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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 20

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

May 18, 2021

Spring's Here! by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

In this Issue

  • The COVID-19 Pandemic Wreaks Havoc in India

  • The Spanish Flu V.S. COVID-19

  • Derek Chauvin's Trial: Does He Deserve Another Chance?

  • Analysis: President Biden’s First 100 Days in Office

  • The Price

  • Review: "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier"

  • Top 5 Shows for the Top Chefs

  • LGBTQAI+ Community Celebrates Their Day of Silence

  • "Having it All Together"

  • Tortured and Speechless: The Ballad of Animal Cruelty

  • The Earth is Warming! How Does This Impact Our World?

YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief and Pandemic News Editor

Alyssa Lee, Assistant Editor-in-Chief and Our Voices Heard Editor

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor and Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor


Paola Baizan

Yismel Castro

Brandon Costa

Khadija Dewan

Shemar Forbes

Natalie Flores

Natalie Maldonado

Amber Morales

Raquel Negron

Benjamin Rodríguez

Sean Vargas-Arcia


Max Silverman

Welcome to the YPIE QuaranTimes

Produced by YPIE’s Journalism major, the YPIE QuaranTimes is a way for YPIE students to connect and share experiences during these unprecedented times. YPIE Scholars are using this time in so many creative, meaningful ways. As such, the YPIE Journalism major hopes to highlight all of the talents in our community through this publication.

Pandemic News

Rocky Road by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

The COVID-19 Pandemic Wreaks Havoc in India

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

India has recently surpassed 20 million COVID-19 cases as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the lives of the people across the country daily, making it the region with the largest outbreak in Asia.

According to CBS News, of the “222,000” confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the country, over “57,000” deaths have been recorded over the past month, averaging 80 deaths per hour. Though, the actual death toll is likely greater, as the government is only tracking COVID-19 deaths registered in hospitals.

Over the past two weeks, “the virus has claimed an average of 120 lives every hour.”

As a result, this has placed a tremendous strain on India’s health care system. Oxygen, medicines, ventilators, hospital beds, and other vital medical supplies have been scarce. The outstanding number of patients has caused doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers to be overwhelmed, leaving many patients without the proper care and treatment they need to overcome this deadly disease.

Foreign medical aid has begun to arrive; however, there has not yet been any major improvement in the number of supplies.

As medical supplies and hospital workers continue to shrink and crematoria brim with corpses, health officials are concerned about another shortage: vaccines.

From May 1st, the government has officially opened the vaccination program to all adults; however, there are not enough serums for everyone to receive it. Some states, for example, Delhi, had to delay vaccine distribution to younger adults because they simply did not have enough vaccines. In India's financial capital of Mumbai, vaccination centers were closed for days on end. India’s younger population, between the ages of 18 and 45, has also been struggling to find available slots on the government’s online registration form.

But it does not appear that this shortage will end anytime soon, and it could last for months. Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, told the Financial Times that vaccine production would rise from 60-70 million serums per month to 100 million, but not until July, leaving many health officials in fear of such a delay leading to countless more deaths.

Although most of India’s worst-hit regions, including Delhi and Mumbai, are currently under lockdown, and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has the power to enforce a nationwide lockdown, he has refused to do so because of the huge economic toll it would entail. In fact, India’s first nationwide lockdown last March sparked a catastrophic humanitarian crisis among India’s day-wage workers and plunged about 75 million people into poverty.

Thus far, only about 9.5% of India’s total population has received at least a first dose, according to government data, and only about 2% has been fully vaccinated; however, “Nobody is safe until everybody is safe,” said epidemiologist Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan on CBS News.

It could take several months to arrange the purchase, delivery and distribution of foreign vaccines, and given the shortage of vaccines in the country, India can pay a heavy price for the delays for weeks to come.

The Spanish Flu V.S. COVID-19

By Paola Baizan, YPIE Scholar 2027

Since the news of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals could not help but notice that the world had already encountered a similar pandemic: the Spanish Flu. Although there are key differences between these two pandemics, there is one resemblance within both: the world completely changed during these periods of time.

  • The Spanish Flu

The Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, spread globally from 1918 to 1919. It originated from birds; however, the location in which this pandemic engendered is uncertain.

In the U.S., the Spanish Flu was initially identified among military personnel in 1918. The symptoms of the Flu included diarrhea, nausea, aches, a critical pneumonia attack, dark spots on the cheek, and a blue hue in the face due to a lack of oxygen in the lungs. The most affected group of people for the Flu were individuals between 20 to 40 years old.

Since there was no vaccine available for the Spanish Flu, other safety precautions were taken, including quarantine, isolation, disinfectant products, and restrictions on public gatherings. Aspirin was also widely utilized during this period, albeit in unsafe doses (over four grams).

About one-third of the global population became infected with the Spanish Flu, and

this pandemic had a mortality rate of around two percent.

  • COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic began in late 2019 and has since infected over 32,945,284 individuals in the United States. The virus originated in animals such as camels and bats, and it eventually mutated, becoming infectious to humans.

The first case of COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan, China. Symptoms of this virus are coughs, fever, chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea. The most affected group of people are those who are 65 years or older.

There are currently three vaccines available for COVID-19 in the United States-the Pfizer Vaccine, Moderna Vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. The safety precautions that have been implemented for this virus are similar to the ones that were implemented for the Spanish Flu, including quarantine, isolation, disinfectant products, restriction on public gatherings, as well as the use of face masks, and frequent hand washing.

As of April 28, 2021, there are a total of 150,036,402 global confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,158,322 confirmed deaths.

Pandemics such as the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 have been witnessed many times throughout history and many similarities and differences can be found between different pandemics. Hopefully, with the aid of the new COVID-19 vaccines, this pandemic will be over soon.


Derek Chauvin's Trial: Does He Deserve Another Chance?

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025

One of the most shocking and egregious cases recognized worldwide is the case of former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is responsible for the murder of George Floyd whose tragic and horrific death served as a final catalyst for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests that took place last May.

His trial was closely monitored by the media due to the immense need for justice and change in police reform demanded by the BLM protestors and foreign supporters who stood in solidarity to fight systemic racism and violence.

Judge Cahill is the judge who was assigned Chauvin’s case. He made the outstanding decision to allow the trial to be broadcasted live. This was an incredibly difficult decision considering how many people were personally affected by the occurrence of this case.

After several hours of debate and delegation, the former police officer was found guilty on all the counts he faced for the murder of George Floyd, including unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The state sentencing guidelines recommend 12.5 years in prison for a conviction on unintentional second-degree murder for someone with no criminal history; however, he could be facing up to a maximum of 40 years behind bars if the judge determines there were aggravating factors.

As a result of this verdict, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, petitioned the court, claiming that Chauvin’s constitutional rights were violated when Judge Peter Cahill denied his request to change the venue of the trial. He also claimed that the judge’s decision to allow the case to be live-broadcasted hindered Chauvin from getting a fair trial.

Nelson compiled a four-page court document, stating that the court abused the sensitivity of the case by holding it in the same city Mr. Floyd had been murdered and by also live-broadcasting a case that became known as a symbol of Black injustice in America. Since Floyd’s death sparked protests that brought national attention, Nelson argues that "The publicity here [in court] was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings."

The filing requests Judge Cahill for a hearing to discuss the impeachment of Chauvin’s verdict with the reason that the 12 jurors "felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings.” Nelson is alluding to the fact that the jury included four Black people, two multiracial, and six white people, which, according to him, paved the way for intimidation and potential retribution.

The decision depends on whether Cahill decides if the factors listed by Nelson are valid and should be taken into consideration. As of now, Derek Chauvin is waiting for his sentence, which will most likely take place as early as June.

Chauvin’s sentencing will mark another important juncture in history in which a new police officer will be tried for murder, and it will ultimately dictate future police procedures moving forward.

Analysis: President Biden’s First 100 Days in Office

By Sean Vargas-Arcia, YPIE Scholar 2026

As of April 28th, President Joe Biden has been in office for a full 100 days.

During his first inaugural address to the nation, the President promised many solutions for various concerns of the American people. Many people knew this would be a time of reform, with the economy dying as well as the population; however, no one knew whether President Biden would actually follow through with his solutions, especially considering the nation is still under quarantine.

President Biden’s promises fall under five categories: COVID-19, climate, economy and taxes, immigration, and housing; though the nation’s main goals are focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Biden had eight goals regarding the pandemic. His first goal, to have at least 100,000,000 people vaccinated, was surpassed by March 19th, and as of April 21st, the nation has reached even more than 200,000,000 vaccinations.

Second, President Biden rejoined the World Health Organization (WHO) in January, choosing Dr. Anthony Fauci to be the country’s representative on the world body’s executive committee.

Biden’s third goal was set in effect as one of his first acts as president, and this was to sign an executive order that mandated mask-wearing, social distancing, and other CDC-recommended public health measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

President Biden also planned to launch or support 100 community vaccination centers, and 441 centers were established as early as January 20th. He promised to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid; however, he only established the COVID-19 relief package, which included the reopening of ACA enrollment for the uninsured through May 15th. With this, the administration released a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19, along with a $10 billion COVID-19 relief package for schools.

As many across the country face the pandemic, the progress of the Biden administration gives great hope to the nation for a successful recovery.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

The Price

By Natalie Maldonado Smith, YPIE Scholar 2025

Wouldn’t it be nice

To not have to think twice

About the price

Of an education that would suffice?

To blissfully choose

A path that wouldn’t lose

One’s freedom for many years

Oh, the years that bring tears.

The pain and dread of uncertainty

And inability

An inability to purchase one’s necessities

An inability to buy a home

A place that brings comfort, a person’s very own dome.

An inability to not have to scrimp on one’s pleasures

Choosing the more affordable option and settling for less favorable measures.

Choosing a job for its temporary fulfillment

And settling for a period of disappointment.

All in all settling for less

Ignoring one's passions and choosing what’s “best”

What’s best financially, but not emotionally

To even get to this point we often have to take questionable routes

Making decisions that make us doubt.

Our own moral compass

All for some moments on a prestigious historical campus.

Don’t mistake this as a distaste for education,

For it is a distaste for the costly ways of these institutions

For shackling their students with unrealistic debt

For valuing capital over intellect.

This is a disconnect

Students shouldn’t have to uproot their whole lives

To increase a school’s pocket exponentially

Students shouldn’t have to live anxiously,

Waiting for the day where they can finally

Live happily with zero debt

Where all these worries are put to bed

No longer having to worry about the price

That isn’t at all nice.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by Benjamin Rodríguez, YPIE Scholar 2028

Review: "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier"

By Natalie Flores, YPIE Scholar 2028

*Warning: this article contains spoilers to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series.

The heavily anticipated Marvel mini-series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, has finally concluded, after six exciting weeks of airing weekly episodes. It was created by Malcolm Spellman for the newest streaming service Disney Plus based on Marvel Comics and was set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with the rest of the films and shows of the franchise.

The premise of the show begins six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame had transpired. Sam Wilson has been given the mantle (and responsibility) of Captain America, making him the first Black Captain America. Wilson decided to reject Steve Roger’s wish for him to take on the role which led to issues with Roger’s childhood best friend, Bucky Barnes. A series of events eventually leads to Wilson teaming up with Barnes for a fast-paced adventure filled with action sequences and treacherous villains that ultimately test their strengths, abilities, and character.

The show tackles difficult topics such as racism, racial identity, and trauma in a nuanced way. The actor who plays Bucky Barnes, Sebastian Stan, stated, “there are all kinds of complex issues dealt in this [show] that make it amicable to the times that we are in”.

The show’s tone differs from other Marvel projects since it makes viewers feel as though they have stepped into the shoes of these heroes and into something bigger than themselves. It also sheds light on the personal struggles of the two leading characters, and it reveals that Barnes and Wilson are not just plot points for Roger’s character development, but real, fully fleshed-out characters with story arcs that undergo character growth.

Barnes has been in “nothing but fights” for the past 100 years and the series could not avoid mentioning the trauma he has been through. While watching the first few episodes, viewers get a glimpse of the debilitating guilt and PTSD he suffers from the crimes he committed while under HYDRA’s control.

Barnes, along with his childhood best friend, Rogers, has been struggling with his past and gradually adjusting to life in the 21st century, all while having a complete identity crisis. Throughout the series, Barnes worked on bettering himself and working to accept his past as the Winter Soldier.

This is the first time Marvel has showcased the psychological trauma that one of the main characters has endured. For example, in WandaVision, viewers can see Wanda Maximoff endure several stages of grief, but in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, viewers can observe Barnes’ mental health and overall mental stability.

One of the first scenes viewers see of Barnes is when he awakens from a night terror, while on the floor by the television. This is a common symptom among people who suffer from PTSD: they seek safe spots in their immediate environment depending on the room they are in at the moment. PTSD victims fear that the comfort of their bed will make them sleep so soundly that they are unable to sense danger coming.

Barnes furthermore undergoes a character arc, where he focuses on the cycle of his self-loathing by making amends to the people he has wronged and hurt. As he spent so much of his time avenging and running from his problems instead of facing the guilt and resentment head-on, this process is very difficult for him, but it helps him to heal from his past.

As Barnes’ inner conflicts and character arc are highlighted in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it can be said that this show promotes the idea of seeking help as challenging as that can be by going to therapy and finding comfort in a trusted friend. Through accompaniment with his new friend, Sam Wilson, he can improve his mental health and, more importantly, his perception of himself.

At the beginning of the show, it is quick to see that Barnes wants nothing to do with Wilson, as he shows resentment towards him. The audience finds out that Barnes hated that Wilson “betrayed” Roger’s last wish, which led to Wilson giving up the Shield to the Smithsonian. This symbolizes Captain America’s giving away his mantle to the government. Barnes is hurt by this because this shield was the closest thing to a family he has ever had; he continually asks Wilson why he did such a thing and questions Wilson’s loyalty to Roger, which signifies Barnes’ privilege.

The entire show is entrenched in a conversation about race and ignoring that very prevalent theme highlights one’s own biases. Wilson felt that giving away that shield was the right thing to do because of a much deeper systematic issue: “Imposter Syndrome,” something that many Black Americans face when they achieve a higher level of power than expected. For Wilson, his imposter syndrome gets in the way of him becoming Captain America because he believes he is not worthy enough to hold such a prestigious title.

When Wilson meets the head of the institution in the Smithsonian, they tell him he did the right thing. This is a classic example of gaslighting, as they knew exactly what they were going to do with it. Moreover, this exchange implies that the American government does not belong to someone like Wilson, despite his inheritance of the Shield being Rogers’ last wish.

Instead of storing the Shield away in the Smithsonian for Wilson, the system, being the Smithsonian representatives, goes behind Wilson’s back and gives it to someone who is their ideal version of Captain America. Metaphorically and literally speaking, the American system took away what was not rightfully theirs from Wilson. Deep down, Wilson knew that America would not agree with this decision.

Wilson’s fear of being exploited by individuals of higher power truly materializes when he meets Isiah Bradley. Bradley was one of the many Black men who were forcefully experimented on to try to replicate the Super Soldier Serum given to Rogers.

This is when the audience realizes that Wilson is not the first Black Captain America; rather, Bradley is. Bradley was the only person in the experiments to successfully accept the serum; however, he was not offered the same treatment as Rogers. Americans saw a Black Captain America and did not agree with it, so their solution was to falsely incarcerate him, erasing his existence so no one could know about it.

Through the government falsely incarcerating Bradley, the audience can see the core message of this show: racism. Statistics indicate that Black men are more likely to be wrongfully convicted and are actually 50% more likely to be innocent than any other convicted murderer, as well as spend a longer period in prison before their exoneration.

It is not a shock that the government stole something that rightfully belonged to a Black man and gave it to a white man instead, as statistics continuously prove that the system is to the advantage of white men and premeditates the downfall of Black people, indigenous people, Hispanic or Latin people, and Asian people.

Furthermore, Marvel introduces the character John Walker as the “new” Captain America. Walker not only represents today’s America, but it is also the personification of white privilege. White privilege does not mean that Walker has not suffered or struggled; he also struggles with trauma from his past military experience. However, everything that he benefits from the show comes from at the expense of Black people. He takes the shield after a Black man gives it and even the super serum in his body came from a Black man. He feels a moral obligation to do the right thing, even if it means stepping over his support system--who are also Black people--to make himself feel morally righteous.

However, eventually, Walker does something unforgivable. In a fit of anger and vengeance, he brutally murders someone in broad daylight, in front of countless people recording the event. This event is meant to mirror the tragedies people have witnessed through police brutality. Like many police officers before him, Walker is sent to trial for killing an innocent man and walks free with just a slap on the wrist. While Walker walked free, Bradley was hidden in prison under false charges.

Through all the trials and tribulations Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have had, they both become better individuals and good friends at the end of their journey. Barnes finds his worth through Wilson and finally finds a family through his sister and kids; Wilson finally encompasses the true nature of being Captain America. In the finale, the audience can see the growth of both of these characters, as well as see their full potential.

Wilson’s new Captain America suit was such a tearjerker since viewers were finally able to witness the first-ever Black Captain America. Representation matters in film and television shows, especially when viewers are part of a minority group. From the point of view of a woman of color, it is frustrating to see people on television that look nothing like you. However, by watching this show, Black kids all over the world can put themselves in Wilson’s shoes and envision themselves in his heroic stance.

From the success of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it is safe to say that phase four of the MCU is in good hands. By making history with its two new series, fans from all over the world are able to witness an incredible start to a new era for Marvel and its brand, and they are excited to see what happens next.

The roster of films and shows is making fans wait in anticipation. Fortunately, Loki, a series about a fan-favorite villain coming June 9th, is arriving in theaters this summer, and a film about our favorite spy, Black Widow, is arriving on July 9th.

What does Marvel have in store for us in the future? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Timber by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

Top 5 Shows for the Top Chefs

By Raquel Negrón, YPIE Scholar 2026

1. Top Chef

Top Chef is an American reality television show that showcases talented chefs from all around the world competing in various culinary challenges. The show’s purpose is to test contestant’s skills as chefs and to observe the contestants’ abilities while cooking complex dishes.

The participants are judged by a panel of professional chefs, which change throughout the seasons. In each episode, one chef gets eliminated until there is only one standing at the end, and the winner is granted the title of “Top Chef.”

*This program can be viewed on the Bravo channel.

2. Salt Fat Acid Heat

Although this series is fairly short (it only has four episodes in the first and last season), it is still worth watching since each episode offers plenty of tips and tricks to making the perfect meal.

Chef and food writer, Wilsonin Nosrat, travels around the world, searching for more knowledge regarding the four basic keys to amazing meals. Nosrat learns how to cook new dishes and acquires a variety of skills and techniques to properly go about these four components in the kitchen, and she plans to help others interested in this art form as well.

*This program can be viewed on Netflix.

3. Selena + Chef

This show, featuring singer, producer, and actress Selena Gomez, explores numerous specialized recipes as the star learns the intimate details of cooking.

Being bored during quarantine, Gomez wanted to develop a new hobby, and a new T.V. show to broadcast her learning experiences to a worldwide audience. In the show, chefs from around the world visit her kitchen to teach complex and personalized recipes that everyone can learn at home.

*This program can be viewed on HBO Max.

4. Chef's Table

Including some of the world’s most amazing culinary stars, this Emmy-nominated series allows viewers to follow their journey leading up to their mastery of the arts.

Each episode of the six volumes focuses on one specific chef and illustrates how they redefine individual dishes and cuisines with their innovative processes.I definitely recommend this series, as it is a great opportunity to gain an inside look at some incredible chefs.

*This program can be viewed on Netflix.

5. Street Food: Asia and Latin America

Looking for an in-depth experience exploring two astounding continents with astounding dishes and unique cultures? Watch the two seasons of Street Food: Asia and Latin America, which feature the profound stories of cooks from Asia and Latin America.

Both of these series each only have one season; nevertheless, they provide an abundance of content to unpack. Street Food: Asia jumps into the cultural journey within Asian street food while also peering into the lives of the people who created these wonderful dishes. The Latin American series is very similar; however, it involves chefs from Latin America. Through one-on-one interviews, viewers learn how the chefs have adapted and introduced these tasty meals to their native countries.

To offer a better perspective of how the episodes were structured, I took a look for myself and viewed one of the episodes of Street Food: Latin America. In that episode, directors documented a food market in Bogotá, Columbia called Plaza De Mercado La Perseverancia, which translates to the Market Square District: the Perseverance Market. During this episode, they interviewed a woman named Luz Dary and discussed the journey that led her to where she is now: making food and doing the thing she loves.

The episode also goes into direct detail about her success story and talks about the women who work with her in this market. They each own and overlook different restaurants that specialize in each of their main dishes. Mary Renteria explains how she took over one of the stands at the market after growing up on a specific side of Columbia, and her famous dish is Rompe Colchón (coconut fish soup).

Towards the end of the episode that peered into these women's lives, it shows that no matter where you were raised, individuals can all come together to make a beautiful and friendly place to enjoy each other’s company and, of course, amazing food.

*This program can be viewed on Netflix.

Our Voices Heard

LGBTQAI+ Community Celebrates Their Day of Silence

By Sean Vargas-Arcia, YPIE Scholar 2026

The LGBTQAI+ Day of Silence was on Friday, April 23, 2021.

On that day, most students did not have to worry about lack of participation, since they could easily use the chat feature on their school’s online platform; however, those who opted for hybrid learning in their schools had to let teachers know.

In the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club at Yonkers Middle High School, President Ryan Cader and myself, Vice President Sean Vargas-Arcia, each had different experiences on this Day of Silence.

I am part of the hybrid learning route for Yonkers Middle High School, meaning that I go to school in-person every day of the week, except for Wednesdays. On Friday, April 23rd, I decided to stay home because my in-person class size began to decrease, and I did not want to sit in complete silence staring at my teachers. Being online, I do not need to participate much; however, if I did, I used the chat feature.

My friend, Ryan Cader, chose to stay completely remote for the school year, so he had a similar experience in his classes. Together, running our school’s GSA, we were able to partner with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).The GLSEN is an organization that does exactly what it sounds like: it educates everyone about the LGBTQIA+ community.

GLSEN provides us with calendars for each month, with resources for each event. For the LGBTQIA+ Day of Silence, we were provided with a template for messages to be sent to teachers. Since Cader and I operate our club on Discord, an instant messaging and digital distribution platform, it is easier for us to make announcements as well as schedule and hold meetings. With this, we can easily reach out to students on various learning routes.

Ryan and I use GLSEN’s calendars to prepare our topic of study for each meeting. An example of this would be how our club used Jamboard, an online collaboration board, to create a list of what some students would like to see changed in schools according to the LGBTQIA+ community. Some ideas brought up were for students to be allowed to have a preferred name on their school’s roster, along with allowing non-binary, trans, and demi-gender students to use their desired bathroom.

The day before the LGBTQIA+ Day of Silence, I made an announcement, reminding everyone in the club to tell their teachers that they were participating, along with the template. Using this template, Ryan and I realized the differences between our teachers. For example, I received only three answers from teachers. The responses were “Thank you for letting me know,” “Good,” and “No problem! I support you!” Ryan and I have the same teachers for the most part, but it was interesting to see how different teachers responded to the situation.

We also encouraged everyone to post on Instagram with the hashtag #DayOfSilence. Both Ryan and I posted on the GSA club’s public account @yhsgsaclub. It felt good to be able to bring awareness to how much LGBTQIA+ students have been silenced in schools, even while in a pandemic.

“Having It All Together”

By Amber Morales, YPIE Scholar 2028

Many teenagers around the world are constantly preoccupied with their visions of the future, especially with regard to the college process.

Due to current technological advancements, teenagers are often pressured into discovering and determining a specific career path at an early age. Teenagers should be allowed to search for potential careers at their own discretion, without judgment regarding their career choice.

In today’s society, teenagers are often conditioned to determine their path in life and are expected to “have it all together” around the time they graduate college. The statement, “having it all together,” seems unfair because discovering oneself takes time and patience.

  • Common Expectations for Teenagers

Career decisions/experience: Parents and guardians often hold specific expectations for their children’s career decisions. Oftentimes, they want the best for their child, but sometimes it is better to allow them to discover themselves and find their own interests.

Responsibilities: Responsibilities are a must when it comes to adulting. There’s constant pressure as growing adults are expected to have financial stability. Adolescents across the world constantly struggle with assuming a sense of responsibility and maturity. The previous article also highlights the fact that parents in today’s generation have raised their children with more leniency than parents of previous generations, which may have contributed to teenagers feeling unprepared for the “real world”.

  • Effects of Excessive Pressure Amongst Teenagers

Addiction: Parents push their children to succeed, but is there a limit? A study showed that vaping and other drugs have been increasingly used by teens over the years; there may be a correlation between increased drug usage and excessive pressures teenagers are enduring. The chart displays an increase in vaping from the year of 2017 to 2020. It is believed that some teenagers who feel stressed and anxious may resort to drugs to relieve themselves of stress. Teenagers' struggles with addiction may be related to their loss of academic motivation and heightened anxiety. Individuals often search for ways to combat their problems, many resorting to substance abuse to find an escape and “feel better.”

  • Personal Advice on Career Choices

Take a productive break after graduation, and use the time to discover yourself.

Your personal career interest is more important than how others view your career.

Research on the job you are interested in.

Check reviews online regarding the job or career that you are interested in, and reach out to individuals who work in that field.

Apply to several jobs; interviews are helpful because they offer insight on the working environment. Be sure to ask questions, even if you think they may sound silly.

One step in identifying your future career path is understanding what does not interest you.

  • Thoughts from Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) students

Do you feel pressured to go to college or have a set career path? Why or why not?

“Being in high school can be petrifying, especially when it comes to choosing a career and finding which path is going to help you to get there. College is something we’ve all given thought to. It’s taught to be the only route to gain success in life. I have always wanted to be different, though. I’ve never wanted to live my life based on someone else’s idea of what’s right. That stigma has also led me to be independent and navigate through life on my own, and experience the hardships that come with adulting.”

--Zanii Gunther, YPIE Scholar 2028

“I honestly feel pretty pressured because I feel like my entire future beyond high school depends on it. It can be hard to decide what I want to do in the future, since the things I am interested in are subjected to change. Even so, I feel like I should know what I want to be and where I want to go in life because I feel that it is the difference between whether or not I will be successful.”

--Khadija Dewan, Regular Contributor and YPIE Scholar 2028

“I do not feel pressured to go to college or have a set career path because I already know what I want to do and how to get there to pursue my dreams.”

--Jenna Aviles, YPIE Scholar 2028

“I’ve never felt pressured by my family, friends, or anyone to go to college since it’s something I’d always wanted to experience; however, I do feel pressured to have a set career path. Most people hold doctors, nurses, and other types of people in the medical field in high regard; however, coming from a Jamaican background, this field is particularly highly regarded and often seen as the only hallmark of success. Therefore, along with the fact that most of my family members are in the medical field, I feel as if my career goals should also be aligned with that path. And while my mother and stepfather are supportive of whatever I decide to major in, I still feel that I need to pursue something on the same level as being a doctor or nurse.”

--Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor, Director of Communications, and YPIE Scholar 2025

Do you feel pressure on managing all your responsibilities as an adolescent? Why or why not?

“I am very much the type to be overwhelmed. Having the responsibilities of a 16-year-old doesn’t help much. I’ve learned that if I don’t pressure myself, I won’t get anything done. That is true. It doesn’t make it easy though.”

--Vanessa Gentile, Regular Contributor and YPIE Scholar 2027

“As a high school student, I am expected to be able to manage my time wisely, regardless of my situation. In my opinion, we are programmed to believe that it is perfectly normal to receive loads of homework on top of other obligations, and if it is not completed in a timely fashion, the student is to be blamed.”

--Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief, Pandemic News Editor, and YPIE Scholar 2025

“No, I don’t feel pressure to manage all my responsibilities as a teenager, as I’m used to handling most of them on my own, and I know if I ever feel overwhelmed, I can always count on my parents and friends to help me along the way. ”

--Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor, Director of Communications, and YPIE Scholar 2025

Tortured and Speechless: The Ballad of Animal Cruelty

By Khadija Dewan, YPIE Scholar 2028

*Warning: This article includes death and other depressive themes.

They make it seem like you’re invisible,

Like you were destined to die with an existence so dismal.

They make it seem like they can’t hear your cries,

But they can, and I'm sorry, they have fed you lies.

They make it seem like your life had no purpose,

As if you had no hearts, no life beyond the surface.

But eyes can see only so much,

Eyes can see only what they choose.

I wish their eyes could see you too,

See that you had a family, under a sky so blue.

I wish their eyes could see you too--

But they look away.

Away, away.

They seem to be deaf, auditorily impaired,

But it’s worse than that, they simply don’t care;

For your lives, your hearts, and the pain that you feel,

For your brains and your fears, to them it’s not real.

But it is real--beyond what they can tell,

For they’ve thrown your lives down an endless well;

Filled with torture, confinement, loneliness, and pain,

Filled with nothingness, emptiness, and a life gone in vain.

I hear you.

I see you.

I know.

Show some self-respect, thoughtfulness, and consideration,

Some kindness, morals, and a little advocation.

Show that you care with some ingenuity,

Show that you care and stop the animal cruelty.

Mother Nature by Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025

The Earth is Warming! How Does This Impact Our World?

By Brandon Costa, YPIE Scholar 2028

Lately, as has been airing on the news, our beloved Earth has been warming at a significant rate, to the point where United Nations (UN) Chief, António Guterres, claims that 2021, must be the year of action."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has taken the initiative to start updating temperature and precipitation averages across the United States in order to keep citizens informed of significant weather changes.

Much of the U.S. mainland is expected to have warmer averages. Consequently, the new warmer temperatures will replace these “normal” days and will soon become the new normal.

So, how does climate change impact global citizens?

Due to climate change, it is expected that there will be an increased number of heat waves in the future, as well as stronger storm systems.

Why does this matter?

Air conditioning prices may increase drastically, which, in turn, might cause a spike in household bills. Warmer temperatures also allow for foreign diseases to thrive in areas where they normally would not be able to survive in cooler temperatures. Diseases that were exclusive to tropical and subtropical areas could now be traveling to areas that may not have experienced these diseases.

With warmer temperatures, we may have shorter winters or less cold winters; thus, the flu season (which thrives during the wintertime) may not be as potent.

In the U.S., heat is the most common weather-related death per year, and because of more intense heat events happening, an increase in heat deaths can be expected fairly soon.

Specifically, some crops are not meant to grow in very warm conditions, similar to some berries found around the most northern parts of the world.

The world is also expected to see more heavy rain events. While an increase in precipitation sounds favorable to some, it may actually do more harm than good.

However, these weather trends vary by region. For example, before 2017, California experienced some of the worst drought conditions in 2011, and it lasted for about half a decade. While the drought might have ended, the state saw dangerous flood events during the winter of 2017. The northern portion of the state saw its wettest winter, beating the precipitation record in the 1982-83 winter season. The floods also affected southern Oregon and Western Nevada.

Another prime example is hurricane Harvey, where the storm lingered around the Houston metro area for a couple of days and flooded the area becoming the second costliest on record, only behind Katrina in 2005.

As a result of climate change, hurricanes are expected to become more deadly and dangerous. Waters are warming up, meaning that hurricanes are getting more powerful on land. Sea levels are also rising, which means storm surges will be getting worse, including an increase of category four and five storms.

Global warming has made a negative impact on both animals and plants. Animals and plants are already moving northward (or southward depending on the equator) to reside in more comfortable temperatures. The rate of climate change velocity is speeding faster than many organisms can migrate; therefore, some animals could become extinct as a result of not being able to adapt to their new environment.

Many birds and insects that migrate are now traveling to their summer location days and even weeks earlier in comparison to the 20th century. According to a 2013 report in the Natural Climate Change, if none of these factors remain checked by 2080, one-half of Earth’s plants and one-third of Earth’s animals could become extinct. Less nutritious food available and worse mosquito outbreaks are expected as well.

Despite the current situation, here are a few ways to take action against global warming and help prevent it from spreading across the world:

  1. One way to stop global warming is to speak up! Voice your concerns to your friends and families, or even on social media!

  2. Reduce water waste; reducing water waste also means that you are reducing carbon pollution as well.

  3. Buy food you will eat in its entirety; wasting food equals wasting energy, and 10% of U.S. energy comes from food alone.

  4. Rethink your mode of transportation; using a car very often means a plethora of gas pollution; traveling by air is also a major source of climate pollution; alternatively, use of a train as a means of transportation is much more Earth-friendly, and it reduces money spent on fuel.

We as a community need to be aware of the concerns of global warming, and the ways in which we can save our beloved Earth.

Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

Interested in contributing? Email or Max Silverman, YPIE QuaranTimes Advisor and Director, College Readiness.

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