The Cost of Your Next Shopping Spree

By Abi Parameswaran

Sweatshop labour, something all may have supported in society at some point; two wards that continue to manifest its way throughout humanity. The daily cycle of students in this country primarily consists of waking up, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, getting an education, considerably a normality in the Forest Hill community. This is not the case for many kids in other parts of the world. Many are forced into the physical labour industries as young as ten years old.

Stores like H&M, Joe Fresh, Forever 21, Aldo and many other clothing and accessory companies are culprits of this form of labour. People often work in dangerous, unsanitary locations for long periods of time, with unlivable wages to provide for their families. Many are unaware of these things and often when issues come up relating to this it is often hidden quickly or forgotten about.

Imagine coming home one day to find out that you would never be able to go back to school again; even worse you would be forced to work in an environment without windows, in large unstable buildings, or in polluted small confined spaces. However, realistically this is not imaginable since most of us live in conditions far from this and instead wear clothing that is formed at these types of factories. 

Many of the working conditions of these sweatshop factories are indeed brutal and workers that already live in financial and physical catastrophes tolerate these issues to scrape together less than a sufficient amount to raise a family. One of the most talked about incidents relating to sweatshop labour facilities is the Joe Fresh factory that collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013. Over thousands were injured and more than 250 were killed. This incident brought to life the real issues that surrounded sweatshop labours and after this incident, many companies promised to improve the working conditions and wages of workers in these factories. Most developed societies believed this blindly and many forgot about these incidents. Even though the evidence of change may have been present, it is far from being sufficient.

Still, many companies do not have functioning fire exits or safety precautions set in order, many companies still employ children at fourteen in working conditions that are unsafe. However, this factor does not change much for workers as they will work for as long as they can put food on the table and still face the risk of dying every day on the job. Thinking of the way that most of our clothing is sourced 


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This is one of many imaged depicting the rubble created by the collapse of this factory

Making the big switch from shopping at stores that condone sweatshop labour to stores that enforce actual rules and laws in their factories are very hard. It is not always easy or affordable for many since many continue to live in different financial conditions. Change can be made; understanding the concept of sweatshop labour and knowing which stores do endorse this form of labour is indeed helpful. Perhaps the next time anyone decides to go on a shopping spree consider buying less from stores that endorse this and make small changes in their lifestyle.

Talking about this issue will change the way many see this and will promote people to think more about where their clothes come from and the reason why clothing tends to be affordable. Ignorance is often the reason why many are blinded to the many issues related to sweatshop labour and their affiliation with it. Perhaps learn about companies such as Lush, American Apparel, People Tree, Modcloth and many other on the list who either contribute less to this cause or make all their products within the country.

Coming to terms with the issue and talking about this can potentially change one’s life since corporations do catch on to number and once they see a drop with sales due to customers knowledge of a corporation’s actions they are compelled to create change! Perhaps a slow transition into shopping non-sweatshop labour by buying or supporting one initiative that sources products appropriately can be a start.

The idea of creating change starts in the hands of the consumer since they have the most power in the livelihood of billion dollar corporations and the billions of people that live by such companies all across the globe. Forest Hill change starts small and through the hands of the people. 

Coffee House: A Review

By Sapna Humar

Last Wednesday, Forest Hill’s music department hosted its second coffee house of the year, and it was a great success! For those of you who don’t know, FHCI’s coffee house is a gathering of students where anyone can perform and showcase their musical talents, whether it be singing a song or strumming a tune on the guitar. 

This was the second time coffee house was held in the music room, and the atmosphere was one of the defining characteristics of the night. The dim lighting, numerous lamps, and yoga mats on the ground really set the mood, and made for a relaxed environment where performers and the audience could feel comfortable.

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To top it off, free food was offered as well! During intermission, a wide variety of snacks were given to both the audience and the performers, and this really solidified people’s enjoyment of the event.

Overall, it was a great night, with a supportive audience and extremely talented performers. However, if even more people had come to cheer on their friends, or just to simply hang out, the event would be that much better. Coming to coffee house, even for a few minutes, would have instantly brightened your day and would have made for a great place to just relax and relieve your stress. The next coffee house, which will be held this November, will no doubt prove to be even better than this year’s!

A sincere congratulations goes out to all performers, and a special thank you to all those who organized the event!

Teachers of FHCI: Mr. Berger

If you weren’t a teacher, what do you think you would be?

“I gave some real thought to being a lawyer for a while, and I also thought about being a professor and haven’t entirely dismissed that as a possibility maybe sometime down the road.”

What do you want to do after retirement?

“It would be nice to go down to the faculty of education and teach new teachers sometime in the future.”

What are some hobbies you have outside of the classroom?

“As an English teacher, it’s probably not going to be a great surprise that I’m a big reader. I’m also a cyclist and used to compete actually. I still do it[su_members message=”If you would like to read the rest of this interview, please %login%. It only takes a minute and is 100% secure.” color=”#4bb8fc” login_text=”create an account” login_url=”” class=””] a lot in the summer and enjoy it.”

Do you have any memorable trips/vacations in the past?

“I’ve done so much travelling that there isn’t one in particular that sticks out, but between high school and University, I lived in London for almost five years, during which time I did do a lot of travelling. It is the one city in the world that every once in a while I’ll get sort of a hankering for. I haven’t been there for about four years now — I was actually thinking of going back in the summer.”

Did you pick up an accent?

“It’s interesting — I was in a band and we travelled around a lot, so I was constantly around guys with very thick accents, and when I would come home, people would say, ‘What’s with that pretentious accent?’ and I wouldn’t even hear it.



FHCI Students “Saddened​” By​ Holocaust Announcement Assembly​

On Friday Morning, instead of the regular Holocaust Assembly on Yom HaShoah, Forest Hill Collegiate Insitute changed it up and had a 15-minute assembly on the announcements during the second period. Jewish Culture Club members discussed the tragedy that was the Holocaust and honoured the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the operations by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

The assembly was broadcast across all classrooms in the school and discussed the importance of hearing about the Holocaust, the horrendous nature of genocides and listened to beautiful prayers for peace. Students were encouraged to turn off their phones and direct all their attention to the assembly. The announcement also talked about the recent anti-Semitic graffiti that was found on a student poster at Northern Secondary School.

Although many teachers and students believed that the assembly was a positive change, others had very different opinions. Grade 11 Student, Bailee Cohen, says that her “entire class had a debate” and felt like the assembly was “lazy” and “disrespectful”. Cohen also noted that the school has long assemblies in the auditorium for Prom but lack assemblies for “important days”, such as Pink Day. Her English class wrote a letter to the administration with her teacher that expressed their feelings for the assembly, according to Cohen.

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Other students shared similar opinions with Cohen. Noa Wolfe, a student in Bailee’s English class, says “the announcement played at my school this morning was a cop-out for the Holocaust assembly that Forest Hill has put on for years.”

I believe the millions of people who died during this time deserve more than a 10-minute speech over the intercom.

Wolfe says that she looks forward to the assembly every year. “It is an opportunity for me to learn more about this issue in an engaging and creative way. However, this year the assembly was cancelled and a quick announcement was put in its place.” She thinks that the regular assembly should not have been cancelled, “especially because of the large Jewish community Forest Hill has.” She adds that “we as a school should have given the very few survivors left the respected that they deserve.”

Marlee Moskoff, a grade 11 student at Forest Hill Collegiate Insitute, says that “the announcements were not nearly as effective as an assembly would’ve been. Assemblies have visual and audio components which are more engaging for students.” She noted many flaws with the new assembly, such as the fact that students tend to tune out for announcements. “The message of the Holocaust is important enough to take students out of class to better communicate the message.”

This is an extremely important message to me because my family was targeted in the Holocaust and I want there to be as much awareness as possible.

After the assembly, classes were invited to come to the foyer to sign a poster for “upstanding,” which was discussed in detail during the announcement. Upstanding is defined as an “honest” and “respectable” member of the community.


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Students on the March of the Living (2018)


A grade 12 student, who requested to stay anonymous, had this to say:

 I will agree that being an upstander is important but I am unimpressed that more time was spent on discussing the addition of this word to the dictionary than was spent honouring and remembering the Holocaust.

Eight students, initially driven by grade 12 student Jalen Manett, wrote a formal email to the administration about the importance of having a “real” assembly. They write:

“…Yom HaShoah is a day that hits close to home for many students at our school, a school with an above average Jewish student population, as for many it is a day to remember personal connections to the Holocaust through family members who perished or were affected by this tragic event. Many of us were even lucky enough to have had the unforgettable opportunity to march through the death camps in Poland and hear first-hand recollections of the heart-breaking stories of those who survived this tragedy. That is why myself and countless other students, both Jewish and not, were particularly upset by the decision to condense this year’s remembrance assembly into an eight-minute announcement. During which time my classmates who do not understand the significance of the Holocaust went on their phones, completed their homework, and took nothing away from this presentation.

The main reason why myself and many others were so concerned by this is this gradual shortening of our initiatives to commemorate the Holocaust just goes to enforce the naysayers and Holocaust deniers who base their claims on a lack of information and knowledge, which we as a school are enforcing by neglecting to educate students properly on this important piece of history. Especially in light of the recent actions at Northern Secondary School I know the Jewish community at FHCI saw an increased importance in this year’s Yom HaShoah initiatives. I hope you will take our concerns into consideration as we only want to celebrate our history in a positive way with the rest of the Forest Hill community.”


The views reflected in the article do not necessarily illustrate the opinions associated with The Golden Falcon newspaper.


People Should Come From Away to See Come From Away

Come From Away is a musical about the hospitality of a minuscule town called Gander in Newfoundland after 9/11. This town had 38 planes make emergency landings there after the terrorist attacks over doubling the size of the population. The town declared it a state of emergency and had aid workers and citizens working 24/7 to help these stranded ‘plane people.’

The play follows many Newfoundlanders and visitor as they all try to cope with the disasters of 9/11. The show is laced with Canadian humour about Shoppers, Tim Hortons and other Canadian relics. The actors are really talented in the play. They are able to nail so many different accents, going from African to Newfoundlander to British.  The woman, who plays the pilot, Beverly has an identical voice to the pivot on the recorded album even though it is not her.

Center on the Aisle

You may have thought that you don’t want to see this show as you don’t want to be depressed for its duration; however, you spend the majority of it laughing and feeling proud. I will admit there are a few moments in the play when the whole audience lets out a collective tear.

This is musical touches on the tragic events of the incident but it more is a celebration of kindness and charity. In current political conditions, people are taught to fear immigrants; Millions of immigrants denied entry to increasingly xenophobic nations.  However, this is the story of a whole town who opened its arms, without thinking twice about it, to a boatload of international travellers.

Humans of FHCI: Lauren Mirabella

What is your biggest fear?

“Heights. When I was little I got stuck at the top of the monkey bars at school and I had to wait until 3:15 for my mom to pick me up because I was so scared.”

What was the last thing that made you cry?

“I was looking for a phone charger and I couldn’t find one.”

What is your favourite comfort food?

“Any type of pasta because I’m Italian.”

If you got a tattoo, what would it be of?

“It would probably be something really meaningful. Maybe something for my parents or grandparents. Probably a pink ribbon for breast cancer because my family has been really affected by it.”

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

“Stay classy.”


Humans of FHCI: Olivia Bogner

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

“All the fast and furious movies. They’re my favourite movies ever and whenever I’m bored they’re always what I want to watch.”

Tell me something you absolutely hate about people.

“I hate when people are selfish.”

What is the coolest place you’ve ever travelled to?

“I went to South Korea and it was a really cool experience. I learned a lot about their culture.”

What is the number one thing on your bucket list?

“Skydiving for sure.”

What is something most people do not know about you? 

I am really good at mountain biking.”


Humans of FHCI: Marlee Moskoff

Do you have any strategies you use when studying?

“I listen to classical music, it’s very calming. Studying in silence is so boring.”

What is something you wish you could tell your grade 9 self?

“Enjoy the easy work while it lasts.”

What is something you can’t live without?

“Chocolate covered strawberries.”

What are you going to miss the most when you go to university?

“I’m gonna miss all my friends being in the same place.”

What do you like to do over the breaks?

“I go on ski trips with my dad to Whistler, Kicking Horse, Utah, Quebec and other places.”

The Autonomous Hour

        After spending an intense six weeks working on the most complex robot Forest Hill has ever seen, it was finally time for our robotics competition at York University. This year’s robot was equipped with a pneumatic (pressurized air-based) intake system and conveyor belt to play in the FIRST robotics competition. Our game strategy was to be a quick, nimble, low-profile robot that could perform its task with consistency and efficiency.

        As we passed inspection and tested our primary mechanisms, we knew it was time for our first match. It began with an unfortunate start, as our robot’s pre-written code did not execute as intended in the autonomous phase of the game. Nevertheless, with a bit of luck, we managed to get through this portion of the match unscathed. When the tele-op phase of the match began, our driver rushed to grab the Xbox controller to manually command our robot to pick up cubes and put them in the necessary locations. The first couple of cubes were successfully placed without much difficulty, but after those, we found ourselves unable able to pick them up anymore. From the driver’s station, we could not tell what was wrong with the robot. We kept trying to pick up cubes and failed each and every time. We lost our first match by a substantial margin, but this was not of much importance compared to the fact that a piece of metal on the robot’s intake was bent. Quickly rushing back to our pit, we replaced the warped gusset plate and reinforced it with another one. With this out the way, we felt more confident that our performance would improve.

At the competition


        The following match began somewhat innocently; the robot’s code was still error-filled, but we came close to figuring out the root of the issue. Everything was going decently until our robot smashed into one of the field elements, ripping the entire intake mechanism off of the robot. As I saw the robot’s arm dragging across the field, I thought the damage would be irreparable. After the match, we bolted onto the field hoping to fix the robot as quickly as humanly possible – only to find out that our next match was in ten minutes. It was humiliating. Without an intake mechanism on the robot, there was little we could do to contribute. A few frustrating games without an intake system later, we finally had the chance to reattach the robot’s arm to be able to play the game as intended. Learning our lesson, we secured the robot’s intake system with a combination of bolts and rivets. We also pinpointed the issue with our autonomous code and corrected it.

        It was an incredible feeling for us to be able to play matches without technical issues. Our autonomous code did exactly what we needed it to and we finally got the chance to play our own game rather than one dictated by our more experienced alliance partners. We got to show all of the other teams at the York that team 5699, the Robo Sapiens, came to compete.

Despite all of these setbacks, this experience was anything but a failure. We built a robot that could accomplish what we intended it to, had the opportunity to express our creativity a medium that unlike any other, fundraised thousands of dollars, worked alongside professional engineers, and most importantly went from a group of nerd building robots in a biology room to a family. And, of course, we worked with what are unquestionably the most dedicated teachers in the school. They sacrificed enormous amounts of time away from their families so we could undertake this daunting – and incredible – project. I would like to extend the sincerest thanks to our lead mentors, Mr Kleiman and Mrs Wilk. In the most literal sense, this would not have been possible without their work on the robot and behind the scenes to get us to the competition. I will look back upon robotics as the single most important activity I could have taken part in during my high school career. At the end of the day, we didn’t just build a robot, we built character.

Best Student Cities in the World

By Natalie Jenkins 

Going to university is often a significant milestone in any student’s life. Living away from home, getting to experience new places and cultures, meeting new people and genuinely being able to enjoy what you choose to study is just a glimpse into what the university experience truly holds. So, as a student, living in an ideal city is key in order to have the best experience possible.
QS World University Rankings has compiled a list of the best cities in the world for university students based on certain criteria: Student Mix, (the student make-up of the city; student population, international volume, tolerance and inclusion,) Desirability, (safety, available opportunities and experiences, pollution levels,) Employer Activity, (the cities that employers favour the most, or where graduates are sought-after the most by recruiters,) Affordability, (how affordable a city is most likely to be; general living costs and tuition,) and, Student View, (a survey where students were asked to rate their ideal school based on the following eight categories: tolerance and inclusion, diversity, friendliness, ease of getting around, affordability, nightlife, employment opportunities, arts and culture.) 
Based on this data, here are the top 10 rankings for the best student cities in the world in 2017:

10. Vancouver, Canada


Vancouver is among one of the most beautiful cities to study in – natural parks, forests, mountains, (which also provide some of the world’s best ski resorts) are just a few examples of what lies in this city. Vancouver also is home to some of Canada’s best universities, one of which is the University of British Columbia, currently ranked 51st in the world. Simon Fraser University also provides a unique learning experience, as it is situated just outside the city in the middle of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. Desirability also ranks well for this city, since it offers an urban array of bustling nightlife, music and theatres.  

9. Munich, Germany


Munich scores as the second highest for affordability, next to fellow German city Berlin. Although living in Berlin is slightly more expensive than it is in Berlin, free tuition for undergraduate students at public universities in Germany (regardless of nationality) provides a tempting incentive for students of any background and interest. This, in combination with its distinctive culture and vibrancy, makes it an ideal place to live as a student. 

8. Boston, United States


Known for some of the world’s best universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University (Ivy League,) ranked first and third respectively, it is a surprise that this city ranks so low in comparison to other cities. This is because the Affordability category remarkably lowers the US’s ranking down the list – let alone Boston itself. It seems to be worth every penny, however, since its reputation for academic might is reflected among graduate employers worldwide. Since Boston can also be considered as one of the most historic cities in the United States, politics, art, and cultural happenings are common. 

7. Tokyo, Japan 


Although living here is quite expensive as a university student, Tokyo offers a bustling and urban lifestyle, with a population of 13 million people. The city also values international students, which is reflected in the Employer Activity category, which earned the strongest score. While also keeping its status of being one of the world’s top epicentres of finance and business, (alongside London and New York) internships and work experiences for students in this field are also common. 

6. Berlin, Germany


Although not as academically profound as cities like Paris, Boston or London, Berlin’s popularity and attraction of international students is mainly because all undergraduate degrees, as well as some postgraduate degrees, are offered completely free at its public universities. Its high quality of living, affordability, and also being a major centre of design, fashion, music and art, it is no doubt that Berlin is desirable to students of all backgrounds and interests. 

5. Melbourne, Australia


While tuition fees have increased significantly, Melbourne claims fifth place most reasonably due to the fact that it is ranked number one in the world for livability/desirability, mainly for its appealing lifestyle and attractions; lots of beaches, a thriving night-life, and a sunny climate. This makes it highly desirable for international students, thus making it home to one of those most diverse student-body communities. The city is also well known for its outstanding universities, seven of which are featured in the QS World University Rankings of last year, with the University of Melbourne in 42nd place globally. 

4. Seoul, South Korea 


Seoul has a strong reputation of university students that are sought-after by both domestic and international employers, as it ranks very strongly in the Employer Activity category (second place.) Notably, 86% of graduates stay in the city after graduation, according to The Guardian. More so, 18 universities in Seoul have been ranked in QS’ World University Rankings for 2016 and 2017, where Seoul National University is the highest ranked. (35th globally.) While few cities can claim a better standard of academia than Seoul, this city also has a buzzing atmosphere where boredom is impossible, with rich culture and history, night-markets, traditional temples and spas, and a new experience each day with whatever you may choose to do.  

3. London, England


While home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world (University College London and Imperial College London, ranked 7th and 9th respectively in the world,) it is with no doubt that London is academically distinguished. London is also famed for its abounding culture, art and museums, nightlight and diversity, and international finance and business. So it is no doubt that this city attracts a large population of international students. 

2. Paris, France


Paris has consecutively held its ranking as the best student city globally mainly due to the fact that it is home to some of the most world-leading institutions than any other city (with exceptions to Seoul and London.) These schools have some of the most influential alumni in a variety of different fields, producing some of the most important scientists, politicians, mathematicians and business leaders, to name a few. Although the expenses of living in Paris as a student can be quite costly, it is balanced out by low tuition fees and other general costs of university.

1. Montréal, Canada


With its diversity, multilingualism, rich history and appeal to student life, it’s no surprise that Montréal has climbed six places to top last year’s rankings – knocking Paris out of this position of four successive years. Montréal is also home to some of Canada’s most prestigious universities – including McGill University and Université de Montréal. (Currently ranked 2nd and 5th in Canada, respectively.)

The Time I Almost Drowned in a Pool

By Jessica Huong

Have you ever been on the verge of death? I can honestly say I have. It’s a very scary experience, and the memory will probably stay vivid in your mind for your whole life – it might even affect how you live your life.

When I first experienced this, I was very young – around four to five years old? Maybe even younger, in fact. I was on a trip with my family and several relatives. These details are pretty blurry, so I can’t recall where we went. But, what is clear is that there was a swimming pool.

After a while of having fun with my family around the area, we all decided to go swimming. I was excited, but I really had never seen a swimming pool before in my life! We got everything ready and headed to the pool in our building. It was super crowded, but it looked amazing to me. There was so much water, and it was so blue, ever more so than the ocean! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

When we arrived, I saw a bunch of my older cousins immediately splash right into the pool as cannonballs. I thought it was really cool, and looked like so much fun! So, of course, I jumped in right after them, hoping to join in.

But that was the deep end. I couldn’t swim.

Usually, when you see somebody about to drown, they’re flailing their arms around the water’s surface and screaming, right? But I wasn’t really sure what was going on, so I just sunk down into the water quietly, like a stone. Nobody noticed.

This is the really vivid part: I began to realize that I was drowning when I was already sinking, my face a few feet deep into the water – this was a long distance from the surface for little four-year-old me. I finally began to freak out and move my hands and legs around in hopes that somebody would notice, but I was too far under the water!

It seemed like an eternity that I was in that pool, sinking, unable to breathe, and feeling scared. In my head, the image is still as clear as a spring day. Remembering it actually makes me kinda anxious!

Luckily, one of my aunts was in the water and saw me in there when she was swimming. She hurriedly went down to get me, and the was the end of the eternity for me.

This is where it gets blurry again – what did I do when she pulled me out of the water? Did I cry? A lady who I didn’t know called my mom over, and according to her I was scared and shaking a lot. Of course, I can’t remember this part – this is based on what my mom told me.

So, how has this experience impacted my life? To be completely honest, I’m not too sure. When I went to summer camp in around 2012, I remember hating the water with a passion. That same year, I took some swimming lessons and got the basics down, and I didn’t hate it anymore. I do dislike swimming and being in the water, but I’m not afraid of it, so it’s just a simple preference.

Take this little story for example. Summer of 2015 – my family went on a trip to Cuba. We went to a beach, and in the ocean, my mom and I stepped into a very deep pit while nobody was around. My mom had almost drowned, but I used my basic swimming skill to swim us to the shallow waters. That, also, has become a really clear memory to me – what if I never took swim lessons? Who would be there to save us?

With all that said, I don’t hate swimming, and I’m not afraid of the water. I can swim fairly well now, I just prefer not to – and that’s fine! So, I can gladly say that I don’t think my near-death experience has greatly affected me. To be honest, I’m actually glad it happened, so that I have something to write about for this article.

If I were to fall into the deep end of the pool ever again, there’s no doubt that I would be able to calmly swim back up and towards the edge. I don’t let my near-death experience change how I live my life, and I never will!