DECADE IN REVIEW
Reading Time: 33 minutes
The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world since early 2020. Similarly, the Black Lives Matter movement has rapidly spread across the United States since George Floyd's death in late May. These past 10 years have been filled with significant moments too. Here are the biggest pieces of news from the past decade in Stuyvesant, The Spectator, and world history.
Stuyvesant Faces Additional Budget Cuts
JANUARY—Along with other NYC public schools, Stuyvesant experienced a one percent budget cut amounting to $170,000.
DOE Lifts Ban on Bake Sales but Prohibits Selling Homemade Goods
MARCH—October’s petition had limited success; sales were allowed but only for fruits, vegetables, and 28 specific packaged snacks.
Seniors in Danger of Failing
APRIL—Over 100 seniors had to go to a mandatory meeting with Principal Stanley Teitel because they were at risk of not graduating due to failing grades. Many had never failed a class, but their performance had dropped precipitously during the second term of their senior year.
FDA Ban Prevents Stuyvesant Senior From Donating Blood
APRIL— A senior was barred from donating blood by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because he had had sex with a man, which was something he had failed to disclose. The FDA ban has since been loosened (one cannot have had sex with a man three months prior to donating), but it is still in place.
APRIL—Sophomore Zachary Young was accepted into Harvard, MIT, and CalTech, having already taken many advanced Stuyvesant courses.
Alumni Association Undergoing Reforms
JUNE—The Stuyvesant Alumni Association planned a merger of the Friends of Stuyvesant and the Campaign for Stuyvesant into the Stuyvesant Alumni Foundation, a new organization that would streamline and broaden fundraising efforts.
Accelerated Studies Class Faces Difficulties
JUNE—Accelerated Studies, a course designed to help students with poor middle school grades develop good study and work habits, was not successful. Students and teachers alike described apathetic students resentful of having to take an extra class with no credit and a lack of communication between students and mentors.
“Stuy’s Arsonist” Pleads Guilty
SEPTEMBER—A junior who had set two fires in the Stuyvesant building was charged with second degree attempted arson, fifth-degree arson, and reckless engagement. Though he could have faced seven years of jail time, he was simply banned from entering Stuyvesant for his senior year.
OCTOBER 6—Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram.
Administration to Crack Down on Students in Alcove
OCTOBER—In an effort to curb substance abuse at Stuyvesant, the administration began recording the ID numbers of students congregating underneath the Tribeca Bridge.
Humor Section Added to The Spectator
OCTOBER—The Spectator published its first issue with the new Humor section, featuring an article by faculty advisor Kerry Garfinkel titled “You Kids Really Can Do Better.”
Stuyvesant Receives and Spends Title I Funding
DECEMBER—For the first time in 60 years, Stuyvesant received Title I funding, as the percentage of students who had to qualify for free or reduced lunch in order for a school to qualify was lowered from 60 to 40 percent. Stuyvesant spent this $1.6 million budget on hiring new teachers, funding AIS tutoring, creating freshmen workshops, and expanding parental involvement programs.
DECEMBER 22—President Barack Obama repealed the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, a 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals from serving openly in the U.S. military.
Stuy-Naught Project Launched in Space
JANUARY—Stuyvesant’s Stuy-Naught team placed fifth in MIT’s Zero Robotics competition, allowing their satellite to navigate through the International Space Station.
FEBRUARY 11—The Egyptian Revolution ended with Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, handing power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
FEBRUARY 15—The First Libyan Civil War, an armed conflict between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gadaffi and foreign-backed troops attempting to expel his government, broke out.
Controversial Video Causes Major Stir
FEBRUARY—Five white male students filmed themselves rapping using racially and sexually inflammatory slurs. The video was sent to a black female student, who posted it on her Facebook wall. The students faced a five-day suspension.
Race Survey Results Published
MARCH—A Spectator survey revealed that 62.7 percent of students strongly agreed with the statement that they had been discriminated against upon the basis of their race, while 75 percent answered that they had been in situations where racial jokes were made.
MARCH 11—A series of tsunami waves prompted by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake swept across northern Japan. The combined earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing radiation to leak into the neighboring area.
By the Numbers: Names
APRIL—In a comical “behind the numbers,” an issue released earlier in the decade, The Spectator revealed that the most common name among Stuyvesant students was “Kevin,” with 71 instances.
APRIL 29—Kate Middleton and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, got married. Their ceremony was broadcasted on television with an estimated audience of two billion people worldwide.
MAY 2—Osama bin Laden was killed by a United States Special Operations unit in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Polazzo Competes on Jeopardy!
MAY—Social Studies teacher Matthew Polazzo competed in the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament, in which teachers from all around the country compete to win $100 thousand. Polazzo was a semifinalist and won $10 thousand.
Administration Takes Down Crush List
JUNE—After the New York Post and the New York Daily News caught wind of Stuyvesant’s tradition of posting senior crush lists the previous year, the administration took down the crush lists posted in the senior atrium.
Administration Introduces Strict Dress Code
JUNE—With warmer weather upon the school, the administration introduced a new dress code that prohibited midriffs, backs, and shoulders from being exposed and required that the hemline of all skirts fall below the bottom of one’s fingertips when standing upright.
JULY 9—South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan, with 99 percent of the South Sudanese population casting their ballots for the split.
AUGUST 21-28—Hurricane Irene, the first of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, struck the Bahamas and the east coast of the United States, where over three million people lost power. The hurricane cost $15.8 billion in damage.
Former Stuyvesant Librarian Vindicated of Sexual Harassment Charges
SEPTEMBER—Former librarian Christopher Asch was fired in June 2009 due to a sexual harassment report filed by four male students. Two years later, in 2011, he was officially vindicated of all charges and declared a victim of anti-homosexual discrimination. Asch was the faculty advisor for several clubs at Stuyvesant and was a librarian for seven years until he was suspended from his position.
First Annual Hispanic Heritage Day Held
OCTOBER—SPARK counselor Angel Colon and Assistant Principal of World Languages Arlene Ubieta, with the help of ASPIRA and other SPARK-affiliated clubs, held the first annual Hispanic Heritage Day during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Math Teacher Richard Geller Passes Away
NOVEMBER—Beloved math teacher Richard Geller, who taught at Stuyvesant for 30 years, passed away due to melanoma cancer at the age of 65.
Stuyvesant Gets National Mention on SNL
Teitel Proposes Nine-Period School Day
FEBRUARY—Principal Stanley Teitel proposed a nine-period school day to teachers and faculty members at an SLT meeting. The proposal aimed to reduce the stress that Stuyvesant students face in school.
Academic Dishonesty Survey
MARCH—The Spectator received 2,045 responses for its survey on academic dishonesty. Students cheated most frequently in social studies classes, and only 10 percent, around 205 students, of those who responded had been caught cheating. Most students copied homework on a monthly basis, and barely any students had others complete their essays or assignments for them.
New York Times Article Causes Stir
MARCH—As one of the few black students at Stuyvesant, Senior Rudi-Ann Miller shared her experience in The New York Times article “To Be Black at Stuyvesant High” by Fernanda Santos. Black students made up 1.2 percent of the enrollment at Stuyvesant at the time. The Times article included a proposal made by Stuyvesant alumna Lisa Mullins to automatically accept the valedictorian and salutatorian of every city middle school, which was met with criticism.
Stuyvesant Regents Cheating Ring Discovered
JUNE—News of the most significant scandal in Stuyvesant history broke in the last weeks of the 2011-2012 school year when a group of students was discovered to have cheated on the Physics, United States History, and English Regents as well as the Spanish LOTE exam. The cheating ring, led by Nayeem Ahsan, involved Ahsan sending answers via smartphone to a list of students he had assembled in advance. The Stuyvesant administration and DOE concluded that 71 students were willingly involved in cheating over Regents week and 92 juniors were involved in either giving or receiving test answers to or from Ahsan.
JULY 15—South Korean pop star Psy released “Gangnam Style.” Psy’s video was a world phenomenon, becoming the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube.
JULY 27-AUGUST 12—The London 2012 Summer Olympics were held, during which Michael Phelps won four gold and two silver medals in swimming.
Principal Stanley Titel Retires
SEPTEMBER—Stanley Teitel, who served as principal of Stuyvesant for 13 years (1999 to 2012), formally retired. Prior to serving as principal, Teitel had served as a physics and chemistry teacher (1983 to 1997) and Assistant Principal of Chemistry and Physics (1997 to 1999), totaling his years at Stuyvesant to 29. During Teitel’s tenure, Stuyvesant was in the news for a racist rap video that targeted a black student, an event called “Slutty Wednesday” that protested the school’s dress code, and the Regents cheating scandal that rocked the school in June 2012.
Introducing Principal Jie Zhang
SEPTEMBER—Jie Zhang, a former Stuyvesant parent and former principal of Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, was named interim-acting principal.
Million-Dollar Donation Reopens Alumni Merger Debate
SEPTEMBER—Boaz Weinstein (’91) donated $1 million to Stuyvesant intended to fund the ongoing library renovation and add more computers throughout the building. His donation reopened a long-held debate regarding the three separate Stuyvesant alumni associations and how, if at all, they should be merged.
BSL Holds Open House to Diversify and Clarify
SEPTEMBER—The Black Students League (BSL) held its third annual Diversity Open House as part of its ongoing effort to diversify the school and educate prospective minority students on the application process and opportunities offered at Stuyvesant.
Academic Honesty Policy Revised for New School Year
OCTOBER—As a result of the cheating scandal, a new and revised Academic Honesty Policy was implemented, characterizing cheating not only as “copying from someone else’s exam, paper, homework, or lab” but also comparing test answers following a test.
Pool and Library Renovated
OCTOBER—The Stuyvesant library was renovated to be more capacious and to include 38 computers—a great increase from its previous nine. The pool was renovated as well after school custodians discovered a broken membrane near the tile, canceling all pool-related activities for the 2012-2013 school year.
OCTOBER 9—Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for women’s education, survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
Stuyvesant Students Involved in Cheating Ring Suspended
OCTOBER—As a result of the June cheating scandal, the DOE announced that 12 students who had responded to Ahsan’s texts with the answers would receive superintendent’s suspensions, and the other 54 students who simply received the texts would receive a principal’s suspension. Ahsan himself transferred to Brooklyn Latin High School.
Senior Sues City Over Cheating Allegations
OCTOBER—A Stuyvesant senior who was reportedly involved in the cheating scandal, referred to as “Student Doe,” sued Principal Jie Zhang and Chancellor Dennis Walcott for hurting their chances of being accepted into college.
Stuyvesant Student Taken Into Police Custody for Drug Possession
OCTOBER—A senior was taken into police custody for the possession and use of illegal drugs on school premises. Administrators are believed to have caught the student smoking marijuana in a student bathroom.
Stuyvesant Responds to Hurricane Sandy
OCTOBER—In response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, all NYC public schools were closed from October 29 to November 2. When Stuyvesant reopened, all students were able to eat lunch for free, and the SHSAT and SAT exams were postponed.
NOVEMBER 6—President Barack Obama was re-elected to another four-year term in the White House after defeating Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
NOVEMBER 15—Xi Jinping was named general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Peglegs Close Out Historic Season
NOVEMBER—For the first time in 17 years, Stuyvesant’s football team made it to the playoffs and even came in second in the league’s championships.
SU Introduces Reforms
NOVEMBER—The Student Union (SU) introduced required office hours for all members of the administration, created an online, user-friendly Stuyvesant Groups Directory, and proposed the creation of an academic honesty code to be signed after every exam and an honor code panel to listen to cases of academic dishonesty and deliberate upon them.
DECEMBER 14—Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, 20 children and six adults, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Jie Zhang Appointed Principal
FEBRUARY—Jie Zhang, who had served as Stuyvesant’s Interim-Acting Principal since the fall term, was appointed to a permanent post as principal.
MARCH 13—Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected to become the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years and the first from the Americas at the age of 76.
Seniors Permitted Outside During Frees
MARCH—Seniors were allowed to leave the school building during free periods as a result of The Spectator’s petition requesting outdoor privileges on the grounds that they would decrease stress, increase happiness, and reduce overcrowding within the school. The petition collected over 1,000 signatures within 36 hours of its release.
Eight Students Named USAPhO Semifinalists
MARCH—Eight Stuyvesant students were named semi-finalists in the 2013 U.S. Physics Olympiad. Notably, all eight of these students were male.
Stuy Prep Launched
MARCH—StuyPrep was launched by Stanley Chan (’15) to help underprivileged students prepare for the SHSAT.
APRIL 15—During the annual Boston Marathon, self-radicalized brothers Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.
SU Elections Postponed
MAY—As a result of a miscommunication between the Board of Elections (BOE) and the administration, SU elections were indefinitely postponed. In this election cycle, many potential candidates were disqualified as a result of behavioral infractions.
JUNE 5—The U.S. National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were found guilty of eavesdropping on people by collecting millions of telephone records and storing global email messages, Facebook posts, and internet histories. Ex-CIA systems analyst Edward Snowden was responsible for leaking information by downloading 1.5 million files and handing them off to journalists. The first article was published on June 5.
Cahn Disqualified as SU President Despite Landslide Victory
JUNE—In the BOE elections, the Cahn-Moon ticket received 447 votes compared to the Zilberbrand-Carpen ticket’s 329. However, the BOE overturned this victory by disqualifying the Cahn-Moon ticket according to the three-strikes proposal. According to the BOE, Cahn and Moon violated campaign protocol by using SU resources to campaign and also by placing too many posters on two bulletin boards.
Disruptions and Confusion After Bomb Threat Forces Evacuation
JUNE—A bomb threat aimed at Stuyvesant was phoned into Mr. Moran’s office. The school building was evacuated until the police confirmed that the threat was a hoax, at which point juniors were allowed to reenter the building for English Regents testing.
Damesek Barred From School After Report
SEPTEMBER—Former Assistant Principal of Guidance Randi Damesek was denied entry to Stuyvesant. The preceding release of a 56-page DOE report investigating the June 2012 cheating scandal recommended that disciplinary actions be taken against Damesek. The report had been further circulated by prominent media outlets after The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request, fueling the rage that families and faculty members felt about the cheating incident. Ultimately, Damesek was forced to leave Stuyvesant, despite the fact that many students felt she was used as a scapegoat.
AP Computer Science Enrollment Increases
OCTOBER—In response to the overwhelming demand for AP Computer Science, Principal Jie Zhang agreed to open a new section as a 10th period class, increasing the course acceptance rate to an unprecedented 58 percent.
Stuyvesant Receives $60,000 Grant
NOVEMBER—A charitable grant of $60,000 was issued by the Baylin Charitable Trust, founded by late Miami attorney and Stuyvesant alumnus Gerald Baylin, to improve the school’s STEM departments and provide assistance to financially struggling students.
DECEMBER 5—Nelson Mandela, pioneer of the end of apartheid in South Africa and the first black president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, died at age 95 after a two year battle with lung infection.
Juniors Allowed Out During Frees
DECEMBER—Several years after the privilege of going outside during free periods was revoked from students after 9/11 and months after the opportunity was regranted to seniors in a springtime trial period, the policy was extended to the junior class.
Implementation of Naviance
DECEMBER—After a series of efforts to modernize Stuyvesant’s college application database, the guidance department implemented the Naviance college and career readiness platform to provide students and families with improved future planning resources.
New AutoCAD Software Piloted in Drafting Curriculum
JANUARY—In an attempt to modernize Stuyvesant’s drafting program and avoid the technical difficulties often encountered with the CADKEY system, technology teacher Arthur Griffith launched a revamped pilot program with the widely used AutoCAD software.
FEBRUARY 7-23—The 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia, with the host country winning the most gold medals.
MARCH 8—The MH37 flight operated by Malaysia Airlines, along with the 239 passengers and workers on board, went missing on its international journey from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China. Since then, the disappearance of this plane has become one of aviation’s most perplexing mysteries.
STC Spring Comedy Runs Early
APRIL —The Stuyvesant Theater Community (STC) show “Pygmalion” was forced to fast-track rehearsals, which began only a week after SING! ended, proving to be a challenge for all cast and crew members involved in one or both. The mishap, which was caused by a scheduling conflict with the theater, forced the directors to cast, rehearse, and perform the show in under three weeks.
Computer Glitch Inflates Voting Results of SU Election
JUNE—This error, reported by the BOE, ended up completely botching the results of the Senior Caucus elections, which announced the wrong ticket as the winners for several hours before the mistake was found.
JULY 17—Forty-three year-old Eric Garner died after being detained in a chokehold by the police. In response, protests erupted across New York and throughout the nation.
SUMMER—The Ebola epidemic spread rapidly in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and became a global health crisis. More than 17,000 were diagnosed and over 6,000 died from the disease.
School Schedule Extended
SEPTEMBER—In order to increase instructional time as per DOE requirements, the school schedule was extended by five minutes. The UFT DOE teacher contract requires teachers to teach five classes out of an eight-period day, though Stuyvesant teachers teach five periods out of nine, short by 20 minutes each day. However, students with a seven-period schedule are still 10 minutes short of required instruction time.
The Spectator Publishes Centennial Magazine
SEPTEMBER—The Spectator began as a four-page paper with a cover story on the football team’s victory in 1915. In commemoration of the past 100 years of student journalism at Stuyvesant, The Spectator published the Centennial Magazine.
What’s the Big IDea?
OCTOBER—The Editorial Board conducted an experiment in which certain editors scanned into the building with another student’s ID to see the reaction of the administration. The administration did not detect a difference in the identities of the students and the IDs that they were swiping in with.
OCTOBER 10—Malala Yousafzai jointly won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi for their efforts in advocating for children’s educational rights and became the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner.
The Spectator Publishes First-Ever Spooktator
OCTOBER—The first Spooktator, a Halloween-themed humor issue, was published on Halloween, beginning a long-standing tradition and creating a second humor issue of the year, in addition to the Disrespectator published on April Fools’ Day.
Ambiguous Safety Drill Policies Impact Stuyvesant Readiness
NOVEMBER—Stuyvesant had its first unannounced lockdown after Mr. Moran received reports from a teacher regarding a student who had potentially been carrying a weapon. During the lockdown, the student was located and found not to be carrying a weapon. However, this lockdown had revealed the unpreparedness of Stuyvesant’s faculty during safety drills, as many teachers were uncertain of the soft lockdown procedures or had taken ineffective measures.
$300,000 Grant Approved for Renovations of Stuyvesant Theater
DECEMBER—Stuyvesant received a $300,000 grant to renovate Stuyvesant’s Murray Kahn Theater, which was used to replace the upholstery of the seats and redo the flooring. Principal Jie Zhang cited the September 11 attacks as one of the reasons to replace the seating, since air pollution may have contaminated the upholstery.
SU Office Transformed into Student Lounge
DECEMBER—The double doors behind the senior bar, previously known as the SU office, was transformed into a student lounge, which contained tables, bean bag chairs, and a blue carpet.
Mohammed Islam Presents Contradictory Story About his Finances
DECEMBER—New York Magazine published an article describing how senior and president of the Stuyvesant Investment Club Mohammed Islam had accumulated a net worth of $72 million through trades in the stock market. However, through an interview with The New York Observer, Islam admitted that the $72 million was a hoax as he made $72 million through stimulated trades with fake money and apologized for lying to the media. This incident created controversy over how much fact-checking was done among the Stuyvesant body and New York Magazine journalists.
JANUARY 7—Masked gunmen, brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, stormed the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in France, where they killed 10 journalists and two police officers. The manhunt, which continued for the next three days, ended in two hostage sieges, during which four hostages were killed.
Cellphone Ban to be Lifted at Stuyvesant
FEBRUARY—The previous cell phone ban, which was implemented to avoid distractions in the classroom, was lifted by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña to increase school safety. In an SLT meeting, a new phone policy was discussed where students would be allowed to use their phones in designated areas and teachers could allow their use at their discretion.
Schools Close for Muslim Holidays Starting Next Year
MARCH—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that schools would close for Eid-Al Fitr and Eid-Al Adha to accommodate Muslim students. Additionally, pressure was put on de Blasio to put holidays of other cultures, such as Diwali and Lunar New Year, onto the school calendar as holidays.
Freshman Caucus Hold First Freshmen-Only Dance
APRIL—Launched by the Freshman Caucus, the first freshmen-only dance, dubbed the Spring Fling, took place on the last day before Spring Break.
PA Promises Funding to Renovate Auditorium Sound System
MAY—In response to multiple technical issues during SING! and STC productions, the Parents’ Association gave $250,000 to the administration for sound system renovations.
PA Approves Funds for Three Large Renovations
JUNE—The Parents’ Association approved $385,000 to renovate Stuyvesant facilities and technology— including the dance studio, gymnasiums, and the auditorium—and its HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems.
JUNE 26—The Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment gave all Americans the right to same-sex marriage.
JULY 14—NASA’s interplanetary space probe New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto. New Horizons became the first space mission to explore Pluto’s moons and obtain images of objects in the Kuiper Belt.
Damesek Returns to Stuyvesant After Two-Year Forced Absence
SEPTEMBER—Assistant Principal of Organization Randi Damesek returned to Stuyvesant after a two-year forced absence due to the cheating scandal in 2012. After a prolonged investigation, Damesek had been cleared of the charges against her and was reinstated into the school.
StuyPulse Returns to China
SEPTEMBER—Eighteen members of the robotics team, StuyPulse, traveled to China to mentor less experienced robotics teams for the Chinese Robotics Challenge (CRC) from August 10 to 26.
Which Ones Work?
OCTOBER—Senior Krzysztof Hochlewicz created a new application that reported which escalators were working. The information was displayed on tablets that were mounted at the bottom of each escalator and linked to each other wirelessly.
Students Required to Take One or More AP Exams to Graduate
OCTOBER—Beginning with the class of 2017, every student must sit for at least one AP exam during their time at Stuyvesant in order to graduate with a Stuyvesant Endorsed Diploma.
NOVEMBER 13—Coordinated terrorist attacks in and around Paris, France injured 368 and killed 130 people.
Sophomores Allowed Outside During Free Periods
NOVEMBER—The administration granted sophomores the right to leave during free periods at an SLT meeting after two seniors posted a petition on Facebook to mobilize the student body in support of this issue.
AP Exams Free but Mandatory
DECEMBER—AP exams were offered to students for no cost because the DOE chose to use AP exam scores—rather than Regents scores—to measure students’ learning.
JANUARY—President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan after the city’s drinking water was contaminated with lead.
Theater To Receive $300,000 Upgrade
JANUARY—As part of a plan from 2014 to modernize the Murray Kahn Theatre, the sound system began undergoing renovations with a $300,000 grant from the city and donations from the Parents’ Association.
SING! 2016 Faces Budget Cuts
FEBRUARY—SING! prices and dues increased in response to SU budget cuts, stemming from pay increases for SING! faculty advisors and the SU having to pay the Coordinator of Student Affairs’s salary.
Freshmen Allowed Out During Free Periods, Concluding a 15-Year Battle
FEBRUARY—The administration granted freshmen the right to leave the building during free periods, the last grade to regain the privilege after it was revoked for all grades following 9/11.
Water Pipe Burst Causes Student Evacuation
FEBRUARY—Roughly 150 students were evacuated from the building during Sunday SING! practice when low temperatures caused a standpipe on the first floor to burst.
Detention System Implemented
MARCH—A new detention system was implemented where students who committed minor infractions would attend detention before or after school instead of having to face other disciplinary action.
APHUG Offered to Freshmen, Juniors, and Seniors
APRIL—AP Human Geography, initially available to sophomores only, was opened to all other grades, with social studies teacher Josina Dunkel teaching the freshman sections and social studies teacher Ellen Schweitzer teaching the upperclassmen ones.
Palazzo, So, and Chowdhury Apply to Trademark Stuyvesant
JUNE—Coordinator of Student Affairs Matthew Polazzo, SU President Matthew So, and Vice President Tahseen Chowdhury attempted to trademark the word “Stuyvesant” for apparel.
JUNE 12—Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others during a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
JUNE 23—The United Kingdom decided to withdraw from the European Union, with 52 percent of voters choosing to leave.
AUGUST 5-21—The 2016 Rio Olympics were held in Brazil, making it the first Olympic games to ever be held on the South American continent.
Four-Digit IDs To Be Replaced by OSIS Numbers
SEPTEMBER—The DOE assigned nine-digit ID numbers for student identification, discontinuing the use of Stuyvesant-assigned four-digit student ID numbers.
Principal Jie Zhang Retires from the DOE
SEPTEMBER—Former Principal Jie Zhang, who had been principal at Stuyvesant for four years, officially retired from the DOE on July 21 and will be superintendent at the New York Military Academy. During her time, she increased the number of AP classes, integrated technology such as SMART boards into classrooms, received a number of grants to renovate the theater and robotics lab, and created a new computer lab and drafting room.
Eric Contreras Named Interim-Acting Principal
SEPTEMBER—Eric Contreras, who was previously Assistant Principal and Principal of the Queens High School of Teaching for seven years, assumed the position of Interim-Acting Principal after former Principal Jie Zhang retired from the DOE.
9/11 Fifteen Years Later
SEPTEMBER—Students and teachers reflected on their experiences 15 years after the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
SEPTEMBER 17— Ahmad Khan Rahimi placed a pipe bomb that exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey. On the same day, he released a homemade pressure-cooker bomb in Chelsea, New York, which exploded. The bombs left 31 people wounded.
SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 10—Hurricane Matthew struck parts of Florida to North Carolina. At least two million people were forced to evacuate from their homes.
Administration Reinstates Freshman Algebra-Geometry Class
SEPTEMBER—Stuyvesant introduced a new double period course for freshmen called Euclidean Geometry & Algebra for students whose math placement test scores demonstrated a need for review of Algebra I. The course was created to allow students to catch up to their peers so that they could take calculus in their senior year.
Stuyvesant Students Advocate for Halal and Kosher Lunch Options
SEPTEMBER—SU Vice President Tahseen Chowdhury and freshman Sudat Khan advocated a bill to require public schools to provide kosher and halal lunch options at a rally in front of City Hall.
Stuyvesant Receives Funding for New Innovation Lab
OCTOBER—With a $300,000 grant, Stuyvesant planned to create a new Innovation Center in room 251 and purchased new equipment to improve its engineering programs, which opened up prospects for new 10-Tech classes.
Administration Reveals New Homework Policy
OCTOBER—The SLT implemented a new homework policy that limits the amount of homework a teacher is allowed to assign. Homework cannot exceed more than 30 minutes for non-AP and non-honors classes and cannot exceed an hour for AP classes. In addition, the new policy limits the amount of homework allowed to be given over break, permits students to receive extensions on homework assigned during religious holidays with a note from a parent, and reaffirms the testing schedule where departments are only allowed to administer tests on certain days of the week.
If We Could Vote
NOVEMBER—Prior to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory, Stuyvesant held a mock election organized by social studies teacher Linda Weissman, with 62 percent of the student body voting for Hillary Clinton and 14 percent voting for Trump.
NOVEMBER 9—Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Spectator Releases “The Race Issue”
DECEMBER—The Spectator delved into the ethnic breakdown of the student body and how race affected students’ clubs and leadership, the courses they’ve taken, and their classroom experiences.
Tensions rapidly escalated between the U.S. and North Korea when North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un voiced his intention of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. Tensions were heightened when Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old American, died after being released from North Korean captivity in a vegetative state in June.
Overhaul of Stuyvesant’s Escalators Underway
FEBRUARY—A new overhaul program implemented procedures, such as a device to halt the escalator if an object gets stuck, to make the Stuyvesant escalators safer.
Following Passage of State Law, Seniors Lag in Vaccination Requirements
FEBRUARY—The Public Health Law 2164 was updated and required rising seniors to fulfill an immunization requirement. It warned that seniors who did not get the required booster shots would be barred from entering the school. Though many seniors were stopped at the scanners, no one reported that they were prevented from entering.
Stuyvesant Purchases Jupiter Grades
FEBRUARY—The administration purchased the rights to use the grading platform Jupiter Grades to provide teachers a schoolwide online grading book.
Responding to a New Political and Social Normal
FEBRUARY—In response to the changing political and social climate after the start of Trump’s presidency, The Spectator surveyed students on their political views and awareness.
Cheating Discovered in the Spanish Department
FEBRUARY—Students in Spanish III classes and some French classes were discovered posting homework answers in Facebook class groups.
2017 SING! Charter Amendments
APRIL—The SU introduced new amendments to the SING! performances for the following year, limiting the amount of money a SING! can raise, administering budget reports, restricting caucus involvement, standardizing judges’ scoring, and implementing point deductions for newly added infractions.
Eric Contreras Appointed to Principal at Stuyvesant
MAY—After serving as Interim-Acting Principal for seven months, Eric Contreras was appointed principal of Stuyvesant.
“Concerned Stuyvesant Alumni” Boycott Alumni Association
MAY—“Concerned Stuyvesant Alumni,” a forum for alumni protesting a lack of transparency and accountability from the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association (SHSAA), boycotted the organization, urging other alumni to donate directly to the school instead of through the SHSAA.
ARISTA Leaves the National Honor Society
JUNE—ARISTA, previously a chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS), did not renew its membership with the NHS and later ratified a set of bylaws for the service organization.
AUGUST 21—A total solar eclipse—the first visible one across the continental United States since 1979—was seen across the country.
SU President Tahseen Chowdhury campaigns for State Senate
SEPTEMBER—SU President Tahseen Chowdhury decided to campaign for State Senate with the Independent Democratic party.
Free School Lunch Available to All NYC Public School Students
SEPTEMBER—Chancellor Carmen Fariña put this order into effect, which did not cost the city and guaranteed free lunch to millions of students.
The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was one of the most severe on record. Hurricane Harvey, a category three storm, hit southeast Texas during August. Two weeks later, Hurricane Irma, a category four storm, struck Florida and the Florida Keys. Hurricane Maria, a category four storm, caused severe destruction in Puerto Rico in late September.
OCTOBER 1—Stephen Paddock opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800. It lasted 10 minutes and was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, reopening the debate on gun control.
OCTOBER—The #MeToo Movement took off after back-to-back stories of Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulting women were published. Women who fell victim to Weinstein’s crimes made their stories public under the MeToo hashtag, giving a voice to sexual harassment and assault survivors.
Deadly Terrorist Attack Outside of Stuyvesant
OCTOBER—A man driving a truck down the West Side Highway under the Tribeca Bridge veered into the bike path in a calculated act of terror, leading to the deaths of eight people. Students were forced to shelter-in for hours before the terrorist was eventually shot by the police. This attack, which was the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11, was personally witnessed by several members of the student body and teaching staff.
Spectator Publishes a Revealing Academic Dishonesty Editorial
DECEMBER—The Editorial Board found that 83.3 percent of survey respondents admitted to having partaken in some form of academic dishonesty during their four years at Stuyvesant. Many students claimed that the results of this study, which were used in a sensational article by The New York Post, were taken out of context.
Big Sib Program Creates Bylaws
FEBRUARY—The Big Sib program, which previously only had a Code of Conduct, saw large upheavals when they ratified a set of rules that would provide consistent standards.
#notallstuykids Begins to Trend Around the School
FEBRUARY—This hashtag, which was used to exempt the majority of the Stuyvesant population from the bad press that academic dishonesty scandals had brought to the school over the years, was met with backlash from much of the student body.
FEBRUARY 9-FEBRUARY 25—The 2018 Winter Olympics were hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The U.S. concluded with a total of nine gold medals, eight silver medals, and six bronze medals.
FEBRUARY 14—Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 14.
Stuyvesant Walks Out In Response to Parkland
MARCH—After a shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida caused 17 deaths, about 1,000 Stuyvesant students walked out of school to show support for safer gun laws and heavier regulations in hopes to put an end to school shootings.
Soph-Frosh SING! Background Collapses
MARCH—The band kept playing for a few beats after a side-stage riser of the Soph-Frosh SING! set collapsed on stage, injuring multiple performers. The riser was carrying twice the weight that it was intended for, causing the fall.
MAY 19—Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle wed. Markle became the first American woman, the first person of mixed race heritage, and the second divorcee to marry into the British royal family.
JUNE 12—North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced to the world at a summit hosted in Singapore that he wanted to end tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un ultimately signed an agreement to denuclearize North Korea.
JUNE 23—Twelve boys from the Thai soccer team, Wild Boars, and their coach were trapped by floods in a cave in northern Thailand. A team of 110 Thai SEALS, over 100 soldiers and volunteers, and expert divers searched and planned an operation to rescue them from the flooded cave.
New Talos System Goes Live
SEPTEMBER—The new Talos system, created by Rodda John (‘17), was initially launched for AP course and elective selections the previous March. The first round of program changes using Talos began in fall 2018, and the new system was met with appreciation as well as confusion and frustration about the technicalities of the website.
Eric Contreras Resigns, Then Returns as Principal of Stuyvesant
SEPTEMBER—After announcing his departure following two years at Stuyvesant on August 27, Principal Eric Contreras decided to remain with the school and rescinded his resignation. The decision was made a week into the school year after he had accepted and subsequently turned down a position as Senior Executive Director of Curriculum, Construction, and Professional Learning.
Stuyvesant Receives Million Dollar Robotics Lab Donation
SEPTEMBER—The Alumni Association received a $1,000,000 donation from Edwin Lin (‘04) and Alfred Lin (‘90), a pair of alumni brothers who directed their contribution toward a new robotics lab.
Escalator Malfunction Sends Students to Hospital
OCTOBER—Ten Stuyvesant students were injured following an escalator malfunction at around 3:45 p.m. on October 20. The escalator rapidly accelerated and then partially collapsed on itself, causing those riding the escalator to fall into a pile toward the bottom. A number of these students got their feet stuck in the bottom escalator grill and were rushed to be treated by paramedics for cuts and bruises, though one student was reported to have a “severed toe.” All of the building’s escalators were indefinitely shut off.
Tribeca Bridge Dedicated to Former Principal Abraham Baumel
NOVEMBER—In commemoration of 25 years since Stuyvesant’s move from East 15th Street to 345 Chambers Street, the Baumel family paired with the Alumni Association to raise $250,000 to dedicate Tribeca Bridge to former Principal “Abe” Baumel.
German Pop Star Wincent Weiss Performs at Stuyvesant
DECEMBER—The world languages department hosted German pop star Wincent Weiss in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, allowing students to enjoy a taste of Eastern European culture and music during Weiss’s North American tour.
SLT Rejects PSAL Free Proposal
DECEMBER—The SU failed to pass a proposal exempting PSAL athletes from Physical Education during their athletic season, shutting down the project indefinitely.
Undercurrents: Spectator Winter Magazine Released
DECEMBER—The Spectator released a winter magazine on the underlying issues and tensions at Stuyvesant, including dynasties and the role of social media in SU elections, the use of the n-word, and the lack of female representation on the math team. A Features investigative in 2020 followed up on the math team’s continued gender dynamics.
BSL and ASPIRA Begin Hosting Talk Circles on Race
JANUARY—BSL and ASPIRA began hosting monthly student-facilitated Talk Circles to discuss topics on race and invite a variety of different viewpoints on said issues, once inviting members of the Patriots’ Club.
English Department Uncovers Cheating
FEBRUARY—English teacher Minkyu Kim uncovered a case of academic dishonesty among students in his senior class. The New York Post picked up the story from The Spectator’s reporting, sensationalizing the academic dishonesty issues present at Stuyvesant.
Kung Fu Tea Closes
MARCH—Kung Fu Tea, a popular nearby spot for Stuyvesant students, closed due to a change in ownership of the building.
Stuyvesant Cheer Coach Leaves, Leaving Financial Complications
MARCH––Former cheer coach Nicholas O’ Stanton left his position after his poor management skills prevented the team from being able to go on their annual trip to the Nationals. The trip cost $540 per person, and the money went to O’ Stanton because he had already paid out of his own pocket. However, when the trip was canceled, the money he collected was not returned to cheer team members.
MARCH 15—Fifty-one people were killed by Australian national Brenton Tarrant at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, making it the nation’s deadliest mass shooting.
APRIL 15—A fire broke out in the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, damaging the roof and spire.
Stuyvesant Celebrates 50 Years of Co-Education and The Spectator Releases SpectatHER
JUNE—Alice de Rivera sued the Board of Education for restricting female attendance at Stuyvesant in January 1969. Though de Rivera was never able to attend Stuyvesant, her persistent efforts resulted in co-education, paving the way for 13 other young women to enter in the fall of 1969. The SpectatHER featured these “pioneers,” as well as other notable female alumni and current female students.
AUGUST 24—Hurricane Dorian, a category five hurricane, struck the Bahamas. It was the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the country.
All Juniors Required to Take AP Physics I
SEPTEMBER—The administration required all juniors to take AP Physics I. This was met with great backlash by juniors who were upset that such an important decision was made without any student input or prior notice. Additionally, many juniors were frustrated that they were forced to take a vigorous class they had not signed up for.
HBO Documentary on Stuyvesant 9/11 Experience Released
SEPTEMBER—In an HBO documentary entitled “In the Shadow of the Towers: Stuyvesant High on 9/11,” Stuyvesant alumni reflected on their experience 18 years ago during the attacks. The alumni interviewed had participated in the winter drama “With Their Eyes,” which was created in response to the tragedy, and shared their stories of the Stuyvesant community.
SEPTEMBER 23—Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, delivered her speech to world leaders at the UN, calling attention to the problem of climate change.
Stuyvesant Evacuations Lead to Safety Concerns
OCTOBER—Reports of gas-like odors prompted the Stuyvesant body to evacuate from the building twice in the same day, prompting concerns regarding evacuation protocol.
Junior Physics Course Name Switched
NOVEMBER—In the wake of backlash from students and teachers, the administration decided to rename AP Physics I to Advanced Physics with AP 1 Topics. Physics teachers refused to teach the AP class, citing insufficient lab time and other issues with the prerequisites of the class. The change attracted controversy within the student body.
Buying and Selling Lockers Group Discovered
DECEMBER—The administration became aware of a Facebook group for buying and selling lockers, and in response, they confiscated the lockers and voided the lunches of some of the students who used the group.
DECEMBER 18—President Donald Trump was impeached on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the fourth U.S. president in history to be impeached.
JANUARY 3—Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike, prompting panic about rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
SING! Charter Updated
JANUARY—The SU instituted major changes to the SING! rules: all the coordinators are to collaborate to create the SING! calendar; a new judged Thursday show replaced the Wednesday performance; and a new auditing system was created to track SING! and its materials.
JANUARY 31—With Brexit, the United Kingdom (UK) formally left the European Union (EU). Following this, the UK and the EU entered a transition period during which the UK would remain subject to the rules of the EU.
Sandy Liang Debuts Fall Collection
FEBRUARY—Sandy Liang (‘09) held her New York Fashion Week runway show in the lobby of Stuyvesant, featuring her fall ready-to-wear collection.
MARCH 11—The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 viral disease outbreak a pandemic.
MARCH 16—The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,997 points, the largest drop since 1987. The S&P 500 dropped 8.1 percent, causing a halt on trades for 15 minutes.
Schools Closed for Remainder of Academic Year
APRIL—After closing NYC public schools on March 16 due to the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that they would remain closed for the rest of the school year. The decision to close negatively impacted events and extracurriculars, as well as numerous beloved senior traditions. Many students also expressed concern for what remote learning would look like, as teachers were forced to transition to online instruction on short notice.
Graduation Canceled For Seniors
APRIL—The graduation ceremony was canceled for the Class of 2020 due to the pandemic. The in-person ceremony will be replaced with a virtual graduation via YouTube, in which individual senior photos will appear on the screen, along with an hour of pre-recorded speeches.
DOE Announces Opt-In Grading System
APRIL—While the DOE kept number grades for the spring semester (as opposed to moving to pass-fail or ESNU), it also issued an opt-in policy that allows students to change their grades to Credit Received (CR) instead of numerical grades. Teachers will also issue a Course in Progress (NX) instead of failing students. The new system received considerable controversy within the Stuyvesant community. While some students, particularly juniors, supported number grades, others felt that it would be impossible and unfair to use such specific grades during remote learning.
College Board Administers 45 Minute AP Exams and June Regents Canceled
MAY—The College Board announced that AP exams would be 45 minutes long and entirely online, and the New York State Education Department announced that the June Regents would be canceled.
BOE Pushes Elections to the Fall
MAY—As a result of the pandemic, the BOE decided against holding virtual elections for the positions of Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Caucuses as well as the SU presidency. They plan to hold elections this coming fall along with Freshman Caucus voting.
MAY 25—Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, killing Floyd. Protests began in Minneapolis, Minnesota following his death and ultimately spread nationwide, demanding justice for Floyd, better law enforcement, as well as an end to police brutality.