The Tragic Death of Jazmine Barnes

By Sierra Smith Class of 2020

On December 30th, 2018 seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes was killed by Eric Black Jr. and Larry Woodruffe after being struck by a bullet in a drive-by shooting. Whilst leaving a Walmart parking lot with her family Laporsha Washington (her mother) recalls a red pickup truck pulling up beside her vehicle and seeing” shattered glass and bullets coming towards [her] car.” Ultimately, after their arrest, Eric Black Jr. and Larry Woodruff are set to be tried for capital murder.

At first, Jazmine’s case sparked the attention of the black community because witnesses described the shooter as a thin white man in his 30s and 40s as shown in a police sketch.                                                                     

Figure 1: The police sketch made using the description La’porsha Washington and her daughters gave, alongside the mugshot of Larry Woodruffe
Figure 2: Mugshot of Eric Black Jr. the first suspect arrested after confessing to his crimes

People speculated that the shooting could potentially be racially motivated, yet after confessing to his crimes Eric Black Jr. was arrested along with Larry Woodruffe later on. This was a great shock to me because despite the fact that Laporsha stated that the man she saw in the truck was white , which also corroborated with one of her daughter’s statements, the men arrested were African American. The contradiction in statements and arrest has caused me and many others to distrust the reliability of the police force’s arrest.

Regardless of speculations, this tragedy was a prime example of how gun violence can tear apart families and bring great sorrow to communities across the country. Jazmine never got the chance to enjoy her youth fully because it was wrongfully taken away at the hands of violence. My condolences go out to Jazmine’s  sisters who were present in the car who will now and forever remember the brutal death of their younger sister, Ms. Washington, in having to face the harsh reality that her daughter was taken away in a matter of seconds, and Jazmine’s family who has to plan and execute a funeral for their little girl at the tender age of seven.

Ultimately, the result of gun violence not only affects the victim, but the lives of their loved ones thereafter. Violence (specifically in the black community) is making our communities hazardous especially for children who will grow up worrying about the safety of their own neighborhoods.

                                            Rest In Paradise Jazmine Barnes

Brown delivers with ‘Ice in his veins’

Sabers defeat Panthers for second time this season

By Jonathan Mayers class of 2021

Last night, the UCHS Sabers hosted part two of the inter-building rivalry between UCHS and the Achievement First Panthers. Led by five clutch free throws in the 4th quarter by junior forward Caleb Brown, the Sabers (9-1) were able to defeat the Panthers once again by the score of 40-36 to let them know ‘this is our house.’

Captain Caleb Brown drains the game clinching free throws
Photo Credit: Kemani Hamilton Class of 2021

Early in the first quarter, the offense laid a foundation for the Sabers’ success as they cruised to an 8-0 run, sparked by a pair of knockdown threes from junior guard Quavon Daniel, who was returning to game action after being sidelined with an ankle injury for the past month.

Defense was the key to the Sabers’ success In the second quarter as Brown, Daniel, and junior Doran Williams, all played aggressively.  Brown led the way with a chase down block, while Daniel and Williams both had key steals forcing turnovers. Additionally, senior Joel Carty added to the team’s defensive battle by seizing tough rebounds on the defensive side of the floor to stop the Panthers from scoring second chance points.

Saber ATTITUDE on display in the second half
Photo Credit: Kemani Hamilton Class of 2021

In the second half, tempers sparked as both teams had disputes over a jump ball, but as the clamorous Panther bench stormed the court, the Sabers’ trademark “ATTITUDE” kept their mind calm, composed, and strictly focused on winning the game.

With five minutes left in the 3rd Quarter, the Panthers had the Sabers’ number, as AF senior guard Shawn Cabral hit a tough jumper to put the Panthers down only six points (26-20).

However, entering the last quarter of the game, the Sabers marked their territory at 1485 Pacific Street, as they didn’t let the Panthers have their number for long. Junior forward Ahzariah Douglas continued to attack the rim scoring a pair of buckets in the final quarter.  Douglas scored four of his 15 points in the game in the 4th quarter, and showed his clutch gene putting the Sabers up three with 1:26 left in the game. As the Panthers attempted to make a heroic comeback in the 4th quarter, Saber team captain Caleb Brown put the finishing touches on the close win with five ‘ice in his veins’ free throws handing the Panthers their second loss of the season with a 40-36 win.

The Sabers are in the midst of a three game homestand as they face Chelsea High School Saturday at 2 PM, The School for Classics next Monday December 14th @ 4:30 PM.  Come out and support the Sabers as they seek a number one seed in the PSAL Tournament.

Celebrate the Debate!

By: Ivan Perez Class of 2019 and Sierra Smith Class of 2020
Edited by: Shyonne Fraser Class of 2019

The Uncommon Charter High School Speech and Debate Team made tremendous strides at their most recent competition; taking third, fourth, fifth, and sixth in the Declamation portion of the competition and third place in Oral Interpretation. Even more exciting, several Sabers qualified for the state competition. For several hours on the fifth floor of Achievement First Brooklyn High School the Sabers chopped it down debating a wide variety of different topics decided by the National Speech & Debate Organization.

Sumaje Houghton, Mikala Davis, Michaela Morrison, and Shemar Blake

The Speech and Debate Team is in its second year of existence led by Ms. Nina Mauceri. “The largest improvement I’ve seen, and the most exciting part, is that team members have learned to coach each other,” said Ms. Mauceri. Speech and Debate has expanded from last year’s six members to now having almost forty members. With this increase in members the team has gained many opportunities in local and state competitions.

Deanna Nedd shows off her third place finish

The first event, Declamation, consists of reciting a memorized speech in a new and exciting way. Deanna Nedd came in third place in the Declamation and qualified for states. Up next, was the Oral Interpretation where the squad had to orally interpret a previously published piece of literature in a theatrical manner.  Sophomore Michaela Morrison placed third and is now half qualified for states. To add on, fellow class of 2021 members Shemar Blake placed fourth, Mikala Davis placed fifth, and Sumaje Houghton placed sixth.

Sumaje Houghton, class of 2021, earned an astounding 6th place at her recent competition with the Uncommon Speech Team.  The debate team prepared for the competition by putting together ten minute long stories and poems. Sumaje practiced reading her passage at home and in her free time to guarantee that she had a smooth delivery. With the help of the rest of the Speech Team and Ms. Kitchens’ words of wisdom, “Picture whatever is making you nervous and punch it in the face!” she received feedback on her speech from her strong support system and place well in her first speech and debate competition.

When asked how she how she felt receiving an excellent score in her first competition Sumaje added she was, “hyped and ultimately shocked” by her success. She drew inspiration from the messages expressed in the timeless passage she performed and felt as if it brought awareness to issues, “in this generation.” Ms. Houghton wants to make her footprint on the world, even if it starts with a speech and debate competition.

Sabers Storm Back, Defeat ENYFA

By: Tahir Coulanges Class of 2019 Sports Contributor

After recovering from a 20 point loss to Leon M Goldstein HS last Thursday, the Sabers rightfully earned their momentum back with a 60-52 victory against East New York Family Academy. Strong defense, clutch rebounds, and efficient shooting at the line helped the Sabers come back from a 15 point second half deficit, and improve to 7-1 on the season.  

Starting center Joel Carty played a big role in keeping the victory, scoring 14 points including six field goals and 100% shooting from the line. In rising up from the deficit, two corner three pointers by Ahzariah Douglas, assisted by forward Caleb Brown, helped the Sabers stay in the game. This was followed by consecutive clutch corner three pointers by Shannon Maxwell and Naquan Bentley, which helped the Sabers gain the lead. Momentum built up across the team led by guard Doran Williams scoring 10 points & forward Justin Phillips with eight points and numerous tough rebounds.

The Sabers return to action tomorrow December 20th as they host Brooklyn College Academy at 4:30 PM.

Movie Review: ‘Creed’ Breaks the Box Office (Again)

By: Derek Ellison Class of 2020

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE FILM!

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“You have a choice,” said Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, to the young Adonis Creed as he’s been challenged by Victor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago, infamously known for killing Apollo Creed in the ring 30 years ago. Adonis Creed – played again by the one and only Michael B. Jordan, is conflicted with emotions as he wants to fight Victor Drago, but has everyone he cares about telling him different. He’s about to make one of the biggest mistakes of his life as Victor is 6’4, 240 lbs compared to Adonis’s 6’0 210 lbs.

Without him going through trials and tribulations the movie would probably be over in the first 30 minutes. However, we all know a blockbuster movie isn’t going to last 30 minutes. When Creed comes to the conclusion that he wants to fight Victor Drago the first person he goes to is his trainer/uncle Rocky Balboa thinking that he is going to have Rocky behind him. However, this is not the case in which Rocky tell him its not worth it, as Adonis has to worry about his fiance Bianca. However, Adonis insists that he has no choice and says that he’ll fight without Rocky.

Adonis then goes to L.A to visit his mother, played by the ravishing Phylicia Rashad, to tell her that he is going to take the fight and she responds by saying that no matter what she says he is going to fight. In order to train he goes to Tony Evers Jr. son of Tony Evers who trained Apollo Creed over 30 years ago, played by the legend Wood Harris. The result of the first fight was brutal as Adonis suffered three broken ribs, a ruptured kidney, and a concussion. After taking the beating from Drago, Creed enters a state of mind that only he could get himself out of. Due to the horrific state that Adonis was in Rocky, paid him a visit which pulled him out of the the bleakness.  At this same moment, Adonis’ life changes again as his fiance, Bianca, goes into labor with his daughter, Amora Creed. Now that he is now a father and knows what he’s fighting for. Now we all know what this means: we have a rematch on our hands.

Drago and Creed

Due to Victor’s unorthodox nature, Rocky had to train Adonis in an unorthodox way, taking him to “hell”– the name of the place where fighters go to find themselves again. Adonis goes through intensive training making him tougher than ever before. As the time comes for the second fight Adonis is on a mission. With the training help of Rocky Balboa, Creed wins the fight and can now visit his father’s burial site and explain that he fought for his daughter and not his father.

Rating: 9.2


Humans of UCHS

Photo and interview by: Daniela Alvarez Class of 2020

Q: Did you always envision yourself becoming a Dean?

A: Yes and no.  I always wanted to work in a school either in the main office or teaching.  Teaching was my primary goal but, my first experience with real life education I quickly realized that I didn’t want to be in the classroom. I wanted to impact more more students than just the 100 I would teach in a day,  Being in the classroom made me felt kinda like trapped in a sense where you only see kids for 57 minutes

Q: What parts of your job do you wish you could change?

A: I wish kids understood how much I cared.  I don’t know if my words always carry the weight that I want them to, so the part of my job I wish I can change is having a better or more effective response to things I deal with on a daily basis, other than violations, phone calls, sitting in a office. I wish there was a more effective response to some of the things we as Deans deal with

Q: What do you want students to take away from having you as a Dean?

A: For me, this is like my life’s work.  My life motto is “enter to learn, depart to serve”. This work is my rebellion to everything that happens outside of this building, so if students understood that, I think it would help in a lot of conversations and quell a lot of tensions and backlash that we get, as teachers and staff members, from students.  Sometimes these conversations come across as we just want you to do the things because we are the adult. It’s not necessarily the case for me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I approach this work as all students are family to a degree because we share so many connections.

Q: What does it feel like working with majority white people being a black man?

A: Firstly, representation matters. Having a staff that is majority non-people of color is not a priority for me be successful at my job. But for our students and nation wide, there is a dire lack of educators of color. With that thought, I sometimes compare my time in public schools in Brooklyn to that of the students I work for. I think of all the amenities and opportunities afforded to them that never seemed to be a thought more than a decade ago. The educational landscape is changing, and while I am grateful to see so many students reap these benefits, there’s a slight resentment to these newfound resources. As much as I champion representation, I see beyond the politics of it all. I think back to James Baldwin, who I quote in my email signature. “For these are all our children. We all shall profit by or pay for what they become.” This can not be more true than for those in the education field. I am on the side of anyone who carries these same sentiments for these children from these Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Sabers display ATTITUDE and remain undefeated

By: Jonathan Mayers Class of 2021 Boys Basektball Beat Writer

The UCHS Sabers improved to 6-0 with a clutch 42-38 road win against Spring Creek Campus High School Tuesday afternoon.  The Sabers handed a tough Spring Creek (5-1) team their first loss of the season and are the only undefeated team left in the Brooklyn B East Division of the Public School Athletic League.

The Sabers debuted their signature, “ATTITUDE” jerseys as they battled against Spring Creek.

Saber ATTITUDE is a mentality built on perseverance, mental toughness, and brotherhood. Photo Credit: Quavon Daniel

The mantra of a strong ATTITUDE was shown as each Saber played a pivotal role in the win.  None more so than junior guard DeAndre Abrams applying pressure to the Ravens offense causing two stops that the Sabers converted into clutch free throws to ice the game.

“Hey…only one team is walking out of the gym 6-0, and free throws…will either make or break you this season,” Coach Wright said.

Coach Wright sets up a play out of a third quarter time out. Photo Credit: Quavon Daniel

Free throws were, indeed, one of the key reasons why the Sabers were able to put the Ravens  and their clamorous crowd to sleep. Junior Ahzariah Douglas’ clutch free throws down the stretch of the fourth quarter put the Sabers up four points and clinched the victory.  

Early in the first quarter the Sabers started off strong with senior, Joel Carty’s putback layup off off teammate miss, just one of his phenomenal 12 rebounds. Junior Caleb Brown showed out last night with a chase down block to stop an easy bucket for the Ravens, if you weren’t at the game it was similar to Lebron James’ 2016 NBA Finals series-saving block on Andre Iguodala.

However, the Ravens used a quick 4-0 run to cut the Saber lead down to five but Douglas and Carty silenced the crowd with back to back points on the other end.

The Sabers kept a comfortable lead at various times in the game, using their premier defense to force turnovers such as steals from senior guard Naquon Bentley which put the Sabers up 10.  However, the Ravens were still hungry for the win as they creeped on the Sabers with 12 points closing the 2nd quarter down four points.

In the locker room, Coach Wright fueled the Sabers with more energy knowing they could finish the Ravens off if they were able to make smart plays on offense and defense.

The Sabers are playing with controlled confidence embodying a “Who’s Next Mentality”.

They take on Leon M. Goldstein High School continuing their roadtrip, Thursday December 13th at 4:30 PM.

Double Act Deathtrap Dazzles

Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts Reviewed

By: Justin Demmitt Class of 2021 Staff Culture Writer  

The Deathtrap cast. Photo Credit. Mr. Dave Berlin

Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts, a theatrical piece put on by the Advanced Theater Ensemble led by Ms. Carolyn Burke, was a hit with audiences of all ages.  From the costumes, to the lighting changes, to the fluent acting, this play was a roller-coaster of emotions with plot twists everywhere. Throughout the play I found myself asking questions like, “Who’s going to die next?” and “HOW are you still alive?”

Before the play even began, the audience was greeted by a truly amazing lighting display.

Filled with moody oranges and reds, the subtle and dramatic light changes took the play to the next level entirely.

Professional lighting by UCHS students. Photo Credit: Justin Demmitt

The dramatic action came fast and furious in Deathtrap as two of the main characters conspire and then cover up a murder, a storm rolls in as psychic senses danger all around the set then a main character commits a shocking betrayal.

In the end a character is kidnapped at gun point, two characters die, and the lives of all characters involved were forever changed.

After the performance I was able to catch up with members of the cast and crew to get their thoughts on the performance.

Zaria Gerald explained that her job as Costume Designer was fun, but required a lot of patience. “The best part of my job was getting to order and buy costumes for all the actors,” she explained. “My biggest obstacle as Costumer was trying to find everything the actors needed.”

Stage Manager, Alia Johnson, emphasized, “the hardest aspect of my job was actually the day of the show managing on and off stage complications.” Despite the challenges she explained, “I wouldn’t trade my job for the world, because I was working hard with my friends by my side the entire time.”

Assistant Director, Kayla St. Macary lamented that her job was very tough, seeing as she was upholding one of the biggest roles and dealing with people believing she wasn’t capable of the responsibility that came with having a serious job. Jokingly, she added, “the best part of my job was to control and yell at people,” while the biggest obstacle for her was dealing with the attitudes of her coworkers and motivating those who were not always taking their jobs seriously.

Damon Nunez, starring as Sidney in Act Two, indicated that the role of Sidney was extremely hard, having to improvise, memorize lines, and (spoiler alert) stage a fight against his co-star Zakiy Cherry. Nunez added, “A huge obstacle for me was living the experience and trying not to crack under the pressure of stage fright.

The shocking conclusion of Deathtrap. Photo Credit: Mr. Dave Berlin

Last but not least, Stephanie Scantlebury who plays Helga in Act Two, said “On a scale from 1-10,the difficulty of the role was a nine.” Helga’s character had an accent and a crazy costume so making those two things work together must have been demanding. Scantlebury added, “It was also difficult not look at the audience because all eyes were on me!”

All in all, Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts was a highly enjoyable experience for viewers, actors, and directors alike. Full of twists and turns, this thrilling play was easily one of the best entertainment features at UCHS in a long time.  From the set design by Ms. Segarra and the art students, to the realistic performance by the theater department, Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts has raised the bar for the UCHS Arts Department.

PROVEN FACT: Defense Wins Games

By Jonathan Mayers Boys Basketball Beat Writer, Class of 2021 

Coming off a blowout win against Teachers Prep, The Sabers rolled to a 4-0 record with a 42-17 win over Brooklyn Studio High School.

Senior Joel Carty led the pack showing his horsepower on the court by gathering an incredible 12 rebounds in the paint. Carty opened up the first quarter with all 6 points of a 6-0 run.  He later received a pretty dime from junior forward Caleb Brown, who continued to show off his creative passing abilities from Monday’s game against Teachers Prep.

Carty had effective counterparts in this game, like junior guard Doran Williams who proved himself to be a premier two-way player for the Sabers; snagging tough rebounds and shooting 5/6 from the field, while giving his opponents a little, “shake and bake,” when driving to the basket.

Doran Willaims surveys the defense on a 1st half out of bounds play. Photo Credit: Quavon Daniel

As always, offense is only a small small part to the Sabers’ success. Defense once again was the main factor in the victory.  The Sabers ran their crafty 2-2-1 defense to shred Brooklyn Studio apart. The Knights went scoreless for over eight minutes of gametime, and barely scored in the first half.  The Sabers took advantage of the Knights’ lackluster offense turning silly turnovers into easy buckets on the offensive end.

The Saber brotherhood was on display throughout the game as well; helping teammates off the floor, clapping for smart plays, and even for junior guard Shannon Maxwell’s attempted dunk.  Maxwell almost caught a “YAM,” (as we like to call it) after an athletic defensive steal.

The Sabers were very comfortable in the 4th Quarter, where they sat on a 30 point lead and embodied one of the most famous lines from Rick & Morty, ”ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of horseplay”. The Sabers called out their favorite isolation play ‘4 out’ where each teammate attempts to take his man one on one.  Senior guard Kameron Jeffrey found junior forward Justin Phillips with an easy dime off his “4 out” play, while various other Sabers attempted to score as their teammates erupted in cheers.

This afternoon the Sabers enjoyed a blowout, but will get back to business when they go on their first true road game of the season visiting Spring Creek High School next Tuesday, December 11th @ 4:30 PM.

Strong team effort helps Sabers remain undefeated

By. Dontay Fibleuil Class of 2020 Staff Writer

The Sabers got off to a hot start in Tuesday’s varsity boys basketball game with a 46-6 lead over William H Maxwell at halftime led by junior Doran Williams’ two three pointers. The final score was 70-15 and the whole team performed well. 

Doran Williams directs traffic during the first half. Photo Credit: Daniella Alvarez

The undefeated Sabers were led by juniors Caleb Brown and Deandre Abrams and seniors Joel Carty and Naquan Bentley who all chipped in with 12 plus points.

Our Sabers are now 4-0 and are looking and playing great. They did everything right to get this win: shooting threes, playing excellent defense, along with great coaching from Coach Wright. His only concern was team communication which he plans on fixing in practice.

The Sabers will look to remain undefeated when they take on Brooklyn Studio Secondary School tomorrow, December 6that 4:30 in the UCHS Gym.