Latest — End of Year 2024

The Southern Bell
The Southern Bell

End of the Year 2023 Edition

199 Views | Published September 29, 2023 | Edited October 17, 2023

The Southern Bell

The Southern Bell - Writers

Pi Day - Pie a Teacher!

(Jannet Ashraf) —

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, approximately 3.14159.

South hosted its second annual Pi- day on March 14, 2023. The event hosted by the Math Honor society welcomed students from grade 7-12 in celebrating Pi-day by pieing their favorite teachers. With preparation beginning weeks in advance, the Math honor society asked members to submit math problems, categorized by grade, to be solved on stage. The event took place in South Hall after school with students lined up, eager to pie the staff. Students were called up on stage three at a time and asked a math problem by Mr. Lipsky. With 30 seconds to answer the students rushed to submit answers, if correct, the students were asked to step closer to their target and answer a final question. At this point, they were awarded a plate full of whipped cream to launch at their teachers. A fun-filled afternoon proved to be a great success and bonding moment between students and their teachers. 

World Language Week

(Amina Radonic) —

The week of March 10th marked Valley Stream South’s annual Foreign Language Week, in which the community was able to gather together and truly celebrate the diversity that makes the school the warm and welcoming place that it is. In the weeks prior, the Language department teachers assigned their students the task of creating colorful posters that adhered to this year’s theme, “Languages map our way through the world”. Members of the Language Honor Society proceeded to cover the halls with the decorative posters, truly setting the tone for the week.

A wide array of events took place each day, kicking the week off with the Spelling Bee, in which students competed against each other with the hope of winning an Amazon Gift Card as a reward for their proficiency in their respective languages. After school on Tuesday, students gathered in the library in order to watch a foreign film together, while watching other select films throughout the day in their language classes. On Thursday, everyone took part in a Greek dance lesson after school, getting to learn more about a different culture while having a blast. Finally, the week was concluded with a Tai-Chi session after school, allowing students to opportunity to further explore a new culture in an entertaining yet educational way. Overall, Foreign Language Week was a great success this year!

National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony

(Ekaterina Alaverdove & Isabella Dombrosky) —

The National Junior Honor Society recently held an induction where eighth and ninth graders were welcomed into the club because of their high averages and numerous hours dedicated to community service. Students arrived in their fanciest attire at 6 pm sharp inside of the school gymnasium. With the help of student volunteers and advisors, Ms. Amelia Ward and Ms. Brett Coppens, inductees lined up to enter the gym. The South High School Wind ensemble was also on the scene playing numerous tunes for South pride. Students entered the gym to see multiple of the current National Junior High School members at the podium as well as the smiling faces of the audience.

Representatives from the National Junior High School walked up one by one to explain the five pillars of National Junior High School which are the values of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. Each speaker lit a candle to further show that these five pillars are needed for someone to be an outstanding member of the organization. Principal Ms. Maureen Henry, and vice-principals Mrs. Jacquelin Allen, and Mr. Thomas Zervas also shared speeches commemorating the students' hard work throughout the year. Truly a memorable moment for the students throughout the South High school career thus far.

Interview with Ms. Henry

(Dash Alschuler-Pierce & Madeleine Fryling) —

After 16 years of dedicated service to Valley Stream South, we had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Henry as she reflected on her years here at South and her journey into her next chapter of retirement.

Ms. Henry, what inspired you to pursue a career in education?

I grew up in Queens and I loved working with kids when I was in high school. I started as a camp counselor every summer, so I knew that I wanted to work with kids my whole life.

We heard that you worked at Hewlett HS as a cheerleading coach. What brought you to cheer, and how did you make your way to South?

I was the cheerleading coach there for many years. I was a cheerleader in high school, and I coached in two other schools previously, and my friend was a teacher at Hewlett, and they were looking for a coach and she recommended me, so I coached for many years there. Mr. Lipsky was actually a student when I was there, so I think that's how you found out! I was a high school math teacher, and then I became an assistant principal and then the next piece was to become a principal, and South looked appealing.

What do you believe to be your biggest achievement during your time here at South?

We were named a Reward School a few times and we are a National School of Character; South has been listed US World News and Report many times as a Best High School in Long Island. I also began the Family Service Day and Service Week. We've brought in a lot of the APs here like the Capstone Program, and we've continued to grow in the extracurricular, particularly I worked to provide more opportunities to our Life Skills students. It's also been really nice watching South evolve and change into a diverse and multicultural community. From the day I got here, I remember looking into the cafeteria to see all students sitting together, no matter what they looked like. They just sat with their friends, and I always have said to myself, “this is what our world should be,” because the diversity has always added to the strength of our school atmosphere. We celebrate diversity here, and that's one of my favorite things.

What was the process like, making the decision to retire?

I think that everything in life is a circle, and I've been here for 16 years – it's a lot of time! I’d like to spend more time with my family and friends and relax!

What will you miss most about the South community?

Oh, I think I'm going to miss the heart and soul of South and the kindness that I've seen here. One of the things that will always impact me is when Chris Schroeder died, and the school just stepped up. There's always been a sense of kindness and spirit when the chips are down. Also, the kids are just fun!

What are you planning to do with all your new time?

Well, I have been teaching at St. John's University at night so I'm going to take on another class and teach two classes. I’m going to travel–I love to travel. I’m going to be in a book club or two because I love to read, and I'll see my family and friends more.


The Southern Bell wishes Ms. Henry well on her next chapter of life!

Theatrical Troupe’s Much Ado About Nothing

(Christopher Davila) —

“Much Ado About Nothing” is an amazing Shakespearean comedy as portrayed by our wonderful Shakespeare Society here at South. The play goes as follows: Count Claudio falls for Leonata’s daughter, Hero, while Hero’s cousin, Beatrice, is duped into loving Benedick, an eternal bachelor. Claudio is deceived by a devious plot and accuses Hero of being unfaithful at their wedding which causes Hero to faint and be thought dead. Once Hero’s innocence is proven by an investigation by the prince’s watch, she and Claudio marry as well as Benedick and Beatrice professing their love for one another.

During the performance, there was the wrinkle of rain causing the entire play to be moved inside, I had an amazing time. The cast did fantastically in their roles especially our own Dash Alschuler-Pierce who had the opportunity to perform in a comedic role. Ms. Pokorny worked tremendously as the director of the production, and I give my thanks for that. I was entranced from the moment that I sat down until the moment the play was over. It was an amazing experience for the people who got to see it and I hope to see anything else Shakespeare Society produces!

South’s Valedictorian & Salutatorian Interview

(Madeleine Fryling & Amina Radoncic) —

South is proud to congratulate the 2023 valedictorian Steven Huang and the 2023 salutatorian Ibrahim Qadri! Additionally, we were able to interview Ibrahim Qadri, read below!

Looking back on your South career, what was your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?

I procrastinate, so that would probably be my biggest struggle. In sophomore year, for example, this issue really hit me in the face, as I really developed the tendency to delay my work until the last second. These poor working habits didn’t really help me when everything switched to being in person last year. I had to learn to organize my work, improve my handwriting, and start my work far earlier than what I was used to.

What do you believe your biggest achievement was during your time at South?

My research is definitely the biggest achievement that I have accomplished throughout my time here at South. I was able to find an effective, yet accessible solution to the harmful effects of nicotine, and I found that the effect of nicotine can affect multiple generations, which really hasn't been researched before. As a result of many years of hard work in my science research class, I placed in several state competitions, with the biggest ones being a semifinalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, and placing third in the world for Animal Science, at the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Who do you believe has helped you most to earn the honor of becoming salutatorian?

My science research class was an amazing support system that aided me in earning the honor of salutatorian. Through my research accomplishments, and really anything in general, they were all there to have my back since the beginning of the program in 9th grade. They motivated me and helped me stay on track, especially when I would begin to slack off a bit. For example, last year, I was becoming lazy after the AP Physics exam and was having a difficult time staying on task and actually completing my final project, but they encouraged me to finish it on time and continue to maintain high grades even after the AP exams.

Do you have any advice for rising seniors during the coming college admissions process?

Make sure to plan everything in advance and start working on your college essay as early as possible. I would say that the first two marking periods of senior year were significantly harder than the entirety of junior year because, especially for AP students and those with a lot of extracurriculars, you have to maintain high grades and be able to write effective supplemental essays, prepare for college interviews, and create resumes. As a result, it would be very wise to plan accordingly and do whatever you can during the summer in order to prevent an overload of work.

What college or career path are you planning to pursue next?

Originally, my intent was to attend the Stony Brook Honors College and major in Computer Science, but thankfully, I was later accepted and committed to the Sophie Davis Biomedical Education program, so I intend on becoming an orthopedic surgeon. However, I am still extremely passionate about computer science, so I am definitely going to be coding on the side. I really hope to be able to integrate coding into the medical field and see what type of advancements I can make.

World Culture Night

(Momina Ali & Caitlyn Gordon) —

Every year, Cultural Society hosts its annual World Culture Night on Friday March 11th and Saturday March 12th, giving South’s students and their families a chance to watch this exciting performance. Students who are members of the Cultural Society perform dances from different cultures all around the world such as Classical Indian, Bachata, Merengue, Chinese Yo-yo, Nun chucks, and West Indies. There were also individual musical performances by students such as Alyssa Gonzalez and Tatiana Rosello, Roxanne Padilla, Theo Uy, Gabrielle Dicks, and more. Fellow friends, family members, and teachers were all gathered to watch students perform. Overall, the night was a success once again, and provides an opportunity for South students to unite and celebrate each other’s cultures.

South’s Spring at a Glance

(The Southern Bell Writers) —

Top Left to Right: JV Softball team on their opening day win over Elmont, our senior Falcons soaring into Collegiate action in 2023: Jade Hornick SUNY Cortland Track, Jonathan Matthews Fort Valley State Volleyball, Mellissa Gueye SUNY Albany Track, Tori Daniels University of Virginia Track, Nicholas Parisi LaGrange College Basketball, Daiyaan Mir SUNY Alfred Football, The Varsity It’s Academic Team placing 4th at the Regional Quiz Bowl, South Senior Shirt Day for their future college commitments, & the March Madness Basketball Tournament.

How To Manage Studying for Finals

(Sasha Hicks) —

Even though school is coming to an end, there are still exams to finish and homework to catch up on. I know 
it can be hard to manage everything all at once, so here are five tips that can help you!

1. Take Breaks.

It’s good to take breaks when you’re studying especially when you’re trying to remember a lot of information. I recommend studying in time intervals, like taking 30 minutes to do study and after time is up, take a quick 
break and do something you love! For example, when you’re studying or doing homework, try taking 30 minutes to do your work undistracted, then once time is up do you something for maybe 10-15 minutes before you start working again. 
2. Prioritize tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks to manage, write them down in order of most important to least. It can be hard figuring out what to do first and can be overwhelming. Prioritizing tasks from how long it might take and when it’s due is one of the best ways to list them in order. 

3. Get a good amount of sleep each night.

Not only does prioritizing your tasks, and taking breaks matter, sleeping most definitely matters. Having a good amount of sleep can help memorize facts, understand topics better and can ultimately give you a better mood. It puts you in a good mindset to study and sleeping well before an exam can also be beneficial for you! 

4. Work with a group!

Not everyone likes working in a group but working in a group can also be a change of pace and it can be very beneficial to have people to work with. Groups can help you with learning and memorizing faster. Working with people you enjoy being around can also make studying much more fun and enjoyable!

5. Find a good space to study in.

Being in a good environment is very important to study and excel. When studying, make sure to be in a clean, organized space to your liking! It can be too much when you’re surrounded by a big mess while trying to study, so it’s good to have a good clean location. Make sure your study area is somewhere where you feel comfortable and work efficiently. It’s better to also go into new environments because sometimes staying in the same studying pace can lead to feeling bored and wanting some excitement especially when studying. 

South’s Editorial: College Essays

(Fabia Khandaker) —

As the class of 2024 embarks upon the college application process- many will spend this summer writing their college essays. There is no such thing as a “perfect” college essay but there are ways to make sure it is a strong one. College essays are essential as more colleges become test optional- there are less materials for a college to use to determine acceptance. College essays allow admissions officers to get to know the student beyond test scores and grades. Providing essential anecdotes of your life to truly showcase your unique personality and experiences. However, it is important to note that recently there has been a rise in “trauma essays” which are essays that focus on an individual’s traumatic experiences. While its important to share your experiences, students need to remember that admissions officers want to see a student’s strengths and not their struggles. The college admissions process is a part of the problem; students feel compelled to take about their most distressing memories and shrink it down to 650 words.

Disadvantaged youth feel they need to nitpick the lowest moments of their life and are prompted to only highlight the “important” parts of their trauma and need to minimize their feelings along with what they experienced. Instead, choose a topic meaningful to you and showcase your personality. Use specific examples and anecdotes to show the college why you would be the perfect addition to their campus. It is essential to be authentic and to not just recall but to also reflect on your stories. Although college essays may not be a thought for many 11th graders, it is important and recommended for students to at least brainstorm what they would like to write about. The main advice from seniors regarding college essays is that the first one they wrote was never the one they ended up choosing. Write as much as you can and eventually, you will have your perfect college essay.


#TRENDING: Movie Review 1

(Dash Alschuler-Pierce) —

The Quiet Girl is a 2022 Irish film, spoken in Gaelic, centering on a shy, young girl in a chaotic, borderline abusive home, who stays with her loving cousins for the summer. The slice-of-life film documents her growth between her leaving home, and coming home. Directed by Colm Bairéad, the film is a heartwarming, tasteful, and well-crafted story, with subtle humor and charm. In an hour and 36 minutes, Bairéad manages to capture rural Ireland through a little girl's eyes. The small-budget film recently made headlines for its triumph at the Academy Awards this year, becoming the first Irish-language film to be nominated for Best International Feature. While losing to the equally outstanding film, All Quiet on The Western Front, The Quiet Girl is a huge step for Irish-language cinema.

#TRENDING: Movie Review 2

(Grace Haeun Kim) —

The Breakfast Club, an ultimate classic, is an iconic film produced by John Hughes in 1985. This movie is categorized as a comedy-drama film. On a Saturday morning, a group of five different teenagers: the brainy nerd (Brian), the popular girl (Claire), the introverted loner (Allison), the troublemaker (John), and the jock (Andrew) are gathered in the library as they have received detention. The strict teacher, Paul Gleason, watches over this group of teenagers to ensure they act appropriately. However, the student’s rebel against Gleason’s orders and start interacting with one another. Initially, the group resented and was awkward around each other, but by the end of the day, they all put their differences aside and broke social barriers. They find they have more in common than they believed. This movie signifies that everyone, no matter who they are, has their own problems.

#TRENDING: Movie Review 3

(Nicole Belskiy) —

Written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the perfect combination of an emotional and action-packed movie. Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol. 3 relates to the previous Marvel movies that occurred in the past like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2, Avengers Infinity War, and Avengers Endgame. Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol. 3 occurs after those movies so I recommend you watch them before watching this one. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 mainly focuses on Rocket the racoon’s, trauma and past from his youth. If you love animals and are sensitive to animal cruelty, I do not recommend watching this film because you will most likely find some scenes disturbing. In this movie many sacrifices occur, and you get a lot of nail-biting tension in some scenes. In this movie, we get a lot of action scenes and fighting. There is one scene where they are all fighting aliens and you get to see some great CGI effects and editing. Overall, this movie is amazing, and you should totally watch it during your spare time.

Summer Macarons

(Eshial Akhtar) —


  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar vanilla buttercream filling


  1. Put egg whites in a large bowl and let them get to room temperature. Then add your cream of tartar and beat the two until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  2. Sift your flour and confectioners' sugar into a separate bowl to make it easier to mic in other ingredients.
  3. Slowly fold in your egg white and cream of tartar mixture into the flour and confectioners' sugar. Keep folding until the mix is smooth.
  4. Take a piping bag (see notes if you don't have one) and put in your batter. Pipe out 2-inch circles of batter onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Ensure that there are no air bubbles by tapping your pan against your counter. Set the pan aside for 30 minutes to an hour (at most). This is necessary to ensure that the macarons will rise.
  6. Bake for 13 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Once they're done baking, let the macaron cool before filling them with vanilla buttercream and sandwiching them 


If you do not have a piping bag you can use a Ziploc bag. Put the batter inside the Ziploc bag and
squeeze it into a corner and cut off the tip.

Summer Sugar Cookies

(Arisa Aamer) —

Recipe Name: Sugar Cookies


  • Creamed Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla and Almond Extract
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt


  1. Make cookie dough by combining all the indredients
  2. Divide the dough into 2 sections to make it easier
  3. Roll dough until 1/4 inch thick
  4. Chill for 1-2 hours or up to 2 days
  5. Cut into desired shape
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes
  7. Decorate with desired icing

Recipe by:

Spring Crossword

(Faisal N) —


1. What are some people allergic to?

5. Spring has ______.

6. These types of plants come back each year during this season.

8. What blooms in this season?

10. Season after spring.


2. What holiday in spring involves eggs and bunnies?

3. What fairy is part of St. Patrick’s Day?

4. What is a gentle wind called?

7. This foliage comes back on trees during this season.

9. In spring & summer the days get ______.

Spring Sudoku

Maja Papandrea


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