earned Honorable Mention awards, 155 were given Silver keys, and 212 pieces received Gold Keys, the highest recognition; of those, 88 were Gold Key portfolio submissions.

From our school, 16 pieces have been chosen out of 25 submissions to enter at the regional level. It was a difficult decision, as our school fosters such talented and gifted students. Of the 16 entries, three of our school’s students have been recognized for their talents and efforts. Delaram Takyar, senior, received honorable mention for her drawing submission. Jessica Parker, sophomore, received a Silver Key for her works of photography. Finally, Grace Hager, senior, received a Gold Key for her art portfolio submission. Grace’s artwork has now been entered into the national level. “I think she’s got a good chance nationally,” says Ms. Paskiewicz, the coordinator of the contest at BHS. “It confirms her ability. We already know she’s great. We wish her luck on the national level.”

We congratulate all the students who have put time and effort into expressing themselves through their preferred mediums. Art is not a simple thing as it seems. It takes effort, energy, patience, time, creativity, and inspiration. The art department and faculty should also be thanked for  their support, encouragement, and teachings that give students the confidence and spirit to work. The BHS C-Wing has always had a reputation for having talented students shine in the spotlight, and we are proud to maintain that.

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Trip to Tiffany’s


by Marisa Kaplita

Electives are everyone’s favorite part of the day, because its gives everyone a chance to relax from classes and work on something fun or artsy.  And this past month the Jewelry Making Class had an opportunity to go and do something a little extra.  They, along with the guidance of the lovely Mrs. Donna Roy, took a trip up to New York to Tiffany’s.  They got to look at all the different types of jewelry they had to offer, as well as seeking out designs and patterns they wished to use on their own work back in Branford.  One student, Corine Yasevas said, “I found a lot of things that interested me that I could make myself in class.”

The trip was helpful as well as fun, especially because so many of the students seem interested in learning more about pursuing their work in class.  Jewelry Making is one of the more popular electives in the school, and with one look at the types of things the students are making it is easy to see why.  They must feel proud to make real jewelry that they can wear well after the end of the semester, it’s definitely a different feeling wearing something that you made rather than something you just picked up at the mall.

Class selections are coming up soon and if you don’t know what elective you want to take next year, keep Jewelry Making in mind because it’s a great class and an incredible opportunity to learn a new skill.  And it’s not just a class for the ladies, guys are welcome to sign up, in fact in the job world there are a lot of guys who make and design jewelry for a living.

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