The Technical Truth
Welcome to The Technical Truth, Queens Technical High School's student newspaper.
Unfortunately because of COVID, in the 2020-2021 the Journalism class was cut, but the club lives on. Below you can see our first article that our members have been working hard on. Bringing you information about the current return to school! We hope you enjoy!
Must Teens Get the Covid-19 Vaccine?
by Melody Gonzalez
The polarization of the Covid-19 vaccine has been fascinating to unravel. Apparently a great percentage of our society distrusts science. The vaccine, instead of being taken seriously has, to many, become a second thought or even something to joke about.
It is crucial to vaccinate our kids.
Both history and science must be reflected on for advancement, and yet society stubbornly keeps denying the truth that vaccinations are crucial for human progress and survival. The Cleveland Clinic Medical Center has reported that “roughly 70 percent to 85 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated to reach the herd immunity threshold.” However, according to NPR.org only “34.8 percent of the total U.S. population” has been fully vaccinated. Only 24.6 percent of children ages 12 to 17 are vaccinated, according to ChildsStats.gov.
Here at Queens Tech, some students believe the focus should be centered on people who need the vaccine more. Senior David Cardoso states, “Our bodies are really young and healthy. During the pandemic, you almost never heard about kids becoming extremely ill due to the virus, because the virus affected older people, people whose bodies are old and aren’t as strong and healthy as the rest of us, they need that extra aid of the vaccine more than anyone.”
Yet the main focus of the vaccine is to create immunity to the virus. The U.S. has control of the majority of the vaccines, which countries like India are in desperate need of, and still most Americans reject the scientific suggestion of vaccinating due to conspiracy theories.
Agreeing with Cardoso, senior Kimberly Mera stated “You don’t really know if that will harm them. Also not everyone will agree with this since people have different beliefs.”
With the recent blood clotting due to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it’s understandable to have fears and doubts, but a society should never live in fear and rather research the rest of the vaccine options like Pfizer and Moderna which have shown a 94 to 95 percent effectiveness, according to the CDC.
Senior Rachel Mai emphasized the importance of vaccination for kids and stated “It helps not just themselves, it helps the others around them too plus it's honestly a privilege to be able to get vaccinated.”
The most wonderful thing about asking Queens Tech students was seeing how, at all grade levels, many were aware of the importance of vaccinations.
Freshman Christopher Crespo stated, “I feel if everyone gets a vaccine, we can all go back seeing friends and family.” He adds, “ I don’t like online school and I learn better from actually sitting in a classroom.”
Junior Maria Parache simply yet efficiently stated the main idea of the vaccine: “So we can all be safe.”
Definitely gives me hope for the future.
Pandemic Affects College Process
by Rob Neagu
April 30, 2021
Former Queens Tech students participate in a Question and Answer session at the University of Connecticut (J. Bahrenburg)
This Saturday, May 1, also known as Decision Day, college-accepted high school seniors will make their final decision deciding where to enroll. Leading up to it, however, the 2020-2021 application process proved to be a whole new hectic experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students who applied for college this year demonstrated high levels of anxiety. Queens Technical High School senior, Ethan Vasquez, describes the fully remote application process as being “more difficult than imagined.”
A major roadblock that he and others stumbled over was getting assistance from advisors. Vasquez said, “I couldn’t talk to my advisors in-person for help and it’s hard to find the time to talk to them over the phone.”
Another obstacle many faced was the cancellation of classes and clubs they planned to attend senior year. “A lot of scholarships require that you be an actively participating member of your school community, which is hard to be considering the pandemic’s effect on clubs and such,” Vasquez stated. Taking part in these activities benefits an application and gives more scholarship opportunities. Many clubs were not able to meet until midway through the year, and some never met at all.
If the college application process is so stressful this year, what was it like in the past?
Former Queens Tech alumni, class of 2019, Max Romero, shares his college application experience pre-pandemic:
Stress was still present. Romero stated “the thought of going to college used to make me feel anxious.”
Former Queens Tech students tour Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York approximately 3 hours from Queens Tech. (A. Karabelas)
However, a major resource Romero had was access to physical campus tours. He said, “Seeing the environment I would be in played a big part in my decision.” Visiting multiple campuses benefits students by providing first hand experiences and interactions, helping them choose the right college.
Romero also had consistent in-person aid for applications. It helped, as he stated “[Queens Tech] as a whole made me feel like I was not alone during application season.” The feeling from face to face college assistance is something that cannot be replicated in other ways.
“Hands-on help [is] really the only way to provide the best and most efficient assistance,” stated Ms. Karabelas, Queens Tech’s college advisor. She points out that previously, she had the option to “call a student from class if I saw an error of some kind.” Now, however, Karabelas says that students have to take the initiative if they need assistance with their college applications, and most of the assistance is giving through online communication.
“Hearing about student acceptances in person and congratulating them on the spot was my favorite part of the school year,” said Karabelas. Students now get congratulated virtually when they get a college acceptance. These students don’t get the true feeling of getting an acceptance.
Covid-19 Testing Taking Place at Queens Tech
by Melody Gonzalez
May 6, 2021
Queens Technical High School has been one of the many schools that partakes in testing 20% of the building’s capacity.
Testing is administered by two state certified Department of Health Employees in the school's auditorium. (M. Gonzalez)
The Department of Education has instituted a citywide Covid-19 testing mandate for students who participate in blended learning and attend live instruction. Trained officials are sent by the Department of Health. The school is notified the day before with instructions and the time schedule for the tests.
The testing occurs only once a week, and consecutively moves forward by testing the next group of the students the next week. For example, if one week Monday’s students are tested, the next week Tuesday’s students would be tested. By the end of the month all students who enter the building will be tested. Teachers get tested when they bring down the students to the auditorium, or when given the chance to go during their prep or lunch periods.
All students who entered the building were required to bring in a slip signed by their parents or guardians, authorizing the school to conduct Covid-19 tests during school hours. When a student refuses to partake in the tests, their parents or guardians of that student are called. If the student continues to deny participation, they are then sent home and switched to remote learning.
Junior Hugo Aspiroz states, “When it was my first day back they said we were gonna get tested and I never got tested before so I was scared but I don’t mind it now it was okay.” According to Apiroz, the speed of the testing can vary due to the lines. “It’s every three weeks that the test happen, but some days it went slow in the line, some went fast.”
The tests are conducted with nasal swabs for PCR tests with two medical officials conducting the tests. One writes the personal information and scans the testing tube and the second conducts the nasal testing. After the testing, students and staff return to their activities and classes. Then, as protocol, all results are confidentially and individually emailed to the patient.
One positive case has been confirmed at Queens Technical High School, however, “there has been no real threat, the case wasn't in the building and they were not in contact. So it was an outsider, no reason to quarantine the schools,” stated Mr. Gallagher, AP of English, Foreign Language and Social Studies. He stated that The Department of Education notified the school and the situation was handled accordingly.
Students and Staff Return to Building with Mixed Emotions
by Melody Gonzalez and Robert Neagu
March 26, 2021
Six hundred and fifty four students opted to return to classes in Queens Technical High School on Monday, March 22 for the second round this school year, after over four months of remote learning. Eight hundred and eleven students remain learning remotely.
The school building will only be open to students Monday through Wednesday, and students will be organized into three groups. Group A, which are students whose last names end with the letters A-F will attend on Mondays. Group B whose last names fall in between letters G-O will attend on Tuesdays. Lastly Group C, last names between P-Z, will attend on Wednesdays. The remaining students who stay remotely will be categorized as Group D and will not have to go inside the building. Thursday and Friday all groups stay home.
Out of the 99 teachers the school employs, 65 will be returning to the building to teach live instruction. The other 35 will remain teaching remotely. Blended students who have staff teaching remotely will attend their classes in the cafeteria.
Returning to blended learning for shop teachers is proving challenging. The major concern for both teachers and students is how remote students will complete hands-on activities.
Mr. Raushan, a pre-engineering teacher, is currently experimenting with various routes through which remote students can still receive the experience of hands-on activities. According to Raushan, the current method he uses is a “virtual setting to apply theory applications in a virtual environment.” Being able to work with softwares that provides a similar experience to hands-on activities could keep remote students on level with class.
Another concern that shop teachers have for their remote students is how they will take their certification exams. These exams are not typical finals, rather they are given by a national or international administration, some of which even require hands-on testing. These certifications are crucial for students at Queens Tech since some are required in order to graduate with CTE endorsement or get a job right after high school.
With the return of blended learning, students who attend school will get an opportunity to take their exams, but how about for students who are remote?
According to Ms. Ramdeo, an assistant principal and pre-engineering teacher, to complete their certifications “students [who are] remote [will] get invited to do the hands-on activities [and] come on specific days.”
For example, the Pre-Engineering class has to take their Alternating Current certification. Students doing hybrid learning will complete the certification when they are in the building; remote students will come on scheduled Saturdays by appointment to take their examination.
Queens Tech has paired with the company Engineering Tomorrow, providing students with take-home materials to perform experiments and labs. In addition, Engineering Tomorrow provides live, informative sessions during class time. These sessions are either with college engineering students or a worker who has a job in the engineering field. Engineering Tomorrow offers lessons on anything from 3D printing to water treatment.
Justin Lagos, a senior, said, “I rather go into school, I can do nothing and pass my classes, but when I do nothing in remote I don't pass my classes.”
Junior Mike Tamayo felt differently, “I prefer remote learning since I get to be in my own environment and feel safe in my house.”