Dentist at your doorstep

Dr. Rhona Sherwin is the director of pediatric outreach at the Stony Brook School of Dentistry. (Photo by Jenn Cirigliano.)

By Adeishe Bagaloo
Uniondale High School

and Christian Miller
St. John the Baptist High School

For dentist Rhona Sherwin, nothing matters more than helping children.

“That’s our main goal, to make sure the children are well taken care of,” Sherwin said.

A Stony Brook University alumna, Sherwin is a clinical professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Dentistry, in the department of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. As the director of pediatric outreach, Sherwin organizes dental care events throughout Long Island.

“Whatever the child needs, we’ll take care of it,” Sherwin said. “We don’t turn anybody away that cannot afford it.”

Among those events is Give Kids a Smile, a free dental care clinic offered by appointment for any child up to age 17. The clinic, scheduled for August 28, is sponsored by the American Dental Association. The five-hour program is expected to treat approximately 400 kids, up from 300 last year.

“We have faculty that are more than willing to volunteer,” Sherwin said. “We pair them with dental students, who work in teams.”

Xiomara Aguirre visited the dental care center Thursday with her 2-year-old daughter, Casey Flores.

“A friend recommended it to me. She’s been with them for 10 years,” Aguirre said. “It’s pretty cool. I love it.”

Sherwin’s team of dentists takes their show on the road in the dental school’s mobile office, a modified 40-foot van with room for treating three patients at a time. The van, purchased through a New York HEAL grant, enables the team to treat patients who lack transportation.

“We’ve been to homeless shelters, elementary schools, and crisis family centers,” Sherwin said.

Treating homeless patients is especially rewarding, Sherwin said.

“I think they’re very appreciative because their living situation is so difficult,” she said. “This is one other thing that they don’t have to think about, taking care of their child’s oral health.”

Sherwin and her team advertise their programs at churches, libraries, hospitals and other community partners.

“I’m very proud of where we started,” Sherwin said, “and we’re still building.”

Adeishe Bagaloo: Working on projecting her voice

By Zoe Gordon
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

After a teacher helped her realize that she had potential as a writer, Adeishe Bagaloo soon found a passion for the craft.

The 17-year-old Uniondale High School student applied for the Robert W. Greene High School Summer Institute for High School Journalists, hoping to transform her writing skills into journalism.

“I did a writing piece in my Microsoft Office class and my teacher was impressed with it,” Bagaloo said. “I got an email from my teacher telling me how good it was and I was kind of surprised. She encouraged me to go and apply for the program.”

Despite the encouragement by teachers and family members, she remains insecure about her writing. Part of the explanation is that she moved from the island of Jamaica a year ago. “I grew up in Jamaica and we learn the English that is found in Great Britain, which is different than the one found in America,” Bagaloo said. “It has different spelling, and I believe that it’s more difficult than the English in America. When I moved here, I found the language to be so different . . . than I’m used to so it puts a lot of stress on me.”

So Bagaloo leans on her mother, close friends and teachers to help her gain confidence in her writing. “I do not necessarily believe in my writing abilities, but the people around me have helped me to believe in it and realize that I’m actually a good writer,” Bagaloo said.

Bagaloo’s favorite writing topics are current events and issues that go unrecognized in the media. Her favorite story was her own autobiography discussing topics to which she wanted to give a voice. “I would state how the voice of the people matters to me and journalism can help me to get the voice of the people out there,” she said. “One of these topics that I want to make heard is the crime rate. There are certain things that are happening that you can’t really understand why it is happening. If I can go out there and talk to different people about the issue hopefully the world can find the root of the issue and hopefully come up with strategies to fix it.”

Crime and current issues are not the only subjects that interest Bagaloo. “I’m interested in health and beauty,” she said. “I think that journalism could help me get out there and give people different advice on health, beauty, self-improvement and mental health.”

In addition to writing, Bagaloo has always loved acting in school plays. She sees many similarities between the two fields. “In acting, you have to project your voice to the audience,” she said. “In journalism, using this technique helps you to be bold; you go out to talk to people and gather information when you wouldn’t normally do that in your everyday life.”

As for a dream career, Bagaloo feels torn between acting and journalism. By attending the Greene program and taking her school’s journalism course in the fall, Bagaloo hopes to find a clear path to what she aspires to do in her future.

“I hope that I can grasp a lot of knowledge from the program,” Bagaloo said, “and identify if I have a passion for journalism — if it’s for me or not for me.”

Zoe Gordon: An accidental journey to journalism

By Adeishe Bagaloo
Uniondale High School

At the start of high school, Zoe Gordon signed up for journalism by accident and immediately found a passion for it.

Zoe, a student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, had to choose between her school newspaper and the yearbook staff. Her choice was the newspaper staff.

She has now been a part of her school’s journalism program for two years, and having developed a relationship with them, she said they are now like her family. “It’s like an instinct was telling me to sign up for it,” she said.

The most successful story she wrote, in her opinion, was about a first quarter issue. Her story was about Smart guns. According to Bloomberg News, smart gun technology is used to control guns in a way that they are able to detect their owners. Zoe said she found this to be her most interesting story because she was not educated about the topic and that helped her to apply herself and gather information well.

“I just immersed myself in information,” Zoe said. In her opinion, the story helped her to become more courageous because it provided her with the opportunity to communicate with a diverse group of people. This is something she believed she wouldn’t have done under regular circumstances. “I talked to police officers, people at my school and other people about their opinions,” she continued.

On February 14, 2018, a gruesome shooting happened at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The incident inspired Zoe to become more passionate about journalism. “Being able to tell my story and the story of others at my school has really made me want to pursue journalism as a career,” she said.

Zoe’s motivation as a student journalist is the response she gets when she publishes a story. “The reactions you get from sharing your story on a much broader basis, it really shows me how much people care to hear your story and see the truth,” she said. She said she is absolutely determined to get the truth out of a story to the nation.

When Zoe is not practicing journalism, she said she is either doing Pilates exercises, hanging out with friends or dancing.

“She does dancing in her spare time, she is passionate about journalism and she is a straight A student,” her brother, Zach Gordon, said.

Zoe said the people in her circle, including her teachers, parents and brother, are very supportive and influence her significantly on the person she is and her journey of becoming an outstanding journalist. “My newspaper teacher encourages us to go outside of the box and come up with new ideas to just convey a story really good and my parents really support me,” she said.

Zoe’s role model in the field of journalism is Hoda Kotb, a “Today Show” anchor. She is looking forward to pursuing journalism at the Syracuse University. Zoe said she cares about the voices of others and she believes that journalism can help her be someone else’s voice.

“I can express myself in a way that shares information with others,” she said.