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Four Amazing Students From Across America

Some people are just amazing. They stand out, achieving things that can be simply hard to believe. It can induce envy in some people, but perhaps the best reaction is old-fashioned wonder. After all, the human race is the better for their awesomeness. Here are just five amazing young people.

Andreas Pavlou, Sewanhaka High School, Elmont, New York

Andreas, from a low-income family, edited his high school newspaper and was president of the student council. While still a young man his father passed away prematurely, leaving Andreas to help support his family.

One summer while still in high school, Andreas had an opportunity to conduct cancer research. As part of his work, he made new discoveries relating to breast cancer, including a very promising combination of gene therapy and drug treatment.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he won the very prestigious Questbridge scholarship, which got him a full ride to college.

Shree Bose, Fort Worth Country Day High School, Fort Worth, Texas

Ms. Bose is another teen who, moved by the suffering of a loved one at the hands of cancer (in this case a grandfather), engaged in advanced research in an effort to find a cure. She asked every research center in her area to let her work but no one took her seriously — except for the North Texas Science Health Center, which agreed to give her access to their labs plus mentoring.

She focused on the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin, and discovered that inhibiting a specific protein allowed the drug to be much more effective in killing cancer cells. She says, “For the over 240,000 patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer, this research will hopefully be able to reduce the recurrence rates in patients treated with particular chemotherapy drugs in the future.”

Thanks to her work, Ms. Bose won numerous science prizes, scored an internship at the National Institutes of Health and was accepted into Harvard.

Athena Kan, River Hill High School, Clarksville, Maryland

While serving an internship at Johns Hopkins, Ms. Kan performed research into healthcare inequalities among minority groups, even presenting her findings at a medical conference. This inspired her to take an active role in the field of public health, founding a health fair called CHOICE (Coalition Halting Obesity in Children Everywhere). This brought together dozens of exhibitors — ranging from nonprofits to private corporations — along with free health screening. She also served on a county-level public health committee.

Ms. Kan received a full scholarship to Harvard.

Anvita Gupta, BASIS High School, Scottsdale, Arizona

Ms. Gupta combined an interest in computer science with a passion for biology by creating software that automatically identifies medications for diseases like cancer and ebola, thereby boosting research into new drugs.

Her achievement won her several high-level science prizes, including a presentation at the White House Science Fair. She also gained entrance to Stanford (computer science and biology).

As if that wasn’t enough, Ms. Gupta was struck by the dropout rate of girls in her AP computer science class, with three-quarters of the girls leaving the course. So she founded LITAS, a computer science club for middle school girls. The club, which is designed to increase female participation in STEM fields, has won sponsorship from Google, among other high-profile organizations.

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Making Healthy Choices For the New School Year

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Back to School: Time to Get Organized!

It’s important to be organized. It’s extremely important to be organized for school. Study after study has shown that students who are properly organized get better grades, have less stress, and just generally do better in life. Along with less stress, an organized student is likely to have more confidence and more free time to pursue outside interests like athletics, arts and hobbies. Best of all, if you can get organized for school and stick with it, you’ll probably have better odds of a good working life once school is done. Here are some tips you can get started with even before the school year begins.

Keep your supplies sorted

It may seem mundane, but ensuring you have all your school supplies standing by and ready to go is important. You don’t want to be searching for printer paper the night before a report is due! Keep track of absolutely everything needed for your schoolwork, from pens and pencils to paper, highlighters, binders and so on, and make sure you’ve always got enough of it. This applies to your computer as well — make sure everything’s working properly, the software is humming along, and that everything is properly backed-up.

Be aware of any extra resources you might need

Some courses require special supplies, such as books, research material, software and so on. Read your course description carefully, and make sure you know ahead of time what you might need to pull together as part of the course. Don’t be left scrambling at the last minute!

Set up a calendar and make a note of, well, everything

There are lots of free apps and websites that will let you create a digital calendar you can access anywhere, but it can also be handy to have a large section of your wall set aside for big paper calendars that allow you to see the whole school year at a glance. Put down everything you can find related to school: tests, assignments, field trips, holidays, just everything. What’s more, schedule your work before those events, so that you’re always studying and working in advance, calmly, confidently.

Setting up a thorough calendar at the start of the year is probably the most important thing you can do to de-stress. Yes, it can be scary to see it all in one place, even frightening, but you’ll see it’s just a case of working through everything bit by bit.

Create a study space that’s all yours

Set aside a space for doing your schoolwork and respect it. A desk, properly-lit, decorated according to your taste, will help you get things done. It’s critically important to respect that space — don’t let it get piled high with junk! Keep it clean, make it a precious little corner of the world that’s all your own. Also important: keep all your work organized. A bookshelf, filing cabinet, incoming and outgoing trays, whatever you need. You don’t want your work getting misplaced, lost or forgotten.

Establish rhythms for your life

You’d be surprised how much a daily routine can reduce your stress. Knowing ahead of time when you’re supposed to get up, when you’re supposed to do homework, when you’re supposed to eat, rest and so on, can be very comforting. The same can be said for weeks, even semesters. This sort of organizing will make sure you have the time to study ahead for your classes, and make note of any areas of your schoolwork that require extra attention (or the help of a tutor).

Keep your daily life organized

Us humans need a lot of upkeep. We need to be washed, dressed, fed — and sometimes we need medical attention too. It’s important, therefore, to keep the “daily living” part of your life organized. Keep a steady supply of any toiletries you need, such as makeup, toothpaste, shampoo and whatnot. Also keep an eye on your physical health, especially ensuring you’re on top of any medication you require.

Live a healthy lifestyle

If you’re not physically healthy, your schoolwork will stuffer. Live as healthy a lifestyle as you can, getting lots of exercise (not just gym class!), eating a healthy diet and proper, regular meals. Try to cover all the major food groups and avoid snacking — and if you must snack try to keep it healthy. Yes, processed foods like chocolate, potato chips and so on can be tasty and (temporarily) satisfying, but they should only ever be a small part of your diet.


Set aside time for socializing and relaxing

There’s more to life than school. While minding your responsibilities, you also need to be a well-rounded person with a full life. That means yes, it’s okay to spend time with your friends just hanging out, chatting, gossiping, and laughing. Friends play an important role in de-stressing. Relaxation can also be found in a hobby or two. Even just lying in bed and listening to music can bring peaceful rest.

Discover your learning style and use it to your advantage

Research suggests that our brains have different ways of learning. In fact, only a minority of people thrive in the standard, one-size-fits-all approach employed by most skills. A simple quiz can help you discover how best your brain absorbs and retains knowledge. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can change how you study and tackle your assignments, working with your teachers to emphasize your learning style. It might well give your grades a major boost!

Monitor your stress and mental health

Our society still struggles to discuss mental health without judgement. However, our inner lives are a crucial part of our identity, and it’s absolutely critical to keep an eye on your heart and mind if you’re to succeed in school (or life). Don’t bottle up your feelings! Make sure you have someone responsible to talk to, such as a parent or counsellor. Stress, especially, can be horribly destructive if left to fester, no matter where it comes from (family, friends or school). There are many tools, even apps, to help you track your stress levels. Developing a healthy approach to stress and emotional struggles can be incredibly empowering. Indeed it can improve your odds of living a life that’s long, healthy and happy.

Get some sleep!

It’s impossible not to underestimate how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Our brains need to rest and recover from the day, and if they don’t get that rest they have trouble functioning. Avoid staying up too late! It should be a top priority to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible. This is one of the best things you can do to keep your grades up.

Remember: you got this!

School can be tough. It can. But you can do it!. Make sure you remind yourself regularly that you’re fully capable of doing what you need to do. You’re stronger than you think you are! Staying organized is an excellent way of proving that.

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7 Smart Tips For Back-To-School Shopping

Like clunking machines gearing up in basements across the land, the approach of a new school year is getting families making their preparations for the start of school. This inevitably involves shopping — you’ve almost certainly spotted the sales. But before you rush out and start spending, a few tips might just make the process a bit easier (and maybe a bit cheaper too).


1. Remember — it’s a teachable exercise

Back to school shopping is a great way to teach your youngster about smart money management. Involve them in every step of the process, from beginning to end. Get them looking at items online, comparing between different stores. Walk them through the steps in this post, and possibly offer them a small cash prize (or extra item) if they find good deals.


2. Make lists

Before anyone looks for anything, draw up lists of what’s needed. Go class-by-class. See if you already have the necessary supplies. Do a “need” list first to make sure nobody ends up empty handed when school starts. Nothing is too basic to write down, including stuff like pencils, pens, erasers and paper. After that’s all done, if there’s money left over, start thinking about the more fun stuff, like clothes, apps, gadgets and so on.

It’s also important the items on your list match any list sent home by the school. Teachers can sometimes be very specific about what is required for their class, so make sure you’re syncing up with those requirements.

The ultimate goal is to know what you’re looking for before you start shopping. This makes it harder to indulge in expensive impulse shopping. Indeed this is a good tip for adults too!

3. See what you can buy in bulk

A box of pens or a pack of printer paper will almost certainly be cheaper if purchased at a big-box office supply store than at a drug store. Take the same approach to buying other bulk items like socks or binders. Food items too, especially snacks, are often cheaper when bought at a bulk store. Keep in mind that just because it’s at a bulk store doesn’t mean it’s automatically cheaper — watch those prices!

4. Put a value on recycling

Students may not like hand-me-downs, but you’d be surprised what you can get from friends and family if you ask around. Indeed your student may have items from the previous year, such as binders and notebooks, that can be used again. When shopping for school, as with shopping for anything, saving money is a valuable skill.

5. Understand the value of quality

There may be some things your young shopper just has to have. But it may also be that whatever that item is, it’s cheap, flimsy and likely to be discarded soon. It’s important to remember that getting good value for your purchases is a value all on its own. The last thing you want in your life is another round of back-to-school shopping in the middle of the school year!

6. Minimize conflict

There may be rifts, so pick your battles. Emphasize compromise. After all, this is a time when your young students will be exercising a bit of personal sovereignty — put another way, they’ll be feeling like a bit of a grown-up. So give them a bit of maneuvering room in making their choices.

7. Always be on the lookout for deals!

Join social media groups, scan the flyers, check the group coupon sites. Be aware that some states offer “holidays” from sales tax before school starts. Think about putting off shopping until after school starts, when the prices drop. Put your kid on it! Ask them every day if they found anything new.

Saving money is a fantastic habit to have, and back to school shopping is a great time to get that practice going!

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