Flash Features: news and student achievements

PHS PULSE adopts Golden Lotus Project

The Golden Lotus Project is the Pride Unity Leadership Sisterhood Esteem group’s latest project. PULSE is a girls’ club founded by PHS alumna Moriah Akrong ’09. PULSE works to empower young females to help them reach their full potentials through programs like the Golden Lotus Project.

The Golden Lotus Project is a venture that began back in March through which PULSE collected donations of feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and pads, to give to those who cannot afford to buy these commodities themselves.

Akrong created this project in 2009 to give back to the community. To carry out her purpose, she collected these products every year for the 24 days that led up to her birthday. “She actually asks people, instead of giving gifts to her, to donate to a good cause,” said Lenora Keel, an advisor of PULSE.

Although this project has been ongoing for several years, this is the first year that PHS has been involved. “She contacted me and said, ‘Well do you think your PULSE group would want to do this and join in?’” Keel said. “Of course, I said that was a great idea.”

Once Keel introduced this project to PULSE, the members instantly took to this idea. “I thought it was really cool because you hear about a lot of drives [like] book drives and food drives,” said Joanne Adebayo ’17, a student leader of the PULSE group. “But [female] hygiene is never addressed.”

Once the PULSE group planned out its drive, it set out a collection box inside the guidance office at the beginning of March with a hope of collecting at least 350 units of feminine products in the following 24 days.

However, as of April 5, the club was only able to receive about 100 units worth of donations, all of which were collected by Akrong and taken to HomeFront, where they will be distributed to young women. Although the total amount collected was less than the group had originally hoped for, PULSE is grateful for the donations and hopes that young women will benefit from their drive. “My hope is that the people who do receive these things … [will] feel good about receiving [these items and that] it makes them feel a little better,” Adebayo said. “I hope that despite the situation they’re in, they’ll think ‘someone’s looking out for me.’”


PHS students attend International Robotics Competition

Photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Keri/" title="View all of this person's work">"Keri</a></span>

Photo by Keri Zhang

From April 13, a team of four PHS students attended the Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest in Hartford, Connecticut. The main team, led by Computer Science teacher Graciela Elia, consists of Aaron Olkin ’16, Lachlan McCarty ’18, Will Christensen ’16, and Lincoln Roth ’19. Many members of the regular computer and robotics school club also helped out during the construction of the robot and the set up at the competition.

The goal of the competition is to build and program a robot that has to find a fire in a house and then extinguish that fire. The fire is represented by a candle, and the house by an eight by eight foot maze with hallways, intersections, and other props—such as furniture—that the robot has to maneuver through. There were three levels of difficulty, and the Princeton High School team competed at the lowest one. At the highest level, the robot is also required to find a baby and save it. “It becomes very challenging,” Elia said. “Only two groups competed at the very advanced level.”

The team built the robot, named Boxbot 2001, during a three-week period using the programmed the software using Python. “It’s something very new for most students … some students like the construction part [while] other students like the programming part. You have to put them together,” Elia said.

Christensen, a team member who focused on hardware, originally built a primitive model of the robot, and decided to name it Boxbot 2000 since it resembled a box. Later on, when the team constructed the real robot, they upgraded the name to Boxbot 2001.

The team wasn’t very confident going into the competition because it was something new that they had only recently started working on. “We actually didn’t prepare very much in advance … most of our work was done in a one week period of the actual competition,” Christensen said.

At the actual competition, team members and helpers continued to work hard on Boxbot 2001, running around with wires and testing it. “The implementation was a few hours overnight … We barely slept at all. It was very stressful,” Elia said.

However, despite the rush to finish on time, the team views the results from the weekend in a positive light. “We didn’t actually get it to work once,” Christensen said. “I think, overall, the outcome for the weekend was as good as we hoped it to be because of just how little time we spent working on the robot and the code for it.”

In the future, the team hopes to prepare more for events like this and has already started working on next year’s robot. “It was better than what I expected because it is very challenging so it was a very successful event,” Elia said. “The team is ready to improve and learn from this first experience and have intermediate challenges and competitions in Princeton. Eventually, we’ll go back next year.”


District hosts parent positive education courses

Photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Nina/" title="View all of this person's work">"Nina</a></span>

Photo by Nina Zhong

A series of Parent Positive Education Courses have been held by Coach of Education Katie Curran, Master of Applied Positive Psychology, and PPS Positive, where parents were given the chance to explore research-based strategies in helping their children develop emotional resilience. Parents were made aware about how to enhance their child’s well-being and performance both in and outside of school. These courses were held in three individual sessions, each tailored to the parents of children in specific age groups. The sessions for parents of elementary and middle school students were held on April 5 and 19 respectively. Meanwhile, the session for parents of high school students was on April 28. All three of these sessions were led by Curran at 7 p.m. in the John Witherspoon Middle School Auditorium.

These courses are a part of the five-year district plan put into place by the Princeton Public Schools. As students of the the school district are made aware, the mission of the Princeton Public School system is to prepare its students to be valuable members of society. In order to carry out and enforce this mission in PPS, a strategic plan has been put in place, which has values such as wellness and closing the achievement gap. The plan, implemented by the Board of Education, includes Wellness Initiatives, which promote physical as well as mental health and balance for students and staff.


Students start recycling initiative at PHS

PHS Bottle Project is a new recycling organization that aims to promote environmental wellness by encouraging the use of reusable bottles. Its website lists informative statistics regarding the production and use of plastic bottles such as, “Of the 50 billion bottles Americans used last year, only 23 percent were recycled.” Jonathan Chao ’17 and George Zhu ’17, the two cofounders, decided to not let these numbers just be statistics and took action after noticing the amount of plastic bottles in the PHS trash cans going unrecycled.

Zhu and Chao’s eight-member team has decided to tackle the issue by purchasing a large amount of high-quality reusable bottles to hand out to the community to be reused again. “How we’ve been doing this is we’ve been reaching out to local sponsors … [such as] Princeton Pi, Princeton Record Exchange, a couple others … for funding,” Chao said.

By providing free access to reusable water bottles, the team hopes that people will start using those instead of the non-recyclable, plastic ones. “[We’ve] just received the order of bottles of around 230 bottles, and we plan on distributing most of these to the school soon, the rest to the community, and an event that we’ll plan in the library or just around town,” Zhu said.

In addition to the reusable bottles, the project also distributes stickers to spread awareness. “[The stickers] help people feel that they belong to a community that’s helping to save the environment,” Chao said.

They feel that the stickers are an important part of a small group motivating a large community to make a change. “Some people already have reusable bottles … so they can [still] have stickers on their bottle to show support to the environment,” Chao said.

The group, mainly consisting of juniors and sophomores, will continue the project next year with new underclassmen recruits. Each person has a role in distributing or purchasing the bottles or raising awareness of this recycling issue. “We’ve recruited members such as Amanda [Rubin ’18], Parsa [Salsali ’18] … who help to essentially manage outreach, finances, etc,” Zhu said.

Since the project is still relatively new, the group is still getting on its feet. “As of right now, we’re still figuring out the logistics in terms of how we’re going to be handing the bottles out,” Chao said. “In the future, we hope to raise more money, purchase more bottles, and expand to other neighborhoods.”

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