CATS Academy Courier

"A Trusted Students News Source with an International Twist"



I Heart Piano Concert Inspires

By: Helena Fauvel

On February 13th, the Fine Arts Department hosted their annual “I Heart Piano” Concert   as a tribute to Valentine’s Day and peace around the world. At the event students were allowed to secretly dedicate songs to their friends, admirers, and valentines! The class of advanced pianists led by Ms. Segal presented songs inspired by the themes of romance, love, and passion. The beautiful event, which took place in Salon B, was attended by over seventy students, faculty, and staff members.

Lilian Wang, a musician performing in the concert, is an example of how dedication and persistence with guidance from Ms. Segal can lead to the production of beautiful music. Although she began to play the piano at six years of age, she had to stop playing for eight years because of other time commitments. Admission to CATS Boston led to a renewed passion and she began to play again with the help of the lovely Ms. Segal.

During the concert, Lilian played a poetic French song called “Comptine D’un Autre Été”. “The song makes me happy and I wanted to make other people feel this way too by playing it.  I learned the song during the winter break and I thought it was a good fit for the Valentine piano concert,” explained Lillian.

Throughout the remainder of the concert, other talented students played songs written by famous composers, such as Ben Anderson, Davichi, Ning er cen, and Yiruma.  Overall the concert was a great success and displayed the tremendous piano talent CATS has to offer.  Congratulations to everyone who played at the event and a special thanks to Ms. Segal for making it all possible. We look forward to next year!


Filmmaker and Historian Presents Film on Vietnam

Film is a meaningful artform that gives its director a way to deliver creative content through both a visual and oral means. The creator is allowed to dig deeper into the content and create an emotional connection with the audience while making the topic come into a more focused view. This  method of film can be especially used when director’s create films based on historical events. On the February 16th, the power of film was displayed in full force when CATS Academy Boston welcomed a historian and filmmaker, Michael T. Barry Jr., who introduced his film The Universal Soldier: Vietnam. The film focuses on the nature of the Vietnam War while discussing both Vietnamese and American perspectives about the war.

How did you come up with an idea of making the film “The Universal Soldier”? Where did you get inspiration from?

The title itself comes from a protest song “The Universal Soldier” of the 1960s, which questions the whole idea of going to the war, since all humans share the same universal feelings and emotions. My collaborator, Karen Turner, professor at the Holly Cross, decided to develop this content with the material that she had collected over the years. Also, we wanted to reach out to the millenniums, who are so distant from the war, in the way that was both compassionate and intimate with those experience.

What is one thing you would like to highlight from “The Universal Soldier”?

Without any doubts, those conversations with veterans, who were going through all the struggles. At the same time, I was taken aback by how generous, kind and giving veterans were. Both Americans and Vietnamese. All these individuals were open minded and wanted to share with young people the continuous impact wa hadr on their lives, and what they have been through. Coming back to the question, I  don’t want to underscore the generosity veterans had in their approaches to people. I haven’t seen  this among many others individuals.

Besides the emotional part, your research involved factual information, which was based on the cruel reality of the war. Did you have any doubts about showing the devastation of the Vietnam War before the process of filmmaking?

        Yes, absolutely. At the beginning we were anxious to push young people away by talking about violence. We had to do it delicately, but it turned out that our audience was mature enough to embrace it. Another challenge for us was to deal with emotions. Our fear was that sensitive material might set some patriotic veterans off, which rarely happened later in process.

To reach your audience in the most accurate way, did you use filmmaking as a technology or more in an artistic way?

It was done mainly in an artistic way. The initial idea wasn’t to show the technological process in the film industry, but to let people speak out. It was purposefully filmed with small cameras and microphones, so that interviewees don’t feel pressure. We were aiming to get the most authentic stories with less technologies, as the oral historians.

As a historian and a filmmaker, what do you see as a goal for your career?

My biggest goal is to give voice to people whose stories were unheard and marginalized, especially by the government. As well I want to make both veterans and audience a part of these projects to integrate tolerance and acceptance in our community.

From Your own experience, what advice would you give to young filmmakers?

That’s a tough question. But I would say: be open. When it comes to interviews or any content that includes other people and their stories, it is important to stay respectful to their life-stories and emotions attached to them, so that they don’t feel embarrassed. To be a good filmmaker in this kind of genre is to stay collaborative.

CATS Cafe Showcases Student Musical Talent

By: Helena Fauvel

The CATS Cafe is an event that happens periodically in our community.  It is an upbeat opportunity for students play and sing music they like – songs can be in English, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Chinese, or any language.  The enjoyment of music any language is of course universal.

When CATS Cafe is held, it takes place during lunch and advisory time on Tuesday and Friday. If you want to participate, you will always be welcome. But, if you only want to watch, that’s ok – every performer needs an audience!

Come to the Cafe, it is a great opportunity to relax and have fun with your friends between class periods. It’s also a great opportunity to show your musical talent.

CATS Cafe will return after break to the Student Lounge, so watch for announcements about the next date so you can come and enjoy the atmosphere.


Book Club Goes to Harvard

By: Maya Stoilova

The moonlight was reflected in the beautiful academic buildings of Harvard University. We, the book lovers, were there, in front of an old auditorium, for one simple reason – to hear Angie Thomas talk about her book, The Hate U Give.  The book touched the hearts of many young readers through its open discussion of racism and discrimination in the United States. But, who is Angie Thomas? Why were young high school students and people from all around the world so impatient to hear her talk that evening? And, why were there so many people waiting for a ticket, even though the event was sold out, in front of the large old auditorium? Everyone was simply anticipating Angie’s arrival – waiting to hear what drove her to write about the the relations between people and the hate they give.

Angie was on stage ten minutes after her arrival. Once she was there, the whole auditorium exploded in  a loud round of applause. Everyone present appeared to be excited to hear her story. They wished to learn the ways in which she managed to fight inequality and discrimination while staying true to her opinions. Her life story directly reflects in the story of the young girl she wrote about. The young girl who hated the discrimination and racism she saw. She  was not afraid to raise her voice and show people that prejudice is simply deceiving, unnatural, and truly destructive. Angie’s novel made all these issues, the issues of racial segregation, discrimination, and inequality turn from something that we had only heard of in the news to something we could feel through the events the characters in her book went through.

This trip left all six of us speechless, yet, with so much to say. Once we had left the auditorium and gotten back to the car, we could not stop talking about what we had heard. Were all these things really happening? In our book club meeting on Tuesday, we simply could not concentrate on the book. Instead of discussing the characters of Chris and Maya, we simply asked each other questions. Had we experienced discrimination in our own lives? Were our experiences formed by our skin color and the shape of our eyes? Or was because of the part of town we came from? Had we ever discriminated against someone just because of biases we had? Were we ready to listen to other people’s stories without judging them? Were we going to help a person who was being bullied and put in an inferior position? Were we ready to become an Angie ourselves?


Intrepid Elegance Fashion Show

By: Tang Thu Ha Ngo (Jessica)

Fashion Shows performed by students at CATS Academy have become a very important part of our school culture.

As I’m writing this, the anticipation and excitement I felt at the Intrepid Elegance CATS Fashion Show which happened at the beginning of holidays has not gone away. This event was very entertaining and was the culmination of 3 months of hard work for the students and teachers involved from fashion department, Dr. Napior’s Technology Club and Mr. Lewan’s music class


CATS-MIT Outreach Fosters Love of Science

By: Uljad Berdica

On Monday, December 4, 2017, CATS Academy Boston joined a selected group of schools in the nation to participate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Outreach Program.

Through the vision and persistence of our AP Chemistry teacher, Dr.Gholamreza Namin, and the support of the science department, the proper arrangements were made for the PhD students at the Chemical Engineering Department of MIT to give a presentation featuring complex theories and experiments relating to AP Chemistry and the university’s curriculum. The AP Chemistry class and interested CATS students went on to participate in laboratory experiments and write reports on the chemical phenomena discussed.

The presentation was followed by a lunch with the PhD students from MIT to chat about life at a top tier institute of technology and the vast array of possibilities that the pursuit of science, technology, math and engineering degrees are associated with. We understood that in science, as in every other discipline, hard work, creativity, and vision always pay off. The two PhD students were impressed with our school, the faculty, and the scientific background of CATS students.

This event will kick off a series of presentations, workshops and competitions organized by the Math Club under the leadership of Dr. Namin. We will keep you updated!


College Counseling’s Advice for Juniors

By: Nuray Salina

Recently CATS Academy Boston students met with the College Counselling Team during the School Assembly. Next year Juniors will be Seniors applying to universities, so it is extremely important to meet with the College Counselors this year. The college counseling team here consists of four people: Ms. Smith, Mr. Cassely, Dr. Hooks, and Ms. Roihl. They will become your closest advisors and teachers. Your counselor will provide professional and experienced guidance to you regarding the application process for college admission.

I interviewed Ms. Smith, the Director of College Counseling about her advice for students in their Junior year.

Nuray: Ms. Smith what do you enjoy most about working with CATS students?

Ms. Smith: Well, it’s difficult to say what I like the most because I like a lot of different aspects of being here at CATS, but I think that what I like about working with students on the application process is helping them to realize how many options they have.   There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Approaching the process with an open mind and following the right steps in the right order are important. I find CATS’ students to be lovely and diverse. I love hearing the different languages, seeing various friendships develop across home-country lines. I chose to come here because of this diversity and the internationalism of our school.

Nuray: Ms. Smith, what advice would you give to Juniors?

Ms. Smith:   In terms of college applications, Junior year is very important.  It is the last complete academic year that a college will see in reviewing applications, so these grades are very important. In the fall, students receive quarter grades but they are unofficial. If you’re applying early, we inform admissions offices about the current course work, but mostly colleges use the first semester grades for the Senior year. My message to Juniors is to be the best student you can be in all of your classes, be responsible, be punctual if not early, and, come see us!  We would like for you to meet with College Counseling so that we can get to know you. We want to learn all about you – not only your academic performance, but also about your family, about your interests in terms of activities or sports or community service, and what you want to do after you graduate from CATS.

Nuray: So, you are welcoming students to come to your offices and talk to you, to ask questions about the process and school they are interested in?

Ms. Smith: Yes, absolutely. Ms. Roihl, Dr. Hooks, Mr. Cassely and I are ready to meet with you whenever you want to come and see us.   Of course, sometimes we are in meetings, but we maintain an open door policy.   Any student is welcome.   And sometimes we come find you!!

Nuray: Ms Smith, should Juniors start preparing any documents, or essays, for their application process this year?

Ms. Smith: We will discuss this with students as we prepare for their Senior year and college applications, but if a student writes an essay this spring for their college applications next fall we would hope that the student would revisit the topic, the writing, and update it. Students who want to share with us something that is not evident on their grade reports or in their activities, anything that may impact their applications, please come and speak with us so that we can advise you early. International students whose native language is not English will need to submit TOEFL scores as part of their applications. Please come and see us if you have questions or problems getting these done.

Nuray: Do you think a student’s’ active participation in activities both in school and out-of-school helps them in terms of their college applications?

Ms. Smith: Absolutely!  Colleges are looking for students who express interest in activities which involve working to improve the social aspect of their community or an environmental aspect of our world, issues about social justice and human rights, and simply helping their community with kindness and caring for others. The activities you choose should be something personally compelling to you as a student.  Consistently doing something that demonstrates to colleges that you have an ability to think outside of yourself, to take actions for others, and for the world and a very special addition to any application.

Nuray: What do you think is the worst mistake students could make in their Junior year? I mean a mistake that would badly influence our applications. What shouldn’t we do?

Ms. Smith: Don’t procrastinate, do not put things off, do not wait until the last minute….and that has to do both with your academics as well as the college application process.   And be good citizens of the CATS Community; obey the rules, take care of others.

Nuray:  I think a lot of CATS students want to apply to the famous “Ivy League” universities. Are they very difficult to get into? What can students do to improve their chances of acceptance?

Ms. Smith: The “Ivies” are perceived to be the most selective colleges. It means that they admit less than 10% of their applicant pools, and that’s because the chances of admission are a function of numbers. I think that the most important thing for international students are their English skills. They must demonstrate fluency – a true ability to speak, to read, and to write in strong English, to be able to synthesize ideas and analyze them in English.  They also must have a superior academic record while pursuing the most rigorous courses offered by the school.  The next thing that these colleges are looking for is the student’s involvement in something outside of school that improves the world, whether it is their local neighborhood or working for a global issue. For the Ivy League colleges these three things are the most important.

Nuray: Ms. Smith, is their a most appropriate number of AP courses that would improve a student’s students chances to be accepted by a good university?

Ms. Smith: Although the Common Application asks for the number of AP or Honors courses in a student’s course history, as I just said, they want to see that the student has chosen a challenging path, and that path is always unique to that student.  



CATS Basketball Bounces Back!

By: David Lazbin

The season looks promising for the CATS Academy Boys’ Varsity basketball team, it has had only three loses so far. The current squad may in fact be the most skilled varsity boys’ basketball team that CATS Academy has ever had.

Our Varsity basketball team has shown great success this season, despite its recent loss to the St. Andrews team.  The team showed great perseverance and mental toughness in the great home bounce back victory against Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall. We played with energy and tenacity and the support of our fans and cheerleaders added to the positive and invigorating environment.  Athletic Director and Co-Head Coach Wilkins provided some inspiration the team prior to the game noting that, “this will be a great game to get better and show what we are capable of doing on a nightly basis.” In addition to that our Varsity Boys Co-Head Coach O’Brien added, “our goal has been and will continue to be to battle through adversity and continue to get better each and every day”.

I would also like to call attention to the recent success of the CATS Girls’ Varsity Basketball.  They beat the Woodward School Girls’ Varsity basketball team on January 23.  It was an extremely close game which ended with 24-23 showing on the scoreboard. This game helped catapult the CATS Girls’ Varsity basketball team into 1st place in the GIL and handed Woodward their first loss of the season.

Griffin fans should look forward to our upcoming games, including what most people see as the game of the year for the boys varsity team on February 12 as we face Middlesex at home. The team looks to even the season series with the support of our fans.

Lets go Griffins!


Culture Fair on Monday!!

By: Sasha Chernysehva

What is the Culture Fair? The Culture Fair is your chance to represent your country, make your culture a little more familiar to everyone, or display the aspects of your country that you are proud of. You will see students participate in a fashion show, make their national foods, perform their traditional dance, or sing their country’s music. Each culture has its own traditions and the Culture Fair is a unique tradition at CATS. We encourage you to participate and look forward with enthusiasm to the this important event this year!


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