Flash Features: June

Fundraiser for PHS student’s college tuition:

Amir Moon ’17 plans to attend Cabrini University and hopes to become an elementary school teacher. photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Angel/" title="View all of this person's work">"Angel</a></span>

Amir Moon ’17 plans to attend Cabrini University and hopes to become an elementary school teacher.
photo by Angel Musyimi

The Princeton and Cranbury communities have joined forces to support Amir Moon ’17 by paying for his out-of-pocket college expenses after he was accepted into Cabrini University.

Moon is known throughout Cranbury for his strong work ethic and his welcoming nature. According to Karen Callahan, a friend and supporter of Moon, Moon waits tables at Teddy’s Restaurant in Cranbury and tutors students after school. He has also been nicknamed the “Mayor of Main Street” by other Cranbury residents.

Cabrini University has offered Moon both financial aid and student grants. However, he still has to pay an annual balance of $8,230. Due to Moon’s financial circumstances, however, it became obvious to Callahan and Michelle Green, another Cranbury resident and friend of Moon, that he might not have been able to attend college due to the associated costs.

“We talked to him about his college plans over the course of the year,” said Greene. “When we realised that it was going to be a real financial burden, we decided to do something for him.”

Callahan and Greene decided to create a GoFundMe page called “It Takes A Village … Help Amir Moon” to raise $10,000. Within 24 hours, the GoFundMe page had exceeded its monetary goal. As of May 29, $19,438 has been collected through the site.

Callahan first met Moon when she handed him his eighth grade diploma as she served on the Cranbury Board of Education.

“You could tell it was a special and proud moment for him. I am hoping to see that same proud moment when he receives his diploma from Princeton High School, and four years later at Cabrini University,” wrote Callahan in an email. “In my opinion, it is our responsibility to ensure that one of our own is offered the opportunity to attend university.”

Moon is excited about attending Cabrini University, where he is planning to study elementary education.

“They have an amazing education program,” said Moon. “I felt that Cabrini was for me the minute I drove into those gates.”

Callahan feels that Amir’s positivity, a trait that enables him to connect with others, sheds light onto the bright aspects of life.

“With all the turmoil and negativity in the world, it is refreshing to see someone positive like Amir,”  Callahan wrote.

Moon plans to keep giving back to his community even throughout college. After graduating from college, he hopes to become an elementary school teacher.

“I want to teach students and basically help children get the opportunities I [have] received,” Moon said.


Student film featured at Nassau Film Festival:

The film is directed by Helena Wolk ’19 and features Heather Wertenbaker ’19, whose character in the film gains knowledge about happiness. photo courtesy: Helena Wolk

The film is directed by Helena Wolk ’19 and features Heather Wertenbaker ’19, whose character in the film gains knowledge about happiness.
photo courtesy: Helena Wolk

On May 20, Helena Wolk’s ’19 film, titled Journey, was screened at the annual Nassau Film Festival.

Wolk’s film begins with introducing a girl named Heather, who is describing her sadness. Early in the film, Heather struggles with her misconception that she could just wake up one day and be happy.

As the film progress, the protagonist comes to the realization that being happy is not simply about being happy, but the journey taken to achieve it. This newfound knowledge eventually reshapes her mindset toward life.

The color yellow is the main symbol that demonstrates the theme of happiness, as Heather finds herself surrounded in yellow flowers and a yellow balloon at the start of the film.

The central theme of this film came to Wolk when she was in the car, which caused her to compose a monologue. From there, she took her idea and transformed it into Journey.

Astonished that her film was selected, she believes it was chosen because of the message it provides.

“There’s all these shows recently, like 13 Reasons Why, that show depression but they don’t necessarily tackle the illness and they kind of romanticize it in a way,” Wolk said. “I think giving a more positive outlook on life also might’ve been a nice breath of fresh air next to all of these recent sad shows.”

In the future, Wolk says she wants to continue to create films that are based on her monologues and express the struggles in her own life through her films.

The festival features short films created by individuals from around the world, including the Princeton area.


Chinese Exchange Program for cultural immersion:

Camilla Strauss ’19 and Chinese exchange student Olivia Guo conduct an experiment in chemistry class. photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Anya/" title="View all of this person's work">"Anya</a></span>

Camilla Strauss ’19 and Chinese exchange student Olivia Guo conduct an experiment in chemistry class.
photo by Anya Sachdev

From May 10 to 18, 15 Chinese exchange students from Qingdao Number 2 High School, a boarding school in China, visited PHS as part of a Mandarin exchange program for cultural immersion.

Before the students arrived in Princeton, the exchange students attended a four-day Model United Nations conference in New York City that started on May 10.

Throughout their stay in Princeton, each exchange student participated in activities planned by his or her host family. By living with the host families, the exchange students were able to learn first-hand about American culture and lifestyle. Additionally, since the exchange students were able to shadow an American teenager, they gained a sense of the curriculum and classes at PHS.

“In America, you have [a] great [amount of] space so every house is like a villa but in China, we live on high buildings and there are many families all on one story. Living in an American home is a very different experience,” said exchange student Olivia Guo.

Before departing from Princeton, PHS’s MUN officers met with the Chinese exchange students after school on May 17. At the event, the two groups familiarized themselves with one another and discussed MUN-related topics.

The afternoon began with some ice-breakers, such as introducing themselves, describing what their favorite food is, and talking about what they liked about Princeton. Afterwards, students participated in a speaking game, modeling it off of a type of speech used in MUN conferences and took turns to discuss an unprepared, random topic for one minute.

The MUN officers feel that this interaction with the exchange students was quite informative for them.

“We learned that [the Chinese exchange students] run their own high school [MUN] conference, [which is] something we’ve been trying to do at PHS,” said Dhruv Sharma ’18, an officer for the PHS MUN club. “In August, they hold a conference for three to four days, and we’re trying to do that for one-day at our school. We learned the logistics on how to run it, how to get people to come to the conference, and, essentially, what you need to make a successful conference run.”

Lin felt the exchange program ultimately allowed both PHS students and the exchange students to be surrounded in new cultures and experiences.

“[The exchange program] is very important to provide opportunities for students to open their minds [and] to open their eyes… to see outside this country,” said Lin.

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