The Chamblee High School
Blue and Gold
Chamblee High School 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. Chamblee, GA 30341 (678) 676-6902 Principal, Dr. Rochelle Lowery
Volume 86, Issue 8
Scoggins Retires from Teaching to Embark on New Adventures in Hong Kong by Solina Jean-Louis
For many Chamblee students, teachers, and faculty members, learning that ninth grade English teacher Leisa Scoggins is leaving this year was extremely bittersweet. In all of the different classrooms that Scoggins has inhabited over the years, people in the building have gotten used to seeing her bright smile and cheerful hellos in the hallways. Earlier this school year, Scoggins, who has been teaching for 27 years, revealed the news that she would be retiring at the end of the second semester. Scoggins came to Chamblee ten years ago and has had nothing but amazing experiences. When she first came, she was a bit intimidated by the close and experienced staff, but she soon learned that she would fit right in. “It [coming to Chamblee] was the best move I ever made,” said Scoggins. “I absolutely love it here. People don’t realize, unless they’ve taught somewhere else, how amazing the faculty and student body is.” Scoggins is not only a favorite among her students but among her fellow teachers as well. Advanced Placement United States history teacher Steve Rubino, who has known Scoggins since she arrived at Chamblee, is sad to see her go. The two were fast friends, bonding over the heavy amount of writing that they assigned in both of their classes. “We [Scoggins and I] are in a group of former and current teachers, and once a month we all go out to dinner at various restaurants around Atlanta just to talk and catch up,” said Rubino. Rubino, who likes finding the quirks in different people, loves being friends with Scoggins and finding out the little things about her that many people do not know. “She’s a NASCAR fan,” Rubino said. “It’s the things like that that make her an
English teacher Leisa Scoggins interesting person to talk to.” ficer in Interact and has a close relationship The first year Scoggins taught at Cham- with Scoggins. Every week, they can be blee, she taught resident and accelerated found gossiping about the latest episode of sophomores, along with general level se- The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. niors. At the end of her first year, she was “Mrs. Scoggins was more than a teacher; asked to teach ninth grade magnet English. she was a mentor and most of all, a friend “At first I was a bit iffy because I’d to me,” said Blumberg. “As an officer of never taught magnet before,” said Scoggins. Interact, I looked forward to seeing her “They kept asking and asking, so I finally every Thursday for our meeting. She has said yes, and it was a great decision.” truly made an impact on my life to be a Scoggins has been teaching magnet better person.” ninth grade language arts for nine of the ten Scoggins is sad to be leaving Interact but years she has worked here and has loved knows that it is in good hands. every minute of it. “I’ve had help from many teachers over Scoggins is not only a teacher, but she the years, but really, Interact is heavily stuis also the sponsor of Chamblee’s Interact dent run. I’m not worried about next year Club. She has been involved with Interact one bit. [English teacher] Ms. [Jennifer] for the ten years she has been here and even Andriano will be taking over next year and at her previous school as well. I’m sure she’ll do great,” said Scoggins. Sophomore Aurora Blumberg is an ofAs she neared the school year of 2010-
2011, Scoggins began to think about retiring. “My goal was to teach for 25 years,” said Scoggins, who taught for 17 years at Meadowcreek High School prior to coming to Chamblee. “When I reached the 25 mark two years ago, I realized that I just wasn’t ready. But last year, I told myself that I needed this year to be my final year.” Coincidentally, just about a year ago, Scoggins’ husband, who works in the cable business, got an offer from his company to transfer to Hong Kong this year. “The timing was perfect,” said Scoggins. “It was the final push I needed to retire.” So at the end of August, the Scogginses (along with their dog Kona) are moving to the Chinese city of Hong Kong. Scoggins is very nervous but also excited. “I’m looking forward to something totally new. I just realized I’ve been going to the same dentist for 29 years,” said Scoggins. “I’m so settled in my life, and I need to do something different. I’m looking forward to the new culture and the food and people. I’m really going to have to get out there and have an adventure.” Scoggins and her husband visited Hong Kong over winter break to look for possible homes. It was Scoggins’ first time in the city. “We got there and it was all very overwhelming. The sights, the sounds, the smells—everything; but, I really enjoyed it,” said Scoggins. “We really thought we’d live on one of the secluded islands outside of the city where no cars are allowed or anything, but after visiting we realized that it was too remote, and we’d rather live in an apartment in the city.” Continued on page 2
Charter Renewal Picks Up STEAM While the sound of drills working on the new Chamblee Charter High School building may be the most visible sign of impending change, the school is actually under construction in more than one way. In the fall of 2014, a new charter will go into effect at Chamblee, bringing with it opportunities for students, particularly in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Chamblee, which converted to a charter school in 2000, is up for a renewal of its five year contract. According to the Georgia Department of Education’s website, “Charter schools are governed, not by a local board of education, but by an autonomous non-profit board of directors, and they receive flexibility from certain state and local rules and regulations in exchange for a higher level of accountability.” Through Chamblee’s 2009-2014 charter, the school was able to retain traits such as
by Mollie Simon the seven-period day and activities like administrators and has met with each mandatory social studies fair participation instructional department at Chamblee. Unfor freshmen. fortunately, the different departments’ plans “The charter provides us with a mecha- were not all feasible due to funding. nism to increase achievement of every “There are many passionate teachers student at the school—not just the high here, which is encouraging for me as a parachievers, but everybody,” said science de- ent,” said Warner. “Everyone wants to have partment co-chair DeAnn Peterson. “I think certain classes, but unfortunately, there is a everybody recognizes the value of the char- limited pocketbook. There are certain rules ter especially with all of the things that have that we are requesting waivers from in the happened in DeKalb County Schools.” charter, but money is a huge factor in the A parent survey conducted by the Gov- process.” ernance Council last spring showed that Just as Warner was not a parent at the nearly three-quarters of those questioned school during the last charter rewrite, she want Chamblee to maintain its charter. has worked to reach those families whose Lawyer and Charter Renewal chairper- students will be at Chamblee during the son Denise Warner, who is the parent of a duration of the new charter and will be able junior, was asked to lead the Governance to take advantage of it. Council committee which has spent the year “The biggest concern for me is at the working through the different aspects of the end of the day, I don’t want someone to ask charter rewrite. why we didn’t do something in the new Warner has gotten feedback about past charter,” said Warner, who has reached out charter successes and challenges from to parents at Chamblee’s feeder elementary
and middle schools. “This is why I have committed myself to meeting with people whenever I can.” Warner holds meetings every other Thursday morning during which parents and liaisons from feeder schools are invited to learn more about the charter and work through different sections of the 2014 proposal. In addition to the morning meetings, Warner has held evening sessions at the request of some parents, but neither of the two times has gotten optimal turnout from parents or teachers, for whom the meetings are hard to get to time-wise. “The commitment that Denise Warner has put in to making the charter happen is phenomenal,” said Peterson. “It is really difficult to wrap your hands around all of the different things that we want to do and to get this huge document written. I think it is probably one of the most difficult pro-bono things anyone can do to help education.” Continued on page 4
On the Inside: Freshman represents track team at state Page 5
Race, economics and the debate over scholarships Page 9
Meet six interesting Bulldogs Page 13
“Oh the places they’ll go!” Check out the senior list Page 14
News 2 Sports 5 Opinion 8 Features 11
Volume 86, Issue 8
After Decades of Engineering Success, Cook Leaves Chamblee by Dan Richardson and Mollie Simon
Engineering teacher Gwen Cook at work in Chamblee’s woodshop
After 10 years at Chamblee, 30 years of teaching, and hundreds of drinkingstraw towers, cardboard chairs, balsa wood bridges, and wooden mousetrap vehicles built in her classes, engineering teacher and career tech department chair Gwen Cook will be leaving Chamblee and teaching for one more year in Florida before retiring. “She is well know at every school in DeKalb,” said Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Coordinator for DeKalb, Dr. Paul Camick. “She has touched thousands of students, and she has also touched and motivated teachers.” At Chamblee, Cook is the sponsor for
the Technology Student Association and VEX Robotics teams, and has traveled with these groups to innumerable competitions and conferences, from annual trips to the University of Georgia and the Georgia National Fair in Perry, GA to the international VEX competition in Anaheim, CA and the TSA national competition in Dallas, TX. During each of these trips, Cook encourages her students to be adventurous and to try to enjoy new experiences--from attending a rodeo to hiking to a waterfall. Many of her students’ favorite memories of her come not from trips though, but from regular days in her class.
“There’s this memory I have of her from senior year. Georgia Tech decisions were coming out online during her class time, and she let me and a few other students use the computer lab to see them,” said class of 2012 graduate Paroma Chakravarty. “She waited with me as I logged into my account and opened the letter to view the decision. She also jumped up and down with me when I found out I was accepted. I think that memory just reminds me of how supportive and enthusiastic she always is.” Cook, who some former students still remember as Ms. Block from before she got married in 2010, teaches students to use different computeraided-design programs, woodshop tools, and design processes in her project-based classes. “I am about to finish my second year as an architecture major at Georgia Tech, and I can say hands down that Ms. Block’s class prepared me for what I have experienced here,” said class of 2011 graduate Paul Reynolds. “All those years of modeling with cardboard, relying on scarce materials, increasing my proficiency in various CAD programs and learning how to better my craft in both physical modeling and drawing reminds me every day how lucky I am to have had that experience prior to coming to Tech.” At the 2011 national TSA conference in Dallas, TX, Cook was named the National High School Engineering Advisor of the Year, and she lives up to the title daily in her classes. “I think she really gets to know her students and pushes the right buttons to motivate them,” said Camick. Cook teaches the engineering design process, meaning she assigns problems to be solved and students have to create their own solutions and then implement them and test them with her guidance.
“She really lets you come up with your own route to get to the final destination,” said junior Imani Sinclair. “In her class, you can’t say ‘I’ll give it up, forget it, or it is too hard so I’ll do something else.’ She doesn’t let you do that. She is a great teacher and a great person.” It is not only in the classroom where Cook teaches students to solve problems; for 21 years as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, she has gone out and helped other people to have roofs over their heads. “I don’t even considered it work,” said Cook. “It’s just something I do so often and have so much fun doing that it’s not a burden.” Cook still plans to continue volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Florida as well. “When I am around her I feel like she brings out the best in me. She genuinely cares about the well being of others and is dedicated to serving her community,” said former Chamblee teacher Catherine Pedersen. Pedersen has not only known Cook as a colleague and friend, but also as a teacher. In seventh and eighth grade at Henderson Middle School, Cook was Pedersen’s engineering teacher. “She supports her students and encourages their growth, while also challenging them to work hard and be successful,” said Pedersen. “She will be greatly missed by those who have worked with and learned from her.” Before she leaves Chamblee as a teacher, she has one more stop over the summer in June: taking six students to the national TSA competition in Orlando, FL. “It will be impossible for the next engineering teacher to follow Mrs. Cook,” said junior Will Rountree who is going on the trip. “She has so much experience with the engineering design process, teaching students, and making that class amazing. I don’t know how anyone could do better. She’s leaving very large shoes to fill.”
Scoggins Continued Junior MaryConnor Thompson, who had Scoggins in ninth grade as well as tenth grade for creative writing, has felt the power of how a teacher of Scoggins’ caliber can change one’s life. “I never really liked to write. I always figured I was bad at it, so I was pretty ticked
when Mrs. Scoggins assigned us our first essay: an expository piece on our best experience,” said Thompson. “I wrote about the trip I took to Costa Rica. I handed it in not expecting much, but when I got it back, Mrs. Scoggins scrawled ‘Beautiful essay!’ in her fancy cursive across the top of the paper.”
Thompson now loves to write and hopes to become a professional writer one day. If Scoggins had not encouraged her to write, Thompson would have never discovered her true passion, and she is grateful for that every day. Freshman Elena Brown-Soler, who had Scoggins as a teacher first semester, found that Scoggins was the perfect transition from middle to high school. “I thought she was an amazing teacher, and I was happy to have her for language arts. She isn’t a teacher that simply gives you an assignment and has you do it; she helps you to relate to and think about things in an
entirely different way,” said Brown-Soler. “She gives a good amount of work but she gives you time to do it, but I learned to not procrastinate and to start my work when I got it.” Brown-Soler says that she will miss seeing Scoggins in the halls. “She was one of those teachers who could brighten your day just by smiling and saying hi.” Even though this is her last year, Scoggins will never truly leave Chamblee because of all of the lives she has changed. The amount that Scoggins will be missed cannot be put into words. She will be remembered forever at Chamblee, and the impact that she has had or her students will stay with them their entire lives.
The Blue and Gold wants to hear from you! Do you have the inside scoop on an interesting summer event that a Chamblee student is taking part in? If so, please stop by trailer T4A!
Volume 86, Issue 8
Vals and Sals Prepare for Graduation Speeches by Sarah Magee
Agrawal The month of May has arrived and so has the end of the school year.As students knock out their End of Course Tests, Advanced Placement exams, and finals, the year draws to a close, and teens get excited about summer plans. Especially excited is the senior class of 2013, who will be graduating in a few short days. With graduation approaching, seniors recently found out who will represent them as the valedictorian and salutatorian. Most schools have just one valedictorian and one salutatorian. The valedictorian is the student with the highest grade point average in the graduating class, and the salutatorian is the student with the second highest GPA. However, since Chamblee has a magnet program and a resident program, there is a valedictorian and salutatorian for each. Monica Agrawal, the magnet valedictorian, will be attending Stanford University in the fall. Agrawal has a GPA of 4.41 weighted, made a perfect score on the ACT, and has passed all of her AP exams with fives. “Naturally, I’m pretty excited [about being declared valedictorian] because it’s the culmination of four years of
Kelly effort,” said Agrawal. “I thought that maintaining a high GPA would open doors for me in terms of college and other opportunities. On the other hand, I did not specifically set out to earn good grades; I just wanted to do my best.” Chamblee’s teachers and range of challenging classes helped the valedictorians and salutatorians get to where they are today. “I have been very lucky in regards to both teachers and classes,” said resident valedictorian Christa Kelly, who has a 4.02 weighted GPA and will be attending the Honors College at Western Carolina University. “I feel my motivation stemmed from my interest in many of the classes I took and from some incredibly talented teachers. It is an honor to be the resident valedictorian,” said Kelly. “I know many of my fellow students have worked diligently over the past four years, and it is both overwhelming and exciting to know I will be one of the representatives of my class.” Kevin Reagan, the resident salutatorian, will be attending the University of Miami and plans to major in marine
science. Reagan is graduating with a weighted GPA of 3.98. “It feels gratifying,” said Reagan. “It lets me know that all my work throughout high school has paid off. I knew that if I wanted to be successful in the future, I had to start by having a successful high school career, which would allow me to get into a good school and pursue my interests.” Andrew Tsao, an Eagle Scout and co-captain of the math team with Agrawal, is the magnet salutatorian and hopes to become an engineer. He will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology. Tsao and Agrawal also recently shared the title of STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Program) students for scoring the highest in Chamblee’s class of 2013 on the SAT. Both sets of valedictorians and salutatorians will give a speech at graduation based around the theme “seriously.” “I am excited to be salutatorian, but I don’t like giving speeches. I am a little nervous that my first major time will have to be in front of my entire class,” said Tsao.
Unexpected Financial Surprise for Graduating Class by Sasha Holton
The graduating class of 2013 may face an unwanted surprise once they begin their first year of college in the fall. According to the Cable News Network, if Congress does not take any action by the first day of July, the interest rates on all student loans will double. This includes unsubsidized and subsidized loans, as well as graduate student loans. “This has happened before, but the students let out a huge outcry that prevented Congress from letting such a thing happen,” said Advanced Placement economics teacher Carolyn Fraser. Fraser said that everyone has been lulled into a “state of complacency,” and that if students do not rise up, the interest rates will go to 6.8 percent instead of 3.4 percent. In a recent radio interview, President Barack Obama noted that, “students graduating from college have an average debt of $25,000.” The President has drawn up a proposal that would set interest rates on student loans based on the government’s borrowing. Although this would lower interest rates for all types of interest loans, critics are still skeptical because the
proposal does not include a cap on interest rates. This means that as the economy improves, interest rates will rise. Nevertheless, if Congress does not act, students will begin to feel the financial hurt sooner rather than later. “It is already pretty difficult to get financial aid as it is,” said senior Deion Smith. “Getting scholarships and grants is not as easy as teachers made it seem when I first started applying for college.” The process of getting scholarships and grants can be a daunting task, but actually getting them is only half of the problem. The cost of college tuition has been steadily growing over the past few decades, at a much faster rate than the amount of financial aid given by loans, scholarships and grants. From 2006 to 2008 alone, the average cost of college tuition increased from $12,500 to $14,000 while certain grants, like the Federal Pell Grant, only increased from $4,000 to $5,000 in the same amount of time, according to the New York Times. These rising costs force students to avoid certain
choices. Over the past few years the increasing trend is to major in money-making degrees such as engineering and mathematics. Another trend which is rather alarming is that students have begun to skimp on textbooks to save money on classes, as reported by the Huffington Post. “I am going to a community college my first year, then I will transfer to a university to save money. I don’t really want to do this, but I really don’t have the money for college,” said one senior, who wished to remain anonymous. However, this is not common among young seniors and college freshmen; the ever more popular trend is not attending college at all. “The most educated generation are the baby boomers, and they are getting ready to retire,” Fraser said. For this reason, Fraser feels confident that the cost of education will be subsidized. “In order for the American economy to remain competitive in this global economy, education must be subsidized. Rising college costs and an uneducated work force are completely divergent of one another,” said Fraser.
Playing the Dirty Game of Smart Phones by Justin Henderson
Over the last school year, there has been an increasing trend in thefts at Chamblee. Opportunistic thieves are making off with phones, iPods, tablets, cash, and other items of value. Junior Colin Jackson had his phone taken from his P.E. locker. ‘‘I followed all directions given to me by my P.E. teacher. My phone was in a locked locker in the locker room,” said Jackson. “When I came back, the lock was broken and my phone was gone. Officer [John] Brooks came and asked a few questions, but that was it. Nothing happened to anyone and my phone was never seen again’’ The incident caused Jackson to lose faith in school security “I don’t feel safe here at Chamblee anymore,” said Jackson. Others are also fearful of their possessions being taken. “It’s as if I were to leave my stuff for one second, it would never be seen again,” said junior John-Henry Carey. ‘I’ve never had my stuff stolen here at Chamblee, but I’ve seen it happen to so many of my friends. I don’t want to be next.” Thieves do not just take anything from anyone. There is a method to their madness.
“We go for the weakest links, people who don’t look like they can fight back. But if you do it right, you won’t have to worry about fighting anybody. You can get a phone or an iPod, flip [sell] it quickly, and use that money for whatever you want,” said a student, who wished not to be identified. With such a deeply rooted problem, it seems nearly inevitable that personal belongings brought to Chamblee could have a theft attempted of them. Security Resource Officer John Brooks offers a simple solution to the problem. “Leave your stuff at home. If it’s truly that valuable to you, you’ll take care of it,” said Brooks. The head of campus security adds that although Chamblee has a theft problem, people are not being forcibly robbed. “It’s simply a matter of common sense,” he demonstrates with his iPhone 4s. “If I leave this phone on the table, go to the bathroom, and when I return it’s not here, whose fault is it? Not the person who sees a free five-hundred dollar phone. It’s all opportunity” The anonymous burglar gave a list of tips to follow so as not to get personl items stolen. “One, keep your valuables on you at all times. Two,
don’t trust anybody you don’t know around your items. If they aren’t a close friend don’t do it. The quiet ones will get you. Three, make acquaintances, not friends, with people who you know steal. They are reluctant to steal from people who know their name, and face. However making close friends with them could cause them to drag you into your behavior. I wouldn’t advise anyone to start stealing because the reward is never worth the risk.” The student also reminds others that parents send students to school to learn, not to steal. “The best way to get smartphones back is to download tracking apps. Chances are the thief will leave it somewhere where it can easily be retrieved by you and not traced back to them. Those apps frustrate me.” The best thing for a student to do to avoid being a potential victim is to keep their items on their person at all times. Few people are bold enough to steal directly from a student, and it is easier to check inventory with a quick check of the pockets as opposed to running to a bag. If you are to leave your items in a locker, leave it in a hallway locker, where there are cameras, as opposed to the unsupervised depths of the locker room. The responsibility for taking care of valuables ultimately lies on the owner, not Brooks or the administration.
Volume 86 Issue 8
Study Finds Increased Rx Drug Abuse in Teens Drug abuse and misuse is not a problem exclusive to the 21st century. Past initiatives, such as the “Just Say No” campaign of the 80s and 90s, aimed to discourage and reverse the use of illegal recreational drug use in children and teens. Though the extent of the campaign’s success is debatable, history will applaud former First Lady Nancy Reagan for raising public awareness of drug use. Currently, the nation is facing another drug-related epidemic that differs from those in the past, but requires the same amount of attention. While “Just Say No” focused on eliminating the use of harder, less accessible drugs such as cocaine and LSD, the current assailants are prescription drugs. Recent data collected by The Partnership at Drugfree. org and the MetLife Foundation contains alarming statistics regarding the apparent rise in teenage misuse of prescription drugs, with the leading statistic being that approximately one in four teens report having abused or misused a prescription at least once in their lifetime – a 33 percent increase from 2008. Results from the study come from a sample of nearly 4,000 high school students and 800 parents. The teen and parent surveys had low margins of error, +/- 2.1 and +/- 3.4 respectively, with the teen survey being conducted in public, private, and parochial schools. The heart of the problem lies in the misconception by
by Liya Mammo some that prescription drugs are less harmful and will exact less damage then illegal drugs. The deaths of celebrities like Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson combined with the roughly 20,000 Americans who die each year as a result of prescription drug overdoses, according to foxnews.com, rebut this fallacy. Accessibility to pain medications in the household and leniency of parents are contributing factors to this dilemma. This does not suggest that parents are at fault; however, actions can be taken at home to curb the trend. The medicine cabinet is an ideal place to shop for drugs. Ranging from leftover narcotics from previous surgeries and injuries to valium, teens can have their pick. A teen could also amass a stash by collecting pills gradually so that it would be unnoticeable to the person the drug was originally prescribed for. “[With access] students can take the pills and crush them or even sell them,” said chemistry teacher Kathryn Zuehlke. Another issue is the lax attitude on the dangers of drugs not prescribed specifically to an individual. According to the same study, 26 percent of teens believe that prescription drugs can be used as studying aides. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are popular for the academic advantage they can offer one cramming for a test and pulling an all-nighter. Pressure from teachers, parents, peers, and even oneself to succeed and earn better grades is often the excuse teens
use to defend their actions. “Students are frustrated with their lives and situation,” said junior Yusraa Ahmedin. “They are tired of school and the stress that comes along with it.” Abuse of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication is notorious for its association with college campuses, especially those in the northeast that are commonly thought to have more competitive atmospheres. However, with the skyrocketing rise in diagnoses of ADHD in recent years, accessibility to these drugs has increased as well. In early April, Time magazine reported that 11 percent of U.S. children are affected by ADHD, a 16 percent increase over a six-year period. In order to turn around the rise of prescription drug use among the population in general, the Drug Enforcement Administration created the National Take-Back Initiative. The DEA scheduled the sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day for April 27th. Along with the cooperation of local law enforcement partners, they were able to collect and safely dispose of over two million pounds of prescription medication in the first five events. By visiting www.medicineabuseproject.org, you can help to curb this trend by locating the take-back location nearest you and disposing of any unwanted or expired prescriptions safely.
Charter Renewal Continued Among those items the charter committee is working to wrap its hands around is the creation of a new emphasis on STEAM. According to the STEAM proposal, “Chamblee Charter High School is very well situated to become the premier STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) certified school for DeKalb County Schools. The addition of the Arts to STEM is to make our STEAM DREAM emphasize our dedication to the whole student.” In addition to STEAM being a consideration in the layout design of the new Chamblee building, the program is set to bring internships and collaborative, cross-curricular projects to students. “As soon as I talk about internships, everybody’s eyes get really big,” said Peterson. “It is definitely a lot of work to implement it, but I think it is something that the students
want to experience in order to walk out of here with not only a lot of credits but also experience to go along with it.” Although the charter will not take effect until 2014, a pilot program for the internships has been proposed for the 2013-2014 school year and would be available to seniors enrolled in the fourth year engineering course. “Just having some work experience in an engineering field and seeing what really goes down in an engineering firm would be very nice,” said current Engineering III student, junior Kevin Kelly. For those seeking an alternative to STEAM, the social studies department has also been working to create a “humanities career pathway”—separate from the charter—at Chamblee. Completion of this pathway—which would also incorporate internships for seniors—would require students to choose from a number of different course options (from
sociology to psychology) and extracurricular activities such as participation in social studies fair, Mock Trial, or the Close UP trip. “We talked about it being STEAM and our really strong social studies program said ‘what about the humanities,’ so we joked that it could be SHTEAM,” said Peterson. “But, when you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.” Part of the charter renewal process will be a vote on the final product by parents, students and faculty before it is submitted, and while the charter is amendable, the goal is to proactively solve any issues parents may have with it. After the vote, the charter will be submitted to a Charter Review Committee for DeKalb County Schools where it will then either be sent back to the school for editing or sent on to the state for final approval.
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Volume 86 Issue 8
On and Off the Field, Senior Athletes Leave Lasting Imprint on Teams by Kunal Goel
Every graduating class from Chamblee has a few distinguished athletes that leave an imprint on the school that extends beyond the record books. Instead, the imprint they leave has to do with leadership and attitude: these particular athletes are role-models for their specific teams, and although they might not always be the most athletically gifted or skilled, their legacy stays with their teams in more ways than one. Senior Kelly Strychalski has played softball for the last 14 years and that, according to her, has to come to a close in her senior year at Chamblee. This year was a difficult one for the Lady Bulldogs. and Strychalski especially, because it was a rebuilding year, as many on the team were new to the sport. Strychalski had to be a consummate leader and instructor dedicated to the team, and she filled her role perfectly as the team was able to qualify for state for the third year in a row (Strychalski was on the team all three of the qualifying years). “In all honesty, it was really hard for me,” said Strychalski about her senior year on a rebuilding team. “I’m glad I helped my team by stepping up and playing pitcher. Even though it was a rough season, I couldn’t be more proud of my team.” Strychalski’s most memorable moment in her highschool career came in her junior year when she set the record for most runs-batted-in in a single inning against Lithonia. Past that, Strychalski just wants for her team to carry on her work ethic and to be remembered for her leadership. “I want to be remembered for my love of the game,” said Strychalski. “I always mix fun in with everything we do because I want everyone to enjoy being on the team and working hard.” Senior Amiri Banks was plagued this year by a condition (he prefers to call it a nuisance) called lymph edema, which causes swelling in his left foot, ankle, and leg. Despite this ailment, Banks, the only senior on the wrestling team, was a strong captain, and inspired others on his team through his own personal effort. “I gave 150 percent effort in my entire seasons and ignored physical limitations that might give someone reason
to question my ability to lead,” said Banks. “I explained that to my team that the list of acceptable excuses for failing yourself is very short, and personally, I have no regrets about what I might have been capable of without the hindrance. Everything happens for a reason.” Banks himself did not qualify for state, but his attitude inspired many other wrestlers to qualify, and Banks’s legacy on the team remains unquestioned. “Be mature and make thoughtful decisions. I’ve never cared if you lost, as long as you looked one percent shy of self-destruction in your energy and efforts to escape, not be pinned, or score,” said Banks in a final message to his team. “Work hard and don’t miss practice. Pay attention to Coach (Adam Winkler) and technique. Wrestling is worth it if you stay and care enough.” Another notable athlete and leader graduating this year is Suzanne Lechner. Lechner is the captain of the girls swimming team and led the team to the state competition this year. Lechner also had a significant individual accomplishment this year; at the county meet she won first place in the 100-backstroke (the girls placed third overall in the county). “I could not have asked for a better team this year,” said Lechner about the success. “I love to swim, and although it takes up a lot of time, it’s my favorite time of the year.” However, Lechner was not just a leader in the swimming pool. She organized many events outside of practices and meets to encourage what she thinks is most important: team unity. These events included a girls’ night at her house, where instead of swimming, the topics were much “lighter,” including discussions about classes and teenage life. For Lechner, cheering each other on and worrying less about winning and more about the team is most important. “I always try to help others before myself,” said Lechner. “Because we can only ever win as a team.” The last two senior athletes featured in this article, must, whether they like it or not, be featured together, as a pair. Nick and Brandon Chen, co-captains of the boys tennis team are both true leaders, and I personally, having been a
younger member on the team with them for the last three years, have learned much from them about what it means to be a leader. Neither of the Chens consider themselves the best on the team, and both players have played doubles their entire varsity tennis career. However, for them, that has been unimportant, all that weighs in is attitude. “It made me feel slightly inadequate at times and even undeserving of the title ‘Captain,’” said Brandon about his role on the team. “But I realized that skill is insignificant when it comes to leading and that being a role model in terms of character on and off the court is what will make the most impression on the other players.” The boys team has been successful all three years that the Chens have been on the team, and this year for the first time since 1999, the boys team advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. Both Brandon and Nick won clinching matches in the first round against Cass High School. “Despite our initial losing record, matches against the top teams taught us how to fight back with 100 percent and to make every point count,” said Nick. “So I really hope I’ve just been a good role model in setting up that mentality, and I attribute our success to the camaraderie of the team.” The two Chens fuel this camaraderie, and everyone on the team, including myself, will be sad to see them leave. But the impression they have left on the team and various individual players is everlasting, and has inspired leadership from the rest of the group. “Hopefully, I’ve made the impression of one who cares a lot about each individual player and not just my friends on the team,” said Brandon Chen. “I really tried my best to connect with the underclassmen to make them feel welcome to the family, just as the seniors did when I first joined. I strove to leave a legacy of community and union on top of dedication and love for the sport of tennis.” Both the Chens will be attending Georgia Tech in the fall, Strychalski will attend Georgia Southern, Lechner, the University of Chicago, and Banks, Cornell University.
Tennis Teams Advanced to the Second Round of State, Holmes Placed Third in Two Track Events by Alex Bragan The Chamblee tennis teams recently ended a superb season that was ultimately cut short in the second round of the state tournament. For the past three years, both teams have earned a berth to the state tournament, but this year both teams won their respective first-round matches, which has not happened since 1999 [for the boys] and 2001 [for the girls]. The boys finished 9-13, while the girls maintained a winning record of 14-7, no small feat in a region that features the likes of Marist and Dunwoody. Senior Natalie Chu and sophomore Claire Jirasevijinda both spoke candidly about the success of the year and the coherence and unity of the team. “There was a lot of team bonding,” said Chu. “I am very close to my partner [Marissa Persky], and I think that definitely helped us on the court.” Jirasevijinda further elaborated on the benefits of team spirit. “I would not doubt that our unity played a huge role in the way the season played out,” she said. “We did a lot of activities outside of school to help bond. We truly came together, and our captains did an impeccable job of helping us stay focused.” To qualify for state, the two squads had to finish in the top four at the region tournament. Both were able to finish in second place. Both teams faced Cass, the third seed from region seven, in the first round. Though mentally challenging, the Bulldogs defeated the Colonels 3-2. “Freshmen Hannah Rosen and Emma Anderson were the ones who secured the win for us,” said Chu. “They seem to have been the deciding factor in every match this year.”
The boys were led by strong play from junior Devaughn Bennett and senior cocaptains Nick and Brandon Chen. “I don’t think you can ever take any match for granted,” said Bennett, “But we definitely played better tennis. I was happy with the outcome.” The second round was not as forgiving as the first. The boys were matched up against Carrollton High School, the number one team from region five, while the girls battled it out against LaGrange High School. Despite both teams’ best efforts, Chamblee was unable to advance. Nonetheless, Chamblee tennis has a promising future ahead. Both teams will return five starters next season. Of the ten returners, three male players and one female player are seniors. From the court to the track, Chamblee has shined. The Bulldogs are also sending a member of the girls track team to compete in the state meet. Freshman Sydney
Holmes was Chamblee’s sole representative this season, after having breezed through state qualification. “It was not as competitive as I was expecting,” said Holmes. Even though only a freshman, Holmes finished in third place in the 100 meter hurdles and in the triple jump. Girls track coach Curtis Mattair believes that Holmes’ age is no factor. “You couldn’t really ask for a better person,” said Mattair. “She’s one of those athletes who is extremely driven. She gives one hundred percent in practice, and it definitely shows.”
Volume 86 Issue 8
Soccer Teams Finish Second in Region, But Fall in the First Round of State
by Alex Bragan As the regular season wound to an end, both of ChamOffensively, the team was led by senior striker Sade The boy’s team entered the state playoffs as second blee’s soccer teams prepared for tough, albeit possible, McMullen and sophomore forward Caroline Friedman. seed after a disheartening defeat at the hands of Marist in playoff runs. Combined with junior Trenae Ferrell, Chamblee had a strong the region finals. Starting the season with back-to-back losses against attack that did not fail to score this season. “It just looked like we weren’t playing as hard as them Northview and Lovett, the girls faced the formidable task The girls beat Carver 10-0 to advance to the region [Marist],” said junior captain Liam Ferguson. “I have of overcoming key tactical mistakes and creating chemistry. semi-finals, but narrowly lost to Grady on penalties. They confidence we are the better team, but the game just got They have since turned their season around, touting a 9-6 still, however, moved into the state playoffs as a third seed. away from us.” record. Engsberg was happy about the team’s berth. The boys had a successful season overall, in spite of Head coach Curtis Engsberg the many obstacles laid before attributes the team’s early losses them. to a lack of continuity. Three out of the team’s “We were trying to incor14 games were suspended or porate a lot of new players,” cancelled, denying them an he said. “With four or five new opportunity at a padded record, starters, it was a big task to try but nevertheless went a 6-4-4 . to get everybody on the same Many on the team agree that the page. We weren’t as solid as we ties easily could have been wins. should’ve been defensively, and “I don’t believe that any of it led to some bad goals being the games we drew were out scored on us.” of our reach,” said sophomore The week of March 11th, Cameron Haddad. “In fact, however, things began to turn I would say that they were around. Early in the week the our games to win. Sometimes girls beat Druid Hills (1-0), and frivolous mistakes can get in the later went on to steam roll Atway, but in every instance we lanta International School (2-0) outperformed our opponents.” and Landmark Christian (7-0). The boy’s team was led by It proved the beginning of a senior captain Julio Corona, five game winning streak that only who served as anchor in the center Junior Liam Ferguson (third from left) heads the ball in a game against Southeast Whitfield High School ended at the hands of the Marist of the pitch. The attack was speargirls team, who are currently first in the state. “To be honest, I am actually really excited about being headed by sophomores Jose “Chema” Perez and Darius “We really started to solidify in the back,” said Engsberg. the third seed,” he said. “Contrary to what it would seem, “Hammy” Rotnem, who scored a combined 17 goals. “We were only down by one to Marist in the 60th minute, in reality it provides us with probably the easiest (out of the On May 1st, the team took on Southeast Whitfield High and that was without any subs. Our girls were exhausted, three) paths to the championship.” as the 2 seed in the first round of the state playoffs. The but if we’d had any fresh legs, I think it would have been The team had confidence going into the tournament, but first 20 minutes saw the Bulldogs outplay their opponents, completely different. It just proved how much we were lost 7-4 to River Ridge. If nothing else, the girls can look but two chance goals knocked the wind out a promising capable of.” back on a fantastic season. Chamblee offense. The game ended 4-1 to SE Whitfield.
Sophomore Steamrolled Her Way to an Undefeated Season by Suzanne Lechner
The Chamblee girls tennis team recently made it through to the second round of the AAAA state playoffs aided in-part by sophomore Gabrielle Robinson. Robinson, who plays singles one was undefeated (17-0) this past season, beating even a nationally ranked Marist player. “It took a lot of patience,” said Robinson of her match against Marist. “I played her before in USTA [United States Tennis Association], so I had to be very strategic and very smart. I focused on every point.” Since freshman year when Robinson joined the team, she has been somewhat unusual. “She didn’t come to tryouts,” said current team captain Natalie Chu. “We heard rumors about a really good freshman player, but she had to make arrangements with Coach Smith because she had private lessons on the days of tryouts.” Robinson made the team and has been playing in the singles one position for Chamblee ever since. When she is not practicing with Chamblee, she trains at a USTA
location where she can play against opponents of five different skill levels.
Sophomore Gabrielle Robinson
Like many other young tennis players, Robinson was inspired to start playing tennis by Serena Williams. “I was watching Serena on TV and I thought ‘I can do that too’,” said Robinson. Robinson feels like she has gotten better over the past year but would like to make it to the third round of the state tournament next year, and for that, she needs the team as well. “I was very excited that we made it to the second round this year,” said Robinson. “We lost in the first round last year, so this is a huge improvement.” Robinson works not only to make herself better but also to try and help improve the team in any way she can. “She’s very good at motivating people spirit-wise. She will shout words of encouragement or tips like ‘move your feet’ when she is playing next to someone,” said Chu. “Over spring break she texted me asking if we could get together to hit some balls at the tennis courts, and we were able to get some girls together to practice.”
Test Your Game: How good is your CCHS spring sports IQ? Match the coach to his or her respective team a) JV Girls Soccer b) Varsity Baseball c) JV Boys Soccer d) Golf e) JV Baseball f) Varsity Boys Soccer g) Track h) Tennis i) Varsity Girls Soccer
1-3 correct: Junior Varsity 4-5 correct: Varsity 6-8 correct: Pro Athlete 9-10 correct: Tom Brady Answers: 1d, 2h, 3f, 4i, 5c, 6a, 7b, 8e, 9&10g
1. Kurt Koeplin 2. Chris Smith 3. Uwe Neuhaus 4. Curtis Engsberg 5. Adam Winkler 6. Adrienne Keathley 7. Brian Ely 8. Alan Loper 9. Tonya Mitchell 10. Teddy Carter
Dressing the Part by Maddy Wetterhall Whether you are at the am not the type of person gym, at a sporting event, or who will try on my athletic just in your neighborhood, gear and spend time before you see people exercising deciding on what to wear in all different types of before every practice, but “get-ups”. when I go to my closet to There are the bum-in- grab something, the only spired outfits, where the goal in my mind is to find athlete wears just an old tee something comfortable, and a pair of baggy sweats and, to me, something that is or worn shorts. comfortable just so happens Others may choose to to be an outfit that matches. save time by not changComfortable clothing is ing out of “When you are comfortable, essential for their street working out. you are confident.” clothes and For some, coupling jeans with a pair that may mean loose-fitting of sneakers. attire; for others, it may You may see the Nike mean the magic stretch of model, who wears brand spandex. new, perfectly matched atWhen you are comforttire from head to foot, or able, you are confident, and the housewife, who struts confidence makes a differaround in her pristine, fitted ence. When two athletes sweat suit. with the same training and For some, what you personal record face off, wear to exercise in says the one who is confident just as much about your skill and believes in himself will level as your performance always prevail. does. When practicing for Many believe that you game day, it is important to have to look the part to be practice every part of your the part. performance—including the When it comes to pick- confidence you will bring ing out my athletic clothes, with you to the competition. I make sure my outfits Whether it be short match—they do not have shorts, long shorts, skorts to match from head-to-toe, or sweats, cotton tees or dribut I will not wear colors fit fabrics, there is an option that clash. out there for everyone—you I had never really no- just have to find something ticed that habit until a team- practical that fits your permate of mine asked me if sonality or style best and I matched on purpose. I makes you feel comfortable.
Volume 86 Issue 8
Revenge of the Mamba Some experts say that one player cannot change a team’s destiny. Television shows and sports radio hosts are always trying to play the role of the expert to decide which player could change a team’s destiny. The “one player away” motif is always a popular one, but rarely is a team ever that close, even if they are on the verge of greatness. In the 1984 NBA draft, the Portland Trailblazers picked Sam Bowie and passed on a player named Michael Jordan. Infamously and closer to home, general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, Billy Knight, passed on Chris Paul to take forward Marvin Williams. Jeff Teague and now Devin Harris have worked out for the Hawks, but imagine what might have been had Chris Paul been the face of the Hawks. In 1996, the Charlotte Hornets selected Kobe Bryant with the 13th overall pick. Under the guidance of Jerry West, whose likeness is used for the NBA logo, the Lakers shipped Vlade Divac to the Hornets in exchange for the rights to Bryant. Careful scouting by one of the NBA’s greats, a draft pick, and a trade between two teams would change the face of both franchises forever. Kobe Bryant began his playing career at Lower Merion High School where he started as a freshman and finished his career at Southeastern Pennsylvania High School as the all- time leading scorer passing the great Wilt Chamberlain. He was heavily recruited by college basketball juggernaut Duke and North Carolina, but Bryant decided to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Garnett, and became only the 6th to go straight to the pros at the age of 17. Kobe has said in many of his interviews, many years later that if he had decided to go to college, it would have been to enroll at Duke. Although, I am sure Kobe would have been another example of a “one and done” college player a la Kevin Durant; I can only imagine the March Madness run Duke could have had with Bryant. Kobe Bryant was the youngest person in the league during the 1996 NBA season, and came off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant won the NBA Slam Dunk contest at the age of 18 making him five years younger than MJ when he won it at the age of 24. The future of the Lakers was forever changed when the Yoda of the NBA, Phil Jackson, decided to return to coaching and implemented his famous triangle offense. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal returned the Lakers to prominence from 1996 to 2004. Their time together was marked by winning streaks as well as an NBA three peat of championships. Little by little the egos of this dynasty began to slowly unravel despite the magic of the Zen Master.
by Todd Spearman O’Neal felt threatened by Kobe announcing he didn’t plan on “babysitting the rookie”, which set the negative tone for their relationship from the start. Despite Kobe’s success as a scorer, many of his own teammates labeled him as a “selfish player” on a team that was initially considered to be O’Neal’s Lakers. Kobe often voiced his displeasure with O’Neal, when he would report to training camp “fat and out of shape” undermining the cold laser like focus of the younger Bryant. In my opinion, Kobe always had a plan that the Lakers would eventually be his team, but it makes me wonder what might have been had Kobe not run Shaq and Phil Jackson out of town. He would destroy it if he had to, and later, remake it in his image if that was what it took. Phil Jackson went on to label Kobe as “uncoachable” at times in his book. People always want to use the cliché “winning solves everything”, but I believe, deep down, no one wants to permanently play the Robin to someone’s Batman. When off-season accusations and then charges of rape by Bryant in Colorado arose, reportedly, none of his teammates came to his defense. The civil case against his accuser was later settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money, but that didn’t stop the jettison of many of Kobe’s sponsors and clean image. In O’Neal’s recently published book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, he blames the rape accusations against Kobe for tearing the Lakers apart on their quest to a fourth title. Shaq believed Kobe disrespected him for not showing up at his wedding, and for not inviting him to Kobe’s own wedding after the debacle in Colorado. Doc Rivers said it best when he said that the feud was “one of the greatest travesties in professional basketball”, and he believed they probably could have gone onto win at least five championships had they set aside their differences and just played basketball. When the dust finally settled, and it was truly Kobe’s team, he was burdened by the albatross of not having the Big Aristotle or the Zen Master to help him. Critics often wondered could he truly win another championship without a true superstar. Kobe would go on to reinvent himself as “The Black Mamba” shedding his number 8 jersey for his old high school number, 24. He would tattoo his arms, and shave off his signature blown out hair style. Bryant sometimes tried to rely on his teammates, other times he would become a scoring machine trying to win games on his own, once scoring 81 insane points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. With the help of players like Lamar Odom, and Derek Fisher, he was finally
able to win an NBA Championship in the 2008-2009 by reuniting with Phil Jackson and returning to the triangle offense. Fast forward to the present with a revolving door of coaches, a cast of players that doesn’t fit well together, and now a torn Achilles tendon that has left people wondering have we seen the last of the deadly “Mamba”. The typical injury, according to most doctors, takes six to nine months, but you have to wonder what would be left of the team. Everyone figured that the Lakers on paper would be more than able to challenge the Heat during the summer for NBA supremacy, but this perception has never translated into the reality of championship caliber team ready to make a run. The team isn’t getting any younger, and their biggest acquisition, Dwight Howard, seems to be having second thoughts about being a part of Los Angeles all together. Even though many people criticized the way LeBron left Cleveland in the lurch, he was smart enough to know that for his own legacy that he couldn’t do it alone, and joined forces with Dwayne Wayne in a new city. Durant has Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City to ensure that the Thunder have a legitimate shot every year. Will Kobe find another star to join forces with him to tie “His Airness” for a sixth championship, or will he have to leave the city of Angels for the sake of his own legacy? “The Mamba” will return to the court someday, and have his revenge on those who doubted his return, but eventually he will be forced to face his own mortality as an athlete. In the words of the great Charles Barkley who played sixteen years without winning an NBA championship, unfortunately, for all of us “Father Time is undefeated”.
Students Witness Wide Range of Coaches’ Personalities by Kobi Warner A student may have a teacher who also to work hard at every practice.” coaches a sport and only knows how that Then there are the male teachers, each teacher behaves in school. But students will displaying a trait that separates them from offer be surprised about how a teacher’s acthe rest. tions in the classroom differ from theirs on Curtis Mattair is a teacher who stops at the field nothing to make sure his athletes on the track A good example of a teacher students beteam and the football team are well trained lieve acts differently in class and on the field and ready for everything. is eleventh grade teacher Adrienne Keathley. “Coach Mattair is serious, dedicated, and “She is really nice and understanding,” energetic,” said junior Nelson Raphael. “He said junior Alejandra Perez. “She usually tries pushes us a lot. He is realistic. He is fair. He to connect her lectures with modern day life.” has an open mind about serious problems.” While Keathley is a very productive Mattair is also known for displaying this teacher in the classroom, she turns into an type of personality in the classroom. even more serious coach and makes sure Lastly, one of the most talked about she pressures players to work hard on her classes that seniors love to take every year, softball team. AP Psychology, has a teacher who, as well “She has been a perfect fit for the softball as Mattair, knows how to bring discipline to team. She is just the coach we needed,” said the field while still showing off his strong senior Kelly Strychalski. “Every year since teaching attributes in the classroom. she’s been here, we have made it to the state Kurt Koeplin is known for his dynamic playoffs. She brings out the best in us.” voice, but many do not know about his Band director and track coach Tonya coaching style. Mitchell, however, displays the same traits “He is really nice,” said senior Kailyn in the classroom as she does on the track. LaPorte. “He seems kind of gruff because Mitchell is an all-around hard worker, he has a gravely voice, but he is funny and who does not accept even the slightest bit of nice. A typical day with him includes a PowRoosevelt Weatherly and Kurt Koeplin react during a basketball game tardiness in her presence. erPoint presentation for the first half of class “She is a cool teacher most of the time as and either an activity or a video that is related best. She can be funny a lot of times, but also very serious.” long as you do not talk,” said sophomore Jordan Whittle. to psychology.” Mitchell even supports the statement that she expects “She likes it when you play your music and show up to only the best from her athletes. Koeplin is also as encouraging and active in golf as he class on time.” is in his classroom. “In band, I do not show any sign of being a pushover,” Mitchell does not change her mood when it is time to said Mitchell. “I still make sure students are doing what “Coach Koeplin has a bunch of practices, and the playbecome a coach. needs to be done, but I do not expect as much hard work as ers get good one-on-one time with him,” said junior Cathy “Coach Mitchell is an amazing coach,” said junior An- I do on the track. The team knows that I will only accept Yang. “If he notices somebody struggling, he’ll go over and gelo Holmes. “She is a hard and dedicated worker on the their very best and hardest work and know to come ready give them some tips and pointers.” track. When it comes to practice, she expects only your very
Staff Editors in Chief Mollie Simon Suzanne Lechner
News -Maddy Wetterhall Features - Liya Mammo
Alex Bragan Kunal Goel Sasha Holton Solina Jean-Louis Emily Kandzierski Sarah Magee Dan Richardson Kobi Warner
The Blue and Gold accepts and encourages all signed letters and other submissions but reserves the right to edit such submissions for size and content. The Blue and Gold exists to serve the needs of the Chamblee High School student body and therefore is a forum for free expression. The opinions and views expressed within the Blue and Gold do not necessarily reflect the views of the faculty and staff of Chamblee High School or DeKalb County. The views expressed in all signed articles represent the views of the author only. Likewise, all unsigned articles represent only the views of the staff and editorial board of the Blue and Gold and in no way reflect upon the views, opinions, or beliefs of Chamblee High School, its faculty, staff, or students or DeKalb County, or any agent or affiliation thereof.
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The Perils and Joys of Junior Year by Solina Jean-Louis
Sophomores, congratulations on making it this far! If you are reading this, you have taken many End of Course Tests, Advanced Placement Exams, and are about to take finals. Then, when those few hectic weeks are over, you will finally be a junior! You have dreamed about it for weeks and want nothing more than to be an upperclassman. Freshman year you were aware of your place on the bottom of the food chain; but, as a sophomore, you were in that awkward stage of wanting more freedom but not really getting it. Now, though, you are about to be towards the top of the food chain; the middle stage is over! Junior year, as you probably have heard, can be tons of fun. You, or some of your friends, can finally drive and will most likely get some more freedom from your parents. You might hardly be home on the weekends except to sleep. You will gain appreciation for your friends and might hang out with them more often. With all the fun though, there comes the responsibility of school. Before I begin, I want you to know that everything I talk about in this article is from first person experiences or the experiences of friends. I am not going to sugarcoat it: junior year can absolutely suck. With APs, harder classes, and an extremely heavy workload, you
will want to give up. You will feel than to take five and not be able to like you are dying, and will want get decent grades in any of them. to just stay home and cry. Remember that junior year is I would like to begin with AP the year that colleges look most classes. Although there are some closely at. I know you have probpeople who are not interested in ably heard it a million times, but APs, I would advise you to take at it really is true. Push yourself, but least one. Colleges want to see that not too hard. you pushed yourself. If you feel There will be crying, there will like you are not capable of taking be breakdowns, but you know that extremely hard classes, try taking if you have those breakdowns, you a rumored really care “easier” and “There will be crying, about doing more fun job. there will be breakdowns, aDogood AP such as not let AP human but you know that if you them scare geography. you—evhave those breakdowns, Watch out eryone is you really care about though, behaving cause most them. You doing a good job.” colleges are not will not accept this class for credit. alone. If you would like to push Let yourself cry, but do not yourself, try taking notably more use all of your energy negatively. difficult APs such as AP US His- Take that energy and use it to tory or AP English Language. Do push through your homework or not, I repeat, do not take a class studying. you are not interested in at all just Do not focus only on school. because you have heard it will earn Join clubs, run for leadership posiyou an easy A. tions in those clubs, or try out for In most instances, when you a sports team. Do things on the hear that an AP class in an easy A, weekends with your friends (after it is probably not the truth. There- you have studied of course). fore, if you are not a person who is Set aside designated time each really good at math or science, do weekend for homework and do not not take AP Physics. If you are not make plans in that time frame. For someone interested in psychology me, it was Sunday morning and do not take AP Psychology. afternoon (but who makes plans on On the other hand, do not take Sunday mornings anyway, right?) more APs than you really think Do not forget the SAT! you can handle. It is better to take This year, we had a free one, fewer and be able to focus on them and I am not sure if you all will
next year, but make sure you take it at least once. If the SAT is not for you, try the ACT. Most colleges accept either one, without much preference for one over the other. Although there are many stresses that come along with junior year, there are some perks. First off, no one really boos you at pep rallies, and you can actually get at the front of the mosh pit at football games. Last but not least, you are getting closer to applying for colleges. It is perfectly okay to not know what you want to do in college, but start looking online at schools or make a list to figure out exactly what you want in a school. If possible, spend at least part of your spring or summer break on college tours. Tours are important before you apply to a school because you might end up totally hating a school you thought you loved or vise versa. Enjoy your summer! Do not forget that summer homework though. Trust me, you will not get away with it if you wait until the last minute or choose not to do it at all. You will get off to a bad start and will feel terrible. Personally, though junior year was tough at times, it was extremely fun. It was definitely the most fun I have had in high school so far. Enjoy your junior year, and remember: it is okay to make mistakes, so try your best to not stress out over them.
Update Required for Outdated Awards Ceremonies by Suzanne Lechner ‘Tis the season to be jolly because the academic plaques have been ordered and are waiting to be passed out to all of the good little students-if they can manage to stay awake during the awards ceremonies. It is vital, of course, to recognize academic achievement on an equal level with athletic achievement, but most will admit that the pomp and circumstance can be drawn on for too long, especially when it happens to be on a school night and the students being recognized have hours of homework remaining. Instead, we could revamp the ceremonies to be more efficient so parents, students, and teachers are all content and their purpose is fulfilled. I, as someone who has now been to three high school awards ceremonies, recommend cutting out recognition for perfect atten-
dance because ironically, many of those students do not show up come recognition night. That would eliminate a lot of extra name-announcing and awkward silences as the audience and announcers wait to see if that student actually did show up. All team awards-math team, Science Olympiad, Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS)should also be cut out. Bluntly put, they are also teams, and if they want to recognize a specific group of students, they should host their own awards ceremonies like sports
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Volume 86, Issue 8
do with banquets. Then, we should set up a giant, red digital clock on the far side of the gym across from the podium, so teachers giving speeches can see it. Each teacher should be limited to a minute maximum speech for every award. Someone trustworthy should be given a buzzer connected to an alarm, and if a teacher goes over the minute allotment, the audience member will set the alarm ringing and the teacher will be forced to leave the podium. This should be an easy rule to instate because most teachers
would prefer the festivities to be over so that they can go back to grading or spending time with their families. The rule would be geared more towards teachers who have competitions for longest speech or write essays listing every accomplishment of their favorite students-from winning state championships to waking up and coming to school in the morning. We all know those kinds of speakers, have heard those speakers, and dread seeing them walk anywhere within ten feet of a podium. The awards ceremony itself should also be set to finish within a certain time and end at that time- something reasonable like one hour. That way, students can get the recognition they rightly deserve, but they and their parents and teachers are not using so much valuable time.
Editorials Issues of Race and Economic Status Divide Opinions on Scholarships
Volume 86, Issue 8
by Kunal Goel
For seniors preparing to graduate, the only thing that comes close to matching the joy of receiving a college acceptance letter is being awarded a scholarship. Getting into college is one step, paying for it is another entirely . The weight that scholarships pose in
the minds of seniors brings up interesting questions about how scholarships should be awarded, the basis for a scholarship award, and whom scholarships should be awarded to, similar to controversial issues such as affirmative action and financial aid. In the dictionary, a scholarship is defined as a grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement. Excluding the ambiguity of “other achievement,” this definition suggests that scholarships are based purely on merit; race and background play seemingly no part in the decision-
making process. Unfortunately, quite a few seniors will concur that this is not the way scholarships function today. There are black, Indian, Asian, and other minority organizations that award scholarships only to those highachieving of a certain race (whites tend to be noticeably excluded from these race-specific groups). Almost all also have a financial aspect written somewhere in the scholarship; perhaps those who are poorer receive more money than those who are richer, or perhaps the rich are entirely left out of the decision-making process. Some might argue that this is completely justified and even obvious- poorer families have fewer resources to work with, and therefore a smaller chance of excelling in the classroom. The question of race is trickier to justify, but the overall truth is that giving race a role in the scholarship decision-making process gives some minorities a chance to a higher-class educated culture, instead of falling back to a culture that is not as sophisticated (there is also the argument for diversity, which is admirable, but not as important in the mind of scholarship-givers). However, is the favoritism based on finance really justified? Take a simple example using the Hope Scholarship in Georgia, and suppose that the Hope Scholarship has a financial aspect to it, meaning that the poor receive more than the rich. A wealthy family (President Obama now defines this as any family making $250,000 or more) has a son applying for college, and he is denied the Hope Scholarship because of his wealth. Four years later, the family has paid a quarter of a million dollars to put their son through college and has been reduced to a middle-class, if not poor family, simply because of financial “discrimination.” A hard-working family that earned their money has suddenly been reduced substantially, whereas a family that was unable to
make as much money is receiving an almost free ticket to college through the scholarship and will likely move up the social ladder, regardless of the fact that the achievements of the students were the same (the richer family’s son may have even been better). “Theoretically, I think colleges should disregard any form of collectivism whatsoever and treat every applicant as an individual, rather than a member of some group arbitrarily given preference,” said Daniel Hanfelt, a senior who will be attending Emory at Oxford College in the fall (Daniel is receiving a full courtesy discount because his father works at Emory). “But when it comes to leveling out privilege, it’s pretty racist to classify certain races with income, as the predominant determination of educational ‘privilege’ is income.” Even seniors who are receiving major scholarships are also agreeing that the system has flaws. “I think standards for the poor should be lower due to less resources and education,” said a senior who preferred to remain anonymous. This particular senior won the Posse scholarship this year, and has tuition to college fully paid for. “But it’s true that although the Posse scholarships advertises purely merit, it definitely is trying to reach out to the poor and to minorities.” It is interesting to note that, according to this source, in the last four years, all 12 winners of the Posse Scholarship from Chamblee have been minorities. Although there are certainly logical, and even constitutional flaws in basing scholarships on socioeconomic status, most seniors interviewed had the consensus that there should be a socioeconomic factor. However, race was a much more controversial and contentious issue. “Race is irrelevant; black people can have enough money to go to school on
their own or they can not; same for white people,” said senior Conner Hart. “Scholarships are about opportunities, not political correctness.” History also helps explain the argument. Affirmative action based on race really began with quotas: colleges were racist, and were discriminating against blacks in education. The government forced these universities to admit a certain number of blacks, and that has now developed to become affirmative action. However, it is clear that the use of this is now in question, and most seniors would agree that a balanced approach to solving the controversy would probably exclude race as a factor. On the other hand, due to differences in equitability, to be truly equal, socioeconomic status must be a factor. The Hope Scholarship is probably one of the more interesting scholarships to monitor. Right now it is based purely on grade point average, but it is quickly losing money, and the installation of a financial aspect seems more likely. Along with this will come arguments from the rich, and, of course, much the silent majority: the middle-class. In general though, no one disagrees that more money should be allocated towards scholarships, and that the range of scholarships should be broadened. “I believe that people deserve scholarships based on any combo of worthiness such as: academics, financial, racial, or even social situation relative to the effort put in their future, athletics, character, merit, progress and active level in organizations, success in any ways outside of school, unique talent or vision, or even just a plain old brilliant essay. And these are just a few options,” said senior Amiri Banks, who will attend Cornell University in the fall, and received the Gates Scholarship.
Escape from the Poverty Trap by Kobi Warner
Atlanta has become a thriving city that is home to major corporations such as Coca-Cola and Delta. One must think that with companies like these in Atlanta students should be getting jobs left and right. This may be true for kids who are privileged enough to go to a magnet or private school with the top educators in the state. But, there are also kids who are stuck in the poverty trap, who, like many before them, can not afford higher education and just repeat the cycle. The poverty trap in the black community can be described as simply as the water cycle. It all starts with a poor, black family. If a dad and a mom exist, they have no time for their kids and rub off the wrong influence on their children. These children get involved in drugs and gangs, have children of their own, and then the cycle starts again. I believe that the only way to discontinue this cycle is to stop it at the source as early as possible. There is a school in DeKalb County called the DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts (DESA), the school that I used to attend. Though I did not come from a poverty trap type of community, I met kids who did. DESA is well known for being a performing arts school that gets their students focused on careers earlier on in life. They incorporate music with life lessons and dance with emotions to give kids an outlet to release anger from conflicts occurring at home or in the community. A huge stereotype that tends to be placed with kids in the poverty trap is that sports are the only way for the kids to become successful because they are useless in everything else they do. Instead of trying to push the idea aside, DESA gives students the chance to love what
they are passionate about, whether it is football, basketball, even dancing, or singing. If that is what will get poverty trapped kids off the streets and off drugs, then we should incorporate that into the education standard. The problem with society is that it is teaching kids to forget their dreams. If kids are allowed to dream big and not worry about growing up to be a drug dealer on the same street corner they used to walk by as a kid, then the poverty trap will become non-existent. Neighborhoods that have
places like DESA to raise their kin to become lawyers and businessmen and women will naturally follow in example. The best part of the whole plan is that there is no need for million dollar buildings or facilities to teach the DESA ideal, just the type of staff with the passion to want to do the job on an everyday basis knowing that their contribution to the community will once and for all break the poverty trap cycle.
Volume 86, Issue 8
About That Word “Typical”
Response to Hampton McDonald’s April Letter to the Editor by Justin T. Henderson A recent editorial by a contemporary of mine made the claim that it is our responsibility to ‘grasp the variety within the people.’ As one who knows firsthand the damaging consequences of widespread ignorance, I couldn’t agree more with this statement. What I don’t agree with is the assumption that the majority of the school thinks this way. I can’t deny that there are people who hold this deplorable point of view; however, I’m not cynical enough to believe that the majority of students at Chamblee Charter High School do. We don’t stereotype people out of a lack of respect, but more so a lack of exposure. I attended L.O. Kimberly Elementary, off Cambellton Road, from second to fifth grades and Lithonia Middle for sixth. Before I moved to Henderson Middle School, in 7th grade, I had never had a white person in my class or a white teacher. I had always been the smartest student in my classes, but I assumed that when I got to Henderson I’d be sitting in classes between Jimmy Neutron and Stephen Hawking. The students I envisioned listened to country music and
played Polo at the country club on the weekends. I had little prior exposure to white people, outside of television and movies, so I used my ‘knowledge’ to create what I believed were realistic expectations. When I met white classmates, who listened to the same music as me, had similar hobbies as me, and had similar intellectual capability, I was pleasantly surprised. The exposure to many people of different cultures and races is what I believe makes Chamblee, the school and the city, unique. You shouldn’t naturally make generalizations about the character of people of any race because it can be instantly disproven. For example, if you were to watch the large group of people ‘flocking like the great migration’, you’d miss the black people sprinting in the other direction to make sure they’re not late for their quiz in Advanced Placement United States History. If someone were to judge me, I’d want it to be ‘solely based on my behavior’, or, as a greater orator than I put it; based not on the color of my skin but the content of my character. I’d rather someone call me an Oreo because I don’t
exhibit the ‘voluminous’ behavior that you expect from me because of my pigment, than call me the quintessential African-American boy just because I’m wearing a hoodie and Jordan’s. If you say that someone is an ‘invalid’ make sure it’s because they have no interest in school or learning, and not just because they look like the type of person who ‘sells illicit substances in their spare time.’ Say that I don’t belong because I can’t shoot a basketball, because when we are able to see past barriers that are put up between us, artificial or natural, we can learn to coexist much better. Once again, I do agree that we must look past stereotypes that are based solely on perception. However, it would be foolish to over exaggerate the magnitude of the problem here at Chamblee. This was once a school where I wouldn’t be stereotyped by my white classmates because I wouldn’t be allowed to attend and have white classmates in the first place. Let’s not pretend that silently judging one another has set us back to before Rosa Parks’ time.
Want to weigh in?
Letter to the Editor
Fight for the Top – No Time to be Held Back by Hampton S. McDonald In my own opinion, recent times have been characterized by sub-standard academic goals and expectations and thus also lackluster performance. The way in which we set minimums and requirements has been a broken system with minimal efficacy for those in need of academic betterment and grossly counterintuitive for the achieving. Although largely concentrated in the failure of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), societal disconnects partly also exacerbate these issues. Our generation has a shocking lack of interest for knowledge and learning and generally fails to think globally and long-term. People simply do not understand the imminent challenges posed by their German, Chinese, and Indian counterparts (to name a few). Many do not and sadly cannot grasp the permanent value of an education; they would work more diligently if that were not the case. On the other hand, teachers, parents, and mentors either allow upcoming persons to fall through the cracks or fail to incentivize and
prove the advantages of applying oneself academically. Therefore, students too often decide against work and even the mildest level of mental stress, as there exists to them no reason to do so. Therewith accompanies the gravitation towards the more persuasive groups of hooligans, whose shenanigans terrorize and inhibit schools nationwide. Yet, according to law, said hooligans, who are the very ones who promote underperformance in their respective schools, have the inalienable right to transfer to a more well-progressing institution without demonstrating any merit (i.e. Redan and Lithonia to Dunwoody and Lakeside, and formerly to Chamblee). Such people for the most part merely take their actions with them and bring down the abilities and successes of the better institutions. Districts have complained publically about the ample negative effects (such as uneven population distribution) of this method. Only when a student shows a work ethic and basic goals should he or she be allowed into another
school. That then, however, poses the task of promoting such qualities. Firstly, there can be no further hand-holding and appeasement. There is no “trying your best”; you win or you do not in the world. There may not be any continued “bending of the rules”. You either met the requirement, or you did not. If not, it is on you and no one else. You will not get an award and you sure as hell will never get a paycheck for trying. As previously stated, we have got stiff competition to beat in this globalized modern marketplace. We have to want more, we have to expect more, and above all we must demand more from our students. We, the United States of America must succeed; failure is not an option. Excuses are a non-starter. Those who refuse to keep up must be left to fall very far to a hard rocky bottom. Our mission here is to soar; we do not have time for dead weight.
Some Favor Trailers Over Standard Classrooms A two-year anniversary is quickly approaching for the Instructional Village.Throughout its time here at Chamblee Charter High School, the Village has roused some very strong opinions. Surprisingly, not all of these opinions are negative. There are people that see past the trailers’ innumerable flaws and find little aspects that make trailer life worthwhile. One of those positives characteristics is the sense of freedom that comes with the wide spacing and the wide open skies visible in the Instructional Village. Classrooms may be loud, movies may be watched, and unorthodox methods of teaching may be pursued without the constant threat of administrator intervention. Besides the privacy afforded by the size of the Village, one of the most popular plus sides of trailer living for teachers comes in the form of air conditioning and heating. “The location of a classroom can totally change the mood of a class,” said junior Alejandra Perez. “A class in the building can still be fun but in a different, more structured way, while classes out in the trailers create weird and unique memories.” Teachers in the building, and in some new buildings across DeKalb County, suffer alongside the students from the erratic and seemingly uncontrollable central air and central heating controlled by the county. The trailers on the other hand afford them some control in how comfortable teachers are going to be during their day. “On nice days when the sun is out and it’s warm, it’s nice to be able to open all the windows and doors and let a breeze roll through,” said sophomore world literature teacher Brett Belcher.
by Dan Richardson But while some see the air conditioning units as a beacon of control, others see them as launching points for respiratory disease. “My trailers filter has actually fallen out, and it just kicks out dust and dirt when it cools my room,” said French teacher Sundee Jones, who was out for over two weeks after suffering a severe case of the flu and walking pneumonia. Opponents of trailer criticism say that blame should not be put on the trailers but on the air conditioners themselves. One of the most criticized aspects of the trailers is the awkward layout. The long and narrow space makes it very hard for any classroom set up, but the teacher’s desk usually has to be placed on the side of the room with specific outlets for phones which minimizes the freedom to organize the classroom further. Short of reconstruction of the trailer, there is nothing really that teachers and students can do about this predicament. It is manageable in classrooms that do not rely heavily on using the whiteboard, but in math and language classes, this can prove a challenging burden. “It took some time to find the best way to operate in this windowless modular but after
many arrangements and tests, I believe I have found the best way to teach in here,” said freshman social studies teacher Jeremy Karassik. “It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of work, but at least I’m not in one of those shotgun-style trailers.” While some teachers and students will welcome the new building with open arms, some will be hesitant to relinquish the control and freedom afforded to them by these mobile classrooms.
Volume 86, Issue 8
Life Through a Lens
Photo of “Caveman” by senior Zachary McKoon For someone who just last year did not even own a camera, senior Zachary McKoon has definitely made a name for himself as a well-accomplished photographer, inside as well as outside of the classroom. McKoon signed up to take Advanced Placement photography, which is taught by Angela Georges, without having any prior knowledge of photography or taking the prerequisite, visual arts.
by Maddy Wetterhall “I liked Ms. Georges a lot,” said McKoon. “We were on the same brainwave. I’d eat lunch in her room with friends, and she’d be sitting at her desk and hear everything we were talking about. Whenever anyone said something a little inappropriate or weird, I’d look at Ms. Georges and we’d have this mutual thought.” In order to take a photography class, a student must first take a visual arts class. Exceptions can, however, be made for those who are recommended by a teacher or submit a portfolio of work. “Ms. Georges and I were on good terms,” said McKoon. “She said that when she lets people in, it is either going to be a hit or a miss.” McKoon was a hit. In the Chili Cook-off earlier this year, his piece was awarded Best in Show. Another one of his photographs was printed and placed in a large frame and was the grand prize presented to the Chili Cook-off winner. “I know I have an eye for aesthetically pleasing things,” said McKoon. “When things don’t match up right, I’m kind of OCD about that and I just have to fix it. I feel like that’s a good match for photography.” Outside of the classroom, McKoon has competed in various photo competitions. “I’m a last minute person—anyone will tell you that,” said McKoon. “If I have the time and remember it [the competition], I will do it like the day before I have to submit it.” In the Scholastic Art and Writing contest for the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), McKoon was awarded a gold key. Gold and silver keys recognize certain pieces as either first place or second place material, respectively. In another competition, the PACE Academy Georgia Photo Exhibition, McKoon entered a series of three photographs, taken in downtown Atlanta, into the photojournalism category. McKoon and a friend were walking when a woman approached them asking for money. After getting permission
to take photographs of the woman, two other homeless men approached them and began posing for the camera. “I told them I wanted the real stuff,” said McKoon. “I wanted real people in urban society, not just posed fluff.” One of the men, known as Caveman, invited McKoon into a nearby run-down building. Caveman warned McKoon of drug use and other illegal activity that normally takes place in the building. “I felt sincerity from him,” said McKoon. “I thought he was being honest when he told me what was going on in the building and that the people in there were nice and friendly, so I decided to just peer inside.” Caveman and another homeless man were sitting just inside the door. McKoon asked about Caveman’s life before the streets of Atlanta. “It was a very emotional story,” said McKoon. “Caveman told me about his wife Cecile of 15 years, who was murdered by a truck driver in the small west Georgia town he used to live in. The man got away with one year in prison with parole. Caveman said that for months afterwards, he would wake up either with a gun in his mouth ready to paint the wall with his brains or on the lawn of the murderer’s house, pointing the gun in his direction. But he wasn’t ready to die, and he didn’t want to go to jail, so he left that town for a life of seclusion in the streets of Atlanta.” Caveman said that drugs keep his mind off the matter. From a safe distance away, McKoon watched and photographed him as he injected heroin into his leg. After submitting the photos to the exhibit, the director told McKoon that they were excellent images. Later on, however, Georges pulled the photo of Caveman using the heroin from the competition. “The big issue is censorship,” said McKoon. “The fact that I’m in high school changes things. I’m putting real events out there in the public eye, and I feel like that’s what art is about. It is about expression and showing a different side of things. It’s exposure.”
Substitutes Travel from Different Schools to Different Countries by Mollie Simon
On a normal day at Chamblee, a student passes the time from 8:15 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. under the instruction of the same seven teachers whose names are on his or her schedule. All of the planets are thusly aligned. On a not-so-normal day, there can be a blip in the system, a planet runs awry, and the student finds himself in the classroom with a substitute teacher. Just as students get sick, have doctor’s appointments or need to attend the weddings of their fourth cousin three times removed, teachers too must sometimes miss days of school. When they do, “subs” take charge of the classroom and implement the sub plans for the class—from completing worksheets to administering tests to playing films. Unlike with teachers though, students generally know little about their subs, save for their faces and names—many of which are recognizable from middle school years. The Blue & Gold hopes to change that though, with a new segment on getting to know the subs who frequent Chamblee’s classrooms—starting with tuba player Sherwood Thomas. World Traveler Sherwood Thomas Thomas subs at Chamblee Middle, Chamblee High, Sequoyah Middle, Cross Keys High, Peachtree Middle, Dunwoody High, Henderson Middle, Lakeside High and Druid Hills High, but he does have preferences among the schools. “I really like Chamblee,” said Thomas. “If I could do Chamblee every day, I would.” While he may hold the title of substitute teacher today, it has actually been a second career for Thomas. Originally from Columbia, Georgia, Thomas went to the University of Florida on a band scholarship for tuba. “I did the marching band, the concert band, and the basketball pep band, because when you are on a scholarship, you have to do whatever comes up,” said Thomas, who enjoyed his time at the university. After graduation, Thomas moved to Atlanta and worked with an insurance company. He then got a job with Southern Bell—which is now part of AT&T—and worked there for 30 years. Today, Thomas is retired, but he chooses to sub in part for the unpredictability of the job. “Being a substitute teacher is a good job, and it is an interesting job. It has variety, and it is something mentally
stimulating every day,” said Thomas. Working as a sub also gives Thomas the chance the save money for one of his hobbies—traveling the world. “I like to travel, so this gives me money and time off to do that, so it is a good combination,” said Thomas. “I went to Greece last spring break, and that was a lot of fun, and this spring break we [him and his son] went to Egypt.” Despite the time he spends across the globe, Thomas is never too far away from Chamblee. As with a number of other substitute teachers, he is known by students who have had him fill in for teachers over the years.
in the environmental science department. Even as a substitute, she remains an artist and designs pieces and accessorizes clothing for pleasure, in addition to practicing her hobbies of playing bridge and scrabble. Hobbyist Don Lanese Don Lanese has been a substitute at Chamblee for a year and a half, but he comes from an immense teaching background after 28 years as a social studies teacher in DeKalb County. Despite his history teaching students about the past, his favorite subject to instruct was really math. “I actually enjoyed teaching math, but I didn’t have a minor in math, and they had an edict that you had to be certified in what you taught,” said Lanese, who is certified in English and social studies. In his spare time, Lanese enjoys every hobby from carpentry to reading the works of authors like Jack Higgins and Tim Dorsey. “You name it, I do it,” said Lanese, who generally reads three books a week. Jada Vinsang Future Science Teacher Jada Vinsang Unlike Lanese, Nashville native Jada Vinsang, who has frequented the halls of Chamblee since 2009, is beginning her teaching career by working as a substitute. “I have been subbing, but of course my ultimate plan is to become a full time teacher,” said Vinsang, who is currently working towards her master’s degree at Emporia State University. In the future, she hopes to be a science teacher and Diedra Gordon has already become certified to teach at the middleschool level. “They [subs who commonly sub at the school] like “I am a science person, and I have a science background, committing to Chamblee,” said Assistant Principal of At- so most likely I would teach a biology class,” said Vinsang. tendance Loukisha Walker. “They are familiar with the Even as a sub, Vinsang, who enjoys dance, the arts, students, and they are familiar with the teachers.” traveling and spending time with family, has had the chance Designer Diedra Gordon to play an impactful role on students. Another face that students get to see often is that of “I was in Clayton County, and I had a student that was Florida native Diedra Gordon, who has been subbing at being disruptive in a math class,” said Vinsang of what Chamblee for five years. Similar to Thomas, she became a she considers one of her more interesting experiences as sub after working for many years in other interesting fields. a sub. “He actually just didn’t understand something. So, “I enjoy going to a variety of different classes, and it is I described it to him, and he said that none of his subs or flexible,” said Gordon. teachers had ever taken the time to actually explain that For 15 years though, Gordon was a jewelry designer concept to him before. It made a difference to him, so that in Florida and sold her seashell-based work in boutiques. was pretty cool.” After that, she worked at Georgia Tech as an administrator
Volume 86, Issue 8
Cultures Brought Together Through International Night by Sarah Magee One of the most unique things about the student body danced when she was little and took salsa lessons, and Her- Overall it was a great celebration.” at Chamblee is its diversity. rera said her culture has naturally taught her how to dance International Night was a chance for dancers to show Chamblee is full of a multitude of different nationalities, even though she does not take lessons. off their skills at school, an environment where they usually races, and religions. “I absolutely loved International Night,” said Herrera. do not get shown off. On Thursday, April 4, Chamblee hosted International “I had lots of fun dancing and also watching others perform. “I really enjoy dancing. Performing mostly and InNight. On this night, many Chamblee students ternational Night gave me a chance to do and teachers met in the cafeteria and had the what I love in front of everyone,” said junior opportunity to taste foods from around the Monjima Kabir, who did a dance representing world, to listen to music from a number of Bangladesh. different places, and to watch students dance Students showed off their culture in ways to their country’s traditional dance songs. other than just offering traditional food and “Nico [Villa-Roel], Mr. Scott, Mrs. Jones, dance. Senior Arfan Seddiqi (from Banglaand I set up this event,” said senior Natalie desh), junior Abhi Bathini (from India) and Chu, who helped coordinate the evening. “I sophomore Kavi Pandian (parents from India) did most of the food table stuff, and Nico, dressed up in traditional clothes from their Mr. Scott, and Mrs. Jones did a lot of the countries. performer stuff.” The food portion was also a tremendous Seniors Gaby Antunez and Ariana Herresuccess, featuring food from countries such ra danced to “Punta,” a traditional dance song as Mexico, Venezuela, France, Trinidad & from Honduras, where they were both born. Tobago, China, Japan, Spain, Ethiopia, Co“Since we are both seniors this year, lombia, Ireland, Russia, and many more. we wanted to leave with the experience of “International Night was super fun,” said performing on stage, and show everyone a junior Tunmise Olowojoba. “It was definitely little bit of Honduras culture,” said Antunez. interesting to try foods from different counStudents dressed in traditional clothing for International Night Both dancers were a huge hit, receiving a tries.” Photo by Shohana Rahman standing ovation from the audience. Antunez
Restaurant Review: The Mad Italian by Kobi Warner
In this month’s restaurant review installment, I go to local Italian favorite, the Mad Italian. The Mad Italian is an Atlanta res-
taurant, only a skip, hop, and a jump away from the Chamblee High School campus. It was founded in 1973 for the main purpose of introducing northern-style sandwiches and subs to Atlanta, hoping that this type of shop would attract major attention from Southerners. The Mad Italian turned out to be a huge success with their Philadelphia style Philly Cheese Steak and New York style Italian meatball and sausage sandwiches. I, Red, have chosen a signature dish to critique and rated the restaurant from 1-10 on my “Redness” scale. Once I walked into the restaurant, I noticed a family friendly vibe from seeing children’s paintings and drawings on the walls. The atmosphere definitely had a northern feel with the shape and structure of the building looking just like the sub shops in New York. I decided to test the authenticity of their Italian dishes and ordered the Casalingo
Lasagna with a side of garlic bread. In my first bite, I noticed how well the lasagna was baked. The cheese was nice and brown at the sides, but still creamy and white in the middle. The pasta was cooked to the point where it was fragile enough to break a slice with just the touch of a fork. The garlic bread was crispy on the outside, but soft and porous in the middle. Garlic was shredded to sprinkle the top, along with black pepper and other various spices. The spices were fresh enough to really stimulate the senses. The service was, as promised, fast and efficient. I never had to correct my waiter on an order or ask him to stop rushing me. Even other waiters and busboys were considerate when I was eating and waited until I was finished to take away plates from my table. The best part of the Mad Italian was the prices. For only eleven dollars, I got a well portioned dinner. This was definitely a good
value for the normal teenager on a budget or an allowance. Overall, I think that the Mad Italian earned a well-deserved 9.5 on the “Redness” scale. The Mad Italian was a family friendly, well serviced, well priced, and authentic Italian restaurant that I believe Chamblee students will enjoy. Visit blueandgoldnews.com or scan the code below to read more restaurant reviews.
Construction Disturbs Surrounding Habitats by Sasha Holton
The current Chamblee building is one of the oldest school buildings in DeKalb County, so it is almost obvious that some critters and unwanted guests take up residence within it. However, the presence of a certain small rodent has become rather excessive over the past few months. There are many rumors concerning the reason why rats have been spotted within the building; one of which blames an abandoned irrigation ditch in the courtyard that provides a direct pathway into the school. “Anytime you break ground to this magnitude, the natural habitat of a few animals will be disturbed,” said plant engineer Kenny Lyons. “There isn’t a school out there who has not dealt with this problem when construction is initiated.” The problem is not a large scale catastrophe, yet the few encounters that students and staff have had with the misplaced rodents were certainly described as such. “Another wrestling manager and I were cleaning the closet on the gym stage one day,” said senior wrestling manager Kennedy Saulsberry. “I noticed that a bag of bread had been chewed through, and as we cleaned, we noticed piles of rat droppings on the floor.” Staff members and teachers have also had some unpleasant encounters with rats. Teacher Robin Mask said that a rat chewed through a plastic bag filled with student’s papers. “The bad part is wondering if I will find another one in the room one morning,” said special education teacher Todd Spearman. Spearman actually encountered a rat that had been
captured by the sticky rat traps set up around the school. He noted that the rat was so large that it had almost made its way out of the trap. “I just kept the door closed and used the walkie-talkie to call Mr. Lyons. I couldn’t say that there was a rat in the room so I had to use a codename,” said Spearman. That was not Spearman’s first encounter with the homeless rats that have been wandering around campus either. “First semester in the computer lab, a rat just poked its head in through a vent and ran back out.” said Spearman. Needless to say, there was not much teaching or learning done that day. One rat was found in the lunch room’s concession stand. Several pictures were taken by students and ended up on Twitter, under the hashtag #onlyatchamblee. The number one concern is obviously the health of the students and staff of Chamblee. Rats are known to carry many diseases that are dangerous to humans, and their presence may play a role in the recurring sickness students keep encountering, that is labeled by some as the ‘Chamblee Virus’. For this reason, it is important to wash your hands constantly and not to leave food in classrooms or lockers. The administration of the school has acknowledged the rodent problem and the issue of maintaining a consistent janitorial staff. Many teachers are concerned because their rooms are not swept regularly and traps are not replaced immediately after they have been used. “Since I started noticing rat droppings around my desk I
wipe it down every day,” said math teacher Judith Landers. While some teachers take to vacuuming their trailers or wiping down the desks in their classrooms, others are unsatisfied with the Plant Service. Commonly referred to as the janitorial staff, the Plant Service includes all staff members who repair any broken machinery as well as keep the campus free of hazardous materials. “Work orders have been submitted to Plant Service. Plant Service has responded accordingly. All parties involved believe that the rodents are due to construction. We’ll keep doing what we can to deal with them,” said Principal Dr. Rochelle Lowery.
Volume 86, Issue 8
Meet Six Interesting Students by Liya Mammo
Questions: 1.Imagine that it’s the end of the world. What would you do in your last hours alive? 4.If you could spend a day with a teacher, who would you choose and why? 2.Name a guilty pleasure of yours. 5.What did you want to be as a kid? Has it changed in recent years? 3.What is your favorite age? Why? 6.If you were invisible for the day, what would you do?
Kyleia Hutton, Junior
Photos by Liya Mammo
theatre to catch a show and make my way backstage for a glimpse of the excitement that probably happens back there. I’d also go into an artist’s studio and watch him or her work. 1. I would spend that time with my family and people who are the closest to me. 2. I really love Almond Joy which I have an unhealthy addiction to, but Tumblr is also the best thing ever. 3. 19. It’s the age where you are barely an “adult” and still clutching on to your “teenage years”. It also sounds really beautiful if I don’t say so myself. 4. I’d love to spend the day with any of the female history teachers because they are cool, but I’d really like to hang out with Mrs. Cook. She’s a really energetic person who is amiable but can also put her foot down to show that she means serious business. I’d definitely want to do a project with her. 5. An artist, a model, and even an entrepreneur. But unfortunately it did change, as I wanted to go into the engineering field in the sixth grade. 6. If I were invisible for a day, I’d either follow around my favorite celebs or rest in bed without being disturbed. And I honestly think that I would go with the latter choice.
Campbell Wilks, Senior
Kavi Pandian, Sophomore
1. Swim in a pool full of Jell-O and sing terrible songs from the 90s with friends. 2. Food and fashion. 3. Nine is an age where there’s no responsibility or work. It was a good year. 4. Mr. Karassik. I feel like he would know every awesome place in town and would just be really fun. 5. I wanted to be a Pokemon Master. That hasn’t changed. 6. I would shrink-wrap every car in the school parking lot, check out the Oval Office, find Waldo since he wouldn’t be able to spot me coming, and then sneak into a Taylor Swift concert and get right up on the stage.
Devonta Williams, Junior
1. Eat. I can’t go out hungry. 2. I don’t think I have a guilty pleasure. 3. I guess 21. That’s when life gets real. 4. Honestly, I can’t see myself spending more than the allotted 50 minutes with a teacher. 5. As a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. Yes, it has changed since then. Now I see what teachers suffer through on a daily basis. I pity them. 6. If I were invisible for a day, I would take that opportunity to abscond to another state.
The Blue and Gold wants to hear from you! Do you have an article idea or an opinion about a recent Chamblee event? If so, please stop by trailer T4A!
MaryConnor Thompson, Junior
1. Get together with my closest friends and spend the day at my favorite place in the world - the beach. At sunset, we’d sit in the sand with our toes in the water and watch the world fade together. 2. Probably pink Peeps marshmallows, the song “Nature Boy” from the movie Moulin Rouge, or the song “My Junk” from my favorite musical Spring Awakening. 3. That year between fourteen-and-a-half and fifteenand-a-half. My best friends came into my life at the end of eighth grade, and we’ve been pretty much having the time of our lives together ever since. I also liked the little loosening of the reins and breath of fresh air that came with high school. 4. Well, there’s Dr. Glor or maybe Coach Smith, but I guess I’d choose Mrs. Scoggins. Mrs. Scoggins has been such an important figure in my life since I’ve come to high school and who wouldn’t want to spend a day with one of their role models? 5. I wanted to be a cowgirl, a lion tamer, an artist, a knight, etc. Anything but a writer or a stage actress. But now, I want to be a writer and (hopefully) a Broadway actress or a singer. 6. First off, I’d have to pull off multiple pranks and scare a few people. Then, I’d sneak into the movie theater or a
1. I would want to go to the concerts of every one of my favorite bands – if I could somehow do that in a few hours. 2. Don’t judge me – Hannah Montana music. Her first few albums are gold. 3. Of the ages I have been, probably sixteen. It was a year of getting a lot more freedom – with my license and my car and new friends. It was my favorite year of high school as well. 4. Mr. Ely. He’s actually the best. 5. I think I wanted to do something with animals. Studying veterinary medicine is still an option, so I guess it hasn’t changed too much. 6. I would probably follow my sister around. She goes to Marist. Who knows what goes on there.
Semere Araya, Senior
1. I’d tell my parents and loved ones everything that I’ve bottled up for, in some cases, years. After that, I’d pray with them until the end comes. 2. I’m still into Pokemon. 3. I’d go back to age four because it was the last carefree year of my life. It was before my first hospital visit and everything else that cascaded afterwards. 4. I would just talk with Herr Neuhaus about life. 5. I wanted to be a marine biologist growing up, but now I want to be a nurse practitioner. 6. I’d follow different people around and scream behind them or whisper inappropriate things in their ears to just really creep them out.
Volume 86, Issue 8
Senior List Kemeria Alazar Monica Amit Habiba Rumman Nazma Muhammad John Kenneth Gabriela Semere Yead Daniel Alec Amiri Kiana Juwan Davin Lauren Martin John Christina Charles David Julian Victoria Deont’e Jordan Chloe Jovan Auriana Austin Inasia Meghaen Tommy Tara Brandon Nicholas Gais Iqbal Jikim Natalie Adrien Janae Jasmine Kelli Julio Alexis Joseph Liseth Sumiya Kristopher Maimouna Malique Khaliq Martez Emily Chaz Caleb Camry Talliyah Eleanor Mara Sarah Eduardo Israel Ebenezer Joseph Timothy Jordan Renae Adyna
Abdella Abebe Agrawal Ahmed Ahmed Ahmed Akhter Ali Allen
Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology Stanford University
Georgia State University Georgia State University Georgia Perimeter College Southern Polytechnic State University Andrin Georgia Gwinnett College Antunez Barahona Georgia State University Araya Georgia State University Ashrafi Aynalem Kennesaw State University Bales Georgia Perimeter College Banks Cornell University Barcus Georgia State University Barnes United States Air Force Academy Bellamy University of Georgia Benn Brenau University Bermudez-Jasso Bethany Kennesaw State University Bhatia Georgia State University Bleichner Georgia State University Bookrum, Jr. Bottin Bowden Xavier University of Louisiana Boyland Branch College of Mount Saint Joseph Brantley Georgia State University Brockett Georgia Perimeter College Broughton Broughton Georgia State University Brown Bryant Georgia State University Bryant Carr Chen Georgia Institute of Technology Chen Georgia Institute of Technology Chowdhury Chowdhury Georgia Perimeter College Christopher Chu Georgia Institute of Technology Chung University of Georgia Clark Georgia Southern University Clark Mercer University Collins Syracuse University Corona Georgia State University Croone Georgia State University Crow Georgia State University Cruz Culler Cullings Dabo Savannah State University Daniels University of South Alabama Dansby Miles College Davis Georgia Perimeter College Davis Georgia Institute of Technology Delgado Syracuse University Desamours Dix Georgia Gwinnett College Draper University of Georgia Eastham University of Georgia Edwards University of West Georgia Ermias Georgia Institute of Technology Escobar Espino Zamarron Oglethorpe University Eyasu Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Fan University of Georgia Favors Georgia State University Felton Georgia Southern University Fernandes Georgia State University Fields Georgia Gwinnett College
Mary Ajee Fina Patrick Malik Taariq Monique John Elsie Makda Melat Deion Daniel James Tomas Andrew Michael Destiny Peden Edgar Ariana Sarah Xavier
Fischer Fisher Garcia-Blanco Gaulden Gill Glean Green Guiles, Jr. Gyamfi-Peprah Habte Hagos Hall Hanfelt Hanley Harris Hart Hartle Harvey Henderson Hernandez Leon Herrera Hesse Hightower
Ashli Angelo Sasha Sara Jordan Romello Sayed Krishnaveni Brenda Alexis Douglas Nigel Shawnte’ Israt Mosammat Peter Millern Jaelyn Khari Christopher
Hodges Holmes Holton Hubaishi Huff Hunt Imtiaz Ali Inmula Izaguirre Jackson Jackson Jackson Jackson Jahan Jahan Jaraysi Jarrett-Thorpe Jeff Jefferson Johnson
Diamond Jernard Jason Jamil Suckho Reza Emily Hannah Christa Alexander Upsana Dalya Anna Lydia Jorielle Webster William Mushfequr Alexander Kimberly Kailyn Marc Suzanne Jenna
Jones Jones Joyner Joyner Jung Kalantari Kandzierski Karszes Kelly Kemenov Khan Khatun Kimbrough Kimbrough King King King Kotwal Krupp Lai LaPorte Laroussini Lechner Lee
Kaelin Alexis Samuel Quinton Bria
Lee Lloyd Love Lowe Lowe
Pro Way Hair School Savannah College of Art and Design Georgia State University University of Georgia Georgia Law Enforcement Academy Georgia State University Georgia Institute of Technology Southern Polytechnic State University Oxford College at Emory University United States Air Force Academy University of Georgia Georgia Institute of Technology St. John’s University United States Marine Corps Emory University United States Naval Academy Preperatory School Vanderbilt University United States Army Georgia State University Brenau University Georgia State University University of Georgia University of Georgia University of West Georgia Savannah State University Georgia State University Georgia State University Vanderbilt University Savannah State University North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Middle Georgia College United States Marine Corps Morehouse College University of Georgia Georgia State University University of Georgia Western Carolina University Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia State University Columbia College in Chicago University of West Georgia Auburn University Southern Polytechnic State University University of Kentucky University of Georgia University of Georgia Eastman School of Music University of Chicago North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Auburn University Albany State University University of Alabama Mercer University University of Alabama
Page 15 Hao Kamren Deziray Sierra Lauren Andres Shelby Zachary Jade Sadeâ€™ Brianna Zayra Winta Peter Abigail Gabriella Hunter Kelly Fred Isaac Taylor Bailey Alexis Christian Lydia Joshua Greta Eric India Hoa-Mai Desmond
Luu Mack Mann Marshall Martin Martinez Sarabia Mays McKoon McLendon McMullen Meadows Medina Mehari Mei Meier Mejia Mella Mestas Miller Mitchell Mitchell Monroe Montia Montoya Ibarra Morgan Mosby Movsisyan Munoz Nabarro Nguyen Noird
Fahmin Lekaelin Caroline Hunter Christian Debie Henrry Sebastian Marissa Hoang Anh Joann Andres Donovan Princeanna Austin Sally Hali Omar Kevin Dezmin Joycelyn Derek Gabrielle Alexandria Emmanuel Christopher Kalif Aidan Brydan Corin Khari Maia Adriana Darren David Precious Kevin Kennedy Akash Asequl Arfan Shayla Anjelique Jenna Chadwick
Papia Patterson Patterson Peacock Perez Perez Perez Arroyo Perez Ramirez Persky Phan Podoll Ponce Preston Price Priest Pritchett Putman Ramirez Reagan Reed Reese Rhodes, Jr. Richardson Richbourg Richmond Robinson Robinson Rogers Rogers Rogers Rosier-Robinson Ross Rush Samuels Sanchez Sanders Sargeant Saulsberry Shah Shopon Siddique Simmons Simmons Sisson Smith
Presbyterian College University of West Georgia Georgia Perimeter College University of Miami Georgia State University Georgia Southern University Clayton State University Bard College Georgia Institute of Technology University of West Georgia Georgia Perimeter College Valdosta State University Georgia Perimeter College University of Alabama Fisk University Georgia State University Cornell University Boston University Kennesaw State University Georgia State University University of North Alabama Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Georgia State University Savannah State University Elon University Georgia Perimeter College Southern Polytechnic State University Georgia Institute of Technology University of Georgia University of West Georgia University of Evansville Spelman College University of Georgia Georgia State University Georgia Perimeter College University of Miami Georgia Military College University of Alabama Valdosta State University Georgia Gwinnett College University of West Georgia Clark Atlanta University Georgia State University Georgia Southern University Georgia Institute of Technology University of Georgia Prespyterian College Georgia State University Boston University Baylor University Georgia Perimeter College Washington University in St. Louis Valdosta State University University of Georgia Kennesaw State University Princeton University Valdosta State University University of Georgia Georgia State University College of Wooster
Volume 86, Issue 8
Deion Donovan Brandon Nandi Joshua Jessica Kelly Larice Amanda
Smith Smith Smith Solomon Stanley Stewart Strychalski Sullivan Swisher
Kylie Rahel Sydnei Jared Ayana Brandon Miracle Kenzie Magdalena
Tan Tebo Tellis Tench Thomas Thomas Thomas Thompson Thule
Kristina Sophie Jordan Andrew Victoria Tâ€™ericka Nicolaas Daniel Grace Arafat Christian Selena Nicolas Quintin Jessica Dominique Candace Quincy Brandon Chadwick Karel
Toreno Trent Triplett Tsao Tuck Tucker Turner Turner Tyioran Uddullah Villalba Villalobos Villa-Roel Walker Walker Washington Washington Watford Webster Weeks Wendl Kramkova
Jamie Albert Jasmine Taylor James Campbell Avery Jalen Nicole Rhagan Stephen Roddas Nia Victoria Winston Morgan Rashaun
Whitacre White White White Whitmore Wilks Williams Williams Williams Williams Woolfitt Workneh Wright Yambo Yeager Young Young
Georgia Southern University Georgia Southern University University of Pittsburgh Georgia Institute of Technology Auburn University Kennesaw State University Georgia Southern University Oglethorpe University Pennsylvania College of Technology Vanderbilt University Boston University Georgia Highlands College Georgia Perimeter College United States Army University of South Carolina Oxford College at Emory University University of Georgia Western Kentucky University Spelman College Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology Alabama State University Georgia State University Georgia State University Georgia Perimeter College Georgia Institute of Technology Kennesaw State University Georgia State University West Georgia Technical College University of Georgia University of Charleston Georgia Institute of Technology Grenoble Graduate School of Business University of North Georgia Georgia State University University of Mississippi University of Georgia Georgia Perimeter College Valdosta State University Georgia State University Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia State University Georgia Gwinnett College Georgia Perimeter College Hampshire College Georgia Southern University
By the Numbers
Schools with two or more attendees Georgia State University University of Georgia Georgia Institue of Technology Georgia Perimeter College Georgia Southern University University of West Georgia Kennesaw State University Valdosta State University Georgia Gwinnett College University of Alabama Southern Polytechnic State Savannah State Unibersity Boston University Auburn University Vanderbilt University
37 20 19 15 8 7 6 5 5 4 4 4 4 3 3
Spelman College United States Army University of Miami Mercer University Oglethorpe University NC Agr. and Tech. State University Oxford College of Emory Brenau University United State Marine Corps United States Air Force Academy Cornell University Mercer University Syracuse University
* We hope that this list accurately reflects the plans of the senior class. Please excuse any errors that may have been printed due to the large number of students to be accounted for. Compiled by Emily Kandzierski and Suzanne Lechner
3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Volume 86, Issue 8
Secrets of the Bush: The Détente by Dan Richardson
Chamblee Charter High School has entered into a conflict unheard of in the incredibly long and boring history of Georgia public high schools. The school has separated into two factions and has launched itself into the first ever high school civil war. The Tin-Can Rebellion, as the civil war has been referred to by some, has one interesting characteristic that most school wars do not possess. It is a war that has been forced to take place in fast-paced and unnoticeable ways. One of the few topics both factions have been able to agree on is that the Imperial County cannot find out about the Tin Can Rebellion. Both sides would suffer too much if the county were to enter the debacle. The Bush would have zero chance of survival if the county’s corrupt but large resources were to come into play. The Ivory Tower would be severely punished for letting this Rebellion get out of hand. So the civil war continues in secret, away from the public’s eye. Only thanks to the great investigative work of the Secrets of the Bush team, has any of this information come to light. While the motives behind the war were released earlier this year, the events of the war have only now been revealed. Earlier this year the Ivory Tower set up a propaganda department headquartered in the copying room near the front office. Its goal was simple: convince students that the Bush way of life was antiquated and resistance to upcoming change was futile. This propaganda inspired some students to renounce their ties to the Bush and pledge allegiance to the Ivory Tower. While it convinced some students, it angered many others. Alex Kemenov, a senior, led a rag tag group of fellow students to sabotage the printing presses and put an end to what he referred to as “lies copied very poorly onto innocent sheets of paper.” This motley crew was nicknamed Graham’s Commandos in honor of their beloved teacher Wesley Graham.
Their attempt at sabotaging, and the printing press was disabled. The Ivory Tower feared raising the suspicions of the county if they asked for new copiers, so they opted to abandon the project and move on. And move on they did, but not until establishing a new, safe headquarters of operation in the abandoned Cold War-era bunker under the school. There, the planning of attacks on the Bush could go ahead uninterrupted. The Ivory Tower responded to the Printer Assault of ’13 by obtaining two stink bombs from students who were less than sneaky and attempted to make the outside restrooms uninhabitable. They figured if they could force the leaders of the Bush to come into the Ivory Tower to use the restrooms it would be seen as a sign of weakness to all their followers. What the would-be saboteurs did not predict is that the restrooms in the Bush were already unusable. Upon opening the doors of the restroom, the horrid smell sent both victims into a catatonic state that also resulted in a partial loss of their sense of smell. This blatant attack near the heart of the Bush outraged its citizens and lead the Governor to order the most controversial operations so far in the conflict. Known simply as the Day of the Furry Floor, it was a devious but brilliant plan. Small entry ways baited with cheese were cut, crafted, and created to allow small rodents to enter into the building. Within 16 hours of implementation a small colony of rats successfully moved into the Ivory Tower. The Governor did not stop there though. He enlisted the help of wunderkind Wilbur Rountree to launch a cyber attack on the school’s ancient computer systems. Rountree disabled Pinball and Solitaire on all computers leaving teachers clueless about what to do during free periods. He deleted all applications except Paint and messed with Esis. Surprisingly, Esis worked better than before. This was the last straw for the Emperess of the Ivory Tower. The order was given to
invade the weakest and most defenseless part of the Bush: the gravel pit, which would then be used as a strategic strike point for the Ivory Tower. Using the method of warfare developed by Richard Blitz, Blitzkrieg favored quick almost lightening like speed in stopping enemies from using the parking lot .It was used everyday to prevent the Bush teachers from using the gravel pit. Blitz would line the buses up in the afternoon to capture teachers in the gravel pit for hours at a time while all the buses left the school. Bush citizens, fed up with waiting hours to go home, conceded the gravel pit to the Ivory Tower and opted to park in other areas around the school. This was a low point for the Bush since this last chess move dealt a devastating blow. Morale was at an all time low, and the hopes for winning could no longer be seen with the enemy so close to their doorstep. It was on this day, on the steps of T3D, that the Governor gave his most famous speech. The “Undying Bush” speech (nicknamed by its fans) reinvigorated masses of the Bush. The Governor spoke of how it was
impossible for the Ivory Tower or the county to crush the Bush spirit because, according to the Governor, “as long as there is a large DeKalb County public school, there most always will be trailers. Where there are trailers, there will always be the spirit of the Bush.” With this renewed sense of unity and idea that the Bush spirit is invulnerable, the Governor convinced his peers and his followers to do the unthinkable-- to notify the county of the civil war. It was obvious the Bush could not win; the Ivory Tower was too close to victory and too strong to be delayed for long. So, it was done. The Governor called the county and informed them of their situation in a last ditch effort to save the Bush. The reaction from the county was swift and harsh. The new school would be built faster in order to attempt to quickly end this needless fighting. The teachers’ pay was decreased even lower, which started raising question of how soon the teachers would be paying to work. But the plan has worked, even if it only saved the Bush for a short while. The county, refusing to do so much paperwork so close to summer, told the Bush and Ivory Tower to stop squabbling and exist together peacefully--or else. The Governor, while praised by some for bringing peace, was criticized by others for the short sightedness of his plan. The Bush and Ivory Tower are now to live in détente until the new school is completed. This plan seems likely to work over summer break, when tensions will be lower and teachers are off being human beings, but concerns are high about what will happen at the start of the new year. The acts of war are far from being forgotten. Solitaire winning streaks were shattered. Commutes were made longer. Homelands were encroached upon. Nostrils were forever scarred. Only time will tell if the détente will last and whether or not the Bush and Ivory Tower can peacefully coexist.