Category Archives: School Stories

Thinking Outside the “Unit Circle”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mrs. Craig has made new use of the after Christmas clearance sales, but what use is tinsel to a Precalc class?  The class had created a HUMAN UNIT CIRCLE; a unit circle is basically a circle split by different degrees to create right triangles.  They used this arrangement of Christmas left overs to review their material for the midterm and practice working out different problems.  This was only one of different activities the Preclac classes were involved in to get themselves ready to take the two hour test.  This just goes to show that anything can help you study, and the more creative the better!

Photo Credit: Jess Rodi and Danielle Craig


Comments Off on Thinking Outside the “Unit Circle”

Filed under School Stories

Branford Goes Green

by Vinny Roca

You may have noticed that there have been some changes to the lights in the commons and on senior balcony. Since the construction of the commons incandescent bulbs have been wasting energy, inefficiently lighting the common, but recently these light have been replaced with energy efficient LED lights.

So why the sudden change? Mr. Panagoulias responded by saying that the, “The change was not mandatory but part of an energy saving initiative in Branford Public Schools.” He also noted that the changes in the light bulbs are just the beginning of a long line in changes made on all Branford Schools to save energy.

Comments Off on Branford Goes Green

Filed under Lifestyles, School Stories

Take Classes without Leaving Your Couch

by Nina Mariotti

Since 2006, high schools have been offering online classes. This yea is Branford High School’s first year participating in the Virtual High School program. 40 students from Branford were piloted to take classes in VHS.

So far, the program has been running smoothly. In fact, the board of education is so pleased with the success of the program that they’re hoping to one day have it be a requirement for BHS students. “It’s a long term goal-maybe 3-5 years from now-to have every student [at BHS] have the requirement to take a class online,” says Mr. Panagoulias.

Some students may be wondering why exactly we should be taking online classes. What’s wrong with the classes we take every day at school? Mr. Bouley, the only teacher at BHS to teach an online class so far, says while of course our day-to-day school classes are always a good way to learn, online classes will enrich your learning in a different kind of way

“It’s a very different experience, teaching in a [physical] classroom with students and one online,” he said. “It’s hard to say which one is better…online students are very independent learners… and can get individual help from me. My classes here have the benefit of hearing stories from myself and working with other students.” In addition to teaching AP psychology classes here at BHS, Bouely teaches an online philosophy class.

Mr. Panagoulias is hoping to get more teachers like Mr. Bouely to teach an online class, because for every one teacher our school contributes, we get about 50 seats for students to join the program.

The world around us is always changing, and the use of technology is growing all the time. “It’s important”, as Mr. Panagoulias says, “for our students to work with technology skills.  It will be very good to have those skills when they go to college and in the work space.”

Continue reading

Comments Off on Take Classes without Leaving Your Couch

Filed under School Stories

Faulty Fire alarms?

by Vinny Roca

You may have noticed the firefighters going around the schools for the past few weeks and wondered what they are doing at our school. The reason was that our fire alarm system was down and useless during the past weeks so firefighters stood guard in our hallways, protecting us, while at the same time receiving hefty overtime dollars. The reason for the malfunction was a fire in the school around three weeks ago.

With the fire came many rumors. One student, who chose to remain nameless, told the Buzz he heard that, “Dr. Chen caused the fire.” Another student told the Buzz that, “Someone told me a girl left a curling iron in the bathroom…or was it a hair straightener.” However, the rumors were in this case only rumors. Mr. Panagoulias explained that there was no fire, but rather, “A sprinkler head malfunctioned in a food storage area of the cafeteria.  This caused a technological malfunction of the control panel in the main office and loss of alarm communication in parts of the building.” In the end, the truth, like almost always, turned out to be less exciting than the rumors.

Nevertheless, the malfunction has cost the town a great deal of money in both paying the overtime of the firefighters and fixing the sprinkler system. How is the system working to date? Mr. Panagoulias stated that, “The control panel in the main office has been replaced and all systems have been tested.” The random fire alarms are over and the fire fighters have left.

Comments Off on Faulty Fire alarms?

Filed under School Stories

Open Grade Book, The Inside Scoop!

by Vinny Roca
News Editor

The 2011 school year is a new beginning in terms of communication between home and school. For the first time parents and students will have access to the grade books of teachers, allowing for constant knowledge of items such as grades, attendance and upcoming assignments. Having access to these constant updates in grades, once only known by teachers, is stirring many opinions with students, parents and faculty.
School officials took a thorough approach in deciding to switch to the open grade book. A committee was formed to study the issue and how it would affect learning in the school. Part of the process included sending teachers to other schools with the open grade book to see the effects of its presence.
Mr. Panagoulias was at the head of the committee and oversaw the discussions.  The decision to make the switch was made under his supervision. He told The Buzz “ Our main two main reasons for opening up the grade book was, one, anything we can do to increase to flow of information home…and [open grade book] allows for a better conversation between students and parents as well as students and teachers.”
However the grade book has raised some questions from some teachers and students. A major concern is grading participation. The way teachers factor in participation varies from teacher to teacher, but now with the open grade book a parent or student can see every piece that goes into a final grade, including a specific grade for classroom participation . Teachers of classes that require large amounts of participation, such as English and foreign language classes would now have to assign a numeric value to the amount a student participates.
Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under School Stories

Growing Up

by Marisa Kaplita

When you’re a child all you want to do is grow up and be a big kid, a teenager, a driver, a college student, an adult, and so on.  Where ever you are in life, all you want to do is grow up, but then somewhere along the way, somewhere in the high school years, all you want to be is a kid again where all the responsibilities of school, work, and money are not even a formed thought.  For most high  school is a place to get back all the time from childhood that was missed out on, because before you know it college will come and so will jobs and marriage and kids and lots of different responsibilties, then there is no more time to goof off and make mistakes.

There is nothing wrong with trying to act on your inner child, and sometimes it can be good for you, taking a break from the grudging stress of school work will keep you from exploding from trying to retain too much information for too long.  However there is a point at which you need to grow up and be a role model.  High school students need to be aware of the influences that they create, especially on the younger generations in Branford.

High school students are awesome and unbearable cool in the minds of elementary and middle schoolers, we represent their future and who they will soon grow up to be.  They look towards us as role models and try to be like us.  It’s great to know that all these kids are looking up to us, but its also a scary thought to think of the influences some of the kids in this school are making.

It’s not okay that kids who are only in sixth or seventh grade are swearing, drinking, having sex, or doing drugs, and it’s happening, in our town of Branford.  Kids of only 12 or 13 are barely able to get into PG-13 rated movies, so where are they learning all these R rated things?  Television and the internet are rotting out the brains of our youth and most have lost any respect for authority.  So when teachers and adults are no longer source of respect it falls upon us, the Branford Hishschoolites, to create a good influence for our younger generation to fallow.

Every student in this school knows at least one child of 10 or 14, either a sibling, family member, or a child from an organization or group.  Everyone in this school has a chance to make an impacted on a child and wether one chooses to make one or not.  Even if you don’t feel any desire to make an impact on a future Branford High schooler, atleast reframe from making a bad influence.  You may thing you have no power as a student, but you have more power than you might think.  And the things that you do will get talked about in the depths of the Middle school locker bay, so make sure you think before you act, if not for you, then for the kids that are watching.



Comments Off on Growing Up

Filed under School Stories

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.


Comments Off on Greetings From Japan

Filed under Interviews, School Stories