Strike! MAST students strike against climate change

PHOTO-2019-09-20-13-36-16On September 20, millions of young people across the globe united to inspire governments to acknowledge rising carbon levels. Strikes were reported in 185 countries on all seven continents.

The strikes were inspired by the efforts of many young climate activists, most notably Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old  from Sweden who began striking from school over a year ago. What started as a small group of protests has grown into a major movement supported by many international environmentalist organizations such as Extinction Rebellion,, and Greenpeace.

 In Miami, MAST students, faculty and alumni joined other strikers to encourage government support of climate change prevention outside of the Miami Beach City Hall. Rallying cries could be heard outside the steps of the building as students leaders asked the audience “What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!” It is clear to see that these students are tired of the excuses being thrown by politicians and want to see action soon.

One MAST student, Skye Hervas-Jones, told The Miami Herald that “We have to actually do something, we have to get up. We can’t be lazy anymore. We are given this one life and we have to do something with it.”

The young leaders were not the only ones striking outside of City Hall that day. The Miami strike was organized in part by The CLEO Institute, a local group that aims to educate the community on climate change and its effects. They host informational sessions across South Florida to train individuals on how to demand climate action, and send some of their representatives to the protest.

Striking for the climate is particularly important in Miami, where we will be especially affected by climate change due to rising sea levels. Already, we are seeing major changes locally because of increasing temperatures. In Miami Beach especially, king tides have become a major problem. King tides, which are higher tides than normal, may become more common occurrences as sea levels rise. Flooding from king tides, affected by gravitational pull and the moon’s phases, can even come on sunny days. Additionally, sea level rise is causing the porous limestone that Miami rests on to leak out some of its saltwater into the streets. If this saltwater continues to infiltrate infrastructure, it could have serious consequences.

In Miami Beach, support for climate change awareness is supported by the local governments. 

In a statement given to The Beacon, Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán said, “I was impressed to see so many young people turn out on the steps of City Hall to deliver their demand for faster action against climate change. I hope what I’m seeing is a new generation that realizes the power of their vote, that won’t stand for the denial and apathy that got us here in the first place.” 


Sweet Charity The spring musical

Written By: Gina Crespo

The Performing Arts Club is hard at work preparing to debut their latest spring musical on February 6. This year the club will be performing Sweet Charity, a musical filled with heartfelt songs and energetic dance numbers.

The musical is set in New York in the 1960s and tells the story of the romantic endeavors of Charity Hope Valentine, played by senior Pia Nair.

Charity, an optimist and hopeless romantic, works as a taxi dancer at a dance hall in New York City along with her friends Helene, played by senior Amanda Marban, and Nickie, played by senior Emily Johnson.

After getting dumped by her boyfriend, played by Caleb Cruz, Charity decides that she will not be hurt by another man again.

This promise, however, is short lived because Charity soon becomes involved with a suave Italian movie star Vittorio Vidal, played by senior Landon Watford. Her relationship with Vittorio ends quickly and Charity finds herself alone again.

While stuck in an elevator, Charity meets Oscar Lindquist, played by senior Tomas Lopez. Oscar is a shy accountant who is different from the other men Charity has dealt with in the past.

This year, Sweet Charity is being directed by senior Glowie Allday. As the director, Allday has a lot of responsibility.

Allday said, “It’s been certainly lots of work. There are so many moving parts to keep track of. You’re constantly thinking, “Who’s missing rehearsals today? What do we need to buy for the set? Has this scene been blocked yet?” But despite it all, I couldn’t be happier to be part of such a great team of people. There’s nothing more satisfying than progress.”

Senior Pia Nair plays the show’s protagonist, Charity Hope Valentine. Her role as the musical’s lead is a change from her supporting role in last year’s musical Little Shop of Horrors.

Senior Julia Cooper has been hard at work as the show’s stage manager.

“Although I have a huge role to play in coordinating what goes on backstage, I get to work alongside some of my best friends so I have equally as much as fun as I do stress. The musical this year is one of the most fun and upbeat that have had at MAST while I have been involved with performing arts. So I think there is something that everyone at school can enjoy,”  Cooper said.

The spring musical will be performed on February 6 starting at 3:30 p.m., February 7 starting at 7 p.m., and February 8 at starting 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets cost ten dollars and they can be purchased during lunches or at the door.


Congratulations to our Silver Knight nominees

Penelope Roca for Art

Nicole Perez for Athletics

Robert Delillo for Business

Madison Conroy for Digital and Interactive Media

Landon Watford for Drama

Angelina Contreras for English and Literature

Lucas Alves for General Scholarship

Kaylee Rodriguez for Journalism

Gabriella Hall for Mathematics

Rani Jivani for Music and Dance

Ekaterina Ivanova for Science

Layla Profeta for Social Science

Sabrina Herrera for Speech

Diana Espindola for Vocational Technical

Alejandra Almada for World Languages

MAST adds to its accolades

Written By: Kaylee Rodriguez

This year, MAST Academy has been recognized as a 2019 School of Excellence. “I am very proud of the students for all their hard work and contributing to the merit of our school and to the faculty and staff for creating an environment that facilities excellence” assistant principal Dr. Michael Gould said.

Last year, Gould received the award in Chicago. This year, the award will be received at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

As per the press release from Magnet Schools of America:

“To receive a national merit award, members of Magnet Schools of America must submit a detailed application that is scored by a panel of educators.”

“These schools are judged and scored on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme.”

Parkland Shooting: A Year in Review

Written By: Piper Penney

February 14 will mark one year since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The shooting claimed the lives of 17 people and injured 14 others. To commemorate the lives lost during the shooting, there will be a vigil held at Pine Trail Park in Parkland on February 14. The vigil will begin at 6 p.m.

The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, is currently awaiting a trial, which is expected to start at the end of the year. In just one year since this terrible event, there have been many changes that have occured. The first of these is the March For Our Lives movement. After the shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas students came together with other leaders to form an organization with the goal of not letting gun violence continue.

While the march itself occured on March 24, the movement against gun violence has continued into 2019. Some students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have been touring the nation on the Road to Change, an event that encourages young people to register to vote and to participate in elections. The tour began in the summer of 2018 and continued into the fall of that year. More tour dates for 2019 have yet to be announced. The 2018 tour focused on getting young adults to vote in the midterm elections.

While there were other factors in the increase of voter turnout in young people, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) stated that the youth voter turnout in the midterm election did rise, going from 21 percent in 2014 to 31 percent in 2018.

Not only is the youth turnout rate improving, but the idea of preventing further gun violence is making its way to congress. Currently, House Democrats are proposing bill HR 8, which would close a loophole in legislation that allows private gun sellers, such as people who sell at gun shows rather than in a gun shop, to do business with buyers without running background checks on them first. The legislative piece was supported by many student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Even if the bill is not passed, it would signal a change in the way politicians see issues with gun violence. According to NPR, the bill would be the first major firearms-related bill to be introduced to the House since 1994. This shift in the House of Representatives could lead to a further interest in passing laws on gun control.

At our school, we have felt the effects and changes that were imposed because of this massacre. The first is that we now have a school resource officer. This is because one of the state laws passed after the shooting was that all schools needed to have a police officer on campus.  

Our school resource officer, Officer Nunez, says that the Parkland shooting was a calling for him to become a resource officer. Nunez values the safety of students and explains how he prepares for the worst.

“[I prepare by] interacting with students, being proactive, getting to know students, training, and making sure I’m always on point,”Nunez said.

Additionally, state laws require that active shooter drills are now required to be conducted monthly, in addition to the traditional fire drills. At a local level, one change seen at our school since the shooting was the introduction of a chapter of the National Association of Students Against Gun Violence (NASAGV). The club encourages students to join the movement to end gun violence.

NASAGV Vice President Charles McCutcheon says that the club is taking action on a local and national scale.

“We hold informative meetings to educate about gun laws and loopholes, we register voters at school, and we hold sessions where students can write letters to and call their representatives”, McCutcheon says.

Looking back one year later, one definite conclusion was that 2018 was the year where students became more involved politically, which shows great progress in the amount of young people who care about voting and are passionate about making their voices heard in our democracy.



Engineering students build an “American Ninja Warrior” style obstacle course

Written By: Daisy Hoover

Our school could soon have its very own American Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, planned, built, and funded entirely by engineering students. The project began with a state-mandated civil engineering lesson, which engineering teacher Allan Miller used as an opportunity to challenge his students.

“I asked them what they wanted to build, and they wanted to build the obstacle course,” Miller said.

Students taking Miller’s engineering classes are excited to take on such an enormous challenge.

“Personally, I think it’s really ambitious. It’s very challenging and it shows the caliber of teacher that Mr. Miller is,” junior Victor Martinez said.

Students were divided into ten teams to design different obstacles.

“They had to prove the physics behind each obstacle and come up with the instructions and budget,” Miller said.

Students addressed several issues during the design process, making sure the designs were feasible, safe, and not over budget. Once the plans were finalized, students built prototypes of the seven obstacles they selected and pitched the course to administration.

After a student presentation, principal Dr. McKoy approved the project. With the go-ahead from administration, the engineering program now faces its biggest challenge yet: fundraising. The obstacle course is estimated to cost $7,000, a sum the engineering program is entirely responsible for.

“There is no money in the school budget for this. I’m working on the paperwork so that we are approved to use OSP for donations,” Miller said.

The plan is to use OSP, the Online School Payments system, like Kickstarter. Donation options for the obstacle course will be listed there just like course fees and field trip payments. Though the OSP is not yet set up, Miller asks that anyone interested in donating please stay posted.

Though the course will not be easy to build and fund, the engineering students are excited to get started.

“It’s something I like doing. I think it’s something the people at school will like doing, and it will benefit the school in the long run,” junior Derrick Roseman said.

The engineering classes want the course to be open for all students who would like to give it a try.


For those interested, the plans and budget for the course can be found at


Ramblings… Shark mascot waves goodbye

Written By: Landon Watford

I am the mascot you probably didn’t know you had. I walk amongst you all as a lazy student by day, but then transform into the ferocious Mako Shark by night. Kind of like Batman, but lamer. Although I mostly cheer at basketball games, you may have seen me leading the senior charge at the pep rally, or getting kicked out of a soccer game or two for “unsportsmanlike conduct.” My performance is loud, stupid, and obnoxious. I scream at opposing players, I roast the referees, and shout chants until it feels like my lungs are about to burst. My golden rule is: If my voice is not hoarse the next day, then I have not done my job. Despite this, I try my best to bring heart to the games and genuinely cheer on our players. I do it for the team, the school, and in a strange way, for me.

Being a mascot is about as humiliating as it sounds. I am loud when everyone is quiet. I am running when everyone is sitting. I am slipping and falling in front of a gymnasium full of people when everyone… isn’t. Nonetheless, I try my best to own it. I try to be self aware, and let the audience know I realize how ridiculous I look and act. For the most part, people respond positively to me, though I find that the people who don’t like me, hate me. I have learned that calling a player who thinks that he will be the next LeBron James “twinkle toes” isn’t necessarily something he will appreciate. That goes about as well as accusing the referees of accepting bribes. But for every shouting match I get into with an angry parent or athletic director, there are twice the amount of beautiful moments I have with the audience and team.

A lot of people ask me why I do it, mostly out of concern for my mental health, but I can assure you I have my reasons. Firstly, I do it for the team. I have always been an unathletic, video game-obsessed, cave dweller, but I have always envied the comradery the team has shared with each other. I never pretended for a second that I could try out for the team, so being the mascot was my way of becoming closer to them.

In a similar vein, I do it for the school as well. We all talk about how little school spirit we have, which is a problem that will not fix itself overnight, but I think having a semi-official mascot representing the school is certainly a start.

And in a weird way, I do it for myself. I have always been a performer and an attention-seeker, which is a perfect fit for mascotting. These experiences have undoubtedly increased my confidence on stage. No stage experience will be as embarrassing as wearing a shark suit while screaming so loud your voice cracks back to adolescence for the entire gymnasium to hear, so there really is not anywhere to go but up. All the heckling that I have received certainly has increased my improvisational skills, as well as given me a thick skin. Both being skills that I will need for when I inevitably flunk out of college and have to start filling five minute stand up spots at open mics to pay rent.

Despite how ridiculous this all sounds, I am deeply proud of what I have done as the mascot. I have undoubtedly improved as a person through all of this and have gained enough skills to continue performing into my adulthood. Someday, when I have children, I will be proud to tell them that mascotting was the best part of my high school years. Hopefully they too, will realize how insanely cool it was to wear a sweaty costume and scream at kids non-stop for two hours straight.


Why should citizens suffer over partisan politics?

Written By: Julia Cooper

On December 22, after the federal budget expired and did not get re-approved by the President, federal agencies such as the Department of Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, State, The Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Justice, and Homeland Security have ceased operations or significantly cut down on activity.The United States government is currently at a standstill, stretching out a partial government shutdown that has officially surpassed the record for the longest in American history.  

The reason this shutdown has lasted for such a long time is that the budget has been placed at the center of a debate between Congress and the President over funding for the proposed border wall. Each side is refusing to find a compromise and everyday citizens are the ones suffering. According to website of CBS News, “more than 420,000 federal employees are working without pay, including agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA and CBP, as well as staff from the State Department, Coast Guard, IRS and Department of Homeland Security.”

The length that this has been dragged on is far too long. Employees are being cheated out of multiple paychecks. There are no excuses that American citizens would fully accept as to why the President and Congress have not solved this devastating issue.  

The issue of a partial government shutdown is not only affecting adults in cubicles or officers patrolling the border, the education of our students is also being disrupted by it.

Senior Madison Conroy found her internship for this school year in the NOAA Computer Network Department. NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an organization under the department of commerce. NOAA provides research information on climate change, oceanography and marine life.

“At NOAA, I manually transfer historical research documents,” said Conroy.

Now, Conroy is unable to attend internship and work with her mentor because most NOAA operations have come to a halt. Conroy is planning on majoring in animation in college so her work in the computer department helps her not only gain work experience but also familiarize herself with advanced computer programs.

“When a federal department shuts such as NOAA did, workers are supposed to change their voicemails and emails to have an automatic send back informing people that they are out of service. It’s crazy how much work goes into a shutdown without people getting paid,” said Conroy.

Other ways our community is being disrupted is through the neglect and vandalization of our National parks. Parks like the Everglades are understaffed and at risk of being shut completely because of health and sanitization issues. In some of our nation’s most beloved natural attractions, alarming amounts of trash are being dumped. In Yosemite alone, over 27 tons of garbage have been dumped since the shutdown began.

Sophomore Paola Belsol visited Yosemite National Park over winter break.

“I wanted to see one of the biggest trees in the world but they shut the roads down so I couldn’t see it with my family,” Belsol said.  

The only reason that the river of grass, the Everglades, Florida’s ecological wonder and the biggest National park in the state, has remained somewhat tidy thanks to volunteer groups that have taken it upon themselves to remove waste from areas in and surrounding the park.  

This partial shutdown has negatively affected millions of individuals and disrupted far too many processes that maintain the Nation’s quality of life. It is time for both Congress and our President to put their partiality and excessive partisanship aside. What the American people need from them now, more than ever is for the budget to be approved so that they can finally be paid for their hard work. This has escalated to a point where U.S citizens are simply being used as pawns in a toxic struggle between politicians eager to push their personal agendas rather than serve the people that elected them. The border wall is an important topic and should be debated over, but not at the expense of the people it would “protect”. The only rational solution for the nation moving forward is to have the budget approved, get government workers back in their paying jobs, and debate the border wall at a later time. A three week reopening is not sufficient to repair the damages that have already been done to American lives.



The Beacon’s Belief: Take a break and focus on yourself

New year, new you right? At this point in the school year, students can feel the levels of stress rising through the halls as each grade level experiences their own type of anxiety. Seniors are anxious about the arrival of acceptance letters and waiting to see what their upcoming year will look like. Juniors begin to feel the pressure of applying to college and having taking the SAT and ACT. Sophomores are starting to learn how to manage being in clubs and advanced classes along with the freshman who are still getting used to the transition from middle school to high school. With so much happening around us, it becomes very easy to prioritize school over your health. For this reason, for 2019 we are propositioning to make a change. A change that will emphasize the importance taking care of both your mental and physical health.

Creating one set New Year resolution for the rest of year can often bring disappointment by the end of the first week of January. Instead of holding yourself to a single goal, allow yourself to take each day as it comes. Each day should be taken as an opportunity to meet new people, discover new interests, and begin new habits. One new habit could be planning out your week. By starting a planner, you could potentially save yourself from procrastinating until the last minute on your assignments. Furthermore, by planning out your week, you will see that you have more free time available. This free time can be used to start a new hobby like: scrapbooking, journaling or  fishing. People throughout the school are participating in detoxes and fitness challenges as a way to start fresh. You could take part in this fitness trend by joining new classes either online, at a studio, or at a gym.

The new year can mark the start of trying out new things. In a recent iPhone update, there was a new feature added that monitors a person’s screen time. Within this new feature there is a portion called Downtime, which allows you to schedule a block of time where specific apps work. Another aspect is App Limits that restrict the amount of time spent on each app per day. Screen time can assist with limiting the amount of time spent watching Netflix and increase your productivity throughout the day.

As we move through 2019, look up from your phone and appreciate what surrounds you. Take this new year as an opportunity to redefine yourself and work toward becoming “stress-free.”


Can you separate the artists from their art?

Written By: Kasia Grant

The number of stories in the media involving different forms of sexual harassment and abuse by several musicians and entertainers has continued to rise. Many new organizations and movements were created, such as the #metoo movement, as a way to put an end to this unacceptable behavior.

Recently, Lifetime has premiered a docu-series entitled Surviving R. Kelly, which shed light on the numerous allegations involving sexual and domestic abuse made against R. Kelly by providing testimonies from people who have had various encounters with the R&B singer. From a range of avid admirers to survivors, all shared their stories and revealed the truth about R. Kelly and his contentious lifestyle.

Now, due to R. Kelly’s damaged reputation, as well as the similar reputation of music artists such as XXXTentacion and Chris Brown, their fans are now forced to decide whether or not they are willing to continue to be a fan of the artist and their work or if they are capable of separating the art from the artist.

By separating the art from the artist, listeners attempt to enjoy the artist’s content while ignoring their controversial reputation.

However, this is a rather difficult action for listeners due to the fact that many artists put a piece of themselves, such as artistic flair or a creative quality, into their work to make it theirs. Some artists also choose to utilize the inspiration that they receive from a significant event or occasion that they have encountered throughout their lifetime by incorporating it into their work.

While attempting to remove the artist from the mind of the listener, the beauty of the art would be changed, making it harder for fans to truly appreciate their art.

Also, even if fans do not support the acts of the artist, they are still unconsciously showing their support. Musicians rely on the number of purchases or streams of their music in order to make a living. By doing something as simple as purchasing or streaming their music, it supports the artist mainly because this is what they rely on and how they receive their paycheck. So, in some way, the artist is always going to be involved with their art, making it almost impossible to fully separate the two.

If fans were capable of separating the art from the artist, this will give the artist the impression that there is nothing wrong with their crimes that they are committing because their actions are being ignored, prompting them to continue to live their unhealthy lifestyle. But, by getting fans to understand that this separation is not a practical solution, it will force them to face the facts and bring their attention to the wrongdoings of the artist. This is exactly what is needed in order to prevent the artist from performing these dangerous acts towards others.

When serious allegations are made against artists, it is hard to accept the fact that our favorite artist has the possibility of being guilty.

We try to convince ourselves that they could not have done whatever they are being accused of. But, as fans, we fail to realize that the art in art-ist is something that cannot be removed or separated.

No matter how hard we try to ignore or brush aside the negative news that we see or hear on the media, it will never work in our favor.

By disconnecting ourselves from the acts of the artist, we are condoning their actions and silencing our voices that could be used to make a change in our society and in the lives of many who are suffering in silence.