Record Bible Club Turnout: Club has been rapidly gathering new members

Written by: Kaylee Rodriguez

Students and staff gathered together for the first Bible Club meeting of the year, filling up every space available in the room including the floor and hallway. This attendance was the greatest the club had ever seen. With a combination of Krispy Kreme donuts and a powerful message in their system, members left with a contagious energy.

 

“I was in awe of the diversity present in the room. The number of students and staff members in attendance surpassed my expectations,” club sponsor Melissa Ervin said.

 

The first three meetings were led by senior Andres Bickford, the Vice-President of the club. Already, the club has experienced tears, hugs, and two responses to a salvation call. Another thing that has distinguished the start of this year from years prior is the support of the teachers and staff.

 

“I feel a transformation. Even though not everyone in the room is a believer, the Word of God is spreading through our school. Jesus preached to the Gentiles, and this club is preaching to students of every background and identity,” Special Education specialist M. Bryant said.

 

The focus of the club is to create an inclusive and understanding environment for students to learn more about the Christian faith, but students do not have to belong to any religion to attend. Catholics, agnostics, and people of various other faiths have attended.

 

“I have had a lot of people, including non-believers, tell me that they felt something great. A great peace they have never felt before as we were diving in deep into the word of God (which is epic)!” Bickford said.

 

“This club is a community of acceptance and love. I want to see the club grow internally more than externally, taking the knowledge and virtues they learn and sharing them with our school, Key Biscayne, and beyond. Regardless of who it is, everyone walks away from these meetings with something,” Irvin said.

 

This year the club is expanding their reach, in both the school and community, by partnering with Key Biscayne Community Church. KBCC donated bibles for the club and has agreed to supply donuts for every meeting. In the year to come, the club hopes to engage in more community outreach and events. They also plan on inviting guest speakers, including a possible visit by Vous Church pastor, Rich Wilkerson. If one thing is sure, it is that the club members are extremely excited to see what God has in store for them this year.

 

In the words of Bickford, and the club as a whole, “God is moving, and it is exhilarating.”

From class to the polls: Students cast their vote

Written by: Gina Crespo

Voter turnout for young people, especially those ages 18-25, has always been notoriously low compared to other age groups. With pressing issues like climate change and gun regulation, the voices of voters, now more than ever, will determine the future of our country.

On Wednesday October 24, AP Government students and eligible voters went on a field trip to vote in the midterm elections and visit the HistoryMiami Museum set up by history teachers Carlos Couzo and Jeffrey Raymond.

When asked why it is important for students to vote, Raymond said, “Young people, between the ages 18 and 25, have the worst voting turnout of any demographic and yet, they have the most to gain by choosing the representatives who will make decisions about their future. This is a trend we need to change.”

Although the official day to vote in Florida’s midterm election is November 6, these students were able to vote at one of the many Early Voting locations around South Florida.

The day before the field trip, Rho Kappa Honor Society held a meeting for eligible voters. The club officers went through the major amendments on the ballot and also gave unbiased information about the beliefs of the candidates running for Senator and Governor of Florida.

At the polling place in Downtown, first time voters were given instructions on how to vote. Those who were not able to vote learned about the voting process and the improvements being made at polling areas.  

“If there was a larger student turnout they will have a much larger and influential say in our government and running it to keep up with the time and avoid the mistakes made in the past,” senior Emily Johnson.

After voting, the trip continued at the HistoryMiami Museum. At the museum the students participated in a tour known as “We the People.” The two-hour long tour reviewed the Constitution, the structure of our government and our role as citizens.

The tour also thoroughly issues such as suffrage and civil rights. Once the tour ended, students were able to look at the different exhibits there.

Overall the trip gave students an opportunity to see the workings of the government in action and learn more about how the United States government has affected and continues to affect the people of the nation.

Referendum #362: A chance to raise teacher salaries

Written by: Isabella Zimmermann

Voters in the upcoming November election will be able to vote on Referendum 362 and decide whether Miami-Dade teacher wages will increase. As of now, the district average for a yearly salary is $51,819, according to the Florida Department of Education’s 2017-2018 teacher salary data.

Individual teacher wages in Florida are behind those of many other states by several thousands of dollars. According to data from Trulia, teachers are struggling to afford 91 percent of Miami homes.

“For almost two decades our schools have been underfunded and we continue to see that this has impacted our schools. But despite the underfunding, our educators have continued to excel and have given more, despite having less,” United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats in a press conference said.

However, Referendum 362 proposes that wages be increased by up to 20 percent through the increase of property taxes. Taxes will increase by as much as 75 cents per one thousand dollars of taxable property value in order to raise $232 million dollars annually for the next four years. The district plans to allocate around 80 to 90 percent of these funds towards improving teacher salaries while the rest would go towards resources that would increase security on school campuses.

“Children deserve good quality education and quality carries a price as always. I’m willing to increase my own taxes to ensure that all teacher salaries can be raised to a decent and fair level,” foreign language teacher Felizitas Reby said.

Overall, the amendment aims to hopefully carry out a four-year plan to not only improve the salaries of the teachers that we see on a daily basis, but also increase security measures and  provide a sense of safety every day at school.

Second Cup with McKoy: Principal hosts morning meeting with parents over coffee

Written by: Daisy Hoover

Stacks of striped paper cups line a table parallel to the auditorium stage. The room is cold, but the crowd is warm and the coffee is piping hot. More parents shuffle in and Dr. McKoy begins to speak. He explains that the event will commence town-hall style and reads through a list of updates before taking questions from parents.

The Second Cup of Coffee, while new to MAST, is not new to Dr. McKoy.

“It started as something I did in my old school, and it was called the Second Cup of Coffee with the Principal, so it was something I had done before. It’s a way for parents to talk to me directly,” McKoy said.

Dr. McKoy appeared comfortable in front of the crowd, keeping conversation moving to address as many issues as possible. One by one, parents were picked to stand up and voice their concerns and questions. The discussion ranged from “Ship-shape” dress code to classroom cell phone usage. Of particular concern for parents was potential disciplinary crackdown on unexcused tardies.

Dr. McKoy was careful to make sure parents were understood, paraphrasing each response back to the crowd.

“It’s important to keep an open mind, be humble, and be honest, because every person has a different temperament, so I have to make sure I understand everyone from their perspective,” McKoy said.

Ultimately, parents had a favorable view of the Second Cup of Coffee. Taima Hervas, a second-timer, was pleased with the principal’s efforts and plans to attend future meetings.

“It was, as always, enlightening and interesting. I am impressed with the Captain for the interest he takes in parents’ questions and concerns. He is on the right course. We are stronger together,” Hervas said.

Dr. McKoy plans to continue the Second Cup of Coffee and will convene with parents regularly. He understands that for some, the 9 a.m. meeting time can be difficult to make, as many have busy work schedules. Dr. McKoy welcomes messages and emails from parents and is committed to communication. He even has a special system set up.

“I have an email that you can directly access me at. Just put “Captain” in the subject line and I will respond to you within 48 hours,” McKoy said.

For any curious parents, Dr. McKoy’s email can be found on gomakos.org.

Engineering teacher gears up to start new Esports class

Written by: Paolo Montoya

Our school’s new engineering teacher, Mr. Allan Miller, has given life to one of the student body’s most sought-after ideas: an Esports class. Simply put, Esports is a multiplayer competitive game played for an audience by professional players.

On a much deeper scale, however, Esports is the combination of art, coding, business, and skill with a blend of culture that brings gamers together across the world. This connection, as well as a need to sharpen one’s skills through arduous training both help in creating the culture of Esports.  

Mr. Miller has made it one of his dedicated goals to make a state-approved Esports class for our school.

Mr. Tomas Pendola, the sponsor of the Esports club, responds very enthusiastically to this potential class.

“An Esports class would be a great thing to have, I think, because it gets rid of the view some of the older teachers may have towards gaming, of it being violent or negative, when in fact it is a huge industry, a place where art, coding, music, they all come together to form one thing, and that’s a beautiful thing that gaming can teach to the students at MAST,” Pendola said.

Teachers aren’t the only supporters for this class. Avid gamers in the student body have spoken up about this class.

A potential Esports club sounds like a very good idea. It will give students the ability to participate in, and learn many team building activities, [and] how to work with other people in general, which by itself is a key trait any person should have, and the schools should help students hone that,” sophomore Mattheus Noronha said.

Mr Miller was very ecstatic to discuss his progress with the course.

“I’m currently around 100 pages into a textbook for the class, as well as writing my own curriculum.” Miller said.

In his first few months at school, Miller made a large impact. He is sponsor of the Mecha Makos Robotics Club, teacher of engineering foundations of programming, a successful engineer, business owner, scout leader, church elder, and public speaker. He has already contributed various things to the school, and he will continue to do so in the future.

“I heard the calling,” Miller said when asked about his reasons for becoming a teacher.

His knowledge is broad because of his business owning background, which makes him a great candidate for an engineering teacher. This knowledge would be the key to developing a proper Esports course for the future.

Ultimately, our school awaits the outcome of this great venture Miller has tasked himself with, and with hope, our future Makos will have the option to take Esports as part of their schedules.

Ahoy, Dr.McKoy!

Written By: Diego Garcia

As a new year rolled in, we welcomed a new captain onboard. Dr. Derrick McKoy is the newest addition to the Mako family and he is excited for what is in store in his future.

Before coming to MAST, McKoy was the principal at Eneida M. Hartner Elementary in Wynwood. There, he helped the many young students that were dealing with hardships such as impoverishment with systems he established. He also appreciated working at an elementary because he believes that the future of student depends on a good upbringing by being educated at a young age. It was hard for him to leave the elementary school he worked in but at the same time it was a “token” because now he has the chance to be the principal of a high school again.

This is not McKoy’s first time working at a high school, he was the principal at Norland Senior High for six years. With a doctorate in education and specialization on school management and instructional leadership and his previous work experience, he is prepared for this new task ahead of him.

“Based on my career and my past, I believed I could be a good fit here at MAST,” said McKoy.

The future is looking bright for the school as McKoy has many things planned to make his first year have a lasting impact. One of his goals this year is to strengthen the “No Place for Hate” program and inviting the Sandy Hook Foundation to make m a Sandy Hook Promise School.

Another one of McKoy’s plans is to get more involved with the parents by hosting “Second Cup of Coffee with the Captain” in specific mornings throughout the year and also learn more about the students by holding “Captain Calls” in which he will sit down at lunch and listen to what the student body has to say. McKoy says that his decision to get more involved is because he feels more productive when he knows what is going around the school.

“I don’t thrive well in an environment where I feel closed in,” said McKoy when asked why he was often out of his office interacting with the MAST family.

McKoy also wants to increase the school spirit. He envisions a future in which students are proud to be Makos and what it means to be one, proud to have school traditions, and a future in which the alma mater is known throughout the halls of the ship that he is now the captain of.

 

Congrats to our National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

Written By: Piper Penney

Recently, MAST students Pia Nair, Gabriel Fabre, Victoria Hijon, and Ana Roldan received the ranking of semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. The prestigious award is given to 11th grade students whose PSAT scores are in the top percentile in the nation. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, only about 16,000 out of the 50,000 top scorers are semifinalists. Around 1.6 million juniors take the exam each year, meaning that only about 1% of students qualify for the award. Pia Nair gives this advice to juniors trying to qualify for the program: “Just do a lot of practice tests and then you’ll probably do well. Amuni Beck really helped me.” Another scholar, Ana Roldan, says “Taking a practice test is really helpful to get the timing down. My score increased by 70 points from the practice to the actual test. Also, make sure to get enough rest the night before so you’re at your best!”

“I used the practice PSAT exams the school gave me and Khanacademy.org, which you can use to link your College Board account and practice everything you missed on past SAT or PSAT exams” Gabriel Fabre said.