School News Blog



RAK Week

RAK Week, which will be observed Feb. 12-18, 2017, is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. Formally recognized in 1995, this seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act – one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Since inception, RAK estimates that millions of celebrities, businesses, schools, and partners have participated in these weeklong celebrations.

Thanks to participation and support from over 130,000 contributors, Airbnb, AT&T, Ellen, Disney, GoPro, McDonald’s, MLB, Red Bull, Sesame Street, Southwest, Whole Foods Market, YouTube and other corporate partners, RAK Week 2016 trended No. 1 on Twitter with more than 1 billion impressions last year. RAK has a following of more than 1million kind fans on Facebook who are anticipated to participate in #RAKWeek2017 efforts.

WHAT: 17th Annual Random Acts of Kindness Week

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 12, – Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, with National Random Acts of Kindness Day designated as Feb. 17, 2017, in the United States

WHERE: Random Acts of Kindness Week is observed worldwide.

HOW: Commit to participating in 2017 RAK Week by signing up at and either add a challenge to the Kindness Generator or pledge to take part in a kindness challenge established by another person, educator or organization. Use #RAKWeek2017 on social networks to spread the word.

Also, be sure to check out Students of Service's RAK Week Page for updates on Biotech's RAK Week!



A New President

By Alexander Fezza and Shreya Gupta

On January 20, 2017, Donald John Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States. After taking the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts in front of the Capitol Building, Trump stood in a light rain to address the nation as the newly sworn President. In the following 16 minutes, Trump laid out his view of the “American destiny.” He started off his speech thanking President Obama for the peaceful transfer of power, and then elaborated on his gratitude for members of his political movement while stressing the importance of a unified nation. Highlights of his speech include his promise to “drain the swamp” of government corruption, as well as putting “America first” in business deals and foreign disputes.


(left to right) Michelle Obama, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Barack Obama

Meanwhile, riots were taking place in Washington D.C, which lead to 217 arrests and 6 officer injuries. A Wells Fargo building had its windows and ATMs smashed in with rocks and other projectiles, and some members of the motorcycle activist group ‘Bikers for Trump’ claim they were attacked that day en route to the inauguration.

Later that evening, Mr. and Mrs. Trump made an appearance at the Freedom and Liberty Inaugural Balls, as well as the Armed Services Ball. For the traditional first dance, the couple swayed to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” before they were joined by Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen Pence, and the entire Trump family. At the Armed Services Ball, the third and final ball of the night, the couple opted for Whitney Houston’s classic “I Will Always Love You.”

The day prior to the inauguration, Trump’s inaugural concert was held, which featured entertainers such as the band Three Doors Down, members of the Rockettes, and teen opera singer Jackie Evancho (who also sang the National Anthem on Inauguration Day).

Trump will be taking a break for his first weekend in office and will begin work immediately on Monday, January 23. Primary stated goals of his presidency include dismantling parts of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), building a wall on the Mexican border, and trying to steer manufacturing jobs back to America.

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Trump in the White House, signing confirmation documents for his nominated cabinet members.

The following day, various Women’s Marches took place in locations such as Washington D.C., New York, and Atlanta (and even in foreign cities, like London and Berlin) in protest of supposedly disrespectful comments that the new president has made regarding women, as well as his lack of support for Planned Parenthood. The movement drew over 5 million people in total across all of its major locations, and included the attendance of influential politicians such as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former civil rights activist Representative John Lewis. Hillary Clinton also tweeted her support, stating “Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we're always Stronger Together.”



(top) Trump’s inauguration. (middle) Women’s March on Washington D.C. (bottom) Women’s March on New York City, at Grand Central Terminal. Around 400,000 demonstrators were reportedly present.

The demonstrations were peaceful and featured the attendance of some Biotechnology High School students.

Sophomore Dolci Carroll at the Women’s March in Trenton, NJ.

Estimates say that the inauguration attracted slightly less attendance than the Women’s March on Washington D.C.. However, this is largely due to the fact that the Inauguration was on a Friday and the Women’s March was on a Saturday, when more people are off from work.


The Aesthetics of Studying

By: Lina Szenkiel


Have you ever had that one pen that glides over paper so smoothly you just couldn’t live without it?  Maybe you’ve owned a notebook that lays perfectly flat on your desk, or a pencil that makes your handwriting seem twice as neat.  Being a stationery nerd myself, I’d wholeheartedly understand exactly what you’d be talking about if you answered yes to any of those questions.  Some writing utensils and notebooks just seem to make people a little bit more excited to get down to studying and doing their homework.  As it seems, this phenomenon has gained quite a following on the Internet, as well as in the very halls of Biotech.  The phrase, “That’s so studyblr!” has become part of the vernacular here at BTHS as more and more students find themselves creating intricate mind maps and detailed bullet journals to aid them in their studies.  But what does “studyblr” really mean, and why has it become so popular?

Studyblr, when used as an adjective, is generally a term used to describe a certain academic aesthetic that something may have.  A photo of a beautifully arranged bullet journal or some neatly written and color coded notes, for instance, could both be called “studyblr.”  When used as a noun, studyblr usually refers to one’s “study Tumblr”, or Tumblr account where one posts about all things relating to academics.  However, over time, the study aesthetic has progressed onto other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. A study Instagram, for instance, is called a “studygram”.   The owners of these study blogs also have their own tools of the trade.  Scrolling through the studyblr hashtag on Tumblr, you’ll see hundreds of photos of mildliners, Muji pens and notebooks, and washi tape.  Color coding and intricate lettering and calligraphy are yet another common theme of the studyblr community.

To learn more about studyblr and why so many students at Biotech are fond of it, I decided to ask some of my friends to share their experience with studyblr, including some tips on how students can use it to their advantage when studying for midterms.  All three of them preferred to stay anonymous, so I’ll simply refer to them as students A, B, and C.  Students A and B are both seniors, while student C is a junior.  Here are some of the questions I asked them and their responses.

What makes something "studyblr" or "study aesthetic"?

“Anything particular to you! As long as it’s appealing to you and makes you happy, it doesn't need to fit anyone else's ideal. The ideals are, though, a good stepping stone for one to find things to integrate into their routine. From something as simple as incorporating diagrams or mind maps, banner headings, or just using highlighters/colored pens to break up the information allows something to be visually appealing and easier to follow.” –A

“Definitely neat handwriting and an appealing color scheme.” –B

“Although cute stationery like Muji pens, Mildliners, or Staedtler pens are a large part of the studyblr community, you definitely don't need to spend a lot of money on school supplies to become a part of the studyblr community. All you need is to want to study as best as you can to reach your academic goals, whatever they may be. I think that's what make the studyblr community so special. Everyone helps motivate and encourage each other to do their best, and that's what essentially studyblr is.” -C


What are some of your favorite study supplies and stationery?

“Gel pens are great (Muji pens, Pilot V5s, etc.) but a good collection of colored pens helps a lot. My favorite are the Staedtler Fine liners, but I know some people just prefer the simple Pentel ones. Notebook wise, I use everything from a simple composition notebook to a Moleskine dotted notebook, but you don't need any particularly fancy materials beyond what you have to get started.” –A

“I'm a huge Muji fan. Every time I'm in NYC with my family, I force them to let me go. I've got a huge Muji collection going on from gel pens to loose leaf. I also really enjoy my bullet journal because it helps keep me organized and it's really satisfying to color in all of the task boxes!”  -B

“I love school supplies from Muji! I really like their simple design, and their quality is amazing! I just went into a Muji store for the first time last month, and I almost cried when I saw the rows of pens, pencils, highlighters, etc. It was amazing. I also really like Mildliners. The colors of the pastel set are my aesthetic.” -C


Do you think studyblr helps or motivates you to study?

“Yes, very much so. It allows me to focus a lot more, and I find much less of a need to take breaks since of how calming in nature it is. As an artistic person in a school dominated by science, being able to express my creativity wherever I can really help. Also, once someone makes note taking and studying fun, it becomes less of a chore and more of something to look forward to (just look at my bio objective notebook for proof on that lol).” –A

“I am definitely motivated by studyblr to take better notes because I aspire to make my notes as aesthetic as possible, like some of the notes I see on studyblr. It's also a way to try to motivate myself to actually look at my notes and actually understand what I wrote down. Although, there are times when studyblr works against you. Sometimes I spend more time looking at people studying than actually studying on my own.” –C


How can people use the study aesthetic/studyblr to their advantage when it comes to studying for midterms?

“Study guides are a life send, and making a mind map for each subject might be a little time consuming but hands down worth it - especially in a topic like biology or history.” –A

“You can make studying a little more fun. Studying for midterms is really stressful but using a study account really motivates you to keep working hard.” –B

Any advice for people who might want to make a study social media account?

“Don't make your notes for just your social media account. Make them for you. After all, your notes are for studying!” –B

“To anyone who wants to start a study social media account, I say just go for it! The studyblr community is everywhere--not just on Tumblr! It's a really fun experience, and it's great to be able to bond with people over your obsession with stationary.” –C

With midterms just around the corner, it seems that everyone is looking for the next study hack to help them succeed.  So if you’re looking for the motivation to achieve success on your tests, I’d definitely suggest you check out studyblr and see what it has to offer you.  Good luck on midterms next week, Biotech!




5 Tips for Studying for Midterms


By: Andrew Miller

It’s January again, which of course means it’s time for arguably the most painful enjoyable time of the year, midterms. Love them or hate them, you have to take them anyways, and if you feel like doing mildly adequately on them, you’re probably going to want to study for them. Every student has their own method of studying; however, if you’re unsure of what you should do to study for such a large test, you’ve come to the right place.

  1. First thing is first: don’t wait to start studying the night before. Give yourself a week or two of time beforehand. You have to study 4 months worth of content, and one night is just going to exhaust you. Keep in mind that going to sleep incredibly late after studying will leave you extremely tired during the day, and you won’t retain most of the information you’ve studied. This makes your entire evening a waste of time. It might be annoying to study on top of homework and extracurriculars, but midterms are a large part of your grade. Put in the effort.

  2. Make sure you know what to study. Most teachers are going to point you in the direction of what you need to know, so go off of what they say. Also, keep in mind that in many of your classes, the midterm is made by a group of teachers, some of which might not teach at Biotech, so it won’t read or answer like most of your other tests throughout the year. Be prepared for all kinds of questions, even ones that don’t seem like the kind your teachers put on their tests.

  3. Find someone to help you study. This is especially helpful in a language class like Spanish, but in general, talking about something will help you commit it to memory better than just reading it.

  4. Another helpful set of resources is the internet. There are tons of websites around that can help you with a variety of classes, such as for English, Bozeman Biology for Biology and Khan Academy for pretty much all of your needs.

  5. Lastly, Youtube has plenty of super useful resources for studying a variety of topics, like Crash Course for Biology and History, along with Thug Notes if you want a relaxing, humorous look at the literature you’ve read just to refresh yourself. For those in IB Chemistry, Richard Thornley is an invaluable source for sample problems and mark schemes.

The most important part of studying is remembering not to burn yourself out. You might study for 8 hours at a time, but at that point you’ll probably feel exhausted. Take a break every once in awhile and eat, watch a show, and don’t become obsessed with your GPA. That’s never healthy. You have a lot of content to study, but your sanity comes first. If it starts to feel too tedious, relax for a bit, but don’t relax 60 minutes for every 20 studied. The work is going to have to get done eventually. Just keep a clear mind the whole time, make sure you know the coursework, and by the time you have the test in front of you, you’ll be ready.



The 39 Steps

By: Arya Sharma

On December 16th, Biotech’s Arts and Entertainment Club finally put on its first ever play,  The 39 Steps. The play was co-directed by senior Isabel Wallace and Michael Brennan, and the final piece was made possible with help from the set creators, stage crew, and other cast members.  

The Thirty-Steps was originally a book written by Tom Buchan in 1915. In 1935 it was adapted into a movie that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The latest parody of the book is the play which was written by Patrick Barlow in 2005. He turned the intense thriller into a comedy. The play had everything from comedy to romance to espionage. The plot follows Patrick Hannay, a Canadian visitor to 1930’s London. At the end of a “Mr. Memory” show he meets Annabella Smith who is on the run from foreign secret agents. He takes her back to his apartment, but later in the night, he finds her murdered. Hannay goes on the run to prove his innocence and break a spy ring. As he is on the run he meets Pamela, a charming young lady who he has many interesting encounters with. The cast included Ben Buckman as Patrick Hannay, Deeksha Kommireddi as Pamela, Tori Tiefenthaler as Anabella, Alison Pagalilauan as the Professor, and many others adding to the success of the play. Laura Vorbach as Stage Crew Director, Carey Lau as Art Director, and Mary Caldwell and Phoebe Dijour as Assistant Directors also contributed.  

This play kept the audience on the edge of its seats which came as no surprise, as Alfred Hitchcock is well known as the “Master of Suspense”. The play, unlike the movie and book, was thrilling yet comedic. It felt as if they were taken through time and magically transported to London in the 1930s. The actors and actresses had uncanny flawless accents ranging from British to Scottish.

Many of the other choices made by the cast played into the success of the play. Some of the actors were strategically places around the MPR to give the audience the essence that they were in the play. Real guns could obviously not be used, and they were replaced with fake glue guns and sound effects played exactly on time. In order to add a comedic effect, this play had a minimum number of cast members. Each of them played multiple roles, in order to make up for the intended lack of personnel . Another one of the features in this production included the lights. They were maneuvered by Daniel Levit and very punctual.

All the money that the Arts and Entertainment Club raised from ticket purchases from this play will be used to support the spring musical. And on top of everything else the musical was announced at the end of the play: The Beauty and the Beast! It was a truly impressive feat to put on this spectacular production, and none of it could be done without the help of the Arts and Entertainment Club’s advisor, Mr. Dannen.