Small But Noble Causes

It’s the small things that count.

Reading Time: 9 minutes

This issue’s staff ed is dedicated to the small issues that deserve formal support, but do not justify a 500 word staff editorial.

1: Fund Carol’s Candy

Carol, Ms. Pedrick’s secretary, keeps a bowl of candy on her desk in Ms. Pedrick’s office, which she pays for herself out of her own salary. Because this money could not, for legal reasons, come out of the DOE budget, we suggest that Carol’s candy bowl be funded by the Alumni Association by monthly allowance. A 58-piece bag of Mars Assorted Chocolate Candy Bars is available at Target for $19.95. Based on this figure, we propose a monthly candy allowance of $100. Carol deserves recognition.

2: Appreciation for the Coral Reef Unit on the Seventh Floor

The biology department, along with a student club, tends to a stunning coral reef in room 729—a unit that encompasses numerous tropical fish and even sea urchins. Students should appreciate its uses besides its physical glamour. Not only does the collection liven up the mood for students doing test corrections after school in that room, but it also kills awkward periods of silence by giving them a subject to talk about with their teachers. Moreover, it seems that room 729 is a popular place to visit when biology students are studying ecology and habitats, as the coral reef there presents them with an exciting opportunity to explore certain topics visually for themselves.

I have unfortunately heard time and time again from my peers that the coral reef here is a huge waste of water and money for maintenance and fish food. But these are the same people who fail to realize that diminishing coral reefs throughout the world pose a severe threat to the diverse marine life that lives there, a punch to the face for animal lovers like biology teacher Aimee Hill. In fact, we believe that Stuyvesant’s coral reef collection is a symbol of our institution’s desire to promote conservation as well as its emphasis on the various beauties of the natural world. The biology department should receive more funding to expand on its collection and students should pay it some more favorable attention.

3: Room 802

Imagine yourself laptopless and desperately trying to find a quiet study spot at school where there is no one swooping that phone out of your hand and no distracting friends who could take you out of study mode with a single subtle Asian traits meme. The library is full, the loud chatter in the lunchroom and half floor is unbearable, the benches on the upper quieter floors are not for students to sit on, and the first floor hallway past the cycling room is full of couples doing their thing. You have a test next period and really need to focus on cramming that last bit of information in.

The ideal study room is room 802. With a long black table and two chairs, the room is very small and its “absolute silent” atmosphere really increases your focus and productivity. The WiFi connection on the eighth floor is consistently strong and you are free to use your phone. Unfortunately, over the past few years, more and more students know about this room and go there when they’re free. Nowadays, it is common for a student to head up to the eighth floor and sadly see that the two seats in room 801 have already been taken. There are many other small rooms on the upper floors that are never being used by teachers or other staff. Therefore, like room 802, those rooms should also be open to students looking for quiet study spaces.

4. Let Us Pee!

For some students, missing any part of class means potentially missing out on important notes and announcements. This explains why some people choose to use the bathroom between the end and start bells. But using the bathroom has become a terrible predicament, particularly for females, because of long lines. Why are female students waiting in line so long for the bathroom to the point when they are late for class and are forced to receive unwanted glares from their teachers? For one thing, seniors are often changing in the bathroom stalls. Part of this problem stems from the school’s inability to provide lockers for seniors, but the fifth floor locker rooms are still open!

Second, restrooms have become the new go-to place for Juuling and hanging out. Maybe it’s the urine-stained tiles or the discarded pad and tampon packaging that makes the last stall so inviting, but it’s been mind-boggling to witness not two, not three, but FOUR girls come out of the last stall after their daily prayer circle to the bathroom gods. The informal walk of shame is accompanied by the click-clack of high heels and fur coats as those waiting in line stare in disbelief. There are plenty of other places to gossip; don’t do it in a place designated for the disposal of bodily fluids and wastes.

5. Let Us Sit!

It can be extremely frustrating for students when they’re sitting on a bench, doing nothing wrong and minding their business, then being asked by security guards to move.

According to security guards, the reason for this policy is that allowing anyone on the benches invites groups, which are loud and disrupt nearby class. We understand the importance of a quiet environment, but only groups, not students working silently, should be asked to move. Because of limited library capacity and the volume of the second and half floor, quiet space to work is increasingly hard to find during frees at Stuyvesant, and these spaces are easy DOE-compliant compromises.

Students should be allowed to do homework, study, chat quietly with friends, or take a break after climbing up six flights of stairs. We suggest that the administration lift this prohibition and allow students to sit on benches.

6: Let Us In!

When students swipe out during their lunch and free periods, they’re not allowed back in until the start of the next period. This gives students five minutes to get to class, and if they need to stop by their lockers to store away their jackets or get to the 10th floor, they will be late. Students who go outside for lunch usually go nearby to Ferry’s or Terry’s at the beginning of the period, when lines aren’t as long. For the remainder of their time outside, they either have to wait on the bridge in the freezing cold or wander around Tribeca in the freezing cold. Another option is to go to Whole Foods, but by then, more than half of the period would be over.

There are already two scanners, one for students swiping back in and one for those just arriving to school. This indicates to us that having multiple scanners provides the option to run multiple settings at once. We encourage the administration to provide more flexibility for students during their lunch and free periods.

7: Lab Setup: Do it for Ms. Petula

Before students enter the chem lab to begin their assignments, Ms. Petula hurries to set up each station for the class. Considering the amount of spills, broken glasses, and messes that students can leave behind, it is a lot of work for one person to clean and set up these stations and materials multiple times a day. Though volunteers help speed up the process by cleaning and filling bottles, putting away supplies, and cutting squares of weighing paper, it is common to see Ms. Petula working alone to prepare every class's labs. Very few students truly appreciate the work that must be done prior to and following their labs and don't realize the amount of extra unnecessary work that a mess can create. Therefore, students should make sure that after they finish a lab, they place things back where they came from and do their best to keep the chemistry lab clean. Do it for Ms. Petula.

8. Stop the Bathroom Invasions

Unsatisfied with only 10 floors of building to patrol for rogue students using cellphones, members of the Stuyvesant administration have taken to entering bathrooms, hoping to catch students using their phones there. Not only is it ridiculous to search rooms reeking of urine for students cutting class—nobody would choose the bathroom of all places to relax or cut class—but it’s an invasion of reasonable student privacy. However foul they may be, the school’s bathrooms remain one of the few places where students are free from prying eyes and at a safe distance from teachers. It's in everyone’s best interests to keep it that way. It’s time to stop the bathroom invasion.

9. Elevator Passes for Staff

Teachers often brag about how it takes them less than a minute to run from the first to 10th floor and vice versa; however, many of them avoid using the stairs and escalators themselves during the hectic period changes and resort to using the elevators. Students require elevator passes from the nurse and get scolded if they don’t have it out by the time they step their foot in the elevator, even if the staff member clearly saw them running to catch the elevator. It already takes students long enough to have to wait for the elevators to arrive, but teachers add onto this by taking the elevators for one to three floors they could have easily walked or ridden the escalators for. Students joke around whether the elevator is going to go “local” or “express,” depending on how many buttons are pressed. Some staff members are nice enough to wait until the period is over to use the elevators; however, this only pertains to a handful of teachers.

Students are only allowed to ride the elevators if they have an injury or a medical. The only exception should be for teachers with a class on the 10th floor. The same rule should apply to staff members who abuse their authority of the elevators.

10. Unify Stuyvesant Sports

Team names for Stuyvesant sports range from the Mimbas to the Sticky Fingers to the Lady Lobsters. At the recent girls’ volleyball city championship, Stuyvesant (team name: Vixens) defeated Hunter High School, the Hawks. Stuyvesant’s boys’ basketball team (team name: Runnin’ Rebels) will play Hunter on December 11. Hunter basketball’s team name is also the Hawks. The list goes on and on. Save for the few teams named the Peglegs (baseball and football are two examples), the vast majority of Stuyvesant teams have unrelated team names. At pretty much any other high school in America, this would be an atrocity.

Stuyvesant’s 32 varsity sports teams should be unified under one team name. It builds school spirit and creates a sense of camaraderie separate names do not. At the girls’ volleyball game, Hunter’s fans had chants they all knew because their Hawks team name is universal to the school. They are the Hunter Hawks. We are the Stuyvesant Peglegs/Greyducks/Vipers/Penguins and about 30 others. Deciding on a singular mascot for our school, be it the Peglegs or otherwise (Governors, anyone?), would create more school spirit at a place where that is severely lacking.

11. Fix The Soap Dispensers

Nothing ruins a relieving visit to the Juul room faster than the frantic one-two palm strike of trying and failing to unjam a blocked soap dispenser. If you’re not the type to worry about insignificant hygienic concerns such as these, then feel free to stop reading and instead utilize this paper as an adequate substitute for toilet paper. If, however, you feel your hands burning with shame as you walk back into class and pick up your pencil with the same icky hand you Juuled with, skin crawling and smell wafting with every answer you bubble incorrectly, we’re glad we have your support. Seriously, it’s gross. And on a related note, to the demon that unravels all of the toilet paper and paper towel rolls in the sixth floor bathroom by the end of the day: one day you will have to pay for your sins.

12. One Headphone

We can respect the requirement to take out our headphones out when entering the building, and we accept that classrooms are not an appropriate place for headphone use. The argument against being allowed to use headphones during lunch and free periods, as it has been explained to us by the deans, is a safety issue: students need to be able to hear in case a teacher calls for them. Therefore, the rule should allow for students to use a headphone in one ear if they are sitting down. This would enable students to listen to music and work on audio-based history and VHL homework during their free periods without interfering with the administration’s safety concerns. Furthermore, this concession would reduce the number of students playing music on external speakers, a hugely disruptive practice.

13. Dear Seniors

We do not want a boring senator whom no one has heard of to speak at graduation. Graduation is painfully long and grueling without the boring senator or obscure keynote speaker. The Spectator proposes that we hire a Barack Obama impersonator as the senior class speaker. We recommend Number One Barack Obama impersonator Reggie Brown, and have reached out to Brown for a quote, though he has not responded. Having a Barack Obama impersonator as our speaker would be so much more entertaining and would garner an impressive legacy for the class of 2019.