STUDENT PROFILE: Iris Ocasio

By Curtis Gaines III

One of the main sources of entertainment for high school students is the Internet, primarily YouTube. With YouTube, students are given the opportunity to watch whatever they are interested in viewing. Many people have taken advantage of the website to promote their skills and talents, including at least one HHS student.

Junior Iris Ocasio began her YouTube career in January of 2016. Her channel, Inspo by Iris, focuses on makeup tutorials. In only four months, Ocasio is closing in on 50 subscribers and as of March 30, her most watched video has 310 views.

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Ocasio has always liked doing makeup. Her mother studied cosmetology in college and Ocasio plans on turning her YouTube venture into a professional career.

“Makeup is a form of art,” Ocasio said. “My main goal is to inspire others to see make-up as a tool for self-expression.”

Her goal is also to have between 100 and 150 subscribers by the end of the year and over a 1,000 after college.

Ocasio records her YouTube videos in her room. She started by using makeup that belongs to her mother, but is slowly starting to build her own collection. She also uses less expensive makeup to be more relatable and more accessible to her subscribers.

“Not all makeup has to be $50,” Ocasio said. “The importance of make-up is that the quality is good, not just the name on the product or the price tag.”

The channel has also been a challenge for Ocasio. Besides being a YouTuber, Ocasio is a honor roll student and helped film the spring musical, “Into the Woods”. Because of the demands of her academic workload, Ocasio is only releasing one video a week, but she is careful to remain consistent.

“It’s crucial to upload constantly  for your channel to be successful,” Ocasio said. 

Ocasio’s show “Inspo by Iris” can be found on Youtube.

Transition Breakfast Held in Library

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The education program for the deaf at HHS held its annual “Transition Breakfast” on Thursday, which included our students from HHS as well as eighth graders and students from other grade levels in the district.

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The students gathered with their teachers and signers to receive advice from program alumni about challenges students will face in college, the workplace, and the wider world.

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Reactions to PARCC Training Differ

By Khayla Dixon, Tiffany Jones, Iris Ocasio, and Jesse Sanzari

As HHS approaches the PARCC testing season, students, teachers, and administrators are beginning to prepare for the exams.  

The PARCC is set of state mandated tests that students are required to take to graduate high school. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a standard set of K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English.

The tests measure if a student is prepared to graduate and be successful in college and careers in the future. 

HHS reserved two days for training, which took place on Friday, March 18th and Monday, March 21st. The goal was  to ensure that students are well prepared for the PARCC.

It has occupied the class time of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in all core classes.

Students expressed many strong feelings about the PARCC and preparations that accompanied these exams.

One sophomore, Ashley Giordano, dislikes the PARCC. “I learn less in school and it takes time away from my education,” she said, then added, “A whole year of teaching should not be reduced to one test.”

Marisa Pelikan, a sophomore, also expressed her discontent. “I am not learning anything,” she said, stating that the PARCC was “making me feel bad about myself.”

A common concern expressed by students is that the PARCC preparation was taking away class time that could be used to teach students new material.

Samuel Ashbury, a junior, stated, “PARCC distracts us from the actual curriculum that we are learning.”

Students also feel that PARCC testing as whole is unnecessary and redundant. “Frankly, it is a waste of my time and everyone else’s time,” stated Ashley Giordano.

Sophomore Grace Grinko said, “As a daughter of a teacher and as a student, I know that students don’t try on it and don’t take it seriously, and it affects the teachers badly while they are doing their job.”

Teachers and administrators countered that the PARCC is taken seriously by the state and students are expected to do their best.

Mr. Taylor, a World History teacher, believes that “the PARCC practice is important, but it could have been better structured.”

While some students acknowledged that anything new has to be learned and interpreted before it as easy to accept, many students take two to three of the same practice tests in one day which means two to three classes where no regular curriculum has been covered.

In addition, students pointed out that classes had to leave their rooms to go to computer labs which demanded more organization.

In general, however, students do recognize that dealing with the PARCC is necessary.

Mr. Taylor said, “We need to figure out the PARCC the same way that we had to figure out the HSPA and any standardized test before that.”

Assistant Principal of the senior class, Dr. Galiana, believes that the days spent preparing for the PARCC will most definitely improve students scores.

He stated that since the PARCC is a different test than students are used to, helping students get familiar with the questions being asked and responses that they need to give is of the utmost importance to achieve the highest scores.

When asked what the purpose of the PARCC test is, he answered that it is a test to “assess students learning” and be able to address and pinpoint individual students weaknesses

When questioned about whether teachers were being evaluated based on their students’ PARCC scores, HHS Principal Montesano confirmed this was part of the evaluation process.

“Each teacher is measured on how much their own students grow,” he said, “however, the PARCC is just one small part of their overall evaluation.”

Mr. Montesano believes that staff and students have adapted better since last year’s PARCC practice stating, ”Last year no one really knew what to expect. Teachers have been doing a great job. we’re ready.”

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Margarite Lovett of Standard Solution works with HHS staff on PARCC readiness techniques. Teachers will then work with students to ensure they are well-prepared to excel on the upcoming PARCC exams.

HHS Holds “Local City Government Day”

By Curtis Gaines III

Hackensack Council Member (and HHS para educator) Deborah Keeling-Geddis and City Manager David Troast spoke with HHS students on Wednesday.

Held during eighth and ninth periods, the duo discussed the branches of government in Hackensack as well as future plans for the city. Those plans include a new cultural arts center, new pavement on streets, redevelopment of Hackensack’s recreation building, a domed sports facility, and redeveloping Main Street, according to their statements.

Many of these plans have been implemented in Hackensack, they said.

Work has been ongoing on many streets in the city including Central Avenue and Essex Street.

Additionally, Hackensack Theater Company is planning on relocating to a new building on State Street later this year, according to Mr. Troast. This was confirmed by Mr. Gaines who is part owner of the theatre company.

Mr. Troast also explained that changes are also being made on Main Street, which is home to many restaurants and stores. This includes plans for building a new fourteen-story apartment building that will also be the home of new restaurants and an area that will feature a Walk of Fame to celebrate successful Hackensack residents.

Mr. Troast also explained that he wants Main Street to become an attraction and to be beneficial for all Hackensack residents.

Additionally, parks and other buildings are also planned around the city such as a new park on Atlantic Street, and a 222-unit apartment building on State Street..

A new website ( http://www.hackensack.org/) was recently launched to show other plans for the city as well as videos from council meetings, information on city history, and links to the many divisions of city council and health departments.

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Hackensack City Council Member and HHS para educator Ms. Keeling Geddis (see above) lead an “HHS Local Government Day” on Wednesday, during which HHS juniors, seniors, and some AP Social Studies students listened to both Ms. Keeling Geddis and Hackensack City Manager David Troast (see below) speak about local government, jobs, and opportunities in Hackensack. Also on the speakers’ list was City Council member and HHS para educator Mr. Sims.

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STUDENT OP-ED: Brussels Attacks – A Reaction

By Sarah Sturm

When I was ten years old, I stepped into Brussels International Airport, ready to see my cousins for the first time in years.

The culture around me was both exhilarating and beautiful. I was not afraid, and I knew I would be safe with my mother and sister by my side. Terrorism did not cross my young mind, and I did not think at that time that my being a Muslim would ever be an issue.

This week, over 34 people were killed and hundreds were wounded in the attacks at Brussels International Airport Zaventem and metro station Maelbeek.

Isis claims responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by suicide bombers, but police have not confirmed this as yet.

Both the attacks and some of the reactions to these attacks are terrifying. Some people are calling for strengthened patrols on Muslim communities.

We now live in a world where many believe terrorism and Islam go hand in hand. The truth is that the attacks at the Brussels airport and metro station are absolutely devastating for both those directly victimized in the attacks and for the Muslim community.

While Isis is a very real threat to the world, they are also being used as a fear tactic in order to perpetuate Islamophobia. When catastrophes like this happen, it is important to remember that Isis is not a representation of Islam.

Islam works to promote peace, not terror and violence.

My heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy.

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TEACHER PROFILE: Dr. Jakubik

By Gwyneth Moodie


          Some teachers are funny, some are serious, some are intense Dr. Jakubik isbusy.

An HHS alumni, Dr. Jakubik is an English, Careers and Communication, Speech Communication, and Public Speaking teacher.

She says she has always wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little kid. To be completely honest, when she was younger, the first job she wanted was a Physical Education teacher, but that job didn’t work out.

Since her gym teacher career didn’t work out, she studied to be an English teacher. Dr. Jakubik confirmed that she works very hard to accomplish everything she does, and she only gives her best work. She tries to make English enjoyable by making it relatable to her students.

She wants to know what students are interested in so she can try and incorporate that into her teaching, to try and utilize everyday life experiences as examples.

Continuing the theme of busy, Dr. Jakubik has many successful careers. She is an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, an HHS soccer coach, and a teacher at HHS.

One could only imagine how she keeps up with all of these jobs, but she never seems stressed when you see her, she’s always happy or excited to teach something new.
Dr. Jakubik also exercises every single day, so she “hardly has anytime to herself or for sleep.”

She gets her inspiration from her friend Mark, about whom she says, “He is very intelligent and he includes technology into everything he does.”

The friends attended graduate school together and earned their master’s degrees together, so they’re very close.

Dr. Jakubik is a very busy woman, but she still tries to inspire her students and keep a positive attitude everyday.

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STUDENT PROFILE: The Medical Club

By Shauntel Morales

There are many clubs in HHS, but there are few that prepare students for their future specific career fields. One of them is the Medical Club.

The Medical Club may be  mostly known for its yearly blood drives that raises money for scholarships that are given to the students in the club, but it is really much more.

Ms.Shaw, a chemistry teacher and senior adviser in the school, runs the club. They meet every other Wednesday in room 410 during 10th period.

Members promote the club by making announcements on the bulletin board, the loudspeakers, and The Morning News.

For many students, this club gives them an explicit insight into the world of medicine. Not only are these students educated about common procedures done by doctors and nurses, but they also have professionals visit them occasionally.

Octavia Dawson, a 12th grader and Medical Club member, explained the impact the club has had on her. “It makes me understand the medical field more which helps me prep for when I become a nurse,” she said.

Other members view the club more as an opportunity to give back to their community rather than as preparation for their future careers.

Senior Melanie Lewis explained that the club seemed appealing to her because she enjoyed helping others. “This club benefits people both outside the club and inside. I get to help them out when they need help and I get service hours for helping them,” she said.