Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Comics by Thomas Moore


 

Devon's Top Recipe Picks

By: Devon Benzaia

For today’s article, I made Tastefully Simple’s Absolutely Almond Pound Cake recipe. 


For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Absolutely Almond Pound Cake mix

  • 1 cup water

  • ¾ cup melted butter

  • Pan grease

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Step 2: Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. 

Step 3: Combine the mix, water, and butter together in a large bowl. Take special care to not overmix once the batter is smooth, or else it will become lumpy again.

Step 4: Spread in the greased pan.

Step 5: Bake for 50-55 minutes and let it cool for 1 hour. (This recipe should make at least 10 servings depending on how you cut it).


Review: The recipe is super easy to follow, but I don’t recommend you trying this out unless you love rich desserts, especially ones that taste like almond or coconut. I forgot to take an after picture but it comes out looking like a loaf of bread and tastes like fluffy cake. This recipe is definitely a 10/10 if it fits your palette. Super delicious!


NJ Election 2021

 

By: John Stracco

Tomorrow, Tuesday November third, is election day. Unlike most states across the country, which typically experience an off election the year after a Presidential election and do not elect any state or federal officers, New Jersey will have its gubernatorial election as well as elections for all state house and senate representatives. Incumbent democrat Phil Murphy will face off against republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli in tuesday's election. While many could argue that an election this year is pointless, it can actually speak to a much larger political landscape of the country.

It is expected that on a statewide level Phil Murphy will easily win. However, the down ballot races can provide insight into the state of the country and its approval of the first year of the Biden Administration. This is especially notable in swing districts. Here the independent voters can and will swing an election in one side's favor. If the decisive group, that overwhelmingly voted for Biden one year ago, stays with democrats then it is clear evidence that they, and a majority of the country, approves of the job the president is doing. If the down ballot races showed republican gains in swing districts, then that means the majority if the country disapproves of the Biden administration.

Furthermore, the political sentiment of the country is a sign of what's to come. Next year are the 2022 midterms, and the local elections here in New Jersey can help experts “predict” the state of the country next year. Election day is a sacred democratic right in our country and everyone has the right to participate in our democratic process. Even though this year’s election  is an off cycle it is still extremely important that everyone who can vote votes.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Devon's Top Recipe Picks

Welcome! My name is Devon Benzaia, and I can’t wait to introduce this new writing segment to the Patriot Press! Ever since I was younger, I’ve had an interest in baking and cooking, so I’m very excited to try new recipes and give you guys honest reviews.


For today’s article, fellow reporter Haily Cseh and I made a recipe from Buzzfeed’s Tasty: Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars. 


For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 box of brownie mix, and its according ingredients (typically eggs, olive oil, and water)

  • 24 oz. of cream cheese 

  • ¾ cup of white sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

  • 36 oreos

  • Pan grease


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325°F. 

Step 2: Prepare the brownie mix in a bowl.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar until there are no lumps. It is easier if you cut the cream cheese into cubes and let it soften. 

Step 4: Add the eggs and vanilla, stirring until evenly combined.

Step 5: Grease a 9x13 pan and put the brownie batter inside, evenly spread.

Step 6: Place 24 oreos on top of the brownie batter, and cut 6 oreos in half to put around the edges. 

Step 7: Pour the cheesecake batter over the oreos.

Step 8: Crush the remaining 6 oreos and sprinkle it over the top.

Step 9: Bake for about 45 minutes, and cool for about 2 hours before serving. (This recipe should make at least 10 servings). 


Review: Honestly, I was rushing a lot because my mother wanted me home and I really wanted to eat this. So we skipped the cooling stage, which was a huge mistake. I cannot stress how important the cooling stage is, especially when it comes to cheesecake. It was decent even while hot, but it tasted much better after it had been chilled and cooled down completely. The brownie part threw us for a loop, though. Since brownies and cheesecakes typically cook for different amounts of time, the brownie was kind of dry and overcooked. You should definitely give this recipe a try if you’re an oreo lover, but maybe put the oreo on top of the cheesecake after the cheesecake has been cooking for 30 minutes. It is super rich and tasty, which fits the name of the people who created this recipe!

An Editorial by Colin Nicolaou

                                                 Spotted Lanternfly!

Kill On Sight!


This Invasive Species is capable of killing many important plants in our ecosystem. They feed on sap from 70 different plant species and excrete honeydew that attract wasps and other insects, as well as allowing fungi to grow. They are a threat to the economy since they can kill many plants important to the agriculture industry. 

Identification

The Spotted Lanternfly is about 1 inch long and ½ inch wide. The front wings are grey with black spots, while their hind wings are red with black spots, as well as black and white stripes. Only the front wings are visible unless they are in flight. Their body and legs are black, except for patches of yellow on the abdomen. Eggs are laid in groups of about 40, and are covered with a gray putty-like substance.


History

This species is native to China, India, and Vietnam. They have spread not just to the U.S, but also South Korea and Japan. It is speculated that the lanternfly arrived in a shipment of stone from China, though that is not certain.


How To Kill

Spotted lanternflies will often jump away from an attacker, often avoiding the threat. After a jump, the bug will often lose stamina and become vulnerable. The most simple method for killing is to simply step on them. After just a few hops, they won't have the energy to get away. Some other strategies include:

  • Keeping a bottle of insecticide handy

  • Spraying vinegar on unwanted weeds, as it will kill both the bug and plant

  • Planting milkweed as they are unaware that they are poisonous

It is also important, if not more, to destroy the eggs. They can survive through winter, giving them the opportunity to come back each year. They can be scraped off with a card, and then crushed by a stone

With your help, we can help save the environment from these pests. Remember to keep an eye on plants and be prepared to stomp on them at a moment’s notice.

Sources:

New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Planet Princeton

Image provided by: farmanddairy.com


What I Wish I Knew About Applying to College


By: Raina Maldonado


Introduction


Applying to college is a stressful thing: you have to worry about what you want to major in, where you want to go, and which colleges you fit into, not to mention if you can even pay for it! 


When I was a junior, I knew almost nothing about how much consideration goes into college applications, and learning the ins and outs and dos and don'ts has been quite the journey, so here's my handy guide full of information I’ve gained over the past year! 



College Application Preparation (For Juniors and Underclassmen)


If you're confused about the whole college application process, don't fret, there are numerous resources out there for you! There are programs like CollegePoint and Matriculate which will pair you with a college advisor who can help edit your essays and compose your college list. They can offer much more in depth information about financial aid, scholarships, and choosing the right colleges to apply to. Another unexpectedly useful source of college information is Reddit, especially the college specific subreddits, because you can find some pretty in depth pros and cons for colleges that you're interested in. Don't underestimate the usefulness of college Discord servers either! You'll be able to find more resources there for various programs.


There are some things that will set you apart from other students, like extracurriculars, activities, and awards. Before starting your college application journey, you should consider joining some clubs you are passionate about and applying for programs you find interesting. Many colleges offer summer programs for juniors where you have the opportunity to learn from actual university professors. You should also consider scholarships (The Gates Scholarship and the Coke Scholars one are very generous ones you should definitely look into!) and whether or not you should take the SAT and/or ACT. Remember, most colleges have gone test-optional because of COVID for the next couple of years, so don't stress out about it too much unless you want to go to a highly competitive university. After taking the PSAT, you can link your College Board account to Khan Academy, which will give you a personalized SAT practice plan for free!


Another thing to consider is the PSAT/NMSQT test; when I took the PSAT as a junior, I didn't think much of it, but now that it's a year later, I kind of regret not studying harder. The PSAT/NMSQT puts the highest scoring students into consideration for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which is both a scholarship and a distinction that will set you apart from your peers. It would also be wise to set up a College Board account and enable Student Search Services, which will give colleges access to your PSAT/SAT/AP score information and interests. As colleges reach out to you, you’ll become more aware of opportunities that you might want to pursue. 



Application Deadlines


First thing you need to know about applying to college are the application deadlines. There’s the Early Action (EA), Early Decision (ED), and Regular Decision (RD). RD deadlines are late December to early January, and it is the application cycle most college applicants go with. EA is similar to RD, but the deadline is in October-November, and decisions come out in January. Some colleges only have restrictive EA, where you can apply to that college only during the EA application cycle. ED deadlines are around the same time as EA, but they are binding, meaning that if you are accepted into the college you choose to ED to, you have to attend that school, so you have to be absolutely sure that that is the college that you want to go to! EA and ED application cycles typically see higher acceptance rates, so it might be in your favor to apply through one of these cycles! Remember, there is no wrong choice when it comes to when or how you want to apply.


You can apply to college EA and RD through the Common App, Coalition Application, and directly through the college; however, you can only apply ED directly to the college of your choosing. Some colleges, like MIT, require that you apply directly to them, and others like Rutgers are not available to apply to through the Common App. QuestBridge is another application route that some students can take, but it comes with its own set of pros and cons!



National College Match


The QuestBridge National College Match (NCM) is an application similar to the Common App and Coalition Application, but it is more useful for high achieving, low income students as it offers full ride scholarships to the colleges you apply to. Typically, if you live in a family of 4 or more and your income falls below $65,000 a year, then you qualify to apply! Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as it is merely a guideline. Students that also face extenuating circumstances, like medical issues or abuse, are also encouraged to apply, since the QuestBridge application has sections for you to explain the difficulties you have faced as a student and how you wish to rise above your circumstances. 


QuestBridge is partnered with only 45 colleges, which include top tier universities like Princeton, Yale, and MIT, so I advise that if you are considering applying through the NCM, that you check their college partner list before deciding to apply. 


The National College Match itself is a very complex process. First, you must apply to be considered a finalist, which in itself is an extremely competitive process (the deadline is usually sometime in late September). If you are accepted and become an NCM Finalist, then you have two options: you can rank colleges, or you can apply through QuestBridge RD. If you choose to rank, then you have to make a list of up to 12 colleges that you wish to apply to. You have to keep in mind that it is binding, meaning that the highest college on your list that you are accepted into is the one you have to attend. This makes the NCM extremely risky, but the reward of a full ride scholarship far outweighs the costs. You can also choose to apply to colleges through the QuestBridge RD process, which is non-binding, but you forfeit your eligibility for the scholarship. Applying through QB RD makes you stand out to colleges, and it also puts you at top priority for financial aid, so while you might not get the scholarship, you could be looking at a near full ride financial aid package. Again, it's entirely up to you how you want to apply, and if you really need the financial aid, filling out the FAFSA and submitting it before December ends will guarantee that you'll get as much aid as you need!


For Juniors- QuestBridge also has a College Prep Scholars (CPS) program, which prepares you for the college application process. The application is very similar to the NCM one, so if you are accepted into CPS, then you have a high likelihood of becoming a finalist in the NCM! The information from your CPS application will roll over to your NCM application regardless of whether or not you are accepted into CPS, so you can update your information and essay answers as needed. 



The Dreaded College Essay


Many colleges will require supplemental essays and short answers. It is very important to remember that all questions aim to give the colleges a better understanding of who you are as a person. You should be light hearted with your answers (when appropriate) and give the college a glimpse of your personality. Try to avoid sounding robotic and only talking about your accomplishments, instead throw in a few answers that show the more laid back side of you. Colleges do NOT want to admit stiff robots that have no idea how to have fun or do anything outside of school. Remember, they want to put together the most diverse and well rounded class. Show them what you will add to that class that others can't. 


The Common App essay is one of the best ways for colleges to gain insight into who you are as a person, so you should put your heart and soul into it. I once went to a Harvard information session (which is free for anyone to attend via zoom!) and the admissions counselors there explained that by the time they finish reading your essay, they want to feel as though they've gotten to know exactly who you are and what you will add to your class. A Princeton admissions counselor at another information session said that counselors ask themselves whether or not the applicant will make a good roommate when they read their essays. Now the essay is, in most cases, not what makes or breaks your application, but it should be something entirely unique to you that will make you truly stand out. Writing about how you scored the winning point for your elementary school soccer team will not set you apart. Explaining how you have gotten straight As in every single AP course you've ever taken will not make you stand out. Give the admissions counselors a story, an idea, a problem that showcases your voice. You can talk about problems you've faced or times that you have failed, but make sure that the conclusion wraps it all up nicely and explains how it defines who you are and how you have grown as a person as a result.


The essay should come straight from your heart, so it might be worth it to take a step back to think it through. Personally, I wrote multiple essays before I could settle on one that felt right, but that was only because the first few absolutely sucked. I had to get through the awful ideas before I could come to the one really good one. Don't be afraid to scrap something if it's not speaking to you, and don't be afraid to just sit down and start typing stuff, you might just be able to use parts of scrapped essays to piece together the one essay that truly speaks to you.



Final Words of Advice


Applying to college is tricky, but you should always remember that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Even if you don't get into the school of your dreams, it does not mean the end of the world. Colleges will only reject you if they don't think you will fit in or be able to handle the coursework, so you'd likely be better off not attending the colleges you are rejected from anyway. Being rejected from a college does not equate to failure, it just means that you've found the one college that you weren't meant to go to. 


Good luck, and happy College Application Season!



Resources

https://www.collegepoint.info/

https://www.matriculate.org/

https://www.questbridge.org/high-school-students/national-college-match

(Deadline- October 31) https://www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/apply/

https://www.thegatesscholarship.org/scholarship

https://apply.jhu.edu/application-process/essays-that-worked/


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Meet the Staff!

 Please visit our Instagram page to view the Patriot Press Staff for the school year of 2021-22 and learn about what WE write about!