• No School - Spring Break - Mar.14 - Mar.18
  • No School - Spring Vacation Day - April 15
  • HS Theatre Spring Show - April 8-9
  • End of 3rd Quarter - Mar. 31
  • HS One Act Plays- April 13 at 7pm
  • No School - Prof. Development Day - April 25
The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

Jenna Bao

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor

Embarking upon my final year in Convergence journalism, I want to take this as an opportunity to reflect on a few ways I have/have not changed. Yet, I also realize that whoever you (my reader) may be, an introspective smattering of facts is not likely what you are here for. I suppose I shall attempt to satisfy us both.
As a senior, this is in fact my fourth year shuffling stories out of Room 115. Over the years I have been an Associate Editor, and this year I am glad to serve as Executive Editor of the Leaf. As a freshman, I had no clue about my plans for the future beyond getting into a satisfactory college. For some excessive context, this was following the sixth-life crisis of my eighth grade year wherein my previous plan to become a neurosurgeon was derailed by the realization that the humanities are my jam. The multi-month long confusion I waddled through then scared me away from solid conclusions about the future, but I will say I plan to study international relations with the anticipation of law school on the eventual horizon.
Why law school, you might ask. Well that can be explained by one of my other great passions of adolescence (I have a relative great many passions): mock trial. I absolutely fell in love with the role of attorney, so much so that I have inhabited it four times. It is complicated and time consuming and incredible, not unlike journalism. I have also grabbed moot court (mock’s nerdier cousin) by its fledgling horns. For more information, check out some of the articles on this fine site.
Fun fact: as a freshman I wrote here that if I could meet any historical figure, I would go for Japanese food with Stalin, Buddha, and Jesus. Years later, the only adjustments I would make to that desire are grabbing Indian food instead and throwing Rousseau into the mix.
As for my other interests/engagements, I adore creative writing and literature, have since the days past of elementary school. In fact some of my work has been recognized by/featured in Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Chautauqua Literary Journal, and the Blue Marble Review. I also happen to be the president and founder of Book Club at SHS, which is basically just an excuse for me to have snacks and riveting discussion with other lithophiles.
I previously wrote, “I get to use my premature birth as an excuse for my pitiable cardiovascular fitness and lack of balance.” Still true. In fact, I take a certain amount of pride in the fact that I have managed to get all my necessary phys ed credits without a single traditional gym class.
If you are somehow still reading, I shall share that I am currently also president of both French Club and Tea Club. I have played the violin since the fifth grade, and I am a reader for Polyphony H.S., a youth literary magazine.
Allow me conclude with a direct quote from my sophomore profile. All of the following information still applies. “Other unnecessary but fascinating (I hope) facts about me include: I enjoy Korean dramas...and Asian pop culture in general and have terrifyingly eclectic taste in music. If I were made principal for a day (disregarding the fact that a day would not be nearly enough to actually achieve anything), I would establish a spy system not unlike that of the Qin Dynasty.
If you have actually read this entire profile, I commend and thank you."

All content by Jenna Bao
Government Action

Government Action

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
May 10, 2018
Kevin Mercurio, 10

Kevin Mercurio, 10

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
April 17, 2018
Prom fair shows off style

Prom fair shows off style

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
March 22, 2018
FOR THE CHILDREN. The work of physician and researcher Dr. Virginia Apgar saves lives to this day. Apgar helped lay the foundation for the fields of anesthesiology and neonatology. She is best known for the Apgar Score, a test done just minutes after birth to evaluate the baby’s transition.

Dr. Virginia Apgar

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
March 21, 2018
CELEBRATING CULTURE. Students in Chinese class perform with Chinese Club’s traditional dragon costume. The dragon dance is traditionally performed during the Lunar New Year, but the dragon is an important element of the culture in general. Language clubs are celebrated on the first day of the Diversity Week, March 19.

U4U delivers Diversity Week

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
March 19, 2018
SPIRIT. A walk of champions celebrates the winter track athletes before they head to state. Senior Asa Hodrick ranked seventh in the 200m. Athletes had to rank in the top eight at the event to earn points for their team as a whole.

Winter track crosses finish line

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
March 7, 2018
LEAP. Senior Meghan DiGiovanna takes on the high jump. DiGiovanna will be the only female winter track athlete from SHS at state competition. Im really sad that the girls relay team didnt get in, so Im representing the ladies at state this year, DiGiovanna said.

Winter track takes off to state titles

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
March 2, 2018
Fashion for the Cure cuts hair for awareness

Fashion for the Cure cuts hair for awareness

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
February 23, 2018
JAM ON. Senior Sofia Ramos plays the electric violin in the 2017 SEE1 concert. Ramos has been in the group since freshman year. The show is very different from other musical performances at SHS, with a light show and performance elements.

SEE1 rocks concert

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
February 14, 2018
ONWARDS. Seniors in football celebrate their signings on Feb. 7. Feb. 7 was this years National Signing Day, and social media was full of schools and teams celebrating what is coming next year. SHS celebration of the event was postponed due to weather. Photo courtesy of  Scott Datillo.

Athletes sign on Feb. 9

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
February 9, 2018
Samantha Fernandez, 11

Samantha Fernandez, 11

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
February 5, 2018
President Donald Trump will speak at The Sheffer Corporation next Monday. The focus of his visit will be the impact of the GOP tax plan. Security and road blocks will impact the school day; details will be released soon. Photo courtesy of Tribune Services.

President Donald Trump to visit Blue Ash

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
February 2, 2018
LEGACY. Morgan Freeman accepts his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. He received the award on Jan. 21, 2018 as an 80 year old. Freeman has worked in theatre, TV, and Hollywood

Morgan Freeman

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
February 2, 2018
COURT SIDE SEATS. Seniors Jenna Bao and Adam Meller prepare at counsel table at district competition. Both seniors have been in the program since freshman year. The two attorneys were on the side of the defense this season and competed against St. Ursula Academy. Photo courtesy of Yan Xu.

Mock trial rests case at districts

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
January 27, 2018
WE REST OUR CASE. All three mock trial teams take a photo outside the UC Law building after competition on Jan. 7. Each year, SHS attends the UC tournament as the second mock competition of the season. This year, multiple attorneys and witnesses received awards, and the Varsity team placed second in the tournament. Photo courtesy of Andrew Oakes.

Mock trial (U)sees results

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
January 9, 2018
CHANGE OF PLANS. Student council decides to cancel this year’s winter dance. This choice was made after only about 150 students bought tickets. “It was a difficult decision, and we are so sad for all of the people who were excited; we were too!” said Elayna Berry, 12, Student Council Executive President.

Student Council cancels winter dance

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
November 30, 2017
Athletes sign on futures

Athletes sign on futures

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
November 8, 2017
CIVIC DUTY. Senior Katherine Dunne checks a voter into the polling location. At each check in point, there must be one Democrat and one Republican (worker) for consistent “equal representation.” The seniors who worked alternated jobs of checking people in, welcoming people, and passing out ballots. Photo courtesy of Jenna Bao.

‘Polling’ our weight

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
November 8, 2017
DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN. Daylight Saving Time starts on Nov. 4, 2017. DST marks a new time to start off strong. “I do not typically feel happy when I wake up to darkness, but with college apps coming up, I need to practice staying productive,” said Nathan Zhang, 12.

[Photo] Right on time

Yvanna Reyes, Video Editor
November 3, 2017
Which public Ohio college is best for you?

Which public Ohio college is best for you?

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
October 31, 2017
The monthly principals breakfast celebrates and acknowledges the hard work and leadership of nominated students in all grades. They are provided breakfast during first bell and given written statements explaining their achievement. 
Front Row, R to L: Abigail Bastin 10, Kristen Thomas 11, Harsimran Makkad 12, Brandon Sichel 9
Back Row, R to L
Holly Giese 11, Kevon Brewster 9, Israel Lorenzana 12, Ally Bonhaus 11, Victor Lim 12

October Principal’s Breakfast

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
October 12, 2017
REMEMBER. Students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas hold a vigil for the shooting that took place in their city on October 2. Replacing last year’s Orlando Pulse Club shooting as the deadliest American mass shooting, 58 people were killed. Vigils and moments of silence must be the first response but not the final.

Las Vegas shooting prompts inaction

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
October 5, 2017
ON YOUR FEET. Seniors cheer for their class at the Homecoming pep rally at the end of the school day on Fri., Sept. 22. The pep rally capped off the first Spirit Week of the year. Each day had students dress in specific ways to demonstrate school spirit, with the final day being class colors.

Pep rally pumps up HOCO spirit

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
September 23, 2017
National Merit Semifinalists 2017

National Merit Semifinalists 2017

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
September 19, 2017

TAKE A DRINK. Students and teachers alike experience two teas and a variety of baked goods. Every meeting features homemade food, for example, apple cake and scones with jam in the last meeting of the 2016-2017 school year. Instead of paying fees for a meeting, one (often teachers) can bring food for everyone instead. Photo courtesy of Umang Joshi.

Tea time

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
September 11, 2017
CAKE BACK AND ENJOY. The PTO provides Subway and baked treats to seniors at lunch. Superintendent Frank Forsthoefel also passed out food. Student were able to enjoy in the outside courtyards. Photo courtesy of Jenna Bao.

PTO provides senior treat

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
September 8, 2017
ALL SMILES. Despite the gloomy weather, participants are excited for the treat. Due to the anticipated rain, the food was moved to the lower bus ramp. Seniors ate inside at the high top tables.

SHS supports seniors with cookout

Jenna Bao, Executive Editor
September 1, 2017
WHATS NEW? Principal Doug Mader discusses what he is excited for this school year. The administration will soon roll out new monitors around the school. He also discusses the role of ACE this year. Photo courtesy of Jenna Bao.

August update from Principal Doug Mader

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
August 23, 2017

SHS to debut changes

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
May 25, 2017
RELAX. Junior Adhiti Chundur lounges in the sun upon the completion of a gelato cookie sandwich from Scrumbles Cafe. Scrumbles is a fairly new cafe and ice cream parlor located in downtown Montgomery. While eating may be messy, it makes the best distraction from the stress of rounding out the school year. Photo courtesy of Jenna Bao.

Troubles melt away at Scrumbles Cafe

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
May 12, 2017

What is your story?

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
May 3, 2017
CELEBRATE. Scientists and supporters of the cause celebrate Earth Day by speaking out. “Science, simply observation, data collection, analysis, is a process intrinsic to human intellect. Its influence has informed all aspects of medicine, our lives, the way we live in our homes, our health, our education. Data are everywhere, and we can only ignore scientific data regarding all these aspects of our life at our peril. Science offers our ability to adapt to the complexities faced by all of us, who share our lives, on our planet, and the lives of all of our descendants in the future,” Whitsett said. Photo courtesy of Adhiti Chundur.

Cincinnati marches for science

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
April 24, 2017
MARCH. The March for Science will take place on April 22, also Earth Day. The main one will take place in Washington D.C., but there will be satellites held all over the world, including one in Cincinnati at Fountain Square at 10 a.m. Students are encouraged to participate in person or on the march’s website where the main event will be streamed. Photo courtesy of the March for Science.

March for Science promotes policy, research

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
April 21, 2017

Government controls climate, or not

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
April 12, 2017
TAKE A STAND. National History Day participants can compete with a website, exhibition, documentary, presentation, or research paper. Eight SHS students from Mrs. Valerie Nimeskern’s APUSH class will compete with history papers that they wrote for class based on the topic of taking a stand in history. One junior Natalie Brinkman, will submit a documentary. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Valerie Nimeskern.

Historically good time

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
March 17, 2017
Aung San Suu Kyi speaks on her fight for democracy in San Francisco. Kyi, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi, has become an international symbol for freedom. She once called for countries across the world to pressure Myanmar into becoming more democratic and continues to improve conditions there.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
March 6, 2017
CREATE. Sophomores Christine Zou, Valerie Timofeyev, Samruddhi Ubhe, and Anushri Menon make their own masks and enjoy some traditional Mardi Gras King Cake. After everyone finishes their masks, Mrs. Lesley Chapman, the french teacher, holds a contest to find the best and most creative ones. This year sophomores Ellie Armstrong and Menon won the contest, winning a Toblerone bar each.

[Photo] Unmasking culture

Taylor Close, A&E Chief
March 2, 2017
PUT YOUR HANDS UP. SHS’ teams pose with their robot creations and awards. They were challenged to design and build mechanical hands to transport water bottles. The seniors received first overall and the juniors got third.

Engineering TEAMS achieve victory

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
March 1, 2017
DIRECT. Senior Sarah Horne performs a direct examination of her witness, played by junior Adam Meller, at the regional mock trial competition. The purpose of direct is to allow the witnesses on one’s own side give their side of the case and is extensively prepared and practiced beforehand. Both attorneys and witnesses are scored based on the content and presentation.

Mock trial rocks regionals

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
February 14, 2017
CELEBRATE. Representatives from the Chinese School Association in the United States introduce the Greater Cincinnati Chinese School’s (GCCS) Chinese New Year celebration. Chinese families from all over Cincinnati gathered to watch traditional performances, eat, and commune during the biggest Chinese holiday. GCCS is hosted by SHS every Sunday afternoon, teaching many American-born Chinese children (or Chinese Second Language children) about Mandarin reading, writing, and culture. All photos courtesy of GCCS.

Chinese school ‘sings’ in new year

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
February 9, 2017
The Black Lives Matter Movement is often connected to the work of Malcolm X. Although he was killed decades before this movement began, his ideology encouraging blacks to defend themselves against white oppression in some ways resemble the BLM mission. He left a significant legacy in the African- American community, calling for empowerment and civil rights.

Malcolm X

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
February 6, 2017
THE MORE YOU KNOW. SHS’ AQT faces off in a team round against against Mason. Team round takes place first in every competition and includes three questions in each topic (from literature to American government), one for each team and one tossup. SHS won the first match 78-63.

AQT buzzes with success

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
February 2, 2017
Bach to rock

Bach to rock

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
January 20, 2017
OBJECT. Varsity and JV mock trial take on the ninth annual University of Cincinnati mock trial competition. The tournament acts as practice with other schools and different judges prior to the district competition on Jan. 19. Senior Emma Traylor, junior Jenna Bao, and sophomore Carolyn Zhang received best attorney honors.

U ‘see’ progress for mock trial

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
January 12, 2017
WORK. Senior Umang Joshi studies his witness statement the week of the Miami tournament. Joshi plays an expert witness on Varsity for the plaintiff’s side. All witnesses must become very familiar with the information in the statements provided because they do not know what they will be asked by the opposing teams.

Miami Mockhawk tournament sparks season

Jenna Bao, Special Projects Director
December 15, 2016
YUM. The 2016-17 French Club kicks off with the annual picnic on Wed. Sept. 21. The club’s calendar is more or less consistent from year to year. This year’s club co-presidents are juniors Ryan Tufts and Jenna Bao, the vice president is junior Aidan Reckamp, and the secretary is sophomore Elizabeth Armstrong. All photos courtesy of Jenna Bao.

Fun, feasting with French Club

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
December 8, 2016
Junior Lalitha Konda works at the French department’s Haiti collection table in the Commons. Over $100 were raised during lunch, but the vast majority of the funds came from French students personally collecting of donating. The week-long fundraiser for HavServe produced $2100.

French succeeds supporting Haiti

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
December 6, 2016

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters releases decision to retry Ray Tensing for murder and voluntary manslaughter on Nov. 22. For the new trial, there will be a new jury and judge (Judge Leslie Ghiz). It is yet undecided whether the second trial will take place in Cincinnati again or elsewhere in Ohio as the prosecution is requesting.

Starting from scratch

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
December 5, 2016
Black Lives Matter protests take place outside the courthouse during and following the trial of Sam Tensing. The movement fights for reform and attention to African Americans being killed by police. City leaders are working to keep the situation safe for everyone involved.

Cincinnati ‘Tensing’ after mistrial

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
November 18, 2016
Groups of four to five students from different schools spend a day designing a business plan. After being given guidelines, the groups had freedom to pursue any type of business and received aid from Rotarians throughout the process. The process included coming up with a product/service, an operational plan, marketing, and sales and budget projections.

Exploration excites Camp Enterprise

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
November 3, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debate about the economy, taxes, race relations, and their respective histories. The debate was moderated by Lester Holt of “NBC.” Both contestants were on screen the whole time so that audiences could see both faces.

Debate drives direct discord

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
October 4, 2016
French Club president junior Ryan Tufts signs up to brings baguettes to the annual club picnic. The meeting will take place at 2:30 on Wed. Sept. 21, and the club will proceed to meet once a month. All attendees are required to sign up to bring something.

Ba-‘guette’ to French Club for picnic

Jenna Bao, Creative Projects Director
September 15, 2016
Book Club co-president Jiin Woo reads “The Count of Monte Cristo,” last year’s last club read. The club will start up again on Sept. 13 with the selection of a new novel. Books of all genres will be included and all are encouraged to participate regardless of reading preferences.

New year starts first chapter

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
September 9, 2016
Smarelli recognizes the brass section after “Danse Bacchanale.” Multiple brass and woodwind players had solos in the piece. In symphonic pieces these instruments typically play many solos considering how much louder they are than the strings.

Orchestra arrives at finale

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
May 6, 2016
AIR testing results in “block” scheduling, with students attending each class besides second bell every other day. Second bell is required every day for attendance. Many students are taking advantage of not taking tests to sleep in or visit colleges.

April brings fresh AIR

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor
April 21, 2016
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