The History Page 1
Of Black History Month
VOL 1 | ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2018
Serving the Pioneer Community since 2003
INSIDE THIS ISSUE NEWS
25 | Valentineâ€™s Day 27 | FBLA Week
BX Connects with highlights from February 2018.
1 | Black History Month 3 | Posters that Represent
11 | Cancer Awareness
28 | North Korea & Olympics
5 | Black Lives Matter 7 | Courage & Courtesy 9 | Four Day Weekends
19 | BX Toons
29 | Playoffs & Advancement 31 | Signings
23| Best of Black Film
36 | M-Prints
25 | Valentineâ€™s Day
38 | Captain Q & A
22 | The Posers
www.bluexpress.net THIS AND MORE ONLINE Keep up-to-date with news from this issue, on campus and around the community by visiting www.bluexpress.net on a regular basis.
On the Cover Hope Baker, BlueXpress artist, compiles a collage representing prominent African American figures for the cover of this edition of the BX Connects newsmagazine. Our Goal The BX Connects intends to be a public forum for student expression and encourages all sides to voice their opinion. Staff members will honor Millbrook High School and its community and the journalistic profession by placing truth, accuracy and objectivity first. Corrections, Comments and Clarifications Should an error occur inside this issue, go to www.bluexpress.net/corrections.
The magazine for Millbrook High School Campus and Community
Article by | Madison Lazenby According to History.com, Black History Month was established in 1970 and has been acknowledged by the United States ever since. Today, it is most often used to remember the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the public figures that further propelled it forward. According to AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Hammer, the modern Civil Rights Movement began to take hold in the 1940’s, after the second World War. “You’ve got a lot of black soldiers that are going to be returning home after World War II, and they’re gonna expect changes in society. They’re gonna think that their accomplishments are gonna be celebrated, and that there’s gonna be meaningful societal changes, and they’re weren’t.” The injustices following World War II, Mr. Hammer explained, are what truly started the modern Civil Rights Movement that would gain the most attention in the 1960’s. However, there were still significant pushes for civil rights and equal protection under the law before then, particularly after the Civil War, which ended slavery in the United States. This came in the forms of such figures as W.E.B. DuBois, who fought against racial segregation in the American South and helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or the NAACP, an www.bluexpress.net
organization that would be critical in furthering the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, several decades after its founding. Another important figure of post-Civil War era was Ida B. Wells, who fought at the local level to end the lynching of African American men in Memphis, Tennessee. With this foundation in place, the world’s stage was set for the perfect time to move forward, as Mr. Hammer explained, “You’ve got Truman, who is going to desegregate the Armed Forces in 1946; you have Jackie Robinson, who will break the color barrier for baseball in 1947… Baseball was highly segregated, and Jackie Robinson had a difficult time even going to spring training or playing in the south because the south was still segregated.” However, not all advancements took place at the national level, and in fact, some started at the local level then started to gain national attention, as in the case of Ida B. Wells. Similarly, Brown v. Board of Education started off simply with Linda Brown wanting to attend an all-white school in Topeka County, Kansas. Brown and her family filed a court case that would be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, where it would be ruled that the segregation of schools was, in fact, unconstitutional. Rosa Parks’ famous bus boycott
also started out at the local level, focusing on the transportation system of Montgomery, Alabama. “But. of course. the national government keeps an eye on this because it could have lasting national implications,” Mr. Hammer explained. Rosa Parks also received a large amount of help from NAACP, including the funds to get bailed out of jail. “The NAACP had pretty large legal defense fund for any time a civil rights activist found themselves in trouble and imprisoned,” Mr. Hammer said. “All of these figures really start to put a lot of momentum on the state government and national government to finally look at segregation policies and start desegregating in the years following World War II,” Mr. Hammer explained. “And then of course, the face of the movement becomes a young Martin Luther King.” Martin Luther King, Jr. was known for what Mr. Hammer called, “a page out of Mahatma Gandhi’s book: nonviolent passive resistance.” King saw that the best way to create change was to protest peacefully and not strike up any kind of violence in the form of a riot. Mr. Hammer explained, “Because if violence broke out, the first persons that are going to be blamed are going to be the African Americans.” He also described
King as having the “passion, zeal, and energy” necessary to lead the Civil Rights Movement. Even today he is remembered for his peaceful protests and eloquent speeches and writing, as his Letter from Birmingham Jail is still read in English classes at Millbrook today.
Today, Black History Month is not a thing of the past, according to teachers and students of Millbrook. “It’s important for people from all cultures to see people that look like them succeed,” new English teacher, Mrs. Kennerly, said of the importance of Black History Month. She said that the month is best used as a time to highlight successful African Americans from history so that young people are able to see themselves in history and the career field they want. She tries to do this for her children by listening to their aspirations and making sure that have good examples to follow who are also African American. “And if there aren’t any, then we encourage them and say, ‘Then you be that example,’” she explained. Senior Chira Bell said that importance of Black History Month stems
from the freedom to “get in touch with their culture without feeling inappropriate.” She explained that has been otherwise hard for her to do, as a young woman of mixed race, while living in Winchester. Junior Dyaní Wright feels that the Winchester area has been much more welcoming to her than where she lived in Front Royal, Virginia. She detailed several incidents from her time in elementary school where she was taunted for being African American. “All of elementary school, I really genuinely hated being black,” she explained. She believes that her experience got significantly better when she moved to Winchester. “It’s more diverse here,” she explained. “The more diversity, the more people that you have that relate to you.” Wright feels that celebrating Black History Month is important because African American history is not taught enough in schools, though she said that she has not taken American history yet at Millbrook. “The only black history we learn about is slavery,” she explained, and said that Civil Rights Movements needs to be showcased in schools more. “And what I would call the modern Civil Rights Movement–the Black Lives Matter,” she added. Mr. Hammer agreed with her
that fight for equal rights is still prevalent today when it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically in Ferguson, Missouri, which “put pressure on the police department for more humane treatment.” He said that the movement could have national implications, similar to the Civil Rights Movement in the past. “You could almost look at that as kind of an extension of modern Civil Rights Movement of the ‘50’s, ‘60’s, and ‘70’s,” he explained, “because they were still looking to accomplish and carry on the same legacies and traditions of the modern Civil Rights Movement.” Bell agreed about the fight for equal rights, though she focused on society as opposed to politics. “I find black musicians very inspiring, because that was a barrier,” she said. “I feel music was the second biggest barrier next to politics. There were African American musicians who wrote music that was stolen and was produced by white musicians, because it wasn’t appropriate for black musicians to perform; and I feel grateful as a black musician for those barriers being broken by those people.” In modern day, she feels that certain kinds of music have become welcoming for African Americans, while more classical styles, such as opera and musical BX CONNECTS | Pages 1 –2
theatre, have yet to become as integrated. “It isn’t so much of a barrier, but it’s still a rarity to see people of color in musicals or in operas, because they were written for someone else,” she explained. She felt that if she were to be cast in an opera, written in “a time where African American people wouldn’t have been considered to do anything,” would still be “breaking a barrier, because that role was not written for me, but someone felt the need to put an African American person on stage to show that today is different than then.” Bell also feels that one of the next steps that should be taken to head toward racial equality is to have more African Americans in mainstream media, adding, “[It’s time to] stop writing for race and start writing for anyone.” Mrs. Kennerly feels that the issues of the Civil Rights Movement are still prevalent today, and she tries to keep her children educated on the matter. She explained,
THAT REPRESENT The “We Are” campaign is a celebration of diversity that focuses on recognizing different cultures and attributes of the student body. The campaign has been held at different schools throughout Virginia successfully, so the SCA wanted to bring it to Millbrook. Ms. Keeler, the SCA advisor, expressed that she loved the idea of celebrating, recognizing, and embracing Millbrook’s differences and diversity. The students were asked to create “We Are..” posters in their study halls, and they were allowed to put whatever they felt celebrated them on the poster. The campaign was to show that even though everyone comes from different places, cultures and backgrounds, everyone is still human. Article by | Elliott Foy www.bluexpress.net
“When there’s something going on on the news, obviously, we have to have serious conversations, but I think that everyone should be doing that… The last thing I want is for my children to go out into the world and not know what’s really going on and not be prepared for potential situations.” Beyond having conversations with her family, she also describes herself as being active on social media when she feels that she needs to. Ms. Kennerly, who became a Millbrook English teacher in October, also feels that her simply being at Millbrook makes a difference. “A lot of the kids that have seen me here are surprised I’m here,” she explained. “Doesn’t matter what culture they are, they’re surprised to see me. And I’ve heard several comments about kids who are happy to see that I’m here.” Though she doesn’t think she will be able to fit it into her curriculum this year, she hopes that she will be able to
teach reading material next year that she will be able to give special perspective on when discussing it with students. Ms. Kennerly said that her family does not do anything in particular to celebrate Black History Month, as she explained, “For me, Black History Month is celebrated all year long.” This year, Wright said that she wouldn’t be doing anything special to celebrate the month, but last year she and her family attended the opening week of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which she called “a really nice museum, there’s just a lot of walking.” Bell said that she and her family will be attending a Martin Luther King ceremony at her church, but she feels that she will be spending her month “answering questions, talking to people about how important Black History Month is even to people like me who aren’t completely black.”
We are more than just writing. We are Millbrook. We are BlueXpress.
The Publications Team Editor-in-Chief
Anica Moran Emily Keller Gwen Zirkle Madison Lazenby
Documentaries Director Joel Sherman
Graphic Design Editors Ryan Crosson Ben Schwab
Photography Editors Sabrina Castillo Cara George
Videography Editor Blake Curry
Christian Hellwig Joshua Abbott
Nicole Hauck Hope Baker Matthew Bennett
MHS Blue Xpress
Graphic Design Team Dylan Boyer Jacob Gearheart William Gearheart Luke Rangel Hailey Smith Daniella Vargas
Carolynn Unger Laurel Biedrzycki Matthew Davis Anna Fox Grant Myers Alex Stone Elliot Foy
Photo & Video Team Collin Boyer Kaitlyn Perkins Steven Shaffer Kei Cortez Emane Blanson Jose Rosales Adriana Baldivia Justina Koenig Nelson Garay
Print Edition Published by The Winchester Star 2 N. Kent Street Winchester, VA 22601 540-667-3200 winchesterstar.com
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Millbrook High School
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BX CONNECTS | Pages 3 â€“4
Matter a global issue Article by | Emane Blanson Image by | Sabrina Costillo
Yes, Black Lives Matter. Some would contradict and say that all lives matter, but before you say that, allow me to tell you a little bit about the significance behind this movement and why it’s said that way. The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 and the purpose of the movement was for the black community to come together and restore peace where it was nowhere to be found. After suffering police brutality and many shootings, people of color were frustrated and didn’t understand why this kept happening to young, African-American males. This platform allows people who are outraged, irritated, resentful and heartbroken to voice their opinion on the crimes that many police officers have been absolved of. Yes. I do believe these are crimes. If you murder
someone with no remorse when it wasn’t necessary to begin with, then yes, you are a murderer. The only difference is a police badge, which if you ask me, makes it worse. We have people out there with a badge on who say they are protecting our nation and creating a safer environment, but they are the ones creating the chaos. I’m not saying that all police officers are bad because there are many who do an exceptional job. Unfortunately they are overshadowed in the midst of all the bad ones. Some people seem to hold the belief that black people are violent and outraged all the time, but that is not the case. We are outraged but with reason. Regrettably many young African-American males have lost their lives due to police brutality. There was a man by the
name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who had a dream that no matter the color of a person’s skin, everyone would be able to come together for the betterment of this country. Unfortunately we have somehow regressed far from his vision into a mindset where this heinous behavior is becoming a pattern. Excuses are being made even when footage clearly shows unarmed men being brutally beaten and or killed by those who took an oath to protect and serve. These individuals often times are acquitted of any wrongdoing and allowed back into the community. In order for this world to be a better place, the violence must stop, and everyone must be held accountable for their actions. If this is achieved, then we will have taken a great step toward equality and justice for all.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 5 –6
The Varricch Article by | Abigail Varricchio “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear,” said President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Courage does not mean that courtesy must fade out of the picture. To truly have courage, courtesy must be present because it instills persistence to fight against the injustice or evil at hand. Being polite does not mean one agrees with an injustice. If courtesy means silence and avoidance of a topic, then there is an absence of courage. Courage requires courtesy to be fully effective. Fear creates panic and brandish behavior that can cause a message to be misunderstood or exaggerated. Courtesy does not mean one does not have the ability to speak out or speak about uncomfortable topics, but it means that one is willing to speak civilly to those who disagree without loosing their fortitude. Courtesy does not mean complacency. Too often in the modern political arena, politicians and citizens are too eager attack whoever disagrees with their stance. Their political opponent is villainize and stripped of their humanity. Insult after insult followed by exaggerated statements are hurdled back and forth between candidates and people. If the cycle becomes too extreme, too often people retreat back farther into their own sides, as if they are engulfed in an echo chamber. They become en-
thralled in only what their side believes. Discussions begin to turn into arguments that accomplish nothing because no constructive agreements or solutions to the problem at hand can be reached. People must feel that they are able to speak freely for a republic to fulfill its true purpose; however, courtesy must be present. People must remember that not everyone will agree with their opinions or solutions. It is too weak to simple hurdle a tweet or a “catchy” insult towards the other side. “Trumped up, trickle down” and “Crooked Hillary” rang throughout American homes during the 2016. It is depressing that two candidates running for the highest regarded office in the United States and free world resorted to middle school esque insults to compete against one another. Though insults and slogans are unavoidable, they should not be every other statement, word, or tweet that comes out of a candidate’s mouth. Each insult becomes sensational. Each insult became inseparable from the candidate who said it as if it was the face of their campaign. Sensationalism became more admirable than policy proposals. When sensationalism becomes more important than policy, not only does the country lose opportunities to solve problems, but it loses the ability to communicate. Young people should not have their view of what courage is taint-
ed by how politicians define and demonstrate it. Courage can be manipulated to make it seem as if someone must be loud and outlandish to be considered courageous. Courage is not always a loud inspirational speech or participating in a protest, but it can be small acts. Small acts that contribute to solving the problem or bring awareness to the passion at hand. Courage requires the ability to listen. When political office holders or seekers stoop to dirty insults, it taints how young people view not only elections, but political discussions and issues. It causes many topics of discussion to be come contrversial. The contreversy attached to some issues can become so heightened that some topics are avoided because the intense anger that appears during the argument prevents any constructive discussion . Though some issues require emotional perspective, anger should never become so intensse that constructive discussion is not created. It is important to be passionate and angry, but not let either get in the way of communication. When young people watch political role models become angry and prevent contructive discussion, it affects how they express their political opinions. Being able to communicate constructively is essential for the American political system to carry on. Anger, when used improperly, solves nothing.
hio Factor Frederick County experienced several courageous moments during the 2017 local election cycle. After the Board of Supervisors denied grant funding for a preschool program for at risk children in Frederick County, many citizens felt a call to action. At the next forum held by the Board, dozens of parents, students, and members of the community came to challenge the decision regarding the grant money. The small actions of speaking out and attending the Board of Supervisors forum to voice how important the preschool education was to the community, the Board reversed their decision. Passion carried the community to act with emotion, but did not cause a loss of focus. “Done with Dunn” was a write in campaign started by Ann G. Agregaard, after Supervisor Blaine Dunn voted against the Preschool funding for a second time. She expressed in a Facebook that she believed that Dunn voting against the funding, which came from an educational grant, was a shame because it did not cost the county any money. Dunn only won 78.51% of vote, meaning that Agregaard won some voters. Candidates, with similar passion to Agregaard, are important because they demonstrate courage. It takes courage to stand upto an elected incumbent official, who holds completely opposite beliefs; however, a movement only needs one voice to begin.
The loss of courtesy can create a distorted view of courage. Courage does not stem from the ability to be brandish and shocking, but simply from the ability to speak out. It is important that the brandish that stems from passion does not take away from the message at hand. Passion is essential to be courageous because courage requires the ability to deeply and truly care for something; however, passion should drive someone to want to communicate and spread their beliefs and truths as much as possible. It is true courage to make sure that you are able to take into consideration logical as well as emotional arguments to communicate a message, cause, or belief to others. Being able to set emotions aside to focus on facts take strength. A true leader is one who can inspire others to be courageous. A leaderi is unafraid to take risks to benefit and help others. It only takes one voice to inspire another. A movement is created from a cycle of inspration. Courtesy does not mean complacency. Courtesy is essential to courage because it allows for better and more stable communication. Courage requires everyday Americans to remember to be courteous within their passions to thrive.
Meet the Staff
Cara George Photo Editor
ara George is a senior who joined BlueXpress her junior year as a photographer and a writer. This year, she continues her exploration in the school newspaper as co-head photographer. Cara looks forward to journalism everyday because she never knows what interesting (and funny) conversations will come up. Along with the newspaper, she is the president of Millbrook’s FFA chapter and won the Virginia Veterinary Science competition in 2016. Outside school, she can be found at the ballfields or volunteering. She has volunteered over 200 hours with a local baseball and softball little league and 100 hours at Linden Heights Animal Hospital. After graduation, she wishes to be a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and specialize in animal reproduction, training, therapy, or rescue. Cara would like to thank BlueXpress for allowing her to express herself through photography and advises anyone who is interested to join.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 7 –8
to professional development day
Article by | Grant Myers www.bluexpress.net
We’re approximately at the halfway point of the 2017-2018 school year, and as the end of my final semester of high school comes closer and closer, I think over opinions I’ve developed after experiencing almost four years of school. One of those opinions has to do with something that has become somewhat notorious of the Frederick County school system and continues to affect many teachers and students: The amount of extended weekends due to Professional Development Days. Schools in Frederick County hold six Professional Development days scattered throughout the school year that are designed to provide teachers with information, technology, and various learning tools to be utilized in the classroom and to ultimately improve the learning experience. However, these days, along with the Teacher Flexible Workdays, result in multiple seemingly random 3 and 4-Day weekends for students. In total, there are six ‘Professional Development’ days and four Teacher Flexible Workdays, adding up to four 4-day weekends and four 3-day weekends. This may not seem like a negative thing, but the way I see it, the ‘flow of education’ is disrupted with these shortened weeks. What we learn is not as effective and/or as easy to remember with all of these breaks. To better understand the purpose and effectiveness of Professional Development days, though, I talked to a few teachers to get their honest opinions on it. The overall opinion ended up being a completely mixed one, with two of them being in favor and claiming them to be helpful, while the other two do not find them to be making a significant difference. This topic is definitely an interesting one that I decided to look further into. I interviewed Mrs. Henderson (AP English 11), Mrs. Kaminski (AP Government, Honors World History I), Mr. Hammer (AP U.S. History), and Mr. Ratliff (AP Calculus AB and BC, Honors Algebra II), who all have their own views. Mrs. Henderson is one of the teachers who find Professional Development Days to be more beneficial than not. “As a teacher, I think a lot of them can be very valuable.” She said she was able to present at the Professional Development Day on January 29 and shared with other teachers what she does in her classroom with Google Keep, an app that
is primarily used to help students with organizing notes for research papers and essays (which, from my experience, is fairly helpful). She appreciates collaborating with teachers from other schools, as well as what she refers to as an “Educamp model,” where teachers are able to pick what they want to learn more about. She said, “We can actually take time to create something that we can use in our lessons…the next week or the next day.” Mr. Hammer shared similar sentiments, referencing what he learned during the January 29 development day to be useful. Since students tend to be ahead of teachers when it comes to technology, he said, the technology tools they learn about end up being helpful: “I learned about a new technology tool that I was able to use in my classroom the very next day.” While he does admit that some days end up being more useful than others, he overall finds the days to be necessary to students’ success. “As teachers, we’re lifelong learners, and we’re trying to instill that in you guys, so it’s important that we have days throughout the year to be able to work on our craft, to work on content knowledge, and to work on different ways to teach it to you guys.” Mrs. Kaminski and Mr. Ratliff, however, are on the opposite end of the spectrum. While Mr. Hammer and Mrs. Henderson find many aspects of Professional Development to be useful, they believe many things could be improved. According to the both of them, the issue seems to be that some teachers learn a lot from these days, while others are left feeling their time could have been better spent. There’s a challenge, Mrs. Kaminski said, “in finding the right balance of professional development opportunities for everybody across different contents.” Mr. Ratliff felt that way, saying he “very rarely” finds something he is able to use in his classroom after a Professional Development Day. He does admit though, that that’s just the “nature of the beast” for what he teaches; there aren’t a lot of math-based seminars out there. This still goes back to what Kaminski said, however, that it’s still a challenge of finding enough “opportunities for everybody across the curriculums.” Both Mrs. Kaminski and Mrs. Henderson also pointed out
time being a very valuable thing to teachers, and so Professional Development Days not only need to provide something for everyone, but need to be productive. “Every moment of our day is important,” Mrs. Kaminski commented, and Mrs. Henderson agreed that it can be frustrating when time is not spent wisely during Professional Development days. Mrs. Kaminski does feel that the January 29 development day was closer to being productive and helpful as everyone needs and feels it will be a lot better “once we fine tune” what the days are going to be. Lastly, as a result of development days, many 3 and 4-day weekends were added to the schedule. This affects the natural process of learning and comprehending information in my opinion, and teachers seem to agree. Mr. Hammer and Mr. Ratliff both agree it affects the “flow of education,” especially during the winter months with the unpredictable amount of snow days. Mr. Hammer said, “Sometimes it feels like we’re out of school more than we’re in.” Mrs. Henderson agreed everyone gets “side-tracked” when 3-day weekends occur, and even suggests cutting the amount of Professional Development Days in half for that reason. Mrs. Kaminski disagrees with that though, saying that “kids need a brain break” because of a “certain level of intensity” that’s been added to the students’ workloads. If the teachers are worried about students forgetting things, she points out, there’s no issue in giving them homework to do over those breaks. In the end, interviewing every teacher has helped me expand my viewpoint on this subject. Even after learning the purpose of the days, however, I still hold the same mixed feelings about it. I think it’s a fantastic thing if teachers are learning various tools to help us as students, but since the days we lose affects how we process what we learn, it may not be such a great thing if other teachers feel they don’t learn much at all. Still, I agree with Mr. Ratliff and Mrs. Kaminski in that there definitely seems to be great potential in them. Everything just needs to be better structured. In the words of Mrs. Kaminski, “There are upsides and downsides to it.”
BX CONNECTS | Pages 9–10
Article by | Carolynn Unger For Millbrook’s Cancer Week, each day was represented with a specific color for different types of cancer. On Friday, January 26, the color was pink for breast cancer and that was when the Go Pink basketball game was held. The Go Pink basketball game features the Varsity girls and boys teams playing along with a carnation ceremony dedicated the the survivors and those still fighting in between the games. The event was started by Ms. Sanders over a decade ago. Physical Education and Health teacher Ms. Madden was the coordinator of the event this year. “We started reaching out to sponsors around October, but most of the work happens in January.” Ms. Martin, secretary to the principal, who helped in selling t-shirts and raffle tickets for the baskets, said that the planning for the game started a year in advance. “National Cancer Cares Day is February 4, so we try to pick a home game closest to that date.” There is not a specific goal in donation money for the event. According to Marketing teacher Ms. Keeler, who is in charge of the SCA portion of the event which included hall decorating
and the pep rally, the average donation each year is around $5,000-6,000. Ms. Madden said, “Any money that can be given is helpful.” All of the donations go to Blue Ridge Hospice for local patient care. “If you send it to a big organization, you can never really guarantee where that money is being spent where you hope so we try to keep the money local and in the community because so many people, even in this building, have had parents and family members affected by cancer. We want to give to someone where it’s going to benefit the community that’s donating.” The carnation ceremony is one of sophomore Alison Hauck’s favorite parts of the event. “The goal of the game is to bring everyone together to stand up and fight against cancer. It brings the whole community together.” Seniors Amari Anthony and Madison Green also like the ceremony and its meaning. “It really shows what we represent,” said Amari. Madison spoke about how she got emotional during the ceremony because many people she knew stood up. “It was great to support and honor them.”
Fight Cancer Week Donations Growing Every Year, says Ms. Madden Article by | Madison Lazenby
“I don’t wanna say it wasn’t that hard, but it wasn’t that hard,” Ms. Madden said of her involvement in organizing this year’s Millbrook Fights Cancer Week, attributing her relaxed demeanor to the help and teamwork of the rest of the teachers and faculty that helped her. The week of January 20-26 saw the colorful and caring side of Millbrook. Each day students wore different colors to show support for those fighting different cancers--from orange for Leukemia to green for Lymphoma cancer, and then, at the end of the week, pink for people fighting breast cancer. SCA chose the cancers that would be highlighted throughout the week, and Ms. Madden, who was one of the lead teachers organizing week, said, “It used to be that it seemed like everyone had breast cancer or everyone had prostate cancer, but now it’s so widespread and affects so many people. Every year we’ve tried to bring up different cancers, choosing ones that we’ve had people in the building affected by. We just
try to keep raising awareness every year.” She even remarked that is traditional to recognize breast cancer in October, so it is only right to give attention to people fighting less common cancers. Ms. Madden said that the key difference between this year and the previous years was the different kind of involvement that came about. “We always have kids step up,” she said. “It wasn’t just the basketball teams--they did do a huge part-but the cheerleaders helped set up, and the SCA was really involved.” She even remarked that the Kettle Run basketball team was excited to participate in the ceremony at the Go Pink Game. “They went out and bought the pink shirts and shoelaces all on their own, and then when they found out that they were going to be part of the ceremony, they were like stoked.” Even though Ms. Madden said that she had trouble remembering everything, she did not think that the organization of the program was very diffi-
cult. She cited that the leadership team of teachers was very well organized. “We all kind of said, ‘I feel like everyone else did the work,’” she explained, meaning that there was no one person had to take care of everything. “We did a good job of delegating to each other and playing to our strengths.” She also said that the hardest part of the week was the ceremony during the Go Pink Basketball, where attendees who have survived or are fighting cancer are recognized. She said, “I was really nervous and writing the ceremony was difficult.” Overall, Ms. Madden is very happy with the results of this year’s Millbrook Fights Cancer Week. When the donations ended on Friday, February 2, the total amount was more than $6000. “Everyone’s been able to be more generous every year,” Ms. Madden said. “I think we’ve raised more money every year, in all six years that I’ve been here, so that’s pretty awesome.”
BX CONNECTS | Pages 11–12
Article by | Anica Moran
The third week in January is Cancer Awareness Week for the students at Millbrook. This is a week full of games, a carnival, and candy. But amidst all the fun there is a deep-seated reason for the event and it’s cancer. This week’s purpose is to bring the school and community together to fight against such a terrible thing. Cancer is a disease that kills 7.6 million people, infects 12.7 million, and affects countless more each year and it needs to be in the mind of everyone. “It is a schoolwide event that has been a tradition at Millbrook for many years,” said Ms. Keeler. “It is a way to bring the school together to support and recognize all those who are currently fighting cancer or who have lost someone to cancer.” Each of the games featured in the carnival costs a certain amount of money and all of that money goes to Blue Ridge Hospice. “It’s a local organization that helps families care for those who have lost the battle with cancer and are in their final days.” The fundraising goal for this year is $6,000 and the carnival and other events normally make anywhere from $5,000 to $6,000 each year. Many clubs were represented at the carnival. During an SCA Forum, student representatives from each club signed up to partake in this important week. The games that were available ranged from
guessing games to tossing games to interactive games and more. Gwen Zirkle volunteered to represent the writing club at their table and she is also the associate editor for the club. “I signed up because I wanted to support my friends and all those affected by cancer.” For a donation, students got to fill out Mad Libs to get a piece of candy. If they filled them out correctly, (ex: if they put an adjective in the adjective spot) they got two pieces of candy. “The papers for the Mad Libs were on different color papers depending on the cancer being represented that day.” Cara George is the FFA president and they had Plinko for their game. Depending on which slot the student got the coin in correlated to how many pieces of candy they received. “We also have a bake sale on Friday night for Go Pink game. Everyone in the club pitched in to make all the baked goods that were sold.” This week has an impact
on everyone. “When we have events during lunches, the goal is to get the everyone involved with the school community and join in. The students working the event are all volunteering their time and effort towards the event,” said Ms. Keeler. The school also decorated doors and hallways to show their support for cancer awareness. The support that this school shows for those affected by cancer is something that everyone who participated should be proud of. According to Ms. Keeler, “We all do it because we have lost someone close to us to cancer and we hope one day there will be a cure. Those we have lost will never be forgotten.”
BX CONNECTS | Pages 13–14
Making Black History POLITICIANS Barack Obama Born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama was the 44th and first African-American President of the United States. He studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles before transferring to Columbia University and earning a degree in political science until attending Harvard Law School. He eventually moved back to Chicago to teach law before earning a seat in the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and the United States Senate in 2004 for the Democratic Party. Obama won the presidential election on November 4, 2008. During his two-term presidency, he fought for improving the economy as well as healthcare. Thurgood Marshall Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court justice in the United States. He was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. Marshall graduated from Lincoln University and earned his law degree from Howard University. Between 1934 and 1961, he took a role as an attorney for the NAACP and was nicknamed “Mr. Civil Rights” for him working in racial injustice trials. He won 29 out of the 32 cases in the Supreme Court throughout his career. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the Supreme Court, for which he was outspoken against racial and gender cases which included sexual misconduct and overturning death sentencing. Shirley Chisholm Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968. She was born on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College before becoming a nursery school teacher. Eventually, she earned a degree in early childhood education from Columbia University in 1951 and joined the local groups of the NAACP, League of Women Voters, the Urban League, and Democratic Party club in New York. As a Congresswoman, Shirley had a crucial role in ending the Vietnam War as well as gender and racial inequality. She was also the first African-American woman to run for a nomination in the presidential election but unfortunately did not succeed. Carol Moseley Braun She was born on August 16, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois in 1969. She then worked with several campaigns in the state of Illinois before graduating from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1972. From 1973 to 1977, Carol Moseley Braun worked at the U.S. Attorney in Chicago as a prosecutor. Also, she was the first African-American to hold an executive position in Cook County, Illinois as a recorder of deeds. In 1993, Moseley-Braun was elected as the first Afri-
can-American woman in the United States Senate and throughout her term she fought for civil rights.
AUTHORS Alex Haley Alex Haley was born on August 11, 1921, in Ithaca, New York. In 1949, he achieved first class rank in the journalism field of the Coast Guard before becoming chief journalist until his retirement in 1959. He received four awards after his 20 years service, including the USCGC Alex Haley in his honor. He was most famous for interviewing several African-American figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Quincy Jones. His book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” was published in 1965 became a bestseller and an important writing for the civil rights movement. He then wrote “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”, which told the story of his ancestors as slaves and going through generation after generation. Maya Angelou Born as Marguerite Johnson on April 24th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. As a child, she faced racism and was a victim of sexual assault from her mother’s boyfriend. She had been given a scholarship to the California Labor School for dance and acting. In the 1950’s, she had appeared in numerous plays and being nominated for a Tony and an Emmy nomination for “Roots”. She was most famous for her poetry and books such as her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Her poem, “Just Give Me a Cold Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die,” was nominated for a Pulitzer prize. She had won many awards throughout her career including two NAACP Image Awards. Phillis Wheatley Phillis Wheatley was born in Senegal/Gambia West Africa around 1753 before being kidnapped and brought to Boston, Massachusetts when she was seven years old. She was the personal servant to John Wheatley’s wife and was taught how to read and write as well as learning different languages. She was only 13 when one of her poems was published. Her most famous achievement was being the first African-American woman to release a book of poems in 1773 titled “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”. Unfortunately, due to the Revolutionary War and her living in poor conditions, she was unable to write a second book of poems. Richard Wright Richard Wright was born in Roxie, Mississippi on September 4, 1908. Although he received limited education, he managed to have a short story we wrote published in an African-American newspaper when he was only 16. Richard lived in poverty while in Chicago before he joined the Federal Writers Project, an agency created during the Great Depression to support writ-
By | Carolynn Unger
ers. One of his most famous novels was “Native Son”, which was about an African-American man in his 20’s named Bigger Thomas dealing with poverty in Chicago during the 1930’s. He also wrote an autobiography named “Black Boy.” He continued to write and publish more novels about racism towards African-Americans in his career.
Activists Rosa Parks Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. She moved to Montgomery, Alabama when she was 11-years-old. There she married Raymond Parks, who was a member of the NAACP. She soon became a member while working as a seamstress in 1943. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was going home from work on the city bus. That day, all the seats in the white section were taken so the driver said the four riders in the back to move so he could sit. Rosa simply replied “No”. She was soon arrested and the news of her actions spread. This decision caused the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted for about a year. Eventually, bus segregation was ruled as unconstitutional. Rosa Parks was named “the mother of the civil rights movement” for her work. Asa Philip Randolph Asa Philip Randolph was born on April 15, 1889, in Crescent City, Florida. He moved to New York in 1911 to work and attended the City College of New York. There he started reading more about economics and politics as well as learning how to fight for African-American progress. He organized several events such as the “Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters” and “March on Washington” in protest segregation in the armed forces and lack of labor rights. He eventually became a prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in 1964. Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. At 15-years-old, he was accepted into Morehouse College before earning a Bachelor of Divinity at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He later took part in a graduate program at Boston University, and then he became a pastor. He was then chosen to be the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. He along with it other civil rights leaders gathered peaceful protests and were arrested for pursuing them. On August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech at the top of Lincoln Memorial. Afterwards, he was the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Prize. Frederick Douglass He was born as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on
February of 1818 in Maryland. At the age of 20, Douglass had escaped from slavery and had traveled to New York City before permanently settling in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1838. He also officially changed his name to Frederick Douglass after gaining freedom. He went on to be a prominent figure in anti-slavery activism. He had become a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and had published his autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written By Himself”. Throughout his career, he fought for the rights of African-Americans and women through his lectures and writings.
Musicians Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. Her father was a well-known gospel singer and a pastor at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit in 1946. Aretha and her sisters would sing with the choir and even went on tours. She was then signed to a record label where she recorded multiple songs before signing on to Atlantic Records in 1966. There she recorded classics such as Otis Redding’s “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and “Ain’t No Way” written by Aretha’s sister Carolyn. She has won several Grammys as well as being a symbol for the R&B genre. Ella Fitzgerald Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917. In 1935, she was a member of the Chick Webb orchestra and released a few songs before the orchestra broke up in 1942. She grew in popularity in the 1950’s when she recorded hundreds of jazz songs with multiple artists. She was also famous for bringing her scat into her music. Some classics were “Summertime” and “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”. Throughout her career, she won 14 Grammy awards, the National Medal of Arts, and a Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement. Louis Armstrong Born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 4, 1901, Louis Armstrong was a renowned trumpet player and jazz musician. He learned to play the instrument by listening to other artists and performing in several bands in the 1920’s. His fame started when he performed with the Oliver’s Creole Band in Chicago in 1922 and he grew in popularity with his solos and duets. He was also sang in pieces “What a Wonderful World” and “La Vie En Rose”. He was awarded a Grammy for Record of the Year for “Hello, Dolly!” and a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was known for being humorous and good-natured in his performances and being a symbol for jazz.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 15–16
Making Black History Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930. He started playing the piano at the age of five before going blind a year later. He then studied music at the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind. Ray Charles was famous for his energy in performances and exploring different genres outside of jazz. Some classics of his was “Hit the Road, Jack,” “I Got A Woman,” and “You Don’t Know Me.” Through his career, he had won 13 Grammys, a Kennedy Center Honors, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Actors and Actresses Hattie McDaniel Hattie McDaniel was born in Wichita, Kansas on June 10, 1895. In her youth, she mostly sang in church and school. She had dropped out of high school to join her father in touring with different shows with other performers. She had written multiple songs and was the first African-American woman on the radio. During the Great Depression, she had struggled with finding a job until appearing in some roles for television. In almost every film she had appeared in, she played a maid and was often uncredited. She eventually got the spotlight in her role as “Mammy” in the film “Gone With The Wind”. She became the first African-American woman to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 29, 1954. Throughout her childhood, she had been abused by several male relatives and family friends and moved continuously between her divorced parents. It was at an early age she was comfortable with public speaking and was bright for her age. She participated in many clubs and her father was an important factor in her education. She earned a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. In college, she was a member of radio shows and eventually became the first African-American female co-anchor in Nashville. She was later hired as a head anchor on A.M. Chicago (later named “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1985) after she graduated. It was on the show that she was chosen to play the role of Sofia in “The Color Purple,” which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Her show went on for 27 years and won several awards. She has also created a magazine, her own tv network, and several organizations for education and for those in need. Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier was born in Miami, Florida on February 20, 1927. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army before
joining the theater realm. He apart of the African Negro Theatre until performing on Broadway’s “Lysistrata” in 1946. It was in 1950 when he played a major role in the film “No Way Out”. He appeared in other films such as “The Blackboard Jungle” and “A Raisin in the Sun”. His most famous role was in “Lilies of the Field” and plays the character, Homer Smith. His performance in the film earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the first African-American male to win the award in that category. He continued to star in films before retiring and eventually going into directing. He was also the ambassador for the Bahamas in Japan for a decade. Nichelle Nichols Nichelle Nichols was born in Robbins, Illinois on December 28, 1932. She attended the Chicago Ballet to study dance when she was young before being involved in an act for Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Afterwards, she appeared in several television shows and released albums. It was in 1966 when she was cast as Commander Uhura in “Star Trek”. She was one of the first African-American women to have a major non-stereotypical role on television. She then created the Women in Motion Inc. which used music to help in education. This was soon used for astronaut recruitment at NASA.
Scientists and Mathematicians Mae Jemison Mae Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama on October 17, 1956. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1977, and then a doctorate in medicine from Cornell in 1981. She worked in Los Angeles as a Practitioner for medicine until 1982 before becoming a medical officer for the Peace Corps. She participated in several projects that involved the study of vaccines for rabies and Hepatitis B. She became the first African-American woman to travel to space on the Space Shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992 between the United States and Japan. Katherine Johnson Katherine Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on August 26, 1918. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from West Virginia State University and taught at a public school in Virginia. In 1953, she started working in the all African-American Computer section in the National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics alongside Dorothy Vaughan. She also provided work for the 1958 Notes on Space Technology for lectures given to engineers for two flight divisions as well as working on the Alan Shepard Freedom 7 mission. She was mostly known for her work in the John Glenn launch on February 20, 1962. Her calculations made the launch successful
and was a turning point in the “Space Race.” She also worked on the Space Shuttle, Earth Resources Satellite, and Project Apollo. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. George Washington Carver George Washington Carver was raised in Diamond, Missouri since his birth in 1864. In 1896, he earned a degree in agriculture from Iowa State College. He then went to Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute for two decades as the head of the agricultural department. Carver researched different resources for farming and labor from fertilizing soil, to growing other crops. He was most famous for his work with the peanut, earning the him nickname “Peanut Man”. He went on to make several lectures on his discoveries throughout his career and was seen as a symbol of success. Percy Lavon Julian Percy Lavon Julian was born on April 11, 1899, in Montgomery, Alabama. He attended DePauw University in Indiana while also taking high school classes to catch up. Eventually, he graduated at the top of his class. He was a chemistry instructor at Fisk University before earning his Ph.D. at the University of Vienna in 1931. His research was geared toward producing medicine from plants but was rejected for a job due to his race. He managed to synthesize testosterone from a soybean as well as cortisone. He also invented Aero-Foam that was used in World War II to put out fires. He built his own laboratory in 1954 and became one of the first African-American millionaires.
Athletes Wilma Rudolph Wilma Rudolph was born in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee on June 23, 1940. She was very ill as a child and was diagnosed with scarlet fever, pneumonia, and polio. She was also forced to wear a brace on her leg. With extensive training, she was able to overcome these obstacles and became a member of her high school’s basketball team. She was later recruited for the Tennessee State University track team. At the age of 16, she was the youngest member of the U.S. track and field Olympic team and won the bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics. At the next Summer Olympics, she had broken several record-breaking times and won three gold medals. She was the first African-American woman to win three gold medals in one Summer Olympics. In both 1960 and 1961, she was awarded the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year Award.
Jesse Owens Jesse Owens was born in Oakville, Alabama on September 12, 1913. In 1935, he had broken four world records in track and field before attending Ohio State University. He went on to compete in the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics and won four gold medals as well as setting an Olympic and world record. This was also the same time period of Adolf Hitler’s reign, in which he attempted to show Aryan supremacy in the games. Despite Owens’s victories, Hitler refused to shake his hand due to him being African-American. Jesse was shown as a hero and was recognized for his achievements by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Afterwards, he was active in public relations and served as the secretary of state for the Illinois State Athletic Commission. In 1976, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1990. Arthur Ashe Arthur Ashe was born in Richmond, Virginia on July 10, 1943. He learned tennis at a very young age with his coach until he was introduced to Dr. Johnson, who had also coached the first African-American tennis player, Althea Gibson. He spent his high school years competing, but due to segregation, he was sent to St. Louis, Missouri to continue his playing. He grew in popularity and earning a full scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles. He graduated with a degree in business administration along with an NCAA championship. He continued to play when he was enlisted in the U.S. Army. He became the first African-American male tennis player to win the Wimbledon, the first selected for the U.S. Davis Cup, and the first #1 ranking tennis player. Jackie Robinson Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919. In high school, he played four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, but was forced to leave due to financial problems. He played football for the Honolulu Bears before he served in the U.S. Army in 1942. He was arrested for refusing to give up his seat on a bus, which gave him an honorable discharge. His determination helped him become a player in Major League Baseball. At first, he played in an all African-American team, but was then moved to the all-white Brooklyn Dodgers, and then the Royals. He faced several accounts of racial slurs at games, but still fought through by helping his team win several games and had multiple home runs throughout his career. He won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 17–18
Cartoon Division Arts & Entertainment
Cartoonist: Nicole Hauck, Hope Baker, Matthew Bennett
Meet the Staff
Nicole Hauck Art Editor
icole Hauck is a senior who has been on the BlueXpress staff for two years. As Head Cartoonist, she organizes the schedules and projects of the other “Toonies”, as well as makes her own comics, sliders, and feature images for the newspaper and magazine. As of this year, her primary contributions to the newspaper’s cartoon content consists of a series called “The Punnies,” revolving around delightfully horrid visual humor and a new interactive segment called “Oodles of Doodles from Me to Youdles,” where she takes doodles created by other students and staff and turns it into something more… detailed. Alongside the other cartoonists, she has aided in the creation of what is now formerly considered the cartoon section of the newspaper, and she hopes that after graduation, it will continue to remain an established and important part of the BlueXpress.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 19–20
SPOLIGHT LOCAL BANDS
THE POSERS Article by | Laurel Biedrzycki A new punk band from Stephens City has come out called The Posers, and they have already impressed the community’s music scene. John Miles, the frontman, performed like a professional from his first moment on stage back in October 2017. His theatrical antics and British punk flair made for a memorable show, leaving audience members wanting more. They started around the end of September 2017 when drummer Brady Robinson asked John to start a band with him. Later on, they found Chris Bachman who became their guitarist. The three of them attend Sherando High School together and were previously friends before the formation of the band. They were unable to find a bassist for awhile, so Collin Boyer of X-Ray
Cat decided to play bass for them on a whim since he was friends with Brady. He joined just in time for their first show. When it comes to the type of music they play, there is no specific genre. Each member of the band has different influences and interests, giving their music a unique color. For instance, John’s love for U.K. punk and bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols somehow compliments the American punk style of the rest of the band. Though John’s U.K. love influences show, his favorite band is a Swedish rock band called The Hives. As for the band as a whole, they can all agree that they’re inspired by The Dead Milkmen and Descendents. Chris is also a fan of metal, but it hasn’t been reflected in the band’s sound
as much as their other influences. The Posers doesn’t have an exact message they want to convey, but they’re not against being political. Brady is the most political member of the group, so they have a few songs relating to politics involved. John comes up with most of the concepts, though, and his intention isn’t to have a clear point when it comes to the direction of his music. In the future, they want to continue to grow as a band. They announced recently on social media that they’re coming out with a full-length debut album that Brady himself is going to record. They haven’t decided on a release date since it’s a new project, but they’ve confirmed that it’ll come out later this year.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 21–22
alex stone presents
February is Black History Month, an especially important holiday in today’s culture that celebrates and recognizes black achievements and culture, and hopefully, sheds light on underrepresented issues. What better way to recognize such achievements than the progress made on the national stage of cinema, allowing African American artists to relay their struggles and triumphs in a personal and detailed way through the visual medium. As a white male, I, in no way, want to appropriate black culture in any offensive or demeaning fashion, but rather gain a better understanding, and these are some of the films that helped me gain that perspective.
My favorite movie of 2016 and the Academy Award winner of Best Picture that same year follows a young gay man as he is shaped by his environment in three acts; Child, Teenage, and Adult. This haunting and deeply emotional film shines a light on LGBTQ issues, drug addiction, loss and most importantly; the pain of growing. This movie is honestly the full package; great story, unforgettable score, mesmerizing cinematography and lighting and some of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen, most notably from Mahershala Ali as the flawed father figure of our main character. I’m was disheartened to see the response to its winning of Best Picture, even going as far as to have to share the spotlight with La La Land due to the now infamous mix up.
Do the Right Thing I adore Spike Lee’s work, but I feel that his quintessential and most accessible work is this 1989 classic. Following a day in the life of a community in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year and centering upon the racial tension, hate and bigotry around a Pizza place erupts into mayhem as the day unfolds. This film is iconic in many respects; its opening with Public Enemy’s Fight the Power, its unique cast of characters and unforgettable performances from Spike Lee’s Mookie, Danny Aiello’s Sal and a special cameo of Samuel L Jackson, not to forget the icon that is Radio Raheem. This film is visually stunning, it’s uplifting, it’s touching, and it is incredibly powerful. If you like this, I’d recommend checking out some of Lee’s other works such as Crooklyn or Chiraq.
I Am Not Your Negro I was lucky enough to see this film at an NAACP screening at the local Alamo during last year’s black history month. This film shares the life of the highly influential civil rights leader, James Baldwin. Deeply personal, developed and structured from an unfinished manuscript of Baldwin’s before his death, the film explores the figure’s life and his accomplishments during the civil rights era; either through his debates or through his writing. Whether you are familiar with Baldwin’s body of work or are wondering who he is, this movie introduces yet another perspective on the tumultuous era.
Best in Black Cinema The Final Year This controversial documentary follows a controversial figure, Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States through the final year of his two terms in office. Whether you agree with his politics or not, it is nonetheless gripping to see the inner workings of the White House and how it operates on a daily basis. An unveiling akin to that Jacqueline Kennedy’s famous tour, it reveals how these important figures operate. The film comes at a resonant time as our political climate transitions into the Trump Era.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner An incredibly important and progressive film of its era handles race relations from the scale of a family to a broader world. Sidney Poitier stars as an accomplished black doctor coming to meet his white girlfriend’s parents to ask for her hand in marriage. It dealt with the important issue of interracial marriage and segregation, especially timely as it coincided with the Supreme Court ruling in the Loving v. Virginia. Featuring landmark performances from Poitier and Katherine Hepburn, it created an icon in cinema reflecting the era. This film is only rivaled in its commentary by its successor, the Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher remake, Guess Who?
BX CONNECTS | Pages 23–24
Article by | Alex Stone
t’s Valentine’s Day, or at least it was when I wrote this, but if you’re like me, romantic movies don’t really require a specific day to be consumed unapologetically like a deeply discounted and questionable quality box of chocolates. Such ambiguity lends itself into some of my selections, these films are all by definition romance movies, but to leave it at that is…reductive. These movies are when you want a little more than a meet cute and a happy ending, but this is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me so venture into this list unabashedly, or just a little bashedly as I tried my best to include a little of something for everyone, even those without the same affinity for “chick flicks” as myself. When Harry met Sally. Wow, what an unconventional pick, literally the gold standard for
romantic comedies and a staple of the genre as a whole. But, this movie is a staple for a reason; it’s the Aliens of Rom Coms, caving to every cliche in the book, mainly because it reinvented those cliches. At the time; Nora Ephron’s script was a complete recalibration for the genre that all others after it used as a template, rather than relying on some hopeless romantic three act “will they, won’t they” structure. The film is, for the most part, about friendship. Reconstructing the base narrative of two people falling in love into two people absolutely hating each other where the only thing holding them back from love is themselves. Starring Meg Ryan, a rom com favorite, and Billy Crystal, with his unique brand of cynicism at their respective primes; Sleeping in Seattle and Let’s Forget Paris could not compare to the comfort and chemistry this duo share in their constant conflict. One of my
absolute favorite movies of all time, constantly charming and delightful. The Before Trilogy. If you have about 5 hours of spare time, an intro to philosophy course under your belt and if you enjoy long walks down seemingly endless city streets, then this film might just be for you. Two perfect strangers walking and talking for about an hour and a half a piece may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the naturalistic flow and depth of the conversation as two people understand each other and fall in love is a gripping experience. Only elevated as we meet them nine years down the line, and then another nine after that, each film builds upon the last, culminating and maturing into a satisfying portrait of love, life and perspective as time passes. Intimate and operating with such flow, precision and beauty, this film transcends its setup, easily one of the greatest trilogies of all time. A great pick for
a laid back Sunday where you have nothing going on but to live vicariously through Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. About Time. Written and directed by Richard Curtis of Love Actually acclaim, this rom com runs along the same vein; quirky, heartfelt, sentimental and at times, a real tearjerker. Following a young British male played Domhnall Gleeson who discovers on his birthday that his lineage shares a trait on his father’s side; they can travel in time. An ambitious setup that usually doesn’t come through, remains close and personal, as he uses this to advantage to reshape parts of his life to his benefit and eventually gain the love of an American suitor. This movie hits you like a train with its deceptive plot as the focus shifts from your basic romantic conventions to the powerful relationship between a father and son. It runs you through the full gambit of comedy, drama and romance, a perfect date night movie. They Came Together: Wet Hot American Summer is one of the greatest comedy films of all time, no discussion. A pitch perfect deconstruction of the camp comedy genre with layered absurdity and deadpan loyalty to its influences like Meatballs; this film is of the same caliber. Although it did not rise to similar
cult acclaim, this film notches up the absurdity and becomes its own, rather than a generic reskin. Taking every possible trope from every kitchy schlocky mess of a rom com you can think of and imitating it to the extreme while still retaining its straight-faced qualities; I’m sure that without context, you could just think it was a terrible flick. I’m a huge advocate of the parody genre, something that needs to rise back into prominence soon to the like of Scary Movie and Dewey Cox rather than Vampires Suck. Audition: Really, if you chop out a few minutes here and there, and then the last 20 minutes, this could
be your standard romance fare. A grieving widower is down on life and love, with only his son and his job to lean on. His best friend recognizes this grief, urging him to get back in the game; offering him a position to audition some girls for a role in a film with the ulterior motive of dating them. This pays off when he meets his perfect woman, but all is not as it seems. You should go into this film completely blind, only knowing the setup and that it is foreign (so if you don’t like to “read your movies” steer clear). I promise you that if you watch this on a date night, it will be an unforgettable experience.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 25–26
Meet the Staff
Ryan Crosson Graphic Design
yan Crosson is 17 years old and has been doing journalism for two years now. This year he was promoted to Head of Graphics for the newsmagazine and website. He is in twelfth grade and has a job at AMC Apple Blossom 12, where he does a little bit of everything. He has been working there for three months now. His whole family consist of nurses and one day he hopes to become a Graphics teacher or a paramedic. Ryan plans on going to go to Lord Fairfax Community College for two years to get all his prerequisites done before applying to Virginia Tech in the summer of 2020. During his time at Virginia Tech he plans to get his major in Graphic Communications or in the medical field. He also plans to undergrad in education. When he is finished with college, he is planning on coming back home and helping his family out with paying off their bills. He plans on coming back to Millbrook to teach graphic communications to teenagers.
Article by | Emily Keller The month of February is a very special month because it is a National Career & Technical Education (CTE) Week. FBLA members are encouraged to publicize the activities of their club, prepare for the conference in the spring, as well as try to increase FBLA membership. FBLA Week was February 4-10. Their week is always the second week in February and has been celebrated among the FBLA community for over 70 years. On Sunday, February 4, FBLA members shared their stories about being in FBLA on their personal social medias, tagging the posts with the #FBLA-PBLWeek hashtag. On Monday, February 5, a live broadcast from the division’s national presidents was watched. On Tuesday, February 6, members of FBLA went out into the school community to encourage other students to join the club. “We hope to increase membership during this week. Our goal is to increase our club’s membership by about 10 members per year so that we get recognized at the out-of-state leadership conference,” said club advisor, Ms.Carper. The club is almost at its goal and they hope to reach it during FBLA Week. Wednesday was Dress for Success day. If members dressed professionally that day, they got a special prize from Ms.Carper. Also on that day
students were able to share their appreciation for the people who lead and mentor their chapter. On Thursday it was Career Awareness Day and members were able to get involved with leaders in the professional division. American Woodmark, located in Winchester, works very closely with Millbrook’s FBLA members during this week. Friday was FBLA Spirit Day where members got to show their FBLA pribe by posting group photos on Twitter and Instagram using the #FBLA-PBLWeek hashtag. “On this day if members wore their FBLA shirts, they got a prize,” stated Ms. Carper. Saturday, February 10 was Community Service Day where members prepared Chemo Care Kits for children who are fighting cancer. Inside the care kits were items like travel-sized tissues packs, lemon or ginger hard candies, portable board games, unscented or non medicated Chapstick and word find books. Students at Millbrook didn’t have to be in FBLA to participate and many dropped off items to business teachers during the week. Overall, it was a successful week for the club and a fun time for the members. Students interested in joining FBLA should speak to Ms. Carper or a business teacher for details.
Editorial by | Abigail Varricchio
tarvation, death, and gulag style prison camps plague North Korean society for the majority of its citizens. The political elite control the top half of the Korean peninsula by eliminating all outside media, including the internet, and feeding only positive North Korean military propaganda and negative propaganda on Western culture to their people. The North Korean government goes to the extreme to control their people by eliminating any ability to choose or think, through not only massive methods of control, but fear mongering as well. The Kim Dynasty has led three generations of terror over the North Korean citizens with no plans of halting. Tensions recently heightened between the United States and the regime after several nuclear tests were rapidly conducted. Kim Jong Un warned the United States that the nuclear button rests on his desk. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the U.S. would not tolerate a nuclear North Korea. Though nuclear tensions are still on going, the Olympics have demonstrated that the regime will do anything to come across as “normal.” Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was sent to the PyeongChang Olympic Games as a delegate from North Korea. During the opening ceremonies, she was seated several seats away from Vice President Pence. A handshake did not take place between the delegation; however, in one photo Kim Yo Jong can be seen giving “major side eye” to the Vice President of the United States. Though it is not a problem that Yo Jong gave Pence an ominous glare, there is a problem with media coverage. Some media outlets entertained editorials that were written as if to glorify the woman from the murderous dictator regime of North Korea simply because she was a woman and due to the author’s dislike of the Trump
administration. The Washington Post noted that due to her association with the regime it is not just to deem Yo Jong a hero to women, but as brought up earlier in the editorial how “Pence epitomizes the oh-so-manly statesman whose view of his craft makes no room for the opposite sex.” Though some Americans do not think how Pence treats women is honorable, it is no excuse to view the sister of a murderous regime as a powerful woman to be celebrated. It is disgusting to even view Yo Jong as a hero simply because they dislike the Vice President. She holds just as much responsibility for the murders of millions of innocent Koreans; she should get absolutely no glory due to someone’s dislike that the Vice President refuses to be alone in a room with any woman, but his wife. Murderous leaders should get no glory simply because they are an “empowered woman.” The North Korean regime also sent a cheerleading squad that did cheer for the Unified North Korea; however, the squad gave a creepy appearance. Dubbed the “Army of Beauties,” all of the woman moved in sync and cheered despite whatever was going on in the arena. The cheerleaders did not speak to the media, but gave polite smiles instead. Many defectors from North Korea have shared their stories of painful starvation and torture due to the policies of the regime. During the State of the Union, defector Ji Seong Ho, held up the crutches he used for thousands to escape after
one of his legs were cut off by a train after scavenging for coal. He is one of many defectors who share stories of hardship and terror after realizing they were likely to die if they remained in North Korea. Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster. Otto was given back to his parents barely alive and with massive neurological damage, but North Korea denies torturing him. Though North Korea is reaching out further during the Olympics than many thought they would, the regime still has a lot of issues to take care of before they can be a part of a fully unified Korea.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 27–28
Meet the Staff
Lady Pioneers H Millbrook High School is flush with victors as our Varsity Wrestling and Girlâ€™s Basketball teams both secured their State titles in their respective VHSL championships. In Wrestling, following a long and hard fought season, senior Tavon Blowe won the State Championship at Churchland High School. The Lady Pioneers reigned victorious over Loudoun Valley with score of 76-64, securing their spot in the VHSL state championship.
Sabrina Castillo Photo Editor
abrina Castillo is a senior and head photographer for the BlueXpress. As this is her third year here, she has gone from being a writer to a photographer to head of photography. Journalism has helped her develop new and work on existing skills: working in photoshop, communication, and leadership. Although Sabrina had a blast in the writing department, she found her place in the photography department. Being head of photographer, she guides and teaches the new and upcoming photographers the fundamentals on how to shoot and edit. Sabrinaâ€™s favorite part about photography is being able to socialize and meet the new amazing people at Millbrook. Stepping out of her comfort zone has been key for her to be able to do the best work she can do for the class. Sabrina enjoys every year of journalism and is upset that this will be her last year.
Head to States! By | Alex Stone
BX CONNECTS | Pages 29â€“30
Softball Bridgewater College
Football University of Richmond
Millbrook Reacts... Super Bowl It’s been about a month and a half since winter break ended, and it’s that time of year again. The NFL season has ended, and as the nerve-wracking playoffs came to a close, there was only one major event left: The Super Bowl. 2018’s Super Bowl LII (Fifty-two) was played by the Philadelphia Eagles (in their third Super Bowl appearance) and the New England Patriots (in their tenth appearance in the Big Game). As there is with every Super Bowl, there was a lot of excitement (and many other emotions) leading up to it. Many students and teachers had their own opinions before and after, which were very interesting to compare and contrast after the game ended. Senior Bailey Collins and sophomores Sarah Purdy and Madison Chandler all predicted the 5-time Super Bowl Champion Patriots to win, all though they all agreed they were sick of them winning. Bailey wanted the Eagles to win though, predicting a 31-28 victory over the www.bluexpress.net
Article by | Grant Myers Patriots if they were able to. If they were to win, Bailey and fellow senior Cameron Funk agreed backup QB Nick Foles would be the reason, who had been successfully filling in for QB Carson Wentz after his injury late in the regular season. Health and P.E. teachers Mr. Cottino and Mr. Taylor also had their own takes on the game, with both of them predicting the Patriots would win as well. Mr. Taylor specifically predicted the Patriots would win 23-21, stating it’s hard to beat “the greatest Quarterback/Coach Tandem of all-time.” Mr. Cottino agreed with that, although he didn’t want them to win, being a New York Jets fan and having to deal with the Patriots being in the same division. In terms of the controversy around the team, they both thought it wouldn’t affect them, with Mr. Taylor saying they use it as “motivation.” Then the game happened, and it was exciting, high-scoring, and not without controversy. After 1,151
eyball ter College
Soccer Southern Virginia University
Amari Anthony Basketball Siena College
Basketball James Madison University
Basketball Appalachian State University (Left to Right)
yards of total offense and an incredible performance from Nick Foles, the Eagles were victorious 41-33 against the Patriots. Despite Tom Brady still throwing for more than 500 yards, the Eagles’ offense and defense were able to overcome the 5-time champions to grab their first Super Bowl win. Everyone seemed to be both surprised and pleased with the result of the game, including Mr. Taylor who “underestimated how motivated they were,” considering almost everyone predicting them to lose. Bailey Collins thought the win was mainly because of Nick Foles’ incredible performance, further saying “You’re telling me a backup beat Brady? That’s embarrassing.” Cameron pointed out Tom Brady was not directly beat by Nick Foles, claiming he’s “still the G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All Time). Cameron and Bailey both agreed benching CB Malcolm Butler cost the Patriots’ defense, although Mr. Taylor argues one person won’t solve their defensive
issues. Mr. Cottino was also surprised, yet happy the Eagles won, saying it’s always exciting to see different teams win, “especially the underdog.” Some people were angry with many aspects of the game, including sophomore and Patriots fan Christian Hellwig who “was at my TV screaming, ecstatic” last year, but “was screaming at Tom Brady” this year. Junior and Editor-in-Chief of the BlueXpress, Abby Varricchio, was angry at one of the two touchdowns for the Eagles that were counted but nearly reversed, calling it “flaming garbage.” In the end, no matter your opinion on how the game went, it was an exciting and slightly controversial game that will go down as another intense, widely-viewed conclusion to the NFL season.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 31–32
Know the Lingo: Spring Sports Baseball Balk: Any pitch that is an illegal motion. Error: A mistake in fielding the baseball by the defense that allows a batter to reach base or a base runner to advance. Hit for the cycle: When a player hits a single, double, triple, and home run in one game. Lead Runner: The first base runner when more than one runner is on base. Pinch hitter: A substitute baseball hitter. Pitch Out: A pitch that cannot be hit by the batter. Used to walk a batter on purpose or to try and catch a base stealer. Strike Zone: The area above home plate where strikes are called; pitch must be over home plate, below batter’s belt, and above batter’s knees.
Softball Assist: A defensive statistic credited to a fielder who throws a batted or thrown ball to another fielder that results in an out. Force Out: When a runner has to advance to the next base to make room for the following base runner. Grand Slam: A home run hit when runners (other teammates) are on every base, resulting in 4 runs. Stolen Base: A play during which a runner advances a base when the pitcher releases the pitch. Tag Out: A base runner that is not on a base when she is tagged by a player with the ball. The defense must create three ‘outs’ before it can switch to defense. Outs can be by strike out, force out, fly out or tag out. Tie-Breaker: Known as the “International Tie Breaker Rule”, this occurs when the game is tied after 7 innings: Each team puts their player with the last official at bat on second base to try to accelerate the game, until the tie is broken. Walk: Player advances to 1st base when 4 consecutive pitches were called as balls.
Soccer Backs: Refers to defenders. Charging: Unbalancing a player who has or is attempting to grab the ball. Corner Arc: A quarter circle on each of the four corners around the field; must be on a corner kick from inside of the arc. Defender: A player who works mainly in the defensive third of the field. Forward: A player who is responsible for most of a team’s scoring. Fullback: A rear defender. Obstruction: A player illegally uses their body to block the offensive player instead of going after the ball.
By | Carolynn Unger and Grant Myers
Tennis Ace: A serve that lands inside the lines and is untouched by the opponent. Advantage: The point that follows a deuce score. If the player wins this point he wins the game, otherwise it goes back to deuce. Break Point: The receiver is said to have a break point whenever he is in a situation where a point won results in him winning the game off of the server. Deuce: An expression that is used when the actual score is 40-40. Let: The umpire calls a let whenever a serve touches the net and still lands in the service box. The serve is then replayed. Match Point: When the player only has one more point to win, ending the entire match. Volley: When the player hits the ball before it bounces on their side.
Outdoor Track Approach: The phase where runners build up speed for the jumps. Break-Line: A line that assigns runners to change lanes and are used in longer races. Exchange Zone: This is a twenty meter area where it is legal to handoff/receive the baton in relays. Exchange zones are identified by different colors to represent specific relays. False Start: Movement before the starting device is fired at the start of any race. This results in the disqualification of the runner or relay. Heat: Grouping of athletes with similar times in the same running event/relay. The number of heats is determined by the number of entries divided by the number of lanes on the track. Pack: Any group of runners in close proximity. This is more of a distance runner term. Being able to stay in a pack allows the runner to be more competitive as they have someone to race with. Splits: Time it takes an individual to run a certain portion (leg) on a relay or for a distance runner to run a portion of the total race. In distance renning being able to run ‘even splits’ is the goal.
Debate Affirmative: Debating on the “pro” or supportive side of the argument. Blip: A derogatory reference toward a short, incomplete, or underdeveloped argument. Claim Without a Warrant: A claim with neither evidence nor analysis to support it. Drop: An argument not responded to, or answered, thus conceded. Flow: What debaters use to take notes - noting arguments and responses during a debate. Speaker Points: Points given from a judge to each debater - the debater with the most speaker points is given a Speaker Award. BX CONNECTS | Pages 33–34
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Jill Stone Oma Lazenby Maribeth & Andrew Carmichael Bill & Julie Lazenby Nancy Schriher
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Pioneer Pride Since 2003
Millbrook Prints, or as the BlueXpress has coined it, M-Prints is a media outlet created with the goal to represent our Millbrook student body through posters, photographs, and graphic designs of involved Pioneers. The posters shown below are samples of what the graphic design team has created using staff photos and are available for sale in a 16 x 20 high resolution digital format for $25. M-Prints are posted under the ‘More’ tab on our website at www.bluexpress.net. To purchase an M-Print, see any member of the staff or contact us at email@example.com.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 35–36
Meet the Staff
Debate Goes Super By | Carolynn Unger
Blake Curry Video Editor
lake Curry is a senior at Millbrook High and is the Head of Videography for the BlueXpress. He has been a part of the BlueXpress for two years and would join again if he could. As Head of Videography, Blake records, edits, and commands his videography minions. His skills in Adobe Premiere were self taught along with most of his other skills in Adobe’s software. Learning graphic design in other classes sparked his interest to join the BlueXpress. During his time with the BlueXpress, Blake has recorded and edited many videos along with updating some of the BlueXpress’ social media graphics. He mostly sticks to the shadows and works on what needs to be done and teaches himself when he can. His time in journalism has started many amazing friendships and opened many doors to him. He loves to listen to music when he is working as it gives him ideas and motivation.
Seniors, Daniel Ludwig and Q’Dell McFarlin, have advanced to super regionals in the debate competition. Daniel said, “I’m honestly super excited to move up in the competition, and I think our 3 to 0 win to loss ratio is a testament of our hard work and debate prowess. I intend to work just as hard as I did in regionals and hope to eventually bring home to Millbrook our first VHSL Debate state title.” The team was founded by Daniel in his junior year. “Being the founder and captain of Millbrook’s debate team has been such a surreal and rewarding experience for me. As someone who has the intention of becoming a lawyer, I have always been interested in both the art of debating and the study of policy, and what better outlet was there for these two things than a debate team?” He planned on joining a debate team here at Millbrook in his junior year, only to discover one did not exist. The road to the creation of the team was not simple. Daniel struggled with finding a sponsor until Mr. Lewis was suggested. Both worked hard to make the dream a reality. “Our team started off small but mighty and showed me that through ambition, achievement was possible. As the founder of the debate team, I feel as though I’ve learned a lot about leadership and have come to appreciate the dynamic of hard work and dedication, which pushes me everyday to work harder and act as a role model for the future of Millbrook’s debate team.” The first step sponsor Mr. Lewis does to prepare the students for an event is by figuring out what the question is. “We have Lincoln Douglas and we have Public Forum [which] are the two areas that we compete in. Lincoln Douglas is mostly about morality and whether we want to do something or we should do something.” He described Public Forum being more about if the topic is “feasible” or right. “We look at strategies, at how we can research it, and the arguments that we can do.” Mr. Lewis is ready for the upcoming event at Tabb High School on March 17. He feels that the question is one both Daniel and Q’Dell are able to make into an argument. “It’s definitely something they can research and get good information to back up their argument.” He is also very excited about the seniors moving up in debate and the fact this is their first time as a pair.
For full story, see online at bluexpress.net
Q & A Photos by Sabrina Castillo and Steven Shaffer
Reporting by Carolynn Unger
Zachary Hicks Boys Swim
Erin Dooley Girls Swim
How was the season for the team?
Zach: We had a really good season.We had a relay go to regionals, along with three guys competing in
individual events, and Patrick Northrup made it to states. Erin: The Pioneer girls had a great season this year! We had lots of improvements individually and team-wise this year. After experimenting with different relay groups, we found ones that worked together and that helped us receive more points in our meets. David: It was pretty good. We all did really and it was good fun. Mellany: I’d say the season was good. The people that did train and compete did well in the postseason meets. A few of the runners and a few jumpers made it to the regional meet and five of the girls on the team qualified for the state meet which was great!
What is your job as the captain for your team?
Zach: As captains, we help the coaches keep things organized and keep people motivated. We’re
looked at as leaders on the team. Erin: As a captain, I was to help get everyone pumped up before meets and make sure attitudes were positive and determined. I helped keep our team on task and work hard. David:I led the beginning warm ups and I helped out my teammates and track coach. Mellany: I’m actually not THE team captain. What’s great about our team is that our coach views us all as leaders, so technically we’re all “Team Captains”. In our own ways, we work to build the team up, push each other to do our best, and cheer each other on in our events. We all inspire and motivate each other to be better in every practice and race.
How do you feel about being captain on your team?
Zach: I think being a captain was a great experience because I got to have more input on what we were doing and I felt a bit more ownership for the program.
Erin: I absolutely loved being a captain this year! It allowed me to create more connections with new and returning swimmers and improved my leadership skills as a whole.
David:I think it was good since I’m a senior so I felt like I had to do that stuff. Mellany: As a senior, I do feel that I take more of a leadership role on the team. Ultimately it feels good and keeps me on my toes to always work hard and make sure the team is unified.
BX CONNECTS | Pages 37–38
From the Archives
February Photo Album
Published on Mar 14, 2018