Young Key Biscayne journalists share their opinions about topics important to their generation
What is a #kbminijournalist? Since November, a group of 4th graders at the Key Biscayne K-8 Center have been working on honing their journalistic skills, learning the ins and outs of journalism, how to spot story ideas and flesh them out with facts; then, how to craft these stories.
In the process, they have sat in workshops learning -- and in some cases teaching workshop leaders -- discussing topics such as resiliency, ocean pollution, politics and sports. They sat with Village Manager Andrea Agha to learn about Village initiatives to make us more environmentally resilient, engaging in a lively exchange on things we can do, individually, to make the Village more resilient. They also sat in a workshop on story development led by Islander News Associate Publisher Tom Clifford, where the young journalists refined some of the story topics they had been discussing on their own.
Their third assignment, which we proudly present in this special #kbminijournalist edition, shows how perceptive these students are in assessing the world surrounding them. Topics they write about include:
- Ocean pollution
- President Trump being impeached
- Local news and general interest topics, including safety in our community and crime on the Key
- Pesticides on fruit
- Water transportation
- Red tide
- Elections in Key Biscayne
- The Miami Dolphins
- and yes, even frozen iguanas!
As you read these stories, we hope you are encouraged by the fact Key Biscayne is preparing well for our future as is evident by these civic- and environmentally-conscious students.
In all, 43 minijournalists participated in this project.
We want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the dedicated group of 4th Grade teachers who have cooperated to make this possible, including Darlene Moller Medina and Landy Hernandez. Special gratitude to 4th Grade teacher Clio Walshe Crawford for coordinating the project, and to K-8 Principal Silvia Tarafa for her support. Lastly, a big GRACIAS to Karina Besprosvan of Islander News for making this program a reality.
Stay tuned for more work from the minijournalists as we expand the program. More of their efforts will be published in the year ahead.
TOPIC: Ocean pollution
Imagine you’re walking on the beach. There’s trash everywhere. Worst of all, humans are the ones causing this death sentence to marine life. You might be wondering how it got from the trash can to the ocean. Well, the answer is simple. 80% of pollution comes from landfills. Animals eat this trash, and then other animals eat those animals, and those animals in turn become ill. This doesn’t just affect fish, however. Over 1 million seabirds die each year because they ingest ocean pollution. Luckily, some humans (like me!) are trying to fix these errors to make a cleaner tomorrow.
By Alexandra Arencibia
There are warnings about swimming on the beaches of Key Biscayne. A University of Miami study to diagnose the cause of the bacteria that is contaminating the ocean has been ongoing. These bacteria are making the ocean unhealthy for us and for animals. There are unremarkable results for human and animal waste. There are also high amounts of sargassum that might be helping the bacteria grow. This seaweed is making the bacteria grow and persist. In spring and summer, the bacteria is high and during the month of July a lot of flies are spotted. This problem is affecting our beautiful beaches, as well as tourism.
By Fernanda Balart
Plastic, straws, cups. These are only a few of the things we throw away in the ocean. Why!? Why do animals have to pay for our crimes, why do they have to suffer? Countless animals have died – and if they aren’t dead, they’re either injured or facing habitat loss. Jacques Cousteau said: “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” We should find a way to stop this! It’ll be hard, but if we won’t stand up who will? If we stop using plastic, we can save countless lives.
By Emiliana Corao
One tiny sewage spill can affect all Key Biscayne. A sewage spill happens when a pipe breaks. It’s a problem because we are surrounded by water. If fish get sick with bacteria and we eat them, we can get sick. Furthermore, this can affect mangroves because the roots get infections and die. If we don’t have mangroves there will be more flooding because mangroves stop and suck in the water. In conclusion, we should prevent sewage spills from happening in Key Biscayne. As stated by Adrian Moore, Vice President of Policy for The Reason Foundation, “Any sewage flowing in our water is unacceptable.”
By Anabella Oletta
Is ocean pollution really bad? Yes it is! It can cause elimination of animal species. Ocean pollution can ruin the environment and Key Biscayne. Did you know that plastic never disappears, it just becomes smaller and smaller. Plastic is spreading faster every year. More than 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans. A lot of animals are dying from eating plastic. Fish eat the plastic and then we eat the fish and we become sick too. That’s why if ocean pollution gets to our ocean it can affect all of us. Please keep our ocean clean!
By Zayra Gonzales
On our own beaches there are pieces of plastic washing up on the shore. This is the same story for many other beaches around the world. Ocean pollution kills more than one million seabirds each year. Discarded fishing nets kill approximately 300,000 dolphins every year. 88 percent of the ocean is polluted. There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. In my opinion, we should make an effort to clean up the beaches so people in the future can enjoy what we have now, beautiful beaches.
By: Isabella de Sabrit
Have you ever been walking along the beach and seen trash? And worse: you smell it too?! Global warming has been going on for a while. It has been causing a lot of damage. Some things you can do to help are: pick up trash, ride bikes, recycle, reuse, and a lot more things. Some animals are endangered because they eat plastic and die; a turtle is an example. I would appreciate it, and animals will too, if everyone snaps out of it and helps save the planet!
By Nicole Camaran
Imagine you are walking to the beach and all you want to do is feel the sand between your toes. But when you get to the beach, you see plastic everywhere and you smell something weird. That is what is happening to our beaches. We need to know where this garbage is coming from so that we can stop it. Once our beaches are becoming so polluted, we need to find a solution. This is happening to our beaches because of us. This garbage is bad, but there is a group of people who are trying to help. It is a foundation called Fill A Bag that is run by Manny Rionda, Nancy Davis, and James Duncan. They put stands along the beach with supplies for picking up the trash. They also encourage people to take a bag or bucket and walk down the beach to pick up the trash. They are trying to help; we should too!
By Annabel Meathe
How could we clean all of the ocean’s plastic? The young Boyan Slat, born on July 27, 1994, has figured that out. He invented a system that could pick up 90% of the ocean’s plastic by 2040. His invention consists of a net to gather the trash, maintained aloft by a long floater and a cork tine. The system moves with natural forces, and a sea anchor (a parachute) slows it so that the plastic is captured. Slat started a foundation called The Ocean Cleanup, and it is on a mission to get it done! Find out more at: www.theoceancleanup.com
By Sofia Tavormina
Since the summer of 2018, Key Biscayne beaches have had several cases of water pollution. In the summer of 2019, Key Biscayne’s beaches, Crandon’s North and South Beaches, the Beach Club & Virginia Key, all had too much poop in the water for safe swimming. The beaches were closed for several weeks. Crandon North & South each have over 70 units of enterococci bacteria per 100mm, when toxicity levels present a risk to human health and the state issues advisories and may also post warning signs. The pollution not only affects us from having tourists coming to the Key, also prevents citizens to enjoy the beach and it could harm the animals in the sea and kill them affecting the ecosystem and the food chain in Key Biscayne beaches. We all have to be concerned about the pollution in Key Biscayne and in the rest of the world for it's our only Earth and we have to protect what we have and save it, not take it.
By Jimena de Eguia
During 2019, Key Biscayne had many swim advisories. How do we know if it is safe now?
The Florida Department of Health makes tests looking for bacteria that “normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals.” In other words, “poop.” If the sea has the bacteria, it can enter in our skin through a cut, causing serious diseases and rashes. These results take 24 hours to be ready. So, when they get it, they are one day old! We really don’t know if we can swim when we are at the sea! The Village of Key Biscayne is working hard to solve this problem. Meanwhile, be careful when you go to the beach!
By Isabel Sporleder
One piece of plastic can make a difference in Key Biscayne. That piece of plastic can affect an animals’ life because they can die if they eat or get stuck to plastic. Now we know that environmental problems can affect animals. Based on what I’ve read plastic can harm animals in the ocean. Animals eat plastic thinking it is food. People should stop using so much plastic to help change the environment. For example, in Key Biscayne we stopped using plastic straws. With small actions we can try to change our world.
By Julia Bonfiglioli
Every day, more plastic enters the oceans – there is currently more plastic than fish. At this rate, we may end up with no sea life at all!
Oil harms the ocean by polluting the coral reefs the sea animals live in. It also makes dolphins and whales sick. Boats don’t only harm with oil, they also harm with the sound they make. Tthat is called acoustic pollution.
Scientist are searching for solutions:
- Floating u-shape barriers that trap plastic;
- Recycling technologies that make plastic into wax, oil, and new plastics;
- And floating bins that collect plastic and oil.
By Alejandro Moreno
Noise! Loudness! Vibrations! Ultra is a music festival where people go to Key Biscayne to listen to electronic music. Consequently, loud music can cause many terrible things to not only humans but to animals. Ultra causes more dangerous things to animals than to people. Loud electronic music causes vibrations, which can easily disturb resting animals. Also, people in the festival pollute the animal’s habitats with their trash after buying food. The Ultra created so much traffic, violence and complaints from police officers, they decided to move the festival. Ultra can be fun for some people, but not for animals.
By Paula Szyfer Rolim
A species of bacteria that resides in the ocean is responsible for producing 10% of the oxygen that we breathe in. The plastic polluting the world’s oceans is negatively affecting the oxygen levels that these bacteria produce. The island of Key Biscayne is affected because people do not become aware and throw plastics into the sea. If this continues to happen, many marine species that are found in the Key Biscayne sea will die when ingested, and water quality will probably get worse. If everyone recycles the plastic instead of throwing it, the sea will eventually be cleaner.
By Bernardita Ganly Diehl
In Key Biscayne we have a big problem with the ocean. People are throwing trash everywhere and it is going to the sea. We must prevent this from happening. A man that lives in KB had an excellent idea. He put buckets around the beach so the people can collect the trash and help to clean the beach and the ocean. It is easy and it helps. The children have fun with this activity. The grandparents do exercises at the same and the teenagers do community service for the school. If everybody has big ideas and people help, the ocean is going to be better.
By Felix Pimentel
Did you know that animals are dying out because of you? Plastic is one of our big problems because people are throwing it away instead of recycling or reusing it. People who throw away plastic think that nothing will happen, but they are causing many animal species to die.
Another problem is climate change, caused by humans, factories, oil cars, and different types of gases. It is causing our air to be toxic and causing many wildfires as in Australia.
If you want a change, ACT now. Otherwise, this will be a problem forever.
By Valentina Alvarado
It was a long trip, but we finally made it to Boca Raton. We started to warm up when we arrived. We were going to play against the Palm Beach Predators.
At the beginning of the match, our forward player shot the ball, but missed. After that, our defender shot and scored! Moments later, there was a free kick and we scored because their wall was non-existent. For the rest of the game there was no action. Near the end, I almost made an assist. Right after that the referee blew the whistle and we won! Another victory for KBSC!
By Mikel Goris
What is the Dimitri Cup? A tournament for young soccer players like me!
You play against other teams in your bracket. I played for the Key Biscayne Soccer Club U10 Elite Girls’ Team. My team is all girls, aged between 9 and 10 years old. We played against some very tough teams. I had an amazing experience playing those games with my team. It all came down to a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out – our fate would be decided by the kickers and the goalies. We lost in the quarterfinals, but kept our heads held high because we tried our very best.
By Sara Berkowitz
Do you know what soccer referees might be doing wrong during a match? Some refs don’t know how the game conditions go. Refs rarely pick favorites, but when they do they call everything on them. This partially shows that refs do things wrong. Have you ever wondered if refs are fair or unfair? According to the website allaboutsoccer.com, it states that a ref’s normal job is to call offsides, fouls, and outs. In my experience (Jan. 5, 2020) we lost a match because a Brazilian ref went for the team from Brazil. We lost 3-0. Win or lose, do it fairly.
By Matias Jimenez
Soccer is a very good sport, in my opinion. I like it because of the teamwork – you can make friends easily, and it is fun. There are many good teams, like Real Madrid, Brazil, Key Biscayne and more, but Barca is my favorite.
Now let’s talk about things I don’t like about this game: some referees are blind and there can be a lot of fouls! Another bad thing is that some refs help the other team. For example, Vinny was in a tournament, and he was winning, but the other team fouled them, and the ref said foul for Vinny instead!
By Erick Brewer
Key Biscayne has a great soccer club. The club gets bigger every year. It has 500 children in travel programs. These teams travel to many tournaments far away, such as Naples and Orlando. If you don’t get chosen for travel you can still play in Junior Academy. Junior Academy includes kids up to age 15. There are boys’ and girls’ teams in Travel and Junior Academy. Travel has teams with kids aged up to 18 years old. Every team has one coach. Most Key Biscayne Soccer Club teams made it to the semi-finals or the finals of the county league in 2019.
By Vicente Chavarro
Imagine that you are playing a soccer match, and you do a foul that was not really a foul, and the referee gave you a yellow card. You would be livid and would want to argue him because of how stupid that was of him to give you a yellow card! Another problem in soccer is referees calling things incorrectly, like saying that you fouled a player when you only touched the ball. The linemen (the people on the side of the field that call offsides) can also make bad calls sometimes, saying you are offside when you really weren’t!
By Juan Somerville
Goal! Pass! Kick! Penalty! Foul! Guess what this sport is? If you guessed soccer you are correct! Soccer is a worldwide sport that a lot of people enjoy playing, including me. And you’ll learn more about that now. Remember what I wrote at the beginning? Sounds fun right? Well, have you ever thought about these words -- Ouch! We lost! Red card! A soccer game isn’t always as fun as it looks. You can get hurt badly. When playing, others might push you, so it’s smart to have a steady base!
By Tais Syfer Rolim
TOPIC: President Trump being impeached
President Trump is the third president in the U.S. history to be impeached. The first two were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Trump was impeached because of “abuse of power’’ and “obstructing Congress.” Now the Senate has to hold a trial and if found guilty, he could be removed from office. Many people think he is guilty, but others think he’s not. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next. The Senate must conduct a fair trial and all Americans must accept the result. This is very important for our country and our future.
By Daniela Aruajo
If someone gets impeached, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is not your president anymore. However, the power of the president does get suspended if impeached. The impeachment starts in the House of Representatives and moves on to the Senate. If sixty-seven out of one hundred senators (that is, 2/3) , vote to impeach then, yes, he or she is impeached. Right after the Senate decides, the case goes to the Supreme Court and they decide if the president is found guilty.
By Alexander Nix
Donald Trump is the third president to be impeached in US history. He will face charges such as obstruction and abuse of power. Being impeached does not mean that he will get removed. Obstruction and abuse of power are very serious charges. It is injustice for the court and abuse of power. Donald Trump leaned on Ukraine, forcing them to dig up dirt on the son of Joe Biden, Trump’s presidential opponent. His charge for obstruction was for refusing to let witnesses participate in trial. Many doubt that he will get removed from office as the Senate is mostly Republican.
By Diego Perezalonso
TOPIC: Local News and general interest
Safety in our Community
When you walk on the beach do you think about safety? Safety is a important in our community, and we need to pay more attention to it. When people think of the beach they think of fun times with family and friends. If our beaches aren’t safe, people won’t be able to enjoy the beaches in the same way. According to Key Biscayne residents, we need more manned lifeguard towers. If a person goes in the water and has difficulty swimming, no one will be there to save them. We need to act before a serious accident happens. People can help by raising money to buy more lifeguard towers. Let’s help our community become a better place.
By Isla Smart
In order to be successful in sailing, you need to learn many skills. Sailing is a sport that requires a lot of strength and mental skills. Rules are very important; without them you will be just sailing around doing nothing. Rules are required to start sailing. Some of these rules have to do with rigging, some for racing, and some for starting. You will also need a coach. Your coach will teach you all of the basics, but you have to do the hard work. You can compete for trophies, watch dolphins, and talk to your friend. You can also try your very best to get first place. All these tips will help you get out on the water.
By Nate McCormick
Did you know that karate helps improve your muscle reflexes? It does and it also helps teach respect. Martial artists are trained to use self-defense for any problem that they are in. Karate is a good sport that leads to great success. If you work hard and train hard, you can succeed in Karate. Joe Lewis trained for many years to become the best martial artist. Karate is a fun sport when you have a good time. Karate is a good sport that leads to great success. “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.”
By Bruno Reis
Some people think e-sports is not a “real” sport. E-sports is professional video gaming, where people compete to win money, tournaments and leagues. E-sports players train just as much or more than athletes who play sports such as soccer and basketball. According to CBS News, the average pro e-sports player trains about 12-14 hours a day. Influencermarketinghub.com states that Team Liquid has earned a total of $24,448,847 since it started. E-sports has become so popular that there is a movement to add it to the Olympics. So, next time you think your child is spending too much time playing video games, realize you may be looking at a future Olympian in training!
By Leonardo Bernstein
Topics: Pesticides on fruit
Have you ever wondered if there are pesticides in your fruits or vegetables? Effects of pesticides don’t usually appear until years later.
Labels tell whether a fruit is organic or not. An organic fruit has a 9 on the label. You should also look for the USDA Organic label in foods. Learn how to stay safe with food!
According to Reynaldo, the produce manager of Winn-Dixie, 40% of the vegetables are organic. Reynaldo says, “It is important to wash all produce.” It is important because you can catch diseases and become ill. So, peel and wash those fruits thoroughly.
By Mia Davey
Topic: Water Transportation
Nowadays there are several means of water transport all around the world. People enjoy sailing and navigating in our waters. However, they are doing a huge disservice; they are damaging the environment. Have you ever wondered what boats can do to sea animals? They pollute the water, they can break corals, sea life, and even kill small fish. Some people are careful, but others are not. Even though people are trying to make people aware of this, I believe it is hard to stop it.
By Julia Lenci
Topic: Frozen iguanas!
These past days there have been a lot of problems with iguanas. Iguanas have been falling out of trees. Many people think they are dead, but they are actually frozen. Iguanas are warm-blooded so they need to stay warm to survive. With the cold weather Key Biscayne has had recently the iguanas are not used to it, so they start to freeze. Don’t be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees when it’s cold. Watch out!
By Rafaella Comelli
On Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020, the temperature dropped below 45 degrees. People were affected, because it was cool, but they didn’t know other animals were suffering too. You walk outside and the first thing you see is… a dead iguana? No! it is not dead. It seems to be FROZEN STIFF, but if you poke it with a stick -- yes, it was alive. I was surprised to see that some frozen iguanas were in the school playground. I also walked around the neighborhood and it seems that ALL the iguanas are frozen stiff. News about frozen iguanas spread FAST. The forecaster says, “Be careful because iguanas are falling out of trees. Not something we usually say for the forecast, but it is true.” Even if they are an invasive species that affect the Key Biscayne ecosystem, it is still sad to see them like this.
By Julia de Eguia
Topic: Red tide
Do you know about red tides? Well if you do, congratulations! If you don’t know about them, you’re in the right place.
Did you know there was a red tide in Miami!?
A red tide is a cluster of toxic algae that, when the algae overgrows, causes a red tide. To prevent it, we need to stop overfishing so the fish eat the algae and it doesn’t accumulate. Red tides are rare, but are becoming more common. The waves took the red tide away around a year ago and beachgoers were able to go to the beach again. In October, it returned to Naples.
By Nicolas Naranjo
Going to the beach is fun, but not when the ocean is red. What could this be? This is called red tide. Red tide can affect different places, even Key Biscayne. The last time the red tide hit Florida was Oct. 25, 2019. Red tide is damaging because it is made up of microscopic algae and deadly toxins. It can kill many fish, but it can also affect people. Swimming in red tide can cause sickness and irritation on the skin. We should be aware of when red tide hits Key Biscayne.
By Luca Caceres
Have you ever felt like you lost a sports game because of a bad referee? Sometimes referees make bad calls. Referees should do their job right. Referees can make mistakes, but sometimes they’re picking favorites. For example, when my sister was playing volleyball, the ball was clearly out and even the coach saw it was. But the referee said it was in. This shouldn’t happen! Referees should make honest calls because they are trusted.
I would hate to lose a game because of a bad ref. You should be able to trust refs to do their job right!
By Anabelle Yaniz
Topic: Elections in Key Biscayne
Have you ever thought about how our local elections work on Key Biscayne? Key Biscayne started having local elections in 1991, when our town was incorporated.
There are 6 council members who serve 4-year terms, and the mayor for 2. A vice mayor serves 1 year and is chosen among the serving council members. It is very important that you vote and be involved in the election process. Jocelyn Koch, a Key Biscayne voter, says, “It’s a citizen’s duty to be educated and informed before casting your vote.” Whomever is elected impacts your town and community at large.
By Gwyneth Koch
Topic: The Miami Dolphins
Are you tired of the Dolphins losing games over and over again?? EVEN IN VIDEO GAMES!! Well this will cheer you up!! The Dolphins draft picks are going to be good!! They might even fire their coach!! They’ll be good next year if they don’t trade their best players!!
Alabama Crimson Tide’s left-handed quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, might be getting drafted by the Dolphins. With Jakeem Grant and Tua, they’ll make it to the playoffs. They won’t fire their coach because the Titans lost to the Chiefs. They won’t be unstoppable, but they will be good!! FOR SURE!!!
By Marco Caesar
Topic: Crime on the Key
Have you ever wondered if there is crime on Key Biscayne? Well, there is! We need to raise awareness about it. The citizens of Key Biscayne need to follow the rules of the town to make the people of Key Biscayne safe.
Teenagers are a big part of the problem! I’ve heard from Tara Lindsay, a Key Biscayne resident, that she was driving home with her children and saw kids around the age of 12-15 throwing rocks at her car. She said she “was very upset.” Tara also experienced her golf cart being stolen twice! The second time, the cart was severely damaged. “I was very upset and disappointed,” she said. The community should be careful and follow the rules of Key Biscayne.
By Salma Cenci
Have you realized how the Key Biscayne police department helps our community? The officers in Key Biscayne are the men and women who keep us safe. Key Biscayne is a very safe place, but you never know what can happen. For example, when the man shot a BB gun, the police got there very quickly and made sure everything was ok. We live in a very safe community, but what we see is different from what the police see. They work hard to protect us from dangers we don’t know about. The police are always working to keep this community safe, which is why we live in Key Biscayne.
By Henry Rodenberg
Topic: More Book Reviews:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by JK Rowling
My opinion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is that it is a thrilling, adventure-based book! The reason that I say this is a thrilling book is because there is so much suspense, and many exciting moments. Some examples are when Harry’s broom gets bewitched, and when they discover Fluffy the three-headed dog… all this excitement made me really want to read on! I really enjoyed the figurative language of the book too – it was fantastic! An example is when Mrs. Dursley was spying on the neighbor, “craning over the fence”.
In conclusion, I think Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was an amazing book, and the start of an excellent series. It also has many aspects that I couldn’t fit, so if I were you, I would buy this book and find out!
By Diego Perezalonso
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban, By JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban is a great book. It is mysterious, funny, scary and sad. It has so many emotions it’s like you're actually feeling their pain, their sadness, their anger and their joy. It is an emotional roller coaster. The book is just amazing, it can be scary sometimes because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but in every chapter there is an adventure, a mystery. So buckle up cause it’s a wild, wild ride.
By Emiliana Corao