All posts by Bennett Snyder

Hunt On For Deadly Zoo Kittens Following Escape

Bennett fiction zoo artCHIMPLI—Two victims are dead and several others are hurt after the zoo’s wild kittens escaped Friday. All but two of the kittens have been captured. Officials are conducting a search.

The kittens are wild, venomous, and 80-clawed.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the manager of the zoo, told reporters, “It was horrible! People had no chance of survival until the military arrived in their helicopters with tranquilizer darts!”

Mayor John Chimpli told reporters the escape is so bad because these cats can mistake humans for long play toys.

“Don’t hold any cat items, just for good measure,” he added as a precaution.

Chimpli said that an estimated 1.2 people are clawed by wild kittens each millennium.

Schwarzenegger says that theories of how this happened are that a zoo employee opened the gate to feed the kittens but then the felines charged out.

“Another theory,” he said, “is that the key to the gate was carelessly left in the keyhole” and the cats were curious and turned the key to get out.

Schwarzenegger said zoo staff will hire more careful staff and build sturdier gates to prevent this from happening again.

— By Bennett Snyder for the “Bennett Times.”

We practiced reaching out to witnesses and other sources, both official and otherwise, for supporting information.
We practiced reaching out to witnesses and other sources (both official and otherwise) for supporting information.

It’s fun and important to contribute in the kitchen

Bennett-mugWASHING DISHES for about 200 people is more exciting than washing dishes for two or three! You get to use lots of equipment, including a spraying hose and a big dishwasher — you just insert your load and hear a hiss and the machine takes it in and goes to work.

I’ve done this job twice. I look forward to doing it again, even thoughI have to give up a recess to do it. Here’s how it works:

First the two kids go down to the cafeteria at 11:15 a.m. and wash their hands. Next they volunteer to ether put away or dry the dishes.

Once that is decided, they wait for people to clear their lunches and Cafeteria Manager Sonya Hamdan or Roxanne Shearer will put the dishes in a huge washing machine to wash the dishes.

If they put in silverware, the kid putting dishes away gives them back and puts them in once more. When silverware is washed twice, the “put awayer” puts them on a table and the dryer probably dries them. That process goes on and on until every class, from pre-K to 6, is dismissed by 12:30 p.m.

The dishwasher is quite loud when the dishes go in.

You have to wear gloves and you cannot touch any part of your face during your job.

According to Mrs. Hamdan the work is also very important:

“We love having them here, especially as there are only two of us. The kids do a great job.”

Sometimes, she added, “helpers come back years later, even after they graduate, and say they remember this as a fun time, and that they miss it. That can bring a tear to my eye,” she told the Flow.

After everything, on my way back to class, I tend to feel proud and my fingers feel wet and pruny.

— Bennett Snyder

Students help our community in ways large and small. Let us hear how your student helps or might like to. And check out Diana Yaseen’s related story on the school breakfast and lunch program.

Run! Hide! Zap! Like a challenge? Laser tag just might be for you

Bennett-mugLASER TAG is a game you can play if you are looking for action and sweaty armpits.

You start out with a suit and “phaser.” You must have two hands on the phaser or it won’t work. The gun has your code-name on a glowing green tab.

The goal of the game is to shoot as many people in the shoulders, chest, back, and phaser as you can. You start in a dark room and once the ear-petrifying music starts, RUN, HIDE, AND ZAP!

Examples of code names are: the Borg, Cow Tipper, No Mercy, and Alien.

I have gone to LaserBlast at Interskate 91, at Holyoke Mall, three times and played two rounds each time. Each round is eight minuets and there is no “getting out.” At the end of each round, you get a rank depending on how many people you hit and hit you.

The first time I held a phaser, a smirk of confidence bloomed smack-dab on my face. I knew I would destroy everyone, but I ended up in fifth place. It takes practice and I am slowly getting better. I think I need to watch out for competitors from afar.

InterSkate 91 says that you can have your birthday party or a private party there and take laser tag lessons. At “LaserBlast: Ancient Adventure,” a “single blast” is $6 and a “double blast” is $9.

Parents can surf the Web there on free Wi-Fi while their kids play. Or they can even join in the fun themselves.

For more information, visit

Stay Open to What Fourth Grade and Life May Bring

Bennett-mugWHEN I STARTED fourth grade this year I wasn’t expecting it to be this fun. I was nervous to see my friends after the break, but I was also relaxed.

My teacher, Ms. Hyer, is AWESOME, and we learn a lot of new things like long division and advanced multiplication and fractions. Recently we did this activity called Scrambled Multiplication Tables. It was a box and only some of the boxes were filled in with numbers, but not all of them, and you had to figure out which numbers go where in the multiplication table.

We have Read-Aloud every day. We’re reading “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio, which we reviewed recently. I love it. It’s about a kid who has a somewhat deformed face, and there is one kid, named Julian, who makes fun of him. It’s a very interesting book.

Also in fourth grade, I joined this AMAZING newspaper staff. For this issue and the previous one, I am the editor in chief. I help lead meetings and I’ve settled a couple of disputes. It’s fun. I love working on stories, writing funny things, and seeing our people being productive.

In the February  issue, when we reported about the school budget, I wrote an editorial saying I thought our school computers should have “Minecraft” on them, and after the paper came out we looked again and found out someone put “Minecraft” on the computers. Maybe they did it because of the editorial.

I think people who aren’t in fourth grade yet should look forward to it. I am already looking forward to fifth grade.

Minecraft, sports, vending machines needed here

Bennett-mugIN MY OPINION, as part of the district’s $18.1 million budget, the school should repair or replace all of the computers in the computer lab and buy a license for students to play educational computer games.

Other students have other ideas, but I’ll describe mine first: Minecraft, for example, is a somewhat educational game. My dad and I were in Foxtown Diner last year and we read a story in the newspaper about how teachers say Minecraft is great for kids. It teaches how to build things, how to multiply, how to use different metals and stones, and how to get more education in your life.

There is also a survival mode, so it teaches you about survival. And there is a community around Minecraft so it’s also about collaboration. Studies show Minecraft can make you smarter and it doesn’t hurt your brain. Well, sometimes.

We do have computers in school but some don’t work. We use the ones that do work for looking things up — debate topics, for example. My reading breakout group just looked up a debate around the question of whether television is a bad influence.

Type to Learn 4 (or TTL4) is another activity on the computer. Some kids, myself included, enjoy that.

That’s why, with the school district preparing its budget for 2016, we should include money for better computers and Minecraft.

Other budget ideas from our staff:

Kylie Lowell, our sports editor, says she wants to have field hockey and volleyball teams at BSE.

“That’s so that the kids will be ready for when they go to Mohawk, and so that they’ll be more experienced at field hockey and volleyball, be more active and have a better time through playing sports.”

She also says the school should install vending machines so that kids can have healthy snacks between classes.

Ainsley Bogel, one of our assistant editors, says she wants the school to provide pizza and ice cream for every lunch.

“Because then they would be giving the kids nice lunches, and the school would get a nice reputation because then everyone would know the school gives the kids awesome lunches,” she explains.

Bennett Snyder is editor-in-chief of this edition of The BSE Flow. Got an opinion about these ideas or anything else in our pages? Write