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The Best of Bcomber 2012: Editor’s Picks

Max Bleich


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This year we had an abundance of amazing articles by outstanding writers who proved just how awesome the Beachcomber staff is. Here are the top ten stories, in no specific order.

10. Administration Considers Closing D/HH Program

The possibility of terminating Beachwood’s Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) program has caused a surge of worries for parents, students and staff members. The Beachwood D/HH program is a consortium of 29 districts in the area, and is made up of 26 students. While it has been serving Beachwood students for 30 years, only one current student is a Beachwood resident. READ MORE HERE


9. Hardis: Exit Interview

Robert Hardis is now serving his last few days as BHS principal before beginning his new job as Assistant Superintendent.  Here are some highlights from his exit interview with the Beachcomber. READ MORE HERE

8. Beachwood Responds to Chardon Tragedy

As the tragedy of the Chardon shooting unfolded last month, BHS students and staff learned that even though the shooting occurred 25 miles from Beachwood, our community was also affected.

On the morning of Feb. 27, T.J. Lane, a 16-year-old alternative school student, entered the cafeteria at Chardon High School where students were waiting for buses to take them to enrichment programs. At 7:30 a.m., Lane pulled out a gun and opened fire in the cafeteria, shooting five students and causing mass panic. READ MORE HERE

7. Roof Trusses Collapse on New Wing

On Monday, April 16, high winds caused some of the wooden roof trusses, being constructed on the new 100/200 halls, to buckle in an accordion fashion and collapse. This startled staff and students who were near the collapse.

It was the loud noise that came from the fall that made BHS social studies teacher Karissa Piper look at the direction of the windows first. “I saw the roof collapse in what looked like a wave. I think I saw it start to tumble first, and we all just jumped up and ran to the windows,” she said. READ MORE HERE

6. Josh Mandel: From BHS to Senate Race

Republican Senate Candidate Josh Mandel is well-respected by former classmates and teachers, even though many do not support his political views.

Mandel, a Beachwood alum, reflected fondly on his high school experience.

“It meant a great deal to me to be able to take my wife, Ilana, on a tour of [BHS] because I wanted her to see where I grew up,” Mandel wrote in an email. “I feel very fortunate to have gained the education I received in those halls.” READ MORE HERE

5. What Size Helicopters are our Parents Flying?

With high-achieving students, Beachwood has a reputation as a regional landing pad for helicopter parents. However, students, parents and staff feel that the issue is much more complex than it may seem, and that parent involvement has positive as well as negative consequences.

The term ‘helicopter parent’ refers to overbearing parents who are extremely involved in their children’s lives, thus hindering independence. “Helicopter” behavior describes sideline coaching at sporting events, checking eSIS daily, or giving college-aged students wake-up calls so they come on time to class. READ MORE HERE

4. Teachers to be Graded on Student Performance

In the last two years, Ohio schools have faced uncertainty about the future of teacher evaluation. Both the Republican-controlled Ohio government and the Democratic-run US Dept. of Education have supported plans to evaluate teachers based on student performance. It is likely that BHS students will be affected by this trend, as more pressure will be coming to perform well in classes and on Ohio standardized tests.

In Jan. 2011, Ohio won $400 million from the Obama administration, making it one of 11 states selected for the Race to the Top program. Beachwood is one of many school districts that signed on to the program, receiving a portion of the state’s funds in exchange for reforms. Among other things, Race to the Top requires the use of student test data to assess teachers. READ MORE HERE

 3. Politics in the Classroom: What Can Teachers Say?

Last month, Ohioans voted down Senate Bill 5, which had become Issue 2 on the ballot and would have had a major impact on public employees in the state. During the controversy, many teachers expressed their opposition to Issue 2 by wearing buttons and by placing signs on the walls of their classroom.

When BHS Principal Robert Hardis asked teachers to remove their signs, some began to question the rights of teachers to express personal political views in the classroom. READ MORE HERE

2. Coach Ryan Williams Resigns After 7-3 Season

After six years as head coach of the BHS varsity football team, Ryan Williams has resigned. Williams took the team to great heights, and ended this season with one of the best records that BHS football has seen in many years, falling just short of the playoffs.

Despite this success, for most, Williams’ resignation was sad but not shocking.

Assistant coach Adam Bickel said, “I was not surprised by Coach Williams’ decision, [but] of course there is a part of me that is saddened by it. We built a team from 0-10 to four consecutive winning years. There will be sadness because we wanted to finish the job, the vision, the goal of bringing championships to Beachwood.” READ MORE HERE

1. Guns or Freedom? You Can Only Pick One

The word “gun” is short, but it is loaded.

To Americans, guns represent danger, safety, fear, destruction, death, freedom and so much more. We live in a culture dominated by guns. The United States is the biggest producer and consumer of guns in the entire world. We are also the country responsible for the largest count of shootings and gun murders.

Last week, 28 lives were taken by guns, 20 of which were innocent children being protected by seven equally innocent teachers who wanted nothing more than to keep their children safe. But they couldn’t protect them, and neither could harsh gun laws. Because there aren’t any. 20 beautiful, young, innocent children were stripped from the Earth in the blink of an eye because a disturbed individual was allowed access to guns. READ MORE HERE

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The Best of Bcomber 2012: Editor’s Picks