CATS Academy Courier

"A Trusted Students News Source with an International Twist"



School Year in the Rearview Mirror

By: Jennifer Phan

This has been a year of great changes for our school. The much anticipated location move brought with it a thrilling new beginning laden with possibilities and challenges. Registration problems, schedule conflicts, room assignment mishaps, and settling down in general made the first couple of weeks hectic for everyone. But with patience and collaboration these issues were overcome, and the school year is thus set into motion. The school’s first elected student government as well as returning student ambassadors and peer mentors set the precedent for student leadership on the new campus through untiring enthusiasm and responsibility. The many school activities, trips, dances, and especially the energizing spirit week helped foster a sense of community among students from varied backgrounds and different cultures. This diversity was celebrated through student-led initiatives ranging from mixing dinners, positive messages on posters and murals, awareness-raising presentations, to school-wide participation in the Culture Fair and the Day of Silence. Diversity in passion and talents also had the chance to shine in the many spectacular exhibitions, fashion shows, and concerts: the Community Art Exhibition, Spring Fling, CATS Café, Open Mic, Black Spring, The Sun Arrives Later, and Once on This Island are just a few to name.

This has also been a year of great changes for me.  The much dreaded college application brought with it many trials and tribulations and some triumphs.  Apart from the standard senior struggles – juggling academics, extra-curricular, college application, (what’s left of) my social life, and sleep, this year has also taught me to have patience, for myself and for others, and perseverance, for the now and for the future. Looking back on the road I have taken, I can only say that objects in mirror are closer than they appear. The past seems so distant, yet so present; so much has happened, is two years even a long time?

CATS has been an intersection for my paths and those of the people who I have grown to know and love, and for this I will always be grateful. However, it is time for me to part with them and with CATS, and this is made all the harder knowing that for some this is our last goodbye. But I think I am ready. Not because I do not treasure my time here, for this has been the best and worst two years of life (a grand claim for someone who has yet to live twenty). I am ready because the past two years have prepared me, to the best of my ability, for what is ahead.

It has been quite a ride (at certain points, quite literally). Next stop: ?

Survival Guide: How to Survive Summer

By: Jackie Kovalcin

With our days dwindling down here at CATS Academy and finals week only a few nights away, it’s easy to catch yourself day dreaming about what summer 2017 will hold. Bonfires, beach trips, and barbecues will soon be the consistency of your days. It has been an honor to write survival guides for this newspaper of ours. Here’s to what is to come, and the amazing things we’ve survived as a community this year.

Stay cool, fool: Global warming is on the rise, and this summer, you’re going to need to be prepared for it. Keep the air conditioning on, ice pops in the freezer, and a pool nearby.

Keep in touch: What a year it has been. Who would you be without the friends-turned-family you made this year? When you eat three meals a day and live with your friends at school, it is a team effort to make it through exams, weekend adventures, and daily life. There’s a certain type of bond you make with the people here at CATS, different than any other. That bond is worth maintaining, trust me. Keep up with WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, and if you want to be old-school, you could even write a letter.

Have a bunch of fun: These are your months. These three (more or less) months are the only time you are free from the reign of school, teachers, study hours, and homework. Take advantage of this time, and challenge yourself to have the most fun (safe fun, of course) as possible. Travel with your family, try a new sport, hike a new mountain. Create memories.

Write something: This may not be as tempting as the other tips, but I guarantee you that you will thank yourself later. This experience you had during your time here at CATS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And you made the most of it. Write down your favorite memories on the backs of photos, start a journal, start a blog, make a list of names you never want to forget. For example, at the end of every school year I write a letter to my future self, and each year I love to read what was relevant in my life a year ago. I would recommend it to anyone.

The Benefits of Feng-Shui

Photo Source:

By: Kenneth Luk

The ancient Chinese believe that where you locate things in your environment  affects the flow of energy which  causes an effect on you, known as Feng-shui.  People can alter Feng-shui.  Experts have said that different types of plants at different places in your work place or home environment can improve Feng-shui. You can put them in living rooms, bedrooms, offices and even bathrooms.

People generally want their home to be as cozy; it should be the best place to be in their life. The right plants can make your home a better place. Lucky bamboo is one of the most popular plants to improve Feng-shui . It is believed that lucky bamboo will bring a peaceful and wise energy to your home allowing a healing spirit to flow and improve your health.  The two most vital areas to locate your lucky bamboo are the East and South-East.  In the East it will attract improved health to your family members, whereas having your lucky bamboo in the South-East will strengthen finances  and bring in more money.

A comfy home is a good, but people also need  a good workplace environment to boost productivity.  The peace lily is a great plant to grow under artificial light; having one in your office desk and close to your computer would be great. Placing a plant near your computer helps because electromagnetic energy can be filtered by the plant.  English Ivy would also be amazing.  The vines of the ivy can soften any poison arrows pointing at you which could contribute to job, money or health loss.

There are many other ways to affect the Feng-shui with different  placements.  I have just mentioned a couple to give you some ideas.  Although some people may not buy into the Feng-shui concept, it comes to us from ancient Chinese through generations and has many practitioners .

London Exchange Program Was A Success: Interview with Michael Tran

By: Brian Nguyen

“I couldn’t wait for spring break and the London Exchange Program.  It was such a great opportunity it blows my mind now.” – Michael Tran

Why did you choose to join the London Exchange Program instead of going back to your home country like many other students?

I love finding out about the world’s history, to understand how people have changed and developed.  London is a city that has a mix of antiquity such as Oxford University, Big Ben tower and modernity like The Shard Building, the fourth-highest skyscraper in Europe, or the London Eye. They made me so curious that I couldn’t wait to visit.

What did you do in London? And what did you like most?

I visited many places such as Saint Paul’s Church,  the Bank of England,  Emirates Stadium, and the London Eye, to name a few.  Each was a great experience and a lot of fun. I visited Oxford University – which is a well-known and ancient university. It’s an excellent school which I would love to attend.  I also went to the Big Ben tower which always displays the exact time. It is built beside the Thames River, and I must say it seemed quite romantic. I liked the London Eye the most because I could see the whole of London from it.  I could see the petite alleys running between the old buildings which made London so captivating.  After visiting the sights, you can walk along the River Thames, and drink a hot cup of tea. It was such an amazing experience; it is hard to find words to describe it.   I had a great time!

How do you feel about CATS Canterbury? Are there any differences between CATS Boston and CATS Canterbury?

CATS Canterbury is a nice school with an antique-style building. I had the honor to talk to CATS Canterbury’s Principal. We had a pleasant conversation about life in the United States and England.  There were a few cultural differences, but the schools are similar in that they offer a common opportunity: to give students the best environment to study, especially students who speak English as their second language.

Is there anything else you want to share?

You should visit London. I promise you will never regret the time you spend there. It’s a beautiful city which has everything, from great landscapes, good food to very nice people. I’ll go back there whenever I have a chance!

CATS Madness Basketball Tournament

By: Tristan Fornari Hospital

On Friday, April 7th, 2017, the first CATS Madness 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament took place in our state of the art gym during the evening. The event was organized by Math teacher and Student Government Advisor Mr. Mike Cerbarano along with some students from student government. Each of these students’ passion and dedication showed through the success and meticulous organization of the event. The food, entertainment, music, mini-games, a three-point contest, and free throw competition added to the allure of the event.

The event was supported by teachers, staff members, and dorm parents who volunteered to be referees. Their role in helping the event run smoothly cannot be overlooked.

Overall the tournament was a complete success that exceeded all expectations. Mr. Cerbarano was pleasantly surprised that many student spectators came to the tournament to support their friends who were playing. This added to the positive and fun environment of the tournament. Lastly, I want to congratulate all the winners of this major event, Sebastian Uribe Munera, Horacio Ornelas Ramirez, and Guilherme Sousa Pires beating the runners up Weir (Wenzheng) Zhu, Ross (Ganghun) Kwon, and Lo Tsz Fung. Ultimately, the whole CATS Academy community deserves credit for being supportive of this wonderful event.

What is the Syrian Civil War?

By: Miguel Gurrerro

Photo Source: CNN

In order to fully understand the complex nature of the Syrian conflict, it is far easier to understand with an analogy. I have chosen to compare the country with a large High School. In that case, the headmaster would be the President, named Bashar al-Assad, who has been in charge since 2000. His family, however, has been governing the country for about 40 years.

Every school has different groups, and Syria is not different. Syria has numerous groups, such as the Kurds, Sunni Muslims, Turkomans, Circassians, and Palestinians. Each group’s differences looked in order, until 2011. Throughout that year there were anti-government opposition demonstrations against the Ba’athist government of Bashar al-Assad. Bashar sent troops which resulted in extreme violence, killing thousands of people. The groups protesting got furious with the President’s actions and started to attack the government. It wouldn’t be the first time a population went against its government.

In the beginning of 2014, things got extremely worse with the entrance of a radical group called the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS). At  first, their focus was just taking out the “Principal”. They, however, changed their strategy and chaos ensued throughout the country. They had an advanced army and equipment better than some of the other groups. ISIS’ aggressive strategies resulted in command of about 50% of Syria’s territory.

The conflict can be described as three wars: one war for political power, one an ethnical war, and one a religious war. Syria is half the size of California.

International countries, such as the USA, France or the UK, have no interest in Syria’s territory, but have struggled against balancing their dislike of Bashar’s repressive government and fighting against the ISIS. To make matters more complicated Saudi Arabia is allied with the US, but is also allied with the ISIS for a multitude of reasons. Russia has commercial business with Syria, so they have supported Bashar’s regime.

Meanwhile, the war is still ongoing. More than 400,000 have already died. The worst part is civilians throughout the Middle East Region have continued to suffer. These are common people who are afraid of retribution for no direct involvement. In the midst of this chaos, it’s important to understand that these people need countries to extend their hands to them. Countries taking in refugees may be their last hope of survival.

The Underlying Issues Behind the Transgender Access Laws

By: Gabriela Santana

Supported by the Obama administration, but not made into Federal Law, the Transgender Access Laws are a set of state frameworks which are aimed to give transgender students the right to access their schools’ bathrooms and locker rooms which match their gender identity.

While there has been a lot to argue, for and against, the recent administration is against the Access Laws. President Trump revoked the previous guidelines on February 22th. All the eyes are now on Gavin Grimm, a junior in Gloucester High School in southeastern Virginia, whose lawsuit against his school district is going to be heard in Washington at the end of March. This lawsuit is fundamental, as it could become a wide-ranging guideline on transgender rights for the United States.

Until then, president Trump’s repeal of the previous guidelines leaves each state to decide.  So far, many states are drafting bills to prohibit transgender people to use the bathroom, while others have embraced the previous administration’s guidelines.

Schools, on the other hand, have been in the center the controversy. In Chicago, for example, transgender students have been asked to use different changing and bathroom facilities raising an issue over discrimination similar to the “Colored Restrooms” in the 1950’s.

While uncertainty surrounds what will happen in Washington on March, most transgender students nation-wide must feel comfortable to be protected in an educational system that is structured to bring the best of their students, regardless of their gender identity.

Peace Talks Astana: A Shift in Global Influence?

Photo Source: Los Angeles Times

By: Gabriela Santana Taveras

The Syrian Civil war has been ongoing since 2011, taking the lives of 400,000 people, and making half of the Syrian population refugees throughout the world. The war, quite frankly, is nothing but a proxy war.

Russia supporting Assad’s government, the United Sates supporting the Rojava rebels, Turkey supporting the Syrian Opposition, and ISIL. The talks over the ceasefire in Syria started on January 23rd  in Astana, Kazakhstan. The rebels and Turkey on one side of the room, the Syrian government and Russia on the other, and the U.N. envoy, Bashar Ja’afari, mediating.

More surprising than having both sides of the issue sitting together is that the United States is only an observing member. This is an important shift from the peace talks in Geneva at the end of last year, where most Western nations were more focused on the crimes committed by the “dictator Assad” rather than peace talks.

The United States, contrary to its usual role as leader of coalitions and interventionist in nature (ex. Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Vietnam), is now more resilient to send troops, limiting its presence to 50 Special Troops for training processes. President Obama, during his term, had made it clear that he was not going to send troops, resonating the public’s opinion of the Iraq war. For many, the United States is now more focused on internal politics. Whether this has a positive or negative impact, it is for the readers to decide, but it is undeniable that we saw the results of the new American approach in Aleppo.

Opinion: Bamboo Moon Restaurant Review

By: John Liao

I have a fancy for eating Chinese food. Thus, I go frequently to Chinese restaurants to satisfy my appetite. One of the frequented places is Bamboo Moon Restaurant, which is based in Randolph, MA. Look for their red siamese-character symbol, which is typical and outstanding. It’s undeniable that they have been serving the local community for several years. They also have lots of die-hard fans and I’m of one of them. Indeed, I’m enchanted by the restaurant because of its staff, fantastic foods, and light atmosphere.

First of all, the restaurant has the nicest staffs, compared to other Chinese restaurants. You’ll get a warm welcome from the staff as soon as you go through the door of the restaurant. The staff warmly welcomes you with a smiley face. It makes you feel like eating a sweet chocolate. If you ask them questions about the dishes, they will try their best to answer those carefully. Moreover, when you order any dish ,they will serve you sincerely.

The restaurant not only has the nicest staffs, but also has the most delicious Chinese food. In its menu, you will see all kinds of Chinese food, such as, Lo Mein(a kind of noddles),Chow fan(fried rice),house special meats and many other dishes. I’m keen on General Tso’s Chicken. It’s a kind of sweet, mildly spicy, and deep fried chicken. It’s served in North America Chinese restaurants exclusively .It will melt in your mouth as soon as you chew a piece of it. The unique taste of sweet and slightly spicy flavors makes me come back for more.

In addition, the atmosphere of the restaurant is extraordinarily. The floor is immaculate and the wall is white-and-black hanging with pictures of signature dishes. It makes me feel extremely relaxed. It’s a good place for thinking about things and hanging out with friends too.

To sum up, Bamboo Moon Restaurant is a fabulous and excellent with its service, food, and atmosphere. You will definitely return for more. It is strongly recommend if you want to enjoy a good super. Please go to the Bamboo Moon Restaurant.

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