Do not take credit for the advancements of other cultures

Written By: Isabella Zimmermann

It appears as if the world is constantly developing with the constant intermingling of different cultures in modern-day society. However, with the overwhelming rise of celebrities establishing new trends on social media, it becomes evident that there is an underlying problem among many influencers and others who cannot draw the line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.

But out all cultures that exist, black culture has been one of the many who has suffered the most, with non-black people ripping off hairstyles, clothing, and music styles that have been a part of this culture for decades, some even with ancient origins.

Appropriation of black hairstyles has become increasingly rampant as they have appeared on runways and become a “trend” in the past few years. However, when worn by black people, racial stereotypes are made regarding these cultural hairstyles.

A prime example of this occurrence took place in 2015 when Zendaya, a black actress, wore dreads. She was subsequently attacked and belittled for the hairstyle as she received an onslaught of derogatory comments online.

Yet when white people wear dreads, they are often described as being edgy or cool. They remain unaware of the importance of the culture that established these hairstyles in the first place. This can also be applied to the fashion industry, where designers capitalize on African prints, among other things, without giving credit where it is due.

In the past few years, a multitude of white rappers have sprung up in the music industry, such as RiFF RAFF, who parodies black culture by wearing grills, cornrows, and acting out stereotypes that cause more harm than good.

Black people are scrutinized and shamed for the things that they have been doing for their entire lives. One cannot diminish it as it “just being hair” or “just being clothing.” Culture makes up one’s self identity and when you ignore these issues and choose to not see race, it erases the struggles black people have underwent for hundreds of years for being themselves.

When people are oppressed and killed over following century-old traditions, it is insulting for the oppressors and privileged to just turn around and suddenly find it a new fashion staple without even giving credit where it is due. It reestablishes a distinction between the two groups.

It is vital to understand the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. You can still appreciate other cultures by making an effort to learn about it and its history and by giving credit to its original source, rather than claiming it as your own.

Black culture has shaped our own society in the music that we listen to and the foods that we eat, and it is important that we remember to appreciate its impact on American culture this Black History Month.


Student entrepreneurs striving toward success

Written By: Amir Brady

Technology and the internet enable our youth to explore ventures that some think only adults could accomplish like starting a business. Ariane Santivanez, David Granda, Ricky Angelone and Matias Urcuyo are all seniors that have taken leaps and bounds with how the businesses they have started are growing and developing.  

Santivanez started Amorperu at the age of 15 during her sophomore year when she saw a demand for the type of clothing made by artisans in her family’s native country of Peru. She found that items like elephant pants and other accessories like scrunchies and make up bags were being sought out by students daily, so she decided to bring some along with her whenever she took a trip to Peru. It started small, with selling the pants to a few friends, but soon business was booming since word spread that she was selling artisanal Peruvian clothing. Arianne does not do it alone, though, since so many people are interested her family also helps her out. Whenever they find themselves coming to Miami, they bring clothing from the artisanal markets for her to sell. Arianne’s profits do not only go back to her, she feels that it is only right that she gives back to her local community. “Out of every article of clothing that I sell, I give a percentage back to the kids in Peru that cannot afford certain luxuries like new clothes that we can get whenever,” Santivanez said.

Granda was a 14-year-old freshman when he decided to start Aquarius, a now four-year-old company that specializes in making autonomous underwater robotic vehicles for research purposes. He decided to start this business because he saw that there was a need for more accessible underwater research vessels that will not break the bank. The inspiration for Aquarius was the movie Spare Parts which was about a team of Mexican immigrants who beat the odds by building an underwater vehicle to win a nationwide robotics competition. David built his first prototype during his freshman year and has improved on it until now where as a senior he has brought it to the market with the help of engineering teacher Allan Miller. He is also being featured during the 2019 Key Biscayne Children’s Business Fair. “I love doing this because I think we as humans need to narrow the gap between what we do and don’t know about the ocean” Granda said.

Angelone and Urcuyo along with a host of 24 other students started a non-profit company called Miami Tutoring based in Key Biscayne which provides tutoring services to underprivileged kids. Ricky and Matias were 16 when they decided to bring a few kids together at Key Biscayne Village Hall and give free tutoring to kids that could not really afford it. When word got out, they decided to make a website to promote the tutoring and got a lot of sign ups. From there, they started an outreach platform that would accept donations to pay for gas needed to go out of Key Biscayne to tutor and to recruit more tutors to help the cause. “We wanted to help bring community together while giving high schoolers a chance to help so we thought the perfect way for people of our age to leave our mark is to tutor others,” Angelone and Urcuyo.


Netflix: The superior streaming platform

Written By: Amber Haydar

           In the age of digital media, popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have brought about the evolution of watching our favorite movies and shows, as well as discovering new ones with series and films original to each corresponding platform.

Netflix is at the top of its game, especially when it comes to developing original movies and television series.

Recently-released Netflix films, Bird Box and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch broke the internet during winter break 2018.

Binge-watchers everywhere were anticipating the interactive Black Mirror film and the highly-regarded psychological thriller, Bird Box.

Netflix decided to wait until the final Friday of 2018 to drop the full-length, 90-minute special, though the quickest path ends after 40 minutes: Bandersnatch.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is the first of its kind, specifically on the Netflix platform. The interactive special grants the audience the ability to make decisions for the main character, programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), starting with the stress-inducing action of choosing which cereal to eat in the morning.

Later in the special, watchers are faced with more grueling circumstances, some of which not all viewers will get to experience. A brief tutorial, specific to the device being streamed on, explains to the viewer how to make these choices. Viewers have ten seconds to make choices, or a default decision is made.

The complex special takes place in July of 1984, where young programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) dreams of adapting a choose-your-own-adventure book titled Bandersnatch, by tragic writer Jerome F. Davies, into what he hopes will be a revolutionary adventure video game. Devoted fans of the science-fiction dystopia were raving on social media.

Black Mirror is a television show, originally from Great Britain before Netflix bought the series and produced seasons three and four. Each episode of the series is stand-alone- sharp and suspenseful in exploring themes of techno-paranoia. The series serves the purpose of making a point to display how our future may appear at the rate we are going as a society in technological advancement, in the most shocking, unpredictable ways possible.

As for Bird Box, Netflix subscribers have been obsessing over the Netflix original film since its release over the holiday season. The must-watch thriller engulfed the Internet in all its meme glory.

Bird Box was originally a 2014 post-apocalyptic novel and the debut novel by writer Josh Malerman. The Netflix original film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, who must guide herself as well as a pair of young children, dubbed Boy and Girl, through a treacherous journey in order to make it to safety.

The journey entails trudging through a forest and a river blindfolded in order to avoid a supernatural entity that causes people who see it to either die by suicide or force others to take a peak and kill themselves.

Bird Box is not merely about entities, clawing at the door of helpless apocalypse survivors— it is about the depths and measures humans will take in order to survive, specifically in correlation with motherhood and the sacrifices mothers are willing to make in order to provide for their children.

The Sandra Bullock-starring film broke the Netflix record for the most watches within premiere week, with more than 45 million Netflix accounts viewing it within its first week.

MAST Sophomore Kaleia Zambrano has an opposing opinion on Netflix’s reign. “Bird Box was very interesting and actually kept you on your feet, unlike most of Netflix original movies,” Zambrano said. Another anonymous sophomore said, “Bird Box had a deeper meaning and its true context was artistically delivered and publicly ignored.”

Netflix has recently announced that they are increasing subscription prices worldwide in 2019. Netflix is hiking their standard $10.99 plan in the U.S. to $12.99 per month. Its $7.99 plan will go up to $8.99 and its $13.99 plan will go up to $15.99 a month. This monthly total would still cost less than the majority of traditional cable or satellite packages, but will it cost Netflix some loyal subscribers nonetheless?


Food for the stomach, the earth, and the soul

Written By: Skye Hervas-Jones

Under The Mango Tree (Miami Beach)

Hidden along a strip mall in Miami Beach hides a hidden gem called Under the Mango Tree, this charming restaurant radiates love and happiness as soon as you enter. The large mango tree that reaches the roof in the center of the store and the local made products for sale that are scattered around add to the cozy, bohemian vibe. Their smoothies and juices are completely made from fresh fruit. They also offer acai bowls, juices, melts, and salads.

Their packaging is completely sustainable as they serve their drinks in mugs or mason jars with paper straws. They also sell a starter pack for eliminating plastic from your life.

My personal recommendation is their Pink Dragon smoothie, which contains dragon fruit, banana, apple and coconut nectar

Green Life (Brickell, Miami Beach, Coral Gables)

Green Life’s motto is in their name, their mouthwatering menu is crafted by using ingredients free of genetically modified organisms, pesticides, hormones. They serve simple, healthy and organic food with 90% of their products being organic and locally sourced. Their Eco-ware is made with potato starch and plates from sugarcane bagasse making them recyclable and compostable.

Their furniture is also either reclaimed, recycled or donated from local job sites. Not only are they helping the Earth, but everyone who visits becomes regular customer. They offer Acai bowls, wraps and an incredible avocado toast. Most of their food and drink are under $10 so it’s a great place if you are on a budget.

Pura Vida (Coral Gables, South Beach)

Living a simple, pure life is what Pura Vida restaurant strives to do for their customers. The owners created a menu that can be eaten at any time of the day, and strive to create jobs for the people in the community. Their food is locally sourced, keeping high standard with their farm to table policy. They shop sustainably and open their restaurant up to adults, kids and even pets.

For those who wake up late noon or even early morning, Pura Vida offers an all-day menu and a special section for avocado lovers. They also sell Acai bowls, superfood smoothies, wellness shots and bowls.

My personal recommendation is their Mango Salmon Bowl, which contains oven roasted salmon, quinoa, arugula, avocado, mango, cherry tomatoes, pickled cabbage and Pura Vida sauce.


Artechouse: Fusing art and technology in interactive displays

Written By: Taylor Politi

As you walk down Collins Avenue on Miami Beach you would never guess that there is an innovative art gallery devoted to showcasing observational and technology driven installations and performances hidden in an everyday, ordinary white building.

Artechouse is part of the national and now local trend of using technology to create interactive art that has become discovered and more popular, especially with teenagers, in the past couple of months.

“I initially heard about Artechouse from my friend and saw it all over social media. It looked extremely interesting so I decided to try it not knowing if I would like it but it ended up being an incredible experience and a great place to take pictures,” junior Liberty Hernandez said.

On November 15 Artechouse opened the “XYZT Abstract Landscapes,” an exhibit by French digital artists Adrien M and Claire B. The highly interactive show offers an exploratory physical experience through ten digital installations.

Visitors can interact, play and gape at the installations engulfed with lines, dots, light and letters in this virtual playground of four dimensions: X (horizontal), Y (vertical), Z (depth), and T (time).

You can touch, step on and move around in the 10 different installations inside the exhibit and manipulate them with your body. Guests who visit the exhibition will experience an immersive and spectacular digital arts experience: walking on floors that react to footsteps, manipulating light particles within a giant digital cube and blowing into glass boxes to witness virtual letters that assemble and disassemble like magic.

Miami is just one of many stops for the XYZT exhibit in the United States It was showcased earlier at the Brooklyn Music Academy in New York, Artechouse in Washington D.C. and most recently at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

“I went to see the XYZT exhibit at the Brooklyn Music Academy in New York and enjoyed the exhibit so much I decided to see it again when I heard it was coming here in Miami. Both times I really enjoyed the mind blowing installation,” junior Jacqueline Lesentier said.

With a mission to inspire, educate, and empower the creation of new, experiential and exploratory art forms, Artechouse connects all audiences to the arts, and stimulates interest in technology, science and creativity. From seniors, to adults, to teenagers, to children this exhibit is enjoyed by everyone.

Where: 736 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (a new session starts every 45 minutes)

Tickets: $17 for kids 2-14; $20 for students, seniors and military; $24 adults


Explore art for free at the Perez Art Museum

Written By: Carolina Niebla

There is a new way you can get into the beautiful Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)  for free. PAMM offers an excellent deal for MDCPS students.

If you are a student in Miami Dade County Public Schools grades Pre-k through 12th grade, you can register for a student pass. The pass allows for the student to bring a guest over the age of 18, free of charge.

To get the pass, you just need to fill out a form at the museum. The pass is valid for one year and then expires on August 31 of every year. On September 1, students can renew their pass as long as they are still a Dade County student. Even though the passes give free admission, they do not give the benefits that memberships do such as discounts at the museum store and early admission to certain exhibits.

The student pass allows exposure to this exhibit and many others for any Miami Dade County Public Schools student.

A new exhibit that you can see with the student pass is called “while the dew is still on the roses” that showcases African Americans and beautiful floral arrangements. The artist, Ebony G. Patterson, exhibits black and brown men being decorated in embellished clothes and jewelry through a time lapse to explore gender. They are depicted crying to show the violence towards these people globally. Through the dark background decorated with bright flowers shows that although it may have a dark message, its representing them in beauty.


Love on the brain: how it works

Written By: Paolo Montoya

With Valentines fast approaching, everyone is scrambling to find the right gifts, the right date spots, or even find someone before the popular holiday. Love is a beautiful part of life, bringing with it happiness and feelings one never thought they could have before. But apart from these obvious effects, what does love do to our brain? How does it affect our grades? The way we act? Our general point of view of life? The truth is, it affects almost every part of life. That is the true power of love on the brain.

The body’s first response to falling in love is the release of hormones. Serotonin furthers the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, the neurotransmitters responsible for happiness and pleasure. Furthermore, love, or even an attractive face can trigger the brain’s opioid system. The brain then associates these opioid releases with the person that caused them, and the cycle of love begins. In the long term, love also incites blood flow throughout the whole body, as well as increasing heartrate. Ultimately, after long term love has been established, oxytocin and vasopressin are released upon every encounter with this person, allowing for a feeling of security and well-being ,as well as joy.

Maria Prieto relates how being in love affects life as a student.

“Falling in love has helped me academically in some way, mainly because he helps me with math, but even then I still feel overall happier in school because I know he’s here with me.” Prieto said.

Love can go far beyond just academics, for it can change the very way we look at our everyday lives. It gives us an incentive, a new reason to wake up every morning and face the world with a smile on our faces. 

“It really has changed my life. I just have this desire to experience everything with him. I went to Universal, and I cherish it so much more because he was there, and it’s an experience I never could’ve had on my own.” 

Love also gives us a spring in our step, a feeling of joy that nothing else can give us.  It allows us to find happiness even in the smallest of things, making every day more meaningful. 

“He’s like my other half. I know I can pour myself out to him, tell him all my secrets, and o know he’ll still love me. It’s gives me this confidence, this happiness that I can’t find anywhere else.”

Love is something beautiful, something magical that enriches our lives with a beauty that illuminates every part of it. Even what once seemed to be dark and desolate can be made beautiful with love. It is a force that transforms life into a journey of happiness, one that is worth every step of the way. So this Valentine’s Day, think not of roses, but think of smiles, of warmth, of love, and celebrate love for what it truly is.



New planets discovered

Written By: Emilio Pagan

Everyone looks up at the starry night sky with a sense of wonder. However, members of an MIT-led NASA mission put this idea in action after they launched a TESS (Transmitting Exoplanet Survey Satellite)  probe in April of last year.

The TESS is examining the sky, currently looking for other planets.

TESS’s new cutting edge technology does not just scan a narrow region of outer space, it instead surveys the whole sky, section by section. It is examining an area 400 times larger than that of the Kepler Spacecraft who was launched back in 2009.

Because of this new method, hundreds of planets outside our solar system have been discovered, eight of which have been properly analyzed and documented by NASA.

TESS has even witnesses six supernova explosions way before telescopes on earth recorded them.

“This can be the chance humanity gets to examine an alien planet with similar conditions of that of earth. It’s called the Goldilocks Zone where everything is ‘just right’ so life can be supported on the planet,”  Junior Fernando Figueroa said.

The TESS satellite is yet another groundbreaking advancement further expanding our views in outer space. Every new discovery that TESS has found is an additional planet that fits as a candidate for the examination of extraterrestrial life.


Events in Science: Mysterious Radio Signals

Written By: Emilio Pagan

A mysterious radio signal has been spotted from outer space by a Canadian telescope. Astronomers are still unsure from where the signal came from. Fast Radio Burst or FRB were first discovered in 2007, but their origins are still unknown.

As it turns out FRB’s are actually much more common that someone might believe. In fact there are so relevant that there is an initiative called Breakthrough Listen that focuses on catching and finding the sources of FRB’s. It uses artificial intelligence to decipher patterns in the cosmic signals.

However this radio signal was different from the others because it was unusually repeating and it came from the same source. It is perceived that it has come from about 1.5 Billion light years away but actually location is far from certain.


Thoughts on science…Changes in DeSantis’ Environmental Policies

Written By: Kaylee Rodriguez

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has had a proactive first month in office. One of the things on the top of his list has been the environment.  In Executive Order 19-12 DeSantis called for $2.5 billion dollars to fuel the Everglades restoration and protection of its waterways. One of the ways that he plans to protect these waterways is through the construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage reservoir, an area which aims to reduce Lake Okeechobee’s harmful runoff from discharging into estuaries. He also outlined the establishment of a Blue-Green Algae Task force with a mission to reduce the impacts of red tides and algal blooms.  Although it will take far more than proposals and words to make these policies come to fruition, this is a significant first step.

“Our water and natural resources are the foundation of our economy and our way of life in Florida,” Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news release on January 10. “The protection of water resources is one of the most pressing issues facing our state. That’s why today I’m taking immediate action to combat the threats which have devastated our local economies and threatened the health of our communities.”

By recognizing these environmental concerns and putting a name on them, DeSantis has already done far more than previous state administrations. The environmental issues plaguing our state should transcend party politics. They are not red or blue problems, they are problems that affect ALL Florida citizens. By acknowledging that Florida’s waterways are cornerstone to our economy and livelihood, DeSantis has found a way to meet both parties in the middle.

Florida’s largest industry is tourism, which amounts to about $40 billion a year in revenue. Because our tourism is so heavily reliant on our waterways, it’s a no brainer that to protect this industry we must protect the environment that fuels it. And yet, what seems like an obvious answer has taken over twenty years to unfold. Yes, many politicians have made promises before. But now, we have an order and dates to back these promises up.

If DeSantis receives the additional funding he is requesting from the Federal Government, the goal is to break ground on the reservoir before the end of 2019. Some of the other things encompassed in the Executive Order are charging the Department of Environmental Protection to “adamantly oppose all offshore oil and gas activities off every coast in Florida and hydraulic fracturing in Florida.”, appointing a Chief Science officer to coordinate and prioritize scientific data, and engaging local government and industries to engage in conservation campaigns. The order also explicitly uses to words “impacts from sea-level rise.” Once again, there is an acknowledgement of the issues at hand. Sea-level rise is real, there is no time to debate this fact and I believe this order recognizes that.

The plans are certainly ambitious, and many are calling them “too good to be true.” However, what Executive Order 19-12 has done is establish a basis for accountability. DeSantis is pledging to protect our waterways and it is our job as citizens, students, and members of the ecosystem to hold him to his word.