CATS Academy Courier

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Student life

Model UN Competes at Princeton

By: Amber Nguyen

We checked in at the hotel after a day-long trip. Everywhere, people were striding with confidence. Their heads straight ahead, Starbucks in their hands, pens and paper clipboards neatly spread on the tables, and attire as professional as CEOs of multinational corporations. It was only the meet-and-greet session, the first day of the Princton Model United Nations Conference (PMUNC), yet most seemed to have their plans already mapped out. It was then that I felt slightly intimidated. Princeton MUN goers were intense and passionate, which was overwhelming for me.  I stood in a corner dressed in jeans, a graphic tee, and a bed-head.  Covering tired eyes, I thought about the next few days with excitement.

Nine students and two advisors from CATS Boston took their seats for the opening ceremony. It was a formality and involved a college-style lecture about something that was meant to be important. I could have easily forgotten it just like any other opening ceremony if not for the eloquent speeches and humorous deliveries of the PMUNC organizers, who were all Princeton students. The way they spoke with self-assurance while making fun of their peers contradicted the ideal model of people in fancy business suits. The whole audience seemed to agree by bursting out laughing whenever the Secretary General jokingly called out his friends.

After dinner I searched for my committee room on a maze-like floor. There were so many more people there than I had previously imagined there would be. Everyone seemed occupied in clusters of people, likely from the same committee. Although most of them were strangers to each other, they quickly established comradery with polite introductions.

Then, the first committee session took place. My committee – the International Criminal Court (ICC) – went straight into business. The chair introduced the procedure briefly before calling on the first case. ICC is a specialized committee and does not function like normal general assemblies: we were a court. Therefore, each individual did not represent a country, but rather a judge for the court. Each team had four to five judges, and were appointed to defend, prosecute and judge different cases. Judges were all unfamiliar to each other, and I was no exception. My team were lucky (or unlucky due to the strain from travelling previously in the day) as the chair looked favorably upon the defense of Ariel Sharon. With extensive research and background checks, I realized that Sharon was almost impossible to defend before the ICC for the crimes of Genocide that he committed. With minimal contribution in the opening statement, I went back to CATS meeting at 11pm in defeat.
The next day was the campus tour and two committee sessions in the afternoon until the evening. After a late arrival to the hotel, I burst into the committee room with adequate preparation that I have gathered the whole morning. My teammates did incredibly well, and the witnesses we cross-examined were all giving answers to our favor. I caught up with the fierce flow of the court and began to actively participate in every case. Outside the sessions, our team met up for more tranquil times to prepare for our next arguments.

We functioned independently then came together as a group to put our ideas into a logical schedule. With sharp questions and distinctive observations (and tons of notes scribbled with ugly hand-writings), my team won the first case and successfully defended a man who was – as the chair said – completely guilty. Now, if it was reality, we would have felt terrible. Still, the simulation of a real-life event was what PMUNC (and MUN in general) is all about. It was a special event for high schoolers to take up roles and emerged themselves in the world of professional politics. Nothing was clearly white nor black, and one’s logically assessments were the key to determine a specific case. After all, our team ended winning another case – the prosecution of Tony Blair – and fairly pronounced Harold. S Truman as guilty.
After four days of hard work and determination, I left PMUNC with pride, friendship, experience and knowledge. Before leaving, we took a walk down the famous Times Square. On the bus back to school at 8pm, I thought of the event thoroughly and decided that Princeton Model United Nations Conference was a great thing before falling asleep.


November 2017 Student of the Month: Victoria Shi

Student Government Announcement

By: Sasha Chernysehva

You may not be aware of it but your student government has been putting in a lot of work to enhance your experience at CATS Academy this year. While other students are enjoying free time on Thursday, during breaks or at lunch, the student government has been working in order to make our experience here more remarkable? I hope you will all join me in expressing gratitude for what the student government, with Professor Mike in charge, has done for the CATS community. The haunted house and the Halloween dance were done with great proficiency and enthusiasm, which is why they both turned out to be very enjoyable. So thank you!

I would like to announce that the student government, is now actively stepping into its next big project, our charity fundraiser.

What is charity?

Charity is a non-profit, voluntary act of kindness. There is a great array of things that one can do for charity, including financial aid, physical help, or even moral support. Most of the time, charity involves donations or financial aid for different purposes.

Why should you get involved?

Our school now cooperates with a charitable organization called United World Schools (UW) that also works with other schools in an attempt to raise enough money to advance education in Nepal. Their goal is to build as many schools as is needed, so that they are available for children in the shortest possible distance.

The current situation in Nepal is very troubling.

Children get a poor education or don’t get one at all due to a lack of schools; many children are not allowed to go to schools. More children can be educated with the development of more schools.

In order to fulfill our annual plan for this charitable effort, we need to raise $10,000 this year. It doesn’t take much for this amount to be raised. We could do this if each student helped raise $20.

Although you are not required to participate, the student government encourages you to participate in the charity. Help us raise money for this worthy cause.

How and where can I volunteer to help?

In order to find out more about this fund raising effort, you should speak to one of the organizers of the fundraising campaign: Sandrine Veilleux or Professor Mike.

Another area that the student government plans to concentrate on is student satisfaction. There will be further information on this effort next semester.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the student government, and we will do our best to help you!

Fall 2017 Band Concert Video

Courtesy of Anastasia Dvoryanchikova 


Finals Are Approaching! Study!

By: Howard Ng

Finals are deemed by some of us as the most frightening event of the whole year. The feeling of anxiousness is enhanced by sitting in the completely quiet gym and staring at our exam wondering if we are answering the questions correctly. You can help limit your anxiousness through diligently studying for each exam and seeking out teachers during their office hours, the day before the exam, to ask any last minute questions. Honestly, if you have properly prepared, you can treat finals just like a relaxing and tranquil trip to the shopping mall. Here is some advice to boost your confidence on how to be prepared for the finals:

1. Balance the appropriate amount of studying, sleeping, and eating in advance.

Sleeping and eating are obviously essential tasks that everyone should be doing on a daily basis. During finals preparation, you should not be your typical overachieving self and study until 3am in the morning and wake up at 6:30 to eat breakfast. The most likely outcome of tMIT Outreach Program.Image 1.jpghis approach is that you will forget the material before you have the chance to use it on the finals. You should try to study during the day making sure to constantly take short breaks after each hour of studying. This persistence will allow you to remember most of the concepts and topics for the long term. You are likely receive higher exam scores when you study effectively and get enough food and sleep.

2. Be resourceful (Mr. O’Donnell)

Mr. O’Donnell regularly recommends to his students that they should “be resourceful!!!” This wise advice is given because he wants his students to effectively utilize every opportunity that is available to them.

There are many resources available to help us study for the finals, but some of us don’t know what they are. An easy, yet efficient way to utilize your time is to study with your classmates. You can meet up with your classmates, perhaps in front of a huge whiteboard in the dorms or in the academic building to review essential material for your exam. Your study group should conduct an open discussion of the topics on the review sheet.

An additional way to successfully prepare for exams is by creating possible questions, your teachers could ask on their finals. Do this with your study group classmates Questions can be easily formulated through the learning objectives your teachers uses every day. This study technique harnesses the power of multiple brains which can be more efficient than one. With this strategy you will also receive live help, support, and even encouragement from your classmates. Additionally, there are many other online resources that your group can use and share.

Websites such as Khan Academy and other online media platforms, such as YouTube, have many instructional videos to watch which may help you review for your final exam.

Final exams do not have to be scary! Keys to success are sleeping, studying, eating, and being resourceful! If you follow this essential advice and prepare, then there is really nothing to fear. Good luck!

Mathematics Comes to Life with Gerrymandering Lecture

By: Nuray Salina

On Tuesday, November 7th, the CATS Innovation program hosted their first guest, Mira Bernstein from Tufts Universitty, to discuss gerrymandering. According to an official on Tufts University’s website, Mira holds a research faculty position in the interdisciplinary program in Science, Technology, and Society. She is also the founder of the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (MGGG). She gave CATS Academy students a lecture about the Mathematics behind Redistricting (Gerrymandering) in the United States.

Ms. Bernstein discussed the gerrymandering definition from the Black’s Law Dictionary: ”Gerrymandering is the process of dividing a state or other territory into authorized civil or political divisions, but with such a geographical arrangement as to accomplish a sinister or lawful purpose.”

In other words, Gerrymandering is a division of an area of districts, in which the results of elections are intended to be predetermined. This word appeared in the 19th century, when the Boston Gazette insinuated that Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry redistricted voting areas to favor his Democratic-Republican Party.

Our guest showed us the small possibility of victory for minority candidates during elections. The process of gerrymandering is to divide your territory so your supporters will represent the majority in more districts than your opponents. This picture will help you to understand the nature of Gerrymandering more clearly:

Mira Bernstein noted that communities are not typically divided fairly. She emphasized the following three main problems of Gerrymandering:


  1. Compact doesn’t mean neutral.
  2. Neutral doesn’t mean fair.
  3. Do we even know what is fair?

Gerrymandering is a major issue throughout the world. Some politicians and political parties come to power without having the majority of supporters. Redistricting makes elections unfair, because it doesn’t allow every person to have an independent vote. Bernstein’s lecture also emphasized the connection between geometry and politics.

This lecture was interesting and thought provoking for our students, who were curious enough to ask Ms. Bernstein questions about gerrymandering.

This engaging lecture was the first to be sponsored by the CATS Innovation Program. The program is an interdisciplinary curriculum that helps students follow their academic passion in focused areas of study.

College Application Process

By: Maya Stoilova

Seniors talk a lot when we are in the cafeteria, often about college. The soon approaching deadlines are causing many seniors to become impatient about waiting to send their applications to their dream colleges.  Meanwhile, juniors are beginning to write their first college essays. In order to help them, here is some advice:

  • DO think about your career goals before you start researching, applying, or writing.
  • DON’T wait until late November in your senior year to start caring about college!
  • DO ask yourself the questions “What school do I want to attend? Where should it be? What do I want to study? What will my essay be about?”
  • DON’T just apply to the popular and trendy schools. There are many other excellent schools that you probably haven’t heard of.
  • DO go and ask for help in the college counseling office (and, in case you also have an agent, make sure to keep your college counselor and your agent in touch).
  • DON’T miss the deadlines!
  • DO show your real self in the application (and remember – if you don’t get in, then the school probably wasn’t the right fit for you).
  • DON’T try to present yourself as a completely different person when writing your essay. Remember to speak (in this case – write) from the heart.
  • DO make your college application process an adventure (travel, visit, see).
  • DON’T overwork yourself.
  • DO get rest, enjoy Boston and your last year in high school!

CATS Food Waste Challenge

By: Maria Monterio Attie and Nicholas Mikellides

Food waste is a very serious global issue that happens all over the globe. After witnessing the food waste issue in the CATS Boston dining hall, it became quite apparent that the United States is one of the most wasteful countries in regards to food.  When our teacher, Mr. Walecka, assigned us a Contemporary Issues project to raise awareness of about a global issue our topic was obvious. We chose to tackle the food waste issue at CATS and make students, faculty, and staff more conscious about this serious issue.

How did you decide to raise awareness for this issue?

In order to raise awareness, we concluded that the best option would be to show to the community at CATS how much food we actually waste. Once we received the support of Mr. Angell, Mr. Pendley, and the Aramark team, we created the idea to weigh the food waste from CATS for a two week stretch. The first week we decided the students would not be aware of the project, whereas the second week we would make students aware. We ended up discovering that we waste around 675 pounds of food in five days. We then compiled this information and create a video to put on the advisory homeroom announcements. After displaying the results, we started a campaign to create as little food waste as possible for another five days.

What were the results of the campaign?

Unfortunately, the results were not as good as we expected. The CATS community wasted 670 pounds of food during the second five day food challenge span. There was only a difference of a mere five pounds.

Why did the results not change?

After analyzing the unfortunate results, we started wondering why the waste continued to be practically the same. After talking to some of the students and teachers, we concluded that the waste continued the same due to the lack of community serious towards the issue and because some people were not “used to” the cafeteria food.
What can the CATS community do to solve this issue?

The CATS community could be more conscious about what they are wasting and why they are wasting the food in the first place. After this presentation, we could talk to the cafeteria and propose recipes and cooking styles many of our students are used to eating. Our final solution would be to have a house competition and whoever wastes the least amount of food would win house points.


Finally, it is our conclusion that the CATS community contributes greatly to the problem of food waste. It is really important for us to initiate change amongst all of our international students from all over the world. If people here become more conscious of this serious issue, they will, hopefully, spread this idea to different countries and help create less food waste.

Thanksgiving Break at CATS

By: Livia Qeli

With Halloween season ending, November and Thanksgiving have arrived! Thanksgiving is an American holiday that was originally celebrated to give thanks for a successful harvest. Nowadays it has become a tradition which all American families celebrate each year by having a plentiful Thanksgiving dinner.

Many CATS students are choosing to leave school or explore America for the four golden days of break, but many students chose to stay on campus. If you are choosing to stay on campus, do not fear, as you will be able to experience a classic Thanksgiving dinner on November 24 right here. There will be turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce galore provided by the school. As we will have a long break, here are a few ideas of things you can do here on campus:

  1. Catch up on sleep: you’ve had 3 long months of school with few breaks and plenty of homework. This is your time to wind down and chill out. Forget about exams and rejoice in the warmth of your blanket.
  2. Have a movies night in your dorm or a sing along: what is better than watching movies with your friends and some warm buttered popcorn while it’s cold outside? Pretty much nothing compares.
  3. Sign out to see Boston. The city will be busy with people, many sights to see and Thanksgiving themed activities.

Have fun, be responsible but most important don’t forget to be thankful!

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