Administration to enforce assigned parking space system, students outraged, p. A3
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Volume 11 Number 2
James Hubert Blake HS
300 Norwood Rd Silver Spring MD 20905
November 14, 2008
Of all those who voted in the historic November 4 presidential election, 62% of Maryland residents voted for Barack Obama. A few seniors were lucky enough to cast their ballots for the first time. These seniors included (clockwise f ro m l e f t ) s e n i o r Lydia Mihaychuk proudly displaying her “I Voted” sticker; senior James Parker concentrating as he decides on his choice; and senior Darin Murray, displaying her preferred candidate on her shirt as she drops off her card after casting her vote. --photos by Sacha Vega
First-time voters cast ballots for change, make history Students help elect Barack Obama as first African-American president x by Tomiko Mason & Kelly Shih President-elect Barack Obama was chosen to lead the country in a historic election after millions of Americans, including first-time student voters, casted their ballots November 4. “I was actually really excited to be able to vote for the first time,” says senior Dennis Kelner. “A lot of people were telling me that they thought it didn’t matter but I thought [my vote] did.”
After watching a groundbreaking campaign season that stretched two years, these students were able to have a say in the nation’s history. Says senior Ben Herrington, “It was nice to be a part of a big thing— this election.” As the first African-American president, Barack Obama represents unprecedented change for the country. “I’m just glad that I was alive to see it,” says sophomore Jordyn Tillman. “I never thought that I’d be around to see us have our first black president.”
Adds sophomore Matias Perez Ferrero, “I think it’s awesome because it gives us a new face for our country and it provides a new image.” The Obama campaign’s motto was “Change,” and many students have specific hopes for the next four years. “I would like to see...a complete reversal of the Bush policies,” says sophomore Daniel Arias. “I would like to see a withdrawal from Iraq during the four years... [and] the Patriot Act removed in its entirety.” Continued on A2
Lack of respect for EduCorps Interns leads to unpleasant experiences by Christina deGraft-Johnson x & Steven Sites EduCorps is proving to be less than it sets out to achieve in the eyes of some EduCorps interns because of a lack of respect from some resistant students. Despite the EduCorps mission to “[assist] the classroom teacher by helping students in need with instruction, and by modeling study strategies, test-taking skills
and student advocacy skills as instruction is unfolding,” this is not how it has turned out for some EduCorps Interns.“I thought I’d get more leadership experience,” says junior Mary Smith* (asterisked names have been changed). “I thought I’d be helping students who wanted help, but that’s not really how it turned out.” Some of the students enrolled in classes supported by EduCorps Interns create a hostile environment for the students
who are there to help them. Says Smith, “There’ve been problems with students pulling my hair…touching me after I’ve asked them not to, asking me incredibly rude questions…talking back to me [and] threatening me. The list goes on and on.” The experience can be less than enjoyable. “The students are extremely difficult to work with and I feel as though they do not apply themselves to the class as they should,” says senior Molly
White*. Adds senior Nancy Lopéz*, “It’s hard to deal with students who don’t care at all for school and have no respect for me or the teacher.” Respect for each other is a necessary component in situations in which peers are helping each other. Adds White, “The most difficult part of being an EduCorps is getting the students to trust and respect me.” Continued on A6
Economic downturn lightens students’ wallets, changes college decisions, p. A4
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Senior makes quantum leap in physics, derives equation Parker’s findings from University of Maryland internship to be published x by Hannah Mellman Senior James Parker will be recognized in a publication later this year for his work in Professor Sylvester J. Gates’ physics lab at the University of Maryland. Parker worked with Dr. Gates and Ruben Polo-Sherk, a University of Maryland senior and physics major, to derive the supersymmetric relationship between bosons and fermions. The group worked to come up with an equation that ultimately could lead to a better understanding of relationships between forces and quantum particles. Says Blake physics teacher Ryan Casavant, “James was given the opportunity of a lifetime, and he really stepped up to the plate.” Discovering an equation
significant enough to be published was no easy feat. “The first month,” says Parker, “[Dr. Gates] taught us crazy math that took many long nights to understand.” After nailing the basics, Parker spent the month of July researching and finding equations that supported the theory of supersymmetry, or the existence of corresponding bosons and fermions. Parker’s work involves the quantum field theory, which has been a hot topic in today’s world
of physics. The recently activated Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland has been built to study many of the same forces and particles that Parker worked with over the summer. If the LHC proves that supersymmetry does exist, then Parker’s equations would describe how certain particles interact with each other. “The better we understand quantum field theory,” says Mr. Casavant, “the closer we get to understanding how all matter and anti-matter interacts in our world.”
These complex problems of modern physics are understood by few. Blake’s physics classes barely touch on the topics Parker quickly learned during his internship. “Since Dr. Gates works on the cutting edge of math and physics,” says Mr. Casavant, “the math James was working on was at least ten times harder than the math we do in a typical Honors Physics class here.” Although Parker’s work went far beyond Blake’s curriculum, the
“The math James was working on was at least ten times harder than the math we do in a typical Honors Physics class here.” - physics teacher Ryan Casavant
opportunity arose inside Blake’s doors. His initial interest began when he started attending meetings where students watched Dr. Gates’ string theory videos. Parker was chosen to be a Blake representative for the prestigious internship based on his potential to succeed. “[Parker] was a student that thought about the actual physics he was learning and didn’t just ‘do the homework,’” says Mr. Casavant. The future looks bright for the budding physicist. Parker says his experience in Dr. Gates’ lab “has made me consider double majoring in physics and computer science.” Parker can look forward to seeing the applications of his work in wireless energy transfer, advanced computing and what he calls “all that sci-fi glory.”
School undergoes Accreditation for Growth (AFG) process, survey Action, planning teams involve students in evaluation for improvement x by Brontë Abell Students will be participating in the self-study portion of the Accreditation for Growth process, also known as AFG, which is administered by the Middle States Association (MSA), this year. AFG is a process that has to be undertaken every seven years to make sure that the school is meeting the MSA standards. Blake’s last self-study year was 2001. Being accredited is important “so that your diploma means something,” says principal Carole Goodman. The self-study year “really makes you look at how you operate, and what you need to improve on,” she adds. “It’s an overwhelming task and one of the key things is
having really good people as the internal coordinators,” says Mrs. Goodman. The internal coordinators are in charge of the process at Blake, making sure people are getting involved, and organizing the committees. “If you didn’t have good people doing that, I can’t even imagine, but I’m very confident this will go well,” says Mrs. Goodman. “I’d like to think I don’t have a bigger role in the process; if it’s done well everybody owns it,” adds Mrs. Goodman. “Technically every student is just as important as I am to the process because it’s everybody’s school.” There are ten action teams at Blake, each centered on one or two of the 12 MSA standards that students can be a part of. The action teams meet monthly at lunch. The planning team, which students can also be involved in, meets once a
month after school to help create goals for improvement. “[The] student viewpoint is important because they are the main part of the school and their input tells us how we’re doing and ways we can improve,” says social studies resource teacher Jeffrey Newby. “We get to voice our opinions and influence the goals for the school,” says junior Gloria Nhan. “This is our chance to speak up on what we want to improve about our school [and] it is important that we use this opportunity.” Next fall, Blake will be evaluated on its goals and the data collected during the self-study year by a validation team to see if Blake meets the MSA standards. “It’s important that students take the AFG process seriously and don’t just blow it off,” says Mrs. Goodman.
Underclassmen Blake parent elected to Board of Education seat participate by x polling voters by Melissa Goldberg & Ian Nyanin
Continued from A1 Adds freshman Grace Plihal, “I’d like to see the war ending...and the whole economic situation [improve].” In deciding who to vote for, students who chose Obama were persuaded by his transformational message. Senior Nicole Catucci says she based her decision “basically just on who I felt would be better for the country.” Although the voting process went smoothly for most, the additional local questions and amendments on the ballot posed some difficulty. “I read them but some of them were a little bit confusing,” says senior Darin Murray. “My mom helped me,” adds senior Natalie Engle. “She talked to me about slots and early voting and so I voted on those.” Since most students are not yet eligible to vote , sophomore National, State, and Local Government classes found another way to get involved: conducting exit polls. The classes volunteered at Stonegate Elementary School, White Oak Middle School, Paint Branch High School and Blake High School. Says social studies teacher Mary Wagner, “When you’re taking government during an election year you have to get as immersed in it as possible.” Students wrote questions and “agree or disagree” statements covering topics from the influence of the vicepresidential pick to the troop pull-out in Iraq. “The kids really were able to talk to the voters about the issues that mattered to them the most,” adds Mrs. Wagner. “It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” says sophomore Linda Powers. “The hour went by really fast.”
Phil Kauffman, father of Blake alumnae Rachel and Jordi Kauffman, was elected to the Board of Education November 4 after winning 67 percent of the vote against opponent, Tommy Le. “I’m excited to serve; I am looking forward to bringing what I have to offer to the students of Montgomery County,” says Mr. Kauffman. “Nothing is more important than the education of children and trying to bridge the divide between people.” The first tasks the Board will face after he is sworn in December 4 will include settling the school system’s budget and appointing a new superintendent. At the top of his personal agenda, however, is improving pre-established middle school reforms. “I think [it] is an important initiative that we need to continue and figure out how exactly we can reach kids who are starting to fall behind at middle school level,” he says. “We have a lot of very active parents and community members that value education and support our system,” adds Mr. Kauffman. For this reason he hopes to foster increased communication between general public and their elected officials through new means like town hall meetings. “I would like to see the Board of Education be more open in terms of having a process that allows for more community parents to be interested in how decisions are made.” Throughout the election process, Mr. Kauffman’s family has been an integral part of his campaign, handing out campaign literature and attending public events. Says Jordi Kauffman, “He has worked so hard to get elected and it really is fulfilling to see him finally doing what he wants to do.” Adds Rachel Kauffman “I think he’s going to make a big difference on
Parent Phil Kauffman, seen here with wife and Child Development teacher Beth
Kauffman, will be sworn into the Board of Education. --photo by Ben Martin
the Board and do amazing things given the opportunity to do so.” Although the Kauffman family is excited about his win, they remain cautious about the future. “We’re very thrilled but we’re scared because it’s a very big undertaking,” says his wife, Child Development teacher Beth Kauff-
man. “Whenever you have a family structure and you’re in the public eye, you worry.” “It was a huge responsibility but it was fun,” says Mr. Kauffman, looking back on his campaign, “As long as I was able to say I was having fun, it made it all worthwhile. And now it’s really fun.”
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Blake community to help grads stick together with new site Students, teachers plan cyber network to link alumni, mentor pupils
x by Linda Hwang
After the idea of creating a Blake alumni website was introduced over the summer, developers are now in the preliminary stages of planning an interactive and beneficial venue for both students and alumni. The website’s main goal is to connect Blake alumni from all over the world, strengthening the community by creating a network of people who can both benefit from the accomplishments and achievements of each other and bringing life-experiences back to current students. “It’s a really neat way…to help alumni and students make connections from the bottom up,” says principal Carole Goodman. With eight graduating classes, the website will allow alumni to keep in touch with classmates as well
as mentor, motivate and share first-hand knowledge of life after high school with current students. “What better way to get your foot in the door”, says Barbara Weintraub, Blake’s first College and Career Coordinator, “than through a mentoring relationship with someone who has been there and done that?” Down the road, the possibility could exist to develop the alumni website into an organization that could get involved in fundraising for the school, allowing alumni to give back to Blake. For a broadcast, junior Emily Stevens and seniors Brendan Lipton and Danielle Romig are designing a promotional outreach portal that will connect to the larger alumni website. “Getting people interested in the website and getting the word out is really important in making the website work,” says digital arts teacher John
Overman who has agreed to take on the preliminary stages of the website. “It will only be as effective as how interactive and interested the people are.” As of now, participants of the website are actively trying to recruit former students and parents to take a leadership role in developing and maintaining the site. Says Mr. Overman, “We need someone to manage the website, although it will take a lot of work and effort.” They hope that sometime before the end of this school year it will be up and running, so that this year’s graduating class will be the first to make use of the website. Although the website is in its earliest stages, many still hold high hopes for it. Says Blake Alumna Rebecca Lee, “With the collaboration and commitment of staff, students and alumni, I’m sure it will be a great success.”
No walk in park: assigned system to be implemented next semester Debate over main lot met with complaints, administrative action x by Erin Washburn Next semester, in response to numerous student complaints, an assigned parking system will be implemented in the student parking lot to ensure that those who purchased parking permits receive spaces. There have been many student complaints about not receiving a parking space after purchasing a parking permit, either because of students without permits parking in the student parking lot or because of unwitting visitors. “It’s not fair for students who paid,” says principal Carole Goodman. “If [students] are able to drive and get a parking space, we should respect that.” Complaints will only increase second semester, when numerous sophomores and juniors become eligible to drive and begin driving to school. “The last two years, second semester parking has been a disaster,” says security team leader Charles Harper. “The demand [for spaces] becomes astronomical.” In order to stem these complaints, the business office and security have designed an assigned parking system. Parking spaces will be assigned, security will check the parking lot regularly to make sure that people are in the right space, and people who are not supposed to be parking will get caught. “It really does make sense,” says Ms. Goodman. “It protects student rights.” “I’m hoping it helps as a management tool,” adds Mr. Harper. Security will also use assigned parking to stem complaints about anonymous damage done to cars. Says Mr. Harper, “Hopefully… if you’re assigned to a spot and… everyone knows, you’ll be more careful.” Additionally, the assigned parking system will help identify the owners of cars whose lights are on or have been left running. However, despite its good intentions, many students find assigned parking to be less than desirable. “What happens when someone [like] another student, a teacher or a visitor parks in your assigned spot?” says senior Graham Berger. “Maybe they didn’t mean to, but now you have to take someone else’s spot.”
Senior Desire Gordon disagrees with the administration’s new parking lot setup. Many students have expressed
concern over the new proposal, but the adminstration has kept its firm stance. --photo by Jasmine Cogdell
Adds senior Danielle Barlow, “Time and effort can go into other projects that the administration should be focusing on other than where students park in the morning.” Some staff members have also complained about not being able to park in the student parking lot, but, says Ms. Goodman, “The staff lot has enough [spots] for staff. Our
needs are different from [the students’].” Another alternative to assigned parking would be to revert to the old parking system and only allow juniors and seniors to park in the student parking lot. Although the school hopes sophomores will not be cut out, says Mr. Harper, “That isn’t entirely off the board yet. We may have to [do that] out of necessity.”
Fairytale coming of age prepares women to live happily ever after
Debutantes deliver show-stopping cotillions, dance, brush up on etiquette by Ryan Arrendell x & Suzanne Walls For seniors Jasmine Cogdell, Desire Gordon, and Tybrina Nickens, wearing tiaras and waltzing in floor-length gowns is no scene from The Princess Diaries—it is their own, very real, fairy-tale soiree. A cotillion is a formal coming-of-age event when young women are taught life skills and the traditions of their elders. “It’s an event I can tell my children and grandchildren about,” says Cogdell. “It will have shaped part of the woman I became…. It’s an experience that will last a lifetime.” Becoming a debutante is no easy task. Debs are required to attend dance rehearsals and work-
shops ranging from how to write a college essay to how to eat at a formal dinner setting. “There is so much more that goes into it before you even purchase the dress,” says Cogdell. “It’s a membership into something greater—being part of a new family and growing with peers to mature and get ready for life outside of high school.” One of the signature events of a cotillion is the Father-Daughter
dance. “Teaching my un-coordinated father how to waltz has been by far the most difficult [part],” says Cogdell. “He has two left feet, so teaching him rhythm and movement is a challenge.” The debutantes must also select an escort, generally a male close in age, who must wear a black tuxedo complete with a white bowtie, and participate in the dance. Adds Cogdell, “My escort Malcolm
Wyche from Paint Branch picked up on the steps pretty quickly.” Sometimes, escorts do not realize the huge time commitment they are making. Says Nickens, “My escort dropped out... I had to find a new one two weeks before the cotillion.” Fundraising is also a key part of the cotillion. Debs raise money through selling ads and receive scholarship money in return. “It
“It will have shaped part of the woman I became...it’s an experience that will last a lifetime.” -- senior Jasmine Cogdell
was hard finding people who want to financially support you,” says Nickens. Nickens’ cotillion, sponsored by the Zeta Phi Bet Sorority, was held last Sunday in Washington D.C. “It was stressful; it felt like a wedding day,” says Nickens. “But I enjoyed it and I cried; all my hard work paid off…it felt like the night was all about me.” Codgdell and Gordons’s cotillion will be held on November 29. Though she has yet to have her night of grandeur, Gordon is glad she has stuck with the process. “I’ve become more confident and knowledgeable about world situations.” She adds, “I’m happy I’ve had the chance to go through this experience.”
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Traditional foods, perfomances bring community together
Students get opportunity to experience, learn about other cultures “I like to see everyone’s cultures...I think it is fun to see the differences.” - International Night Sponsor Gary Jean-Charles
by Megan Bush & Melanie Spaid
Through an immense variety of traditional cuisines and performances, International Night will promote cultural diversity and acceptance tonight at 6:30pm. The three-and-a-half-hour event, organized by the International Club, exposes students, parents and faculty to the community’s assortment of cultures. Says math and Chinese teacher Hsinyu Ho, “International night gives many students the opportunity to see many other cultures that they otherwise would not have the chance to see.” International Night will serve as an arena for many cultures as performers
dance and sing to traditional music of their origins. Says senior Jeanne DelBalzo, who plans on singing “If” by Korean singer Kimate Yeon, “I’ve been practicing this song for ages, so I’m pretty confident about my performance.” Blake’s own groups, such as Fuego Latino and the Step Team, will be performing routines as well. Students will not be the only people showing off their diverse backgrounds. Mr. Ho will be performing a Chinese rap with junior Fletcher Kong. “This is my second time performing for International Night,” adds Mr. Ho. “I’m like Jay-Z; I retired and now I’m coming back.” Although a majority of the evening will be devoted to the numerous perfor-
mances, International Night will also showcase traditional foods from a myriad of cultures. National Honor Society members will contribute some of the international cuisines and help serve them. “It will be really cool to see the array of food brought in,” says senior Ethan Soodak. “Displayed on long tables, all the dishes look so colorful, and you find all sorts of foods you had never heard of.” International Night’s sponsor, security assistant Gary Jean-Charles, is representing his own origin, Haiti. When asked about his favorite aspect of the night, Mr. Charles says, “I like to see everyone else’s cultures and all their outfits. I think it is fun to see the differences.”
Economic problems go beyond Wall Street, reach into teens’ wallets
Recession forces many to make sacrifices about college decisions, jobs by Amelia Holgash x& Christine League Some students think the recent economic recession only affects Wall Street, but in reality, it will change many students’ college decisions and daily lives. Because of the economy’s instability, it is becoming increasingly difficult to receive bank loans to pay for college. Says career counselor Kathy Moore, “Over the past few years, I have seen an increasing number of graduates choose in-state colleges because the tuition is much more affordable. I suspect that those numbers will continue to rise
[this year].” Websites such as fastweb. com and meritaid.com can help seniors find and apply for scholarship opportunities. Says Mrs. Moore, “Do consider colleges that may not be in the very top tier but offer exceptional scholarships to excellent students.” Parents and students interested in learning more about paying for college should attend the Financial Aid Workshop Wednesday at 7pm. Seniors like Joanna Purich refuse to let the economy dictate their college decisions. “I’m applying evenly to public and private schools and trying to ignore the cost,” she says. “I think…you
should make your choice based on where you will fit in the best and where you will get the best education.” Junior Eric Engle changed his preference of colleges because of the economy. “I wanted to go to an out-of-state college, but now because of the economy, I’m going to try and get into an in-state college,” he says. College decisions are not the only victims of the recession. Although gas prices have decreased, seniors Joanna Peth and Elizabeth Gipson, along with many other students, have decided to carpool to and from school in order to save money. Says Gipson, “I
feel it’s wasteful to drive to school with only one person in the car, so carpooling is a nice alternative.” Before the recession, Gipson was usually asked to babysit children in her neighborhood around three to five times each month. She has received far fewer babysitting requests recently. “People seem to be going out to restaurants less and saving more of their money,” she says. Senior Alex Taub is devastated by the recession’s impact on restaurant prices. “When you order carry-out at Chinese restaurants now, they don’t give you free tea or those fried noodles for soup,” he says.
“Over the past few years, I have seen an increasing number of graduates choose in-state colleges.” - Career Counselor Kathy Moore
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Ghouls & Goblins
From left to right: Crayola cuties seniors Hannah Mellman, Hannah Elie, Kerry Irion and Nicky Wannen paint the hallways red, pink, purple and blue. Senior Jacob Stanfill and Jonathan Bui bring together the East and the West for dynamic cultural fusion. Seniors Emily Kerrick and Lauren McNeal smile for the camera. Seniors Jackie Williams and Alexandra Byrd give us their fiercest glares. Juniors Dave Hudson and Trevor Skibine ready themselves for superhero action. Sophomores Lucas Frangou, Joey Morstein and Zach Kronomoe show off their Powerpuff stuff. Senior Travis Rogers makes a good call. --photos by Ben Martin, Arieyl Jones & Sacha Vega
New computerized sign-in system to take byte out of crime
Despite efficiency, some speculate about high price, relative necessity
x by Alexander Blocker
Using pen and paper to register visitors will eventually become a thing of the past, according to school system officials, who want to replace it with a computer to sign in guests. With the new device, currently being piloted at Banneker Middle School in Burtonsville, parents and other visitors scan their driver’s licenses upon entering the main office. The computer then reads the name on the card and searches two databases: the school’s emergency contact records, to see if the visitor has a child at the school, and the Maryland sex offender registry,
since convicted sex offenders are not allowed to be on school grounds. Assuming the Banneker test run is successful, Montgomery County Public Schools plans to place these devices in all schools, including Blake, over the next five years. At a price of $2,500 per unit, however, some people question the wisdom of purchasing the new devices in the midst of the county’s
budget shortfalls. Tanja Callahan, a mother of two juniors, is generally supportive of the concept, but says, “I think there are other things that are needed before that,” mentioning student services and retaining teachers. “There are a lot of jobs being cut,” adds Ms. Callahan. Principal Carole Goodman is excited about other possible uses for the machine, such as automatically
“We don’t have a lot of trespassers, but the possibility is always there.” - Principal Carole Goodman
keeping a tally of parent volunteer hours when they sign in. Regarding its effectiveness in excluding child predators, however, Mrs. Goodman says, “I’m not convinced that someone who’s that devious couldn’t get a fake ID or do something else if they were so determined.” Student security is something constantly on Mrs. Goodman’s mind. “I worry about people just slipping in and all,” she says. “With the portables, the building is never going to be secure because you have to have doors open so students can go in and out.” Nonetheless, she cites a number of factors that keep Blake safe, such as its location on a hill, the
strong relationship between students and the security staff, and having video cameras. MCPS plans to eventually install cameras in all elementary and middle schools as well. Despite these features, Mrs. Goodman remains vigilant. “We don’t have a lot of trespassers, but the possibility is always there,” she says. “It’s always something you worry about.” Outside of the administration, however, people appear to be less concerned. MCPS surveys indicate that an overwhelming majority of students and parents feel comfortable with the security at the school. “I think it’s a safe environment,” says Ms. Callahan.
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
What’s in your water? BPA? Testing reveals harmful chemical
x by Laura Brady & Luan Pham
Senior Micaela Perez Ferrero takes a gulp of water from a Nalgene bottle. Studies show that the bottles contain a
harmful chemical called BPA. Many students are unaware of this health hazard. --photo by Ben Martin
Concerns are rising among the public as studies show that Bisphenol A, a chemical found in many plastic materials used daily by humans, may be a health hazard. The majority of BPA found in consumer products is in the form of an epoxy resin, which lines the interior of plastics such as water bottles and food containers. Long-term consumption of small dosages may cause chronic toxicity in humans by mimicking the body’s hormones. “It’s important to know if we are drinking out of something that might harm us,” says senior Damian Worthy. The Lang Study, published in September, was the first to actually study the effects of BPA on humans. BPA levels in the urine of about 1500 people were examined and it was found that higher exposures to the chemical were associated with diabetes, heart disease, and abnormally high levels of certain liver enzymes. Governments have taken steps to protect the public in response to the Lang Study. Connecticut, California, Maryland, and New Jersey have proposed legislature banning the use of BPA in consumer products. “Corporations shouldn’t use it in the products they make,” adds Worthy. Companies such as Nalgene and Wal-Mart have also taken action, guaranteeing BPA free products. Although BPA is only present in class three and class seven plastics, there is still apprehension. Reusable beverage bottles, juice bottles, cling-wrap, PVC piping, and baby milk bottles are plastics that fall under class three and seven. “I should watch the plastic water bottles I drink out of…I am very terrified,” says senior Noelia Roman-Ramos. “I don’t want to die.” Because the danger is not imminent, many do not realize how often they come in contact with BPA. As an athlete, Roman-Ramos uses a water bottle. She also has a little brother who still uses baby bottles. Adds Worthy, “When people drink something they want to be like ‘mmm refreshing,’ not ‘mmm death.’”
New studies show sexually transmitted disease outbreak in teens
Research finds one in five adolescent girls have Human Papillomavirus x by Isaac Hirsch Sexually transmitted diseases have been found in one quarter of teenage girls aged 14 to 19 in a new study, with Human Papillomavirus found in one fifth of the teenagers tested. The annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which began in 2003, found that 26% of girls tested positive for at least one STD. The survey also found that 48% of African-American females surveyed had an STD, whereas STDs were found in 20% of Caucasian girls. How the disparity between races started “is kind of a chicken-and-egg thing,” says John Douglas, director of CDC’s STD prevention division.
Several students with STDs visit school community health nurse Janeane Marks every month. “A lot of teenagers don’t like to see themselves as sexually active,” says Mrs. Marks. “But if you are having sex, you need to receive checkups.” HPV can be transmitted in more ways than sexual contact, and many types of the virus exist. One troubling thing about the survey is that HPV remains prevalent even though there is a vaccine. Nearly every STD tested for was found to have a much higher occurrence rate than when they were researched eight years ago. Even though the numbers have been published before, they are causing great worry. “These numbers...are alarming and startling,” says Dr. Douglas.
However, some results remain positive. Many think today’s sexual education curriculum better addresses the issue than it did ten years ago, and that one reason the rates are so much higher is because testing technology is much more advanced than it used to be. “We’ve gotten better at screening for these diseases,” says Mrs. Marks. Adds Sara Forhan, one of the researchers working on the study, “What’s different [here] is that we have a sense now about the overall burden of the common STDs in the adolescent population.” The question remains whether the burden will begin to lessen or whether this study is a harbinger of more negative results to come.
Command over peers can get better with focus from students in class Continued from A1 In addition to assisting the classroom teacher, the EduCorps class hopes to give “the positive feeling of accomplishment realized by helping another person,” according to the course description in the 2008-2009 handbook. An experience that was meant to be rewarding has some EduCorps interns now regretting their decision. “Every day, I dread going to that class; it has ruined my entire day more than once,” says Smith. “I was supposed to do EduCorps all year, but after one marking period, there’s no way.” Though Smith’s experiences have discouraged her, she believes that the EduCorp program is a positive initiative. “I understand that they want to put a good role model in these classes…but it’s not fair
to us to be treated like this,” says Smith. “I feel like some of them really resent me being there.” However, there are a few students who believe that EduCorps helps instill teaching skills. “I decided to [do] EduCorps because I want to be an Elementary Education major in college,” says senior Monica Johnson. “I am experiencing firsthand how to better my teaching skills and learning how to interact with students.” Even with the distractions, disruptions and lack of focus in some classes, there are some groups of students that take advantage of the additional help and begin to improve their study habits and knowledge of the subject. Says Smith, “There are...students who are nice to work with. They work with me, not against me, to get
their work done and they really seem to want to do better.” “The students enjoy having me in the classroom to work with them,” says Johnson. “Doing EduCorps is a lot easier when the students are not afraid to come to me with questions,” although sometimes “it’s harder to make a distinction between being their friend and being a mentor in the classroom,” adds Johnson. Getting to know the students in the class may be able to make the experience better. “You have to be able to understand where these kids are coming from. They might not have the same lifestyle as a typical Blake student,” says senior Anita Cyrus.* “One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of students is that they don’t lack the abil-
ity to learn, they just lack the motivation,” adds White. The teacher also needs to take responsibility and make sure the EduCorp Intern is being respected by their peers. “My teacher would never allow the students in my class to disrespect me and because of that the students treat me as another teacher and are able to get their work done,” says Cyrus. “As interns, we only are trying to help the students succeed,” says Cyrus. She believes students in this school need to give their education a bigger role and take advantage of the opportunities they are given. They should allow the EduCorps interns to help them along the way. Adds Cyrus, “Naturally, we want to see everyone do well.”
November 14, 2008
The Blake Beat
Bambi beware: bad driver bares all, urges motorists to move out of his way, p. B6
Blake Beat Opinion
SOULJA BOY’S GOT NO SOUL, NOT AS REFRESHING AS ICE-T
x by Andrew Padgett
Earlier this year, gangster rap legend Ice-T spoke out against the poor quality of Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s music. This was Soulja Boy’s response: “Man Ice-T, you old! You was born before the internet was created. How did you even find me, dog?” Wow, idiot. I don’t think he realized who he was messing with. Ice-T, along with other great artists and groups such as Big Daddy Kane, NWA and Public Enemy, helped shape the voice of African-Americans across the country who previously had barely anyone in the music industry to represent their interests. Without them, Soulja Boy wouldn’t even have the chance to record all his dumb songs about donks and cranking and YAHHHH and whatnot. This guy needs to respect his elders. Rappers used to have something to say, whether it was about life on the streets or corruption in police departments or even the Gulf War. Not all of their songs were political commentaries, by any means, but you could tell from their music that they were working long hours in the studio making the best records they could. Soulja Boy, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about writing a good rap song. He just yells some random noises, lets his producers mix them together to some trifling beat, and does a little dance for us to learn on YouTube. I’m not going to go so far as Ice-T did and say that he “single-handedly killed hip hop,” but I do believe he’s taking it in the wrong direction. I’m not advocating a step backwards, though. Modern rappers imitating NWA would be like modern rock bands imitating R.E.M. No one wants to hear a rehashed version of “Straight Outta Compton.” But I think we can all agree that we never want to hear “Crank That” again either. We need music that’s fresh, but also music that keeps in mind what the original rap movement was all about. Soulja Boy obviously doesn’t worry about that. He even said Ice-T’s name is stupid (“It’s like lemonade!”). I’m thinking, seriously? His name is Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, and he named his album souljaboytellem.com. It doesn’t get stupider than that.
18-year-old chooses candidate at polls over cigarettes, magazines
Legal student votes in historic election in light of milestone birthday
x by Ryan Arrendell
Five, ten, 13, 16 and, ah yes, 18: the infamous age of so-called adulthood—the age when one is free to buy cigarettes, lotto tickets and naughty magazines, among other things. I awoke midnight November 2 to happy birthday texts and phone calls. “You’re 18!” they said. “You’re legal!” This was true,
but somehow I didn’t find the alltoo-curious glances from men at the bowling alley flattering while celebrating and bowling with my friends. Maybe I should’ve had 16 birthday candles instead of 18… Nonetheless, it was a momentous day. I savored IHOP as an 18-year-old, napped as an 18-yearold, wrote college essays as an 18-year-old…I did everything that day—and each day since then—as
an 18-year-old. I even received a round of applause in church for turning 18 and for being able to vote for the first time, let alone in such a historical election. My grandmother called at 6:30am on Election Day, proudly announcing that she was at the polls. Two hours later, my mother burst into my room shouting, “Let’s go vote!” Twenty minutes later, I walked beside my mother as she
danced down the street chanting, “Obama! O! O! Obama!” After standing in line for about 20 minutes, I was finally led to my polling booth. I slid the voter card in and was instantly on my way to making history. I had the strongest urge to take my camera out of my pocket and snap a picture of the electronic ballot on the screen before me with the “Barack Obama, Joe Biden” box selected, but I didn’t want to risk
being escorted out in humiliation and forfeiting my privilege to vote in this election. So instead, my mom snapped a couple of pictures of me outside of Stonegate Elementary and of me giving the thumbs-up to an Obama lawn flyer. Although there are still many things on my “Turning 18 Checklist,” I am so glad voting and making history is one thing I can check off.
Being admitted to college easy as winning lottery with new plan Senior proposes stress-free, apathetic alternative to application process
x by Justin Pereira
Well, it’s mid-November now, which means one thing for seniors across the country: college applications. Deadlines lurk just around the corner, students rush to finish their essays, envelopes filled with transcripts, recommendations and test scores slowly make their way to the post office. Indisputably, this is a stressful time for seniors. And the process isn’t made any easier by the fact that the final admissions outcome is out of our hands. How are we to know whether
our applications are evaluated fairly? Stress no more, seniors. I have a proposal that will immensely improve the entire college application process: eliminate the current system and adopt a college lottery. Students will receive a random number from the College Board, and then each college will pull numbers out of a hat to select its incoming freshman class. I know, I know. It’s genius. Rather than having to expend our time or—God forbid—work hard, we will just be able to sit back and let the colleges come to
us. All of the anxiety and self-doubt will be removed from the process. And, of course, no one will be able to accuse a college of being unfair. That’s right, students will no longer have to worry about their peers getting in where they don’t deserve to. What a relief, since several seem to be much more concerned about that than about their own actual applications. Say goodbye to college competition with this flawless plan. There’s another kind of student whom this proposition will particularly benefit. We
all know the type: nerdy, applying to a dozen schools, relentlessly working on homework seven days a week at the expense of a social life (I personally have never met one, but I’ve heard they exist). These poor souls will be salvaged from an endless load of applications and will, I’m sure, be grateful for this lottery proposal. There’s something for everyone in the stress-free application process that I envision. Now let’s relax, let luck take hold, and really enjoy our senior year. It’s not like the next four years are that important, right?
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Senior disappointed about lack of satisfactory social spots
Cali gives Cloverly thumbs down for stagnant, boring all-around aura x by Morgan Cali Friday night after the football game, you and your friends are starving and want to grab a quick bite to eat. Where do you go? You probably head down New Hampshire Avenue to McDonald’s, or to Chipotle, or Panera on Tech Road, because there is nowhere to go in Cloverly. All Cloverly has to offer is Buffalo Wings and Beer, the Greek Island’s Grille, and Safeway. Who wants to chill at BWB
with a bunch of old guys drinking beer and playing pool, or at the Greek restaurant with adults having nice sit-down dinners? No one, which is why students have resorted to hanging out at Safeway if they don’t want to go all the way to Tech Road. How sad is that? Hanging out at a grocery store? Students like me, who don’t want to be at Safeway unless we’re buying groceries, venture to places that are filled with restaurants, shopping,
movies and places to hang out. Any given night of the week in Olney, there are dozens of teenagers hanging out in front of California Tortilla, Cold Stone and the movie theater, or just walking around the shopping centers. Whether they are skateboarding in the parking lot or eating and talking with their friends, there are so many places to choose from. Students can entertain themselves in Olney multiple nights of the week and
never do the same thing. In addition, Aspen Hill is filled with restaurants like Panera, Five Guys, and Chipotle, which satisfy everyone’s taste buds. If you don’t like Panera, then go to Chipotle and then grab a table outside to eat and chill with your friends. If Cloverly had a variety of restaurants like Tech Road or even a shopping center similar to Olney, students would definitely hang out there. Cloverly needs to jump on the bandwagon and
update the shopping centers. Oh wait, they built a strip center— but unfortunately they filled it with a dentist office, a fish store, Dream Dinners, a bakery, and Vocelli pizza. How did that help? You can’t even eat at Vocelli’s, because it is strictly carry-out. No one wants to chill in front of the dentist office or the fish store, so I guess I will have to continue to look for other places to hang out, since I refuse to spend my time sitting at the tables in front of Safeway.
Liberals celebrate Obama-Nation, cringe at possible McCatastrophe
McCain could have brought bartering, nuclear war, stupidity, apocalypse
by Tomiko Mason x & Molly Wallace
November 4, 2008: Dodged a bullet there, America. You had us worried for a second. But before we rejoice in the Obama-Nation in which we now reside, let’s pause to ponder what the world could have been if moody ol’ McCain had ascended those White House steps… Assuming McCain wouldn’t die of rheumatism his first four minutes in the Oval Office, his first act as prez would be to nuke all the ‘istans (you know; Pak, Uzbek, Afghan…Iran). A nuclear Holocaust would be upon us in a hot minute. The forecast would be cloudy, with a chance of death. The few that managed to survive would fall back on a non-existent health care plan, because McCain would have siphoned the Medicare funds to buy more houses. People would be forced to perform
“McCain’s economic tomfoolery would force us to revert to a barter system, exchanging mushrooms and other produce for haircuts and the like.” their own colonoscopies. Even worse… well, nothing is worse than performing your own colonoscopy. Not only would the American people be unable to afford medical procedures, they would also have to scrounge for such basic staples as Ramen noodles. McCain’s economic tomfoolery would force us to revert to a barter system, exchanging mushrooms and other produce for haircuts and
the like. Economist John Maynard Keynes would be rolling over in his grave. Speaking of graves, our standing in the world would be a grave thing indeed. This is understandable, as it is hard to have chemistry with a white, male septogenarian. Even Melania Trump would hate the USA, and you know how she likes older men. Seriously though, when it comes to planetary rank, we would not be the most
popular kid in school. China would be shoving us into our locker. And that locker would not be filled with books, much like our schools. Because McCain would have spent all of the education funds on Sarah Palin’s winter wardrobe, an epidemic of stupidity would spread throughout the land. Nobody would be hooked on phonics. American children would graduate barely qualified to work at Applebee’s. They would, however, be qualified to spread the good word (of Jesus). Palin’s melding of church and state would abolish the teaching of the science. Evolution would become obsolete, a ghost story told around campfires. Of course, global climate change gone long ignored would probably end the world before any of this could ever happen. And personally, we’d rather die by ice age than by conservatism.
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Priests not concerned with separation of church and state x by Amelia Holgash As I sat in church one Saturday in early October, I did not expect to hear a 20-minute speech about politics. Archbishops throughout the country instructed the priests in their dioceses to deliver sermons about how Catholics should vote in the presidential election. Many priests chose to follow the direction, while others simply discussed the importance of voting. The priest at my church decided to take the archbishops’ advice. I’ve always considered myself a Catholic, but I have occasionally found that my political views differ from those of the Church. I attend church to pray and to hear God’s word; I don’t attend mass to listen to how a Catholic “should” vote in an upcoming election.
The priest said that parishioners must base their votes on issues of abortion, stem-cell research, cloning, euthanasia and same-sex marriage. He almost made me feel guilty that I don’t think of those topics as top priorities. In my opinion, there are many important issues to consider. Our country’s economy, for example, is in great need of repair and therefore deserves the attention of voters. My grandmother, who has been a church-going Catholic all of her life, pointed out that since priests don’t pay taxes, they should not try to influence people’s votes. The taxpayers have the right to decide. One archbishop claims that voting for a candidate who does not oppose abortion is the equivalent of condoning homicide. Catholics need to make their own decisions about what is most important to them; they shouldn’t be guilt-tripped into voting a certain way.
Teachers have lives outside of school? Too weird! To avoid, or at least cope with, awkward encounters like the one shown above, take a few tips from senior Kylie
Sometimes, parishioners expect the Church to tell them how they are supposed to vote. The Church shouldn’t allow the congregation to depend on it for political guidance. Instead, priests should explain the election’s main social issues, and then tell the parishioners to decide which ones are most important to them. People should trust their own instincts when deciding on the best candidate to elect. Issues such as poverty, education and health care are crucial when comparing candidates, but my church’s priest failed to mention them. Learning about God makes me feel like a part of the congregation; hearing about politics makes me feel divided from it. I don’t think it’s necessary for all Catholics to share identical political opinions. The Church should accept the fact that some Catholics are conservatives, while others are liberals. After all, diversity is what makes our country great.
Horn. She’s an experienced expert on making these inevitable reunions easier (or sillier) for the student and the teacher alike. --photo by Arieyl Jones
Senior dishes strategies on how to avoid awkward teacher encounters
x by Kylie Horn Janis Ian in Mean Girls couldn’t have said it better: seeing a teacher outside of school is like watching a dog walk on its hind legs. Through my own experiences, I have observed four unsuccessful strategies used by teachers attempting to ease the awkwardness when they run into students outside of school. The first strategy is a clas-
sic. The encounter is uncomfortable, so he brings on the jokes. “Oh, you have a job? That’s a surprise,” or, “I need to find a new gym.” This is just an easy way of telling a bad joke and setting an even more uncomfortable mood. Strategy number two is just irritating. It’s the, “Oh, I didn’t even see you there!” Perhaps this statement would be more convincing if he didn’t look directly at me or walk right
by me. Then, I am forced to shout his name because it is the only way he will acknowledge my presence. Strategy number three is my favorite. He spots me, quickly turns, and then pretends to be doing something important, like reading a magazine or talking on his cell phone. The major flaw in this strategy is that I won’t just walk away. I’ll stand there and wait until the pseudo-activities are complete.
The fourth strategy is rather humorous. It is when I run into a teacher I dislike (and the feeling is mutual), while I’m with my parents. The teacher is forced to make pleasant comments about me, ones that he obviously does not find to be true. And then, as if it isn’t bad enough, he tops it off with a failure of a joke, like, “You should be at home studying right now!” I am also forced to use my fake laugh, which is visibly insincere.
All of these strategies are equally uncomfortable and all end up in school talk. Teachers claim to have a life outside of school, but it is rather hard to believe when you cannot maintain a decent conversation without resorting to the topic of education. The irony: it is the last thing you both want to talk about. If you have not found yourself in any of these situations, you are lucky. But beware; they are bound to happen.
Junior thinks Disney has got nerve, getting nowhere with new shows x by Samantha Steinfeld Thinking of Disney Channel brings back memories of Lizzie McGuire and That’s So Raven. I remember running home from elementary school to catch Kim Possible at 4pm. I remember begging my parents to stay up just ten more minutes to finish Gotta Kick It Up. These fond memories do not include celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato or The Jonas Brothers. Unfortunately, when a lot of kids think of Disney Channel, these are the first people that come to mind. Our generation was lucky enough to experience Disney Channel when it
Pre-High School Musical programs much better than Montana Mania
was great. Watching it now will only leave us wondering how we ever could have enjoyed watching it as kids. I miss the days when being a star on Disney Channel didn’t mean having a CD, a movie, a concert series, and a recurring guest star role on any and every show you could find. I liked the actors who were actors. I didn’t need them to be music legends in order to find them cool. And I especially didn’t need actors who can’t sing but attempt to anyway just
because they want to. Disney Channel executives are mostly at fault for creating these triple threats who aren’t really triple threats. However, there are certainly others to blame as well. Teenagers who know all the words to “Year 3000” and “Best of Both Worlds” are definitely not showing executives that Disney Channel should go back to the way things were in the Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire days. Teenagers are letting phrases like
“sweet nibblets” and “yay, me!” slip into their everyday conversations. I don’t want to keep walking down the hall with my friends, discussing One Tree Hill, only to hear one of them say, “That reminds me of something that happened on Cory in the House.” Our generation was around for the greatness that was Christy CarlsonRomano and Hillary Duff. We don’t need to corrupt our memories of what Disney Channel was before the High School Musical era. Don’t ruin your memories of the old Disney Channel—leave it as something you only speak about in the past tense, because the present is no comparison.
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Senior refuses to put brakes on his reckless driving maneuvers x by Nick Foley Nothing compares to the feeling of hopping into my car and cruising down the road, fervently plugging in my iPod (because you can’t really drive without the right tunes), and occasionally looking up to assess whatever car or human that might be in front of me. Yet as much as I love to drive, I have forced myself to realize that I’m really bad at it. Back in driving school, I swore that I would never be one of those erratic, inept drivers. That lasted for a good five minutes after I got my license. It’s not like I’m tearing up the streets and endangering lives—I know that teen car crashes are on the rise, and I definitely bear this in mind when I drive. My problems actually stem from the fact that I’m more concerned about digging for my Orangina in my backpack than, well, gripping the steering wheel. I’m also that idiot who places way more importance on dancing than driv-
ing. If a hot song comes on the radio, I’m going to dance, and everyone around me better realize it. So when you see my car swerving from side to side or suddenly braking, just know that I’m workin’ it out. It’s nothing serious. But my driving isn’t always so lighthearted. When I’m running late for school and someone decides to cut me off, I shut the music down and let loose. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those bumperriding, pet-abusing crazies—I’m just not a morning person, so crashing into me will definitely amplify my crankiness. Seriously, if you’re going to try to ruin my driving experience, do it in the afternoon, when I’ll probably be jamming too much to even realize it. I haven’t caused any accidents yet (minus the parked car snafu); therefore these driving tactics must be working. So, if you see me on the streets or in the parking lot, feel free to wave—or just get out of my way.
“I’m going to dance, and everyone around me better realize.”
Angry junior rants, bangs head against wall-to-wall
Must face consuming addiction to popular social networking site
x by Megan Bush Poking, friend requests and bumper stickers…. Well, it seems that the gods of procrastination have struck again. Yes, I’m talking about Facebook. I’ve spent many nights browsing photos and eerily stalking people I have never heard of, only to remember at 11:30pm that I have an AP test the next day. But even though there are many things that drive me crazy about Facebook, and even though it is the sole reason I fail to complete my homework each night, I am completely addicted. On the plus side, Facebook helps me keep in touch with friends that I otherwise would not have seen all year, which I appreciate, because absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Although keeping in touch through technology is not the same as regular visits, it serves as a convenient alternative. On the not-so-plus side, however, are the endless details, like constantly changing statuses, which push me over the edge. I mean, saying what you’re doing is fine, but I don’t need a play by play of your life. If
you see more notifications on your profile about status updates than anything else, you know you need to cut down on the updates and chill out. Also, I don’t appreciate it when, after an hour of searching, I discover that you are under a different name on Facebook. Nicknames are cool, but when your name is “Ray Jones,” and on Facebook you’re “Rayzza ‘BUSTAMOVE’ Jones,” I tend to get a tad unhappy. I also hate narcissistic profile pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I take pictures of myself, but when girls pick out cute outfits and do their hair and makeup in order to construct a “Facebook photo shoot,” I want to tear my face off (no pun intended). And guys, girls can usually tell that you have excellent, chiseled abs and rock hard biceps with all your clothes on, so there is no need to take shirtless pictures of yourselves in front of mirrors. So, if you think you have also become hooked to the nonsense we all know as Facebook, the next time you’re bored and thinking about logging on, stop yourself and remember: the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
Faithful disciple drinks deeply from this cup of juicy celebrity gossip x by Merissa Dyer “Fired Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day is now hanging out with Suge Knight because __________.” I am not sure what the missing word is either, but anyone familiar with Perez Hilton knows and loves the “Fill-in-theBlank” posts and every other reported scandal on PerezHilton. com. Just when it seemed nothing could be more addicting than Facebook, along came Perez Hilton with his “Celebrity Juice, Not from Concentrate.” Checking his gossip website has become an outright addiction—so much that I created a
home screen icon for the blog on my phone, making his latest posts only a touch away. There is more to PerezHilton.com than devotion to celebrities. The “Headlines of the Weak” section provides the opportunity to read current events like “Man in Wheelchair Robs Texas 7-Eleven of Condoms,” “Woman Kills Husband with Folding Couch” and even “Man Accused of Trying to Cash Check for $360,000,000,000.” For those who crave the juice, they’ll notice that no one is exempt from the wrath of this self-proclaimed “Queen of All Media.” Whether Sarah Palin and a pit bull are featured in the “Separated at Birth” column or Miley Cyrus’s picture is
defaced with white drawings, everyone gets a jab. Even celebuspawns (offspring of celebrities, not initially famous in their own rights) are targets. Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis, is nicknamed Potato Head because of her chin. Mr. Hilton recommended a diet for Adam Sandler’s-two yearold daughter Sadie, and that he and his wife should not have another child to avoid the second child looking like the first. Some call Mr. Hilton’s online burn book rude and insensitive. Maybe so, but Hollywood’s most hated site is also a “Perezcious” source of knowledge that provides much needed comic relief. Just be thankful he isn’t writing about you…yet.
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Evolution of music players: so easy a caveman could do it
Top Model now rates at bottom
x by Kirsten Petersen
x by Merissa Dyer
Once upon a Paleolithic time, a caveman said, “I wish I could put all of my favorite songs into one device, and then take it with me wherever I went hunting.” He was so startled by his genius that he hyperventilated, passed out and died. Had he survived, it would not have taken us so long to invent the mp3 player. We invented silly devices between then and now, like 8-track players, cassette tape players, and CD players. However, it is important to remember these predecessors, for without them, we would not have today’s mp3 player. In the 1960s, the 8-track player was invented. Those of us who were around to witness this historic moment realized that there was much more to life than indoor plumbing, automobiles, and television. The 8-track player, as its name clearly explains, could only play the eight songs that were recorded onto the 8-track tape. Unfortunately, 8-track tapes and players were huge, the tapes as big as license plates and the players as thick as textbooks. No one wanted to carry them around. So a much smaller, more portable audio device was invented, called the cassette tape player. These players could play more than eight songs, and the tapes were smaller than their predecessors. They had little spools of magnetic tape that could be wound and rewound, but babies, cats and frustrated listeners often pulled the tape out of the cassettes and the music inside would be destroyed. These same listeners would become aggravated by the design of the tapes themselves; no one knew which side went up. Luckily, a new, anti-rectangular competitor was rising in popularity during this time of consumer agony. The compact disc player, also known as the CD player, circular and appealing to a wide audience. Opening the CD player and looking at the swirling rainbow colors of the spinning CD was like opening up a Christmas present that released laughing gas. Most CDs could hold at least 20 songs, which made the CD player a super upgrade from the 8-track player. CD players dominated the music marketplace until a new device hit the scene: the mp3 player. Apple Inc. developed one of the most popular mp3 players: the iPod. Most mp3 players come in various colors and sizes. But, most importantly, they are portable and can hold thousands of songs. Even though the mp3’s predecessors have become obsolete with its emergence, these devices satisfied our musical needs. They will always be playing close to our hearts.
Wanna be on top? Tyra Banks has been asking this question for five years. She and her goons have gone on a woman hunt with the hopes of discovering models with ultra potential to transform them into fashion’s next “It” girl. Fans of America’s Next Top Model since its 2003 premiere would agree that it started strong. Across America, viewers watched in awe as women competed in demanding challenges, engaged in catfights with housemates, and endured tearful and intense elimination rounds. As ANTM progresses in its 11th cycle, it is a disappointing and obvious reality that Top Model has hit rock bottom. It’s looking “all sorts of wrong,” as the show’s runway coach J. ‘Miss Jay’ Alexander would put it, suggesting the show’s days are numbered. Ms. Banks has exhausted the meaning of finding a “diamond in the rough.” Instead, she uses her modeling dynasty to create “mini-Tyras.” She offers dim advice to her protégés, correcting their formation by telling them to move from “this” to “this,” and striking a pose identical to the one she criticized. ANTM embodies the qualities of what it never claims to be: a pageant. If so, there is no excuse for eliminating contestants based on their personality flaws (who could forget Ms. Banks screaming at Tiffany, the model from the projects?). Networking is important, but if the modeling industry based success on congeniality, we wouldn’t know anyone by the name of Naomi Campbell. Blame the lack of talent on the lack of incentives. Originally, prizes included, but were not limited to, a contract with Revlon cosmetics and a spread within Marie Claire. The prizes have downgraded to a CoverGirl contract and a shared cover of Seventeen (a celebrity is on the reverse side). It is safe to say the mini-Tyras are the antitheses of the high fashion figures they set out to become. The first winner, Adrianne Curry, did some VH1 reality shows, while cycle three winner Eva Pigford’s last known gig was hosting a fashion show at a birthday party on My Super Sweet 16. The others…well, who cares? It’s been fun and ANTM should go out while it is still kind of on top. The only reason it’s stayed on so long is because of Miss Jay, whose tough love and sass is the heart of the show, as demonstrated when he says of contestant Brooke Staricha, “She looks like a trout, but I love her.”
Maryland deserves change: legalize same-sex marriage x by Erin Washburn Last month, Connecticut officially legalized and recognized same-sex marriage, joining California and Massachusetts. Many people hailed this event as yet another example of the gay rights tortoise slowly but inevitably advancing into the land of progress. Unfortunately, Connecticut is now the second state to make this step forward. Last year, Maryland had the chance, but the Court of Appeals decided that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid. November 5, California voted to de-legalize same-sex marriage with Proposition 8. Their justification? Procreation. Is that it? The only thing that makes a marriage valid is whether the partners can have
babies? What about all of those married couples who don’t have children, or who adopt? And let’s not forget all of those couples who enter into loveless marriages because of unplanned pregnancies. If the sanctity of marriage is based on its baby-making potential, perhaps we should start issuing mandatory divorces for all of those couples out there who choose to have no children. But, more importantly, is having babies enough of a reason to go against a state’s basic constitution? Article 46 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights prohibits discrimination based on gender. And yet here we are, adhering to a law which bars us as a state from contributing to the social and legal change in the world, change which three of the seven Court of Appeals justices recognized and voted for.
Maryland has progressed in relation to many other states. In July, Governor O’Malley signed Senate Bills 566 and 597, which acknowledge domestic partnership and grant such rights as hospital visitation, making funeral arrangements and adding a partner’s name to a deed, all of which are rights of heterosexual married couples. But why settle for a twig when it’s possible to have the whole tree? Why do we squabble over semantics, when there is no good reason why same-sex marriage is banned? They won’t hear me cry out across 2300 miles, but I can shout for justice right down the street. When you get down to it, the sanctity of a marriage revolves around love, and love does not discriminate based on sexuality. The times are changing, and it’s about time Maryland changes with them.
Move over, “La Sarah”: students taking fame to whole new level
Instant success only a click away for soon-to-be YouTube sensations x by Melissa Goldberg & Hayley Steffen Once confined to the actors of box-office hits, fame can now be achieved by anyone with a video camera and access to the World Wide Web by becoming…YouTube sensations. As seniors with nothing better to do, we all dream of achieving this sort of celebrity status. Being corresponding secretary of the class of 2009 or co-captain of the Varsity soccer team is no longer unique in the world of college admissions. However, having our faces plastered all over the Internet will guarantee that any admissions officer at Harvard will accept us. Seriously, what college would not want the honor of having Sarah Hyland, better
known as “La Sarah,” as part of their class of 2013? But maybe college is not for us. Maybe we do not want to spend four more years slaving over schoolwork. As YouTube sensations, we will not have to work for our instant success. In “Charlie Bit My Finger,” Charlie simply bit his brother’s finger and made cute baby noises to achieve over 50 million views on YouTube. Personally, we are sick of eating lunch in bathroom stalls and spending Saturday nights watching movies with our parents. Really, we just want to be popular and possibly liked. We want to be mean girls, not watch Mean Girls for the 500th time. Being internet celebrities is the solution to our social problems. Deep down, we know that everyone is dying to say
that Jordan, aka “Nobody’s Perfect” Girl, is her best friend. While celebrities are burdened by the paparazzi and are often seen beating them up or hiding in bushes to escape the public, YouTube sensations love the recognition they receive. We are 100% sure that Scarlet from “Scarlet Takes a Tumble” is overcome with joy as strangers imitate her wipeout when they see her on the street. It’s time to kick Charlie, Jordan, Sarah Hyland and Scarlet off their throne of stardom because there is no better time for a coup d’état. We don’t have a problem with stealing fame from an infant who spends his days sleeping and biting his brother’s finger. We can only issue a warning to those whose fame is at risk.
November 14, 2008
The Blake Beat
Academically-inclined freshmen and sophomores Here are the top-ten reasons to take Journalism 1 (1150 and 1150) in 2009-2010:
The Blake Beat Second-Best Student Newspaper in Maryland, 2001-2002** Second-Best Student Newspaper in Maryland, 2003-2004** AEP: Top-Five High School Newspapers in USA, 2003-2004* AEP: Top-Five High School Newspapers in USA, 2004-2005* Second-Best Student Newspaper in Maryland, 2005-2006*** AEP: Top High School Newspaper in USA, 2005-2006* Best High School Newspaper in Maryland, 2006-2007*** Second-Best Student Newspaper in Maryland, 2006-2007** Second-Best Student Newspaper in Maryland, 2007-2008*** Best Student Newspaper in Maryland, 2007-2008**
*These national awards are presented by the Association of Educational Publishers **These awards are presented by the Maryland Scholastic Press Association ***These awards are presented by the Towson University Journalism Department.
Beasts of beard-en: students strut sexy stubble, reflect on hirsute hardships, p. C3
Blake Beat Features
November 14, 2008
Senior composed of smooth musical goodness, helps kids Taub has all instruments to keep things jazzy, snazzy, razzmatazzy x by Kelly Shih Music is all about harmony. So for senior Alex Taub, getting his own groove on while helping others hits just the right note. Taub is currently learning, and planning to pursue a career in, musical therapy. Three days each week, he goes to the Episcopal Center for Children in Washington, DC to bring a little music into the lives of elementary school children with
age five, then switched to jazz at 13. Taub has dabbled in saxophone, euphonium, tuba and bass guitar, but piano is his forte. Last year, he was named first alternate on piano for the All State Jazz Band. “I wasn’t expecting much,” says Taub. “I was
like, ‘I’ll just work on this music and see what happens’ and I guess it ended pretty well.” Taub has also been involved with the music department at school, from marching band to jazz ensemble. “The connections
I’ve gotten from here are great,” he says. “I learned a lot from playing with [last year’s seniors].” Despite being involved in both school and state level programs, Taub still finds time to compose his own jazz on the side.
Music acts as a bridge to help them communicate.
conditions from autism to attention deficit disorder. “These kids are just trying to get their emotions out,” says Taub. “We listen to music and ask kids how it makes [them] feel and try to relate that to their lives.” The children usually know how to speak but have trouble expressing their ideas. “For people with problems, [music] just relates better to them,” says Taub. “If someone doesn’t have words to speak, music acts as a bridge to help them communicate.” Taub considers musical therapy a viable career choice, and plans to major in it for college. “My parents have always stressed that [I] need to do something else besides music,” he says. “They’ve said, ‘You can study music, you just need other skills, also.’” Taub’s passion for music also began with his parents, who introduced him to the work of legendary jazz musician Oscar Peterson when he was four. “Ever since then,” says Taub, “I’ve loved jazz.” He began classical piano at
Says Taub, “I’ll just be playing...the piano and I’ll hear something cool that I do and I’ll kind of just stop.” “I don’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write a piece now,’” he adds. “It’s kind of like, ‘Well that’s kind of cool, I’ll just go with that.’” Music is infused into every aspect of his life. “Almost all of my free time, I’m either listening to music or playing it,” says Taub. “That’s what every jazz musician I’ve ever talked to [says]: The most important thing is just to listen to music.” Through his years of doing just that, Taub has decided what he “would classify as jazz”: 20’s swing, 40’s bebop, 50’s hard bop, and 60’s post-bop. Funk and fusion? “I think those are their own separate categories.” But Taub does not just contribute to music – it, in turn, shapes him. “Jazz kind of reflects my personality in that I don’t like to do things really square,” says Taub. He credits it with helping his creativity, but also diminishing his math skills. “They say music and math go together, but I don’t think that’s
The most important thing is just to listen to music.
Senior Alex Taub, who composes jazz on the side and was first alternate in piano for the All-State
so true for jazz,” he says. “In math, there’s one way to do things...but [in] jazz, you have to find out a new way to do it... If you play like you have a formula, it’s not going to sound very good.” Even with all this experience, Taub undoubtedly has more musical mountains to scale. And on the way, he will continue helping others, fuljazz band last year, helps autistic children by using filling himself, making more music, and all that jazz. musical therapy. --photos by Arieyl Jones
Video game cult produces myriad of Guitar Heroes, here to save day
Talented group of players devoted to art of electronically rocking out x by Andrew Padgett They’re everywhere, and it could be anyone. A classmate. A teacher. A pet. You may not know it, but someone in your life is preposterously good at Guitar Hero. Just in case you’ve been living on another planet for the past few years, here’s what it is: a one-to-two-player video game where you push buttons and strum a little black lever on a guitar-shaped controller according to musical notes displayed on your TV screen. There are four levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard and expert), and certain songs are harder to play than others. More importantly, you get to decorate your guitar with fun stickers. Since the release of the first game for Playstation 2 in 2005, this electronic phenomenon has spawned a devoted subculture similar to the hacky-sack movement of the 90s, minus all the drugs. Scratch that. The point is this isn’t your
average video game. This is serious business. Says senior Joanna Peth, “I play Guitar Hero for fun, but some people take it to the next level by competing in nationwide tournaments. A girl can only dream of reaching that caliber.” Junior Steven Mulchi would be able to teach Peth a thing or two; he’s been rapidly gaining respect in the Guitar Hero ‘hood and most recently won first place at the USA Atlantic Tournament. He practices two to four hours a day during the week and up to seven hours on a Saturday if his good friend junior Xavier Mauprivez comes over. Mulchi’s mother isn’t exactly thrilled. “She thinks it’s a waste of time and that I should go study for the SAT instead,” he says, “but my father is very supportive and takes me to [the] tournaments.” Mulchi and Mauprivez don’t limit themselves to Guitar Hero, though. That would be too easy. Together, they’ve also beaten Rock Band, a similar game that offers more instruments to play. Besides the guitar, there’s a bass (it’s the same as the
guitar but you play different notes), drums, and a microphone into which brave rockers can sing their hearts out. Mulchi is in a rock band called “The Gods,” and indeed he is a god, as demonstrated with his ability to play on the expert level... with his eyes closed. Senior Avi Jacob prefers Rock Band to Guitar Hero, partly because in Rock Band players can create their own characters. “Naturally I created perfect likenesses of myself and my friends,” says Jacob, “leaving out all of the features that make us ugly, and all the features that make us look like us.” Though Rock Band offers more to the player instrument and song-wise, some still stick with their guitars. Says senior Paolo Marinucci, “The guitar for Guitar Hero is more challenging, which makes it better.” Now the question is, are you ready to rock? If so, whip out your plastic guitars and let’s get this show on the road.
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Dementia disrupts memories, minds of grandparents
Seniors struggle to adjust, cope, connect with former close relatives x
by Louisa Clarke & Melissa Goldberg
Age is often associated with forgetfulness, whether it is doctor’s appointments or lost car keys. However, the grandparents of seniors Hannah Coll, Katie Dittman and Allison Gorman suffer from more than mild, agerelated forgetfulness. Jane Dittman, Ruth Lincoln and Geraldine Salemme were diagnosed with dementia, a disease which causes severe cognitive loss, interfering with daily functioning. Dementia affects mem-
ory, decision-making and verbal communication. The disease has several forms, including Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Of the problems associated with dementia, memory loss is often the hardest for family members to cope with. “She recognizes that I’m someone she loves and cares about but doesn’t know my name or who I am,” says Gorman. “Sometimes she’ll ask about ‘the kids’ and not realize that I’m one of them.” Dementia patients sometimes become frustrated by their inability to remember activities
and facts, resulting in behavioral changes like increased aggression. Says Dittman, “I used to spend a lot of time with [my grandmother], but now I don’t… [Her dementia] makes her really nasty; when she forgets something she won’t admit it.” When Coll found out that her grandmother developed Alzheimer’s five years ago, she learned to accept the changes in her behavior and personality. “I had to prepare myself that I may not truly know my grandmother anymore,” says Coll. “I had to understand what was going to
happen to her and get ready for any type of situation that may arise.” After Mrs. Lincoln’s death in 2007, Coll struggled with never being able to know more about her grandmother’s life prior to dementia. “There are tons of questions and stories I want to hear about her life, but I will never be able to,” says Coll. “I will have to savor the memories I do have and listen to second-hand stories from my relatives.” Because it can sometimes be frustrating to have to reiterate certain facts to her grandmother,
Dittman contends that being calm is necessary. Says Dittman, “You have to be patient and repeat things a lot, as well as help them with their words.” Gorman visits her grandmother’s nursing home regularly to make her grandmother and her grandmother’s friends happy. “The other people she lives with are always happy to see people, whether they know them or not,” says Gorman. “They love to have someone to talk to and even if what they’re saying makes no sense at all. All you have to do is smile and nod.”
With homespun yarn business, Ms. McMahon has world on string x by Tomiko Mason Kool-aid, while delicious, is not usually considered a life-changing beverage. But National, State, and Local Government teacher Sharon McMahon saw something special in the fruity juice. Her idea to use Kool-aid as a dye resulted in the creation of her hand-painted yarn business. Ms. McMahon’s yarn dyeing business took off four years ago, when she was doing custom knitting and received an order for which she could not find the right yarn. The business started “literally, with a pot on my kitchen stove,”
she says. Her Kool-aid dyeing success led to a dramatic increase in orders for handpainted yarn, prompting her to redirect her focus from knitting to dyeing. “I realized I had a unique product, and that people responded to what I was making,” she adds. The business has grown exponentially. Ms. McMahon now employs a staff of five who work with professional dyes and equipment in a 1,400 square-foot commercial space. She sells to individuals through a retail website, and to a variety of yarn shops all over the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia. At one point she had a two-year waiting
list of orders. “It’s a gratifying creative outlet,” she says. Before she had five employees, Ms. McMahon would wake up at 2am, dye yarn, come to school and teach, take care of her kids, and finish the day packaging yarn and shipping orders. Now, her schedule is more relaxed, and her kids often accompany her to work. “My children believe they’re learning to be ‘yarnistas’,” she adds. Ms. McMahon also sells patterns and dyeing kits and teaches dyeing classes. She has downloadable e-books with tutorials teaching her techniques, and sells club memberships where people buy a subscription and get sent special
yarn and a pattern each month. “I know my market really well,” she says. “I know what knitters like to knit with; I know the kind of shopping experience they’re expecting…. I’m good at what I do.” The business is as rewarding as it is demanding. “I love that my art is usable by people,” she says, “and that people get so much enjoyment out of it.” Each package of yarn is carefully wrapped, with tissue paper, custom thank-you cards, and a hand-written note from Ms. McMahon herself. “I am not the Wal-Mart of yarn,” she adds. “People shop at my business for a special experience.”
Trade bucks for Chucks: Taylor-made footwear
Students Converse about love for trendy hightops, timeless stylish sneakers
x by Kirsten Petersen & Samantha Steinfeld
How many Chucks would a woodchuck wear if a woodchuck could wear Chucks? Based on the popularity of these shoes with humans, probably as many as he could. Marquis M. Converse started the Converse Rubber Company in 1908 and made the first pair of Converse shoes. But it was after Chuck Taylor, a famous basketball player, signed on to create a basketball shoe that Chucks became part of American culture. 100 years after the company was founded, the shoes can be seen on feet all over the globe. Walking down the hallways, a colorful rainbow of Chucks adorn the feet of many students. Junior Kara Korab, who owns eight pairs of the iconic kicks says, “Chucks rock my world…I love them to death.” She owns checkered, puzzle, green, brown, red, pink, black, and blue Chucks. “It’s hard to pick my favorite,” she adds, “because they’re all so wonderful.” Perhaps the popularity does not lie solely in the color of the shoes, but rather the variety of designs. There are hundreds to choose from, including lightning bolts, Little Red Riding Hood, animal patterns and even Sudoku. With so many options, students are able to own Chucks that few have, giving their owners a sense of individuality. Says senior Kerry Irion, “Whenever I wear them, people always compliment [me] because they’re unique and [because] not many people have the ones that I have.” Sophomore Lauren Barlow, who owns crossword puzzle Chucks, says, “I love the crossword shoes, because who’s ever thought of something like that before?” In addition to the variety of Chucks offered, there is an option on the Converse/Chuck Taylor website that allows customers to customize their own Chucks. “I don’t know of any other shoe brands that allow you to do this,” says sophomore Sara Kushner. “[Customizing my Chucks] was awesome.” Customers can personalize each part of the shoe, including the heel, tongue, front and rear of the shoe. Logos can also be added to the side and heel stripe. Another interesting aspect of Converse products is that the company has teamed up with Product (RED) to help fight AIDS in Africa. When customers buy certain shoes, a portion of the proceeds goes to the cause. Adds Barlow, “I want RED shoes [because] they support a good cause, and they’re ‘Inspi(RED).’” Something most people agree with is the sheer awesomeness of Chucks. Says Barlow, “[Chucks] match pretty much everything, Thinking of Chuck Taylors brings a smile to senior and they’re awesome…they look cool.” Mary Kate Simmons’ face while daydreaming after Says Irion, “They’re funky!”
school. Simmons sports her own trendy black and white Chucks. --photo by Arieyl Jones
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a beard: no stubble trouble for these men
x by Molly Wallace Wild, untamed, and free, it weaves in and out, intertwined like a basket crafted by Zeus himself; it shines bright, like the amber waves of grain that thistle our American plains. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nay, it is a beard. And it finds its way to the faces of fellow students more and more as each day passes. “My beard is one of my favorite facial features… shaving my beard would be like shaving my soul,” says bearded senior Nathan Tucker. Such lush stubble has become a major trend in the high school scene, beating out moustaches and muttonchops alike. Extreme facial hair can even create a bond between bearded brethren. “When one bearded fellow passes another substantially bearded fellow,” says trimmed senior Byron Bell, “there is an instant sense of camaraderie and awe, and perhaps even a head nod will be exchanged.” Adds Tucker, “My beard-donning brothers and I share a bond; a strong, hairy bond. I often strike up conversations with random fuzzy strangers about how awesome our beards are. Usually they just ask me for change or mumble something about bis- cuits, though.” Of course, not every student can g r o w masses of whisker around their
faces, hard as they might try. “I do have hopes for growing a beard, or at least something that resembles a beard,” says beardless senior Matthew Gatwood. “I work out and eat a lot, and drive my car really fast, but nothing seems to help.” But camaraderie and manliness aside, there is one aspect to bristle that is truly important: how does the beard play with the ladies? Apparently, it goes over very well. “Men [who] understand what women want have beards,” says scruff-loving senior Sarah Peko-Spicer. “If Mel Gibson had grown a beard, he wouldn’t have had to dress up as a woman and get electrocuted to figure that out.” Adds Gatwood, “Any woman who refuses a bearded man is either jealous or a lesbian…or both.” However, beards are not always the blessing from the gods we perceive them to be. “I had become my beard. In essence I was not known as Byron Bell, but instead as ‘that kid with the beard’,” says Bell. “It had consumed my identity, along with my face.” Still, most students find that a beard is a terrible thing to waste. “They are incredibly useful tools…as well as exceptionally hip facial adornments when properly cared for,” adds Tucker. “They are also excellent when you’re eating bagels because you can save cream cheese in them for later.”
Graphic by Brendan Lipton
Eubie TV students record “Your Body is Meant to Move” exercise DVD
Senior citizens stay healthy, energetic with help from Howe, Dandridge x by Christine Lien If your grandma passes her time knitting scarves, tell her to drop those knitting needles, whip out an elastic band and pop in a “Your Body is Meant to Move” DVD so she can continue to stay healthy and send you that birthday money year after year. Last year Cindy Kardeman, CoDirector of Dave Reynolds and Associates, LLC, Personal Fitness Specialist and Physical Therapist, asked TV production students to produce an exercise video tailoring to the needs of senior citizens. Says Ms. Kardeman, “We felt it would be a great opportunity for
the TV production students to gain some valuable experience filming, producing and editing this DVD.” Senior Patrick Howe and junior Jazmine Dandridge signed up to shoot the DVD to fulfill the TV production requirement that students have two hours of outside of school production. Howe and Dandridge were assisted by alumni Stefon McDaniel and Jennifer Haymaker. Says Howe, “Old people and exercising struck an interest.” The production team shot the “Your Body is Meant to Move” DVD in two-anda-half hours, while instructor Dave Reynolds and two other senior citizens performed the
exercises. “It was just amazing to watch people at their age move like they do,” says McDaniel. The 45 minute DVD can be bought by contacting email@example.com. It has been selling for $24.99 at and it even comes with a free exercise resistance band. “The image I most vividly remember is the elastic band exercise…[it] was riveting,” says Howe. To thank the students for producing the DVD, Eubie TV received money for new equipment. “We feel that the students both behind the cameras and others involved in this project at Blake conducted themselves in a
professional manner,” says Ms. Kardeman. Says TV production teacher Susan Knott, “The students knew more than the client [and the client] was amazed at what the high school students could do.” The DVD has been distributed to local physicians, fitness trainers, exercise classes and health fairs. “The feedback we received has been wonderful.” says Ms. Kardeman. With such a great response, Kardeman is thinking of producing a second DVD with Blake TV production. “We have several ideas…possibly one that focuses on balance with senior citizens [or] one concentrating on exercises for overweight youth.”
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The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
No sun needed here: tanning beds offer year-round glow x by Brittany Beecroft Rest and relaxation come in many forms. For some it is in the soft glow of a fireplace, but for others it is the glow of Ultra Violet lights tanning their skin to the perfect café au lait. The popularity of tanning has soared among girls aged 15 and up, but they are not necessarily doing it to look like celebrities. Says senior Tara Grist, an At the Beach Tan employee, “[Tanning] is the only time of the day no one can bother me.” Aside from a deep tan, it is the time to herself that makes tanning so intriguing for senior Christi Santini. “It’s relaxing,
Seniors soak up ultra-violet rays, get weekly dose of “sunshine vitamin,” become juvenile tanorexics, addicts like being in a hot tub,” says Santini, “only there’s no water.” But is it worth the risk? After years of hearing about the perils of tanning and skin cancer, Boston researcher Dr. Michael Holick has provided tan junkies with proof that sun beds are actually good for you. It has been proved that low levels of vitamin D, known as the
“sunshine vitamin,” which is used to help build and maintain strong bones, can also cause cancer. With that knowledge it’s easier to disregard warnings of skin cancer and even aging. If you are still nervous about the idea, take the route of senior Katie Dittman, who has recently invested in mystic tanning, a booth that mists out the perfect
amount of self-tanner. “I was a little claustrophobic my first time, but the end result was amazing,” says Dittman. “The tan was even and dark within two hours.” Cancer and early wrinkles aside, a real worry for girls is to not become “tanorexic”. Symptoms of tanorexia, an addiction to tanning, include intense anxiety if a tanning session is missed, competition among peers for the darkest tan, and frustration over the perceived inability to get a good tan (usually a beginner’s trait). Fortunately, Hollywoodtans.com has Tanetics, a tan advisor tool that formulates the recipe for a perfect tan sans burning. So tan on girls, tan on.
Alumnae vlog it up at college to keep in touch, share experiences x by April Hartman Next time you reach for a phone to call a friend at college, try reaching for a video camera instead. Vlogging, a form of blogging through video clips instead of written postings, allows students to keep in touch while they are at college. Class of 2008 alumnae
Lena Salins, Veronica Spolarich, Emily Sussman and Barrie School class of 2008 alumna Courtney Pujol all vlog on a collaboration channel called TheCollegeVlogProj. Says Sussman, “With the vlog, I actually get a chance to see my friends every week.” The idea to create a vlog came from Salins and Spolarich, who got hooked on vlogging by watching others. The purpose of
their vlog is to stay in touch with both their friends who are at college and who are still at Blake. “Seeing someone,” adds Salins, “is much preferable to instant messaging or text messaging.” In each video, one girl talks for an average of five minutes about the activities they have done the previous week and also answers questions asked by the other girls. Adds Spolarich,
“Some vlogs are more complicated than others because of challenges we give to each other.” Creating one video vlog usually takes about three to four hours. “The only negative thing about vlogging,” says Sussman, “is that it is another thing that takes up time.” After being recorded, each video requires editing and the addition of music and text before it can be posted.
TheCollegeVlogProj has also influenced others to start vlogging. After watching some of her sister’s videos, sophomore Gillian Spolarich created a video account with junior Zoë Ligon so that they could keep in touch over the summer. Adds Ligon, “[Vlogging] allows people to communicate thoughts and feelings they might not normally express in person.”
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The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
New ITSS walks Hall, takes good look at Blake’s computers x by Amelia Holgash Move over, big computer whiz on campus. No, seriously, move over. There’s a new Information Technology Systems Specialist in town. Say hello to the brand-new ITSS, Mr. Timothy Hall, whose first day was November 3. Mr. Hall received a warm welcome from the staff and students when he arrived. “I really like [Blake],” he says. “The staff is friendly and the students are really cool.” Mr. Hall worked as an ITSS for four elementary schools before coming to Blake. The job required
Technology specialist finds school easy on his eye, says, “See you later,” to commute him to drive from one school to another throughout the day. Says Mr. Hall, “[With] gas prices being what they were, I needed a change.” He now has a much easier commute. For his new job, “The wallet says yes,” he says. In the past, Mr. Hall has also been an ITSS at Montgomery Blair and Sherwood high schools, as well as an auto technician for ten years. While at Blair, he recruited and worked with interns who he
still keeps in touch with. One of his ex-interns became an ITSS for Montgomery County Public Schools. He adds, “I appreciate my interns a lot, and I hope to take on interns at Blake.” One of the first things that most people notice about Mr. Hall is his left eye. He became blind in that eye at age 13 when a rock was thrown at it. “Whenever I meet someone,” he says, “one of their first questions is ‘What happened to your eye?’ I
Sophomores Kevin Lee and Nicholas Tax show off their favorite breakdancing freezes, while practicing with their crew, Vurci, outside the auditorium at lunch.
have no qualms about it, though.” During his spare time, Mr. Hall enjoys fishing, playing his guitar, bicycling, working on cars, building his own computers, and spending time with his rescue cats. “My cats are like my kids,” he says. He is also interested in network security, and he takes classes and reads books to learn more about it. Mr. Hall is very passionate about non-profit organizations. When he came to Blake for his
interview, his hair was long and reached the middle of his back. He has since cut it, and he plans to donate his strands to Locks of Love. Mr. Hall is a member of the National Park Conservation Association, which tries to keep parks in existence. “It has been an eye-opening experience,” he says. “Pun intended.” Don’t worry, Mr. Hall doesn’t plan on leaving Blake any time soon. “Unlike most Systems Specialists, I hate changing jobs,” he says. “I hope to stay at Blake for a couple of years.” Looks like the new ITSS will stick around for a while.
The ‘70s break dancing phenomenon has been revived much in part to MTV’s show America’s Best Dance Crew. --photos by Ben Martin
B-boys of Vurci Crew twist bodies, spin heads during lunchtime x by Hayley Steffen No longer are the tricks and kicks confined to America’s Next Best Dance Crew. So move over, MTV; Blake’s own group is looking to pop, lock and drop its way to the top. Senior Julian St. James, juniors Anthony Donnay-Wood and Max Pomulie, and sophomores Nicholas Tax, Kevin Lee and Edwin Hong have started a break dancing crew that meets every day at lunch to dance. Their crew is named Vurci Crew, an abbreviation of diversity. The crew came up with the name, says Tax, “because [of] all the diversity of not only race but skills
within our group.” The up and coming crew is mainly beginners, with most participants only having a few months of experience. At the moment, competitions are out of the question for the crew members, who are simply trying to improve their skills. Says Tax, “Our skills are not as good as they could be, but possibly in the future we will have the opportunity to compete.” Members of the crew recently became interested in break dancing because of sheer boredom. Lee was at a friend’s house one night when they decided to try some “freezes,” a common break dancing move. “Ever since then, I’ve been hooked,”
says Lee. Break dancing is intriguingly challenging for the crew. It requires a lot of physical endurance and mental capacity to get past some of the scarier stunts. The hardest thing about break dancing, Lee says, “is getting past the anxiety for some of the more daring moves.” He adds, “If you hold back or hesitate too much, chances are you’re going to fail…and it’s going to hurt.” The most difficult part of break dancing for Tax is, “when you can’t do something and someone else can.” Another tricky aspect of this revived pop culture sport is increasing physical aptitude in
order to be able to pull off the stunts. Just like any other sport, the only way to master the skills is through practice. Schoolwork and other activities prevent the crew members from practicing as much as they may like, but they also use other techniques in order to improve. “Videotaping yourself or using a mirror helps a lot,” says Lee. Although break dancing can be a struggle, it is very rewarding for the crew members. Says Lee, “My favorite part about break dancing is when I look back and see how much I’ve progressed,” adds Lee. “Getting a move down for the first time gives you a crazy adrenaline rush.”
Seniors do triple duty, juggling college applications, friends, jobs
Conrad, Santini opt to pick up extra burden in exchange for big bucks
x by Kylie Horn
Ideally, senior year is expected to be a time of coasting through school and spending all your time out with friends. However, for seniors Christine Conrad and Christi Santini, this ideal remains in their dreams. Conrad and Santini have both taken on the responsibility of two jobs on top of the stress of school work and college applications. Says Conrad, “I do not really work that much so I really appreciate having two jobs.”Conrad works at Mama Lucia’s every Thursday night and baby-sits regularly during the weekends. Santini unfortunately does not get the leisure of working three nights a week. She struggles with an internship
three days a week, and as soon as she finishes her work there, heads off to Ledo’s Pizza and works until 11pm Monday through Thursday every week. On Fridays, she works a grueling 8 hour shift. Then on Saturdays, she works at the Amish Market from 8:30am to 3:30pm. Adds Santini, “Having two jobs is a blessing because with the way the economy is today, any work is good.” While Santini had to go out and seek work, Conrad was fortunate enough to have four older sisters who babysat. When they went away to college, the jobs were handed down to her. “I just kind of fell into it,” says Conrad. Both of their social lives have been affected from working so much. “Having two jobs has absolutely destroyed my social life,” says Santini, “I have almost no time
to myself let alone my friends, family, and boyfriend.” Although Conrad also spends a lot of time working, she believes that her job has enhanced her social life. She adds, “Mama Lucia’s has helped me meet new people.” While they disagree on the affects of their social lives, both can agree that financially two jobs is more of a blessing than a burden. “I like being independent and not having to rely on my parents for the things that I want,” says Conrad. Santini also gains independence by being able to pay her monthly expenses while also saving up for a new car. Adds Conrad, “I think that [having two jobs] has definitely helped me with my time and money management,” a skill achieved by both that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
C8 I don’t wanna sleep talk in front of your mom! --------------------------------------I did a bad thing… I bought more shoes --------------------------------------How come they didn’t say anything about mine? --------------------------------------You’re stuck with me forever Flip --------------------------------------Stop being jealous of our daily love notes --------------------------------------STOP MAKING ME LAUGH PEGGY!!! --------------------------------------I want Nick Foley to … me… grapefruit. --------------------------------------Duel me. --------------------------------------At midnight. --------------------------------------Behind Old Bailey’s farm. --------------------------------------With rapiers (just for you, Isabel!) --------------------------------------Ophelia, I feel ya! --------------------------------------Heartbreaker, dream-maker, lovetaker, dontchu mess around with me! --------------------------------------If I loved you, time and again I would try to say… --------------------------------------Talk to the hand cuz the face ain’t listening, and leave a message after the beep… beep! --------------------------------------It’s not hard to fall when you float like a cannonball. --------------------------------------¡Ay dios mio! ¡Pobrecito! --------------------------------------Minx^2 Weasel^5 --------------------------------------3eb. --------------------------------------Leave everything on this floor, blood, sweat and tiedye --------------------------------------Guys, its okay that our bleachers don’t work! Nobody comes to our volleyball game anyway. --------------------------------------Ayyy clap! --------------------------------------Blake Volleyball: Division Champs ‘08 --------------------------------------NUMBER 2!!!! --------------------------------------April Hartman is ridiculously good-looking. --------------------------------------Stop trying to fight people through the unclassifieds. --------------------------------------PANDA LOVES CHINCHILLA --------------------------------------MANGY ‘OL MCCAIN --------------------------------------DON’T WORRY IAN, NOBODY’S PERFECT --------------------------------------Isabel’s pupusas?! --------------------------------------Sketchy Guy was here. --------------------------------------TISS fo lyfe --------------------------------------Ew, why is it green!? --------------------------------------Oh God, Grandma’s yelling at the bushes again… --------------------------------------Shark… Jellyfish… Moray eel… Barracuda --------------------------------------I’m not Steven, I don’t know if I can help. --------------------------------------Everyone loves saggy, obnoxious poser indie kids. --------------------------------------See ya later Spaceman! My name is Nathaniel! I like to dance!
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
UnClassifieds See any BEAT staffer to buy your unclassified in our next issue. 70¢ for the first ten words, 5¢ for each additional word
--------------------------------------Dear Luaniepoo, You do art. Sincerely, Anonymous. --------------------------------------x cos x --------------------------------------It’s your turn to go in that room there. --------------------------------------Laura Brady has fabulous tearducts. --------------------------------------creepy voice: ¡Hola Ian! ¿Cómo ethtath? --------------------------------------Happy Belated 18th Birthday! --------------------------------------Christina!!! --------------------------------------High School Musical 3 is the greatest movie ever! --------------------------------------Gloria N. is the coolest Thursday morning Safeway buddy ever! --------------------------------------Celeste C. is the original gossip girl, period. --------------------------------------Hi Erika (hand movements) How are you today? =D --------------------------------------HG is like DEATH. --------------------------------------Congrats Girls Varsity Vball --------------------------------------CEDGJ is too many letters so we’ll settle for CDGJ --------------------------------------L dies --------------------------------------Go see Twilight with the short kiddies --------------------------------------Christina enjoys conversations with Steven Sites --------------------------------------Yeah i’ll have one McPickle salad with a side of honey mustard. --------------------------------------Oh I can’t, I’m in Israel --------------------------------------Your computer is jealous that I know you so well --------------------------------------Let’s go back to Seattle! --------------------------------------Are there 2 Dress Barns?!?! --------------------------------------Yay, I’m British! --------------------------------------Jayden + Alana Jeter --------------------------------------Hannah<3—Benguin --------------------------------------“I like you,” said Kevin Keegan to the bewildered student. --------------------------------------Cracker Squad! --------------------------------------That’s a cute bottle! --------------------------------------FAMILY!!! --------------------------------------That other penguin seems to have left… --------------------------------------Hey Anna, there is somebody behind you --------------------------------------Dear Anteater, It’s not “Chipote.” No. Love, Weaselface --------------------------------------Joseph is a cutie patutie who sits elsewhere --------------------------------------Hey cornelian. You fail. Potatoe ---------------------------------------
I don’t get it!?! --------------------------------------Can you lay your life down, so a stranger can live? / Can you take what you need, but take less than you give? / Could you close every day, without the glory and fame? / Could you hold your head high, when no one knows your name? / That’s how legends are made, at least that’s what they say. –“Never Let Go” by Bryan Adams --------------------------------------Look at this stuff! Isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think --------------------------------------My collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m a girl— A --------------------------------------Girl who has everything? Look at this cove, treasures untold --------------------------------------How many wonders can one cavern hold? Looking around here --------------------------------------You’d think—sure, she’s got everything. I’ve gadgets and --------------------------------------Gizmos of plenty. I’ve got whosits and whatsits galore. You --------------------------------------I love Emma Semanyk --------------------------------------I love Hayley, not Sarah. --------------------------------------Lolcatz --------------------------------------<3 BHS soccer --------------------------------------College! --------------------------------------ZOMG ________ house --------------------------------------Giving creepy kid 20 cents? Big mistake. --------------------------------------I can see Russia from my house! --------------------------------------Chuck is a WOMANIZER, WOMANIZER. Nate is just promiscuous. --------------------------------------You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. --------------------------------------Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? --------------------------------------Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned? --------------------------------------Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? --------------------------------------Can you paint with all the colors of the wind? --------------------------------------Can you paint with all the colors of the wind? --------------------------------------You better bet on me betting on it. --------------------------------------Dude, we should be detectives. --------------------------------------Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down… --------------------------------------L I S A S TA P L E S , Y O U ’ R E AMAZING! –Justin --------------------------------------That’s not the expression. Well it should be! --------------------------------------GUITAR HERO PARTY AT OCTAVIA’S HOUSE! Merrr
--------------------------------------For the longest time! YEAH YEAH YEAAAH! ;-) Sid’s watching you all… heh heh heh --------------------------------------CARLOS look! A giiiirl --------------------------------------Autoriatically systematically --------------------------------------I hope to chill with Mrs. 8 this weekend --------------------------------------I miss my Uncle Charles y’all --------------------------------------Juz me n CDJ! (As always…) --------------------------------------Apologize… FOR WHAT! --------------------------------------Blue, where are you? --------------------------------------Venti white mocha --------------------------------------I think it snowed, no that’s frost Mel. --------------------------------------Big Foot Movie, Get Ready! --------------------------------------Jonathan, why are you being so immature? --------------------------------------Seduce me --------------------------------------When I grow up I wanna be seduced --------------------------------------I <3 asian boys that DON’T go to this school –S^2 & T^2 --------------------------------------Rainism 24/7 --------------------------------------Rain is back --------------------------------------Robin’s favorite color is pizza --------------------------------------How do you like that, hm!? --------------------------------------Don’t you EVER tell me how to live my life! --------------------------------------Go to sleep, sleepy moose. --------------------------------------I need to go to my quiet place! --------------------------------------Patrick, what does the waveform say about the IRE level?! --------------------------------------I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat in my uterus. --------------------------------------If you run down the hallway, Monica will chase you. --------------------------------------I finally got to medium on Guitar Hero!!! --------------------------------------I love you. EMH+BRB --------------------------------------Look at how sloppy that girl looks with her man shoes and her dress. --------------------------------------It was me –Mojojojo --------------------------------------Benguin <3 --------------------------------------Up & Coming --------------------------------------Blake volleyball… chk chk BOOM! --------------------------------------I be up in the gym just working on my fitness. --------------------------------------We control the lights!!!!!! Out the Window ---------------------------------------
I HAVE A TAPEWORM IN MAH BELLAY --------------------------------------Pigtails became inappropriate after your 5th birthday --------------------------------------HEY WADUP ALL THIS YO GIRRRLL LIL J --------------------------------------Livin ma lyfe instead of chasin da paper. Big upz 2 my h8terz and luv u clizz, klash3r and s3xy M... ur sis Klashia --------------------------------------To Ph, AN, Bromine, AI, Dreds, Career Center, and orange we love you and Howard county can’t get over you! --------------------------------------Go Obama! --------------------------------------Simone hair is happy --------------------------------------Redskins > Jets --------------------------------------But the pink elephant remained so polite... --------------------------------------Kemi Olowoofayoku is not juicy. --------------------------------------I hate Kemi. She has sloppy stuff on her jeans. --------------------------------------i love bhsvfh08 --------------------------------------Life isn’t too easy but it depends on the choices we make so Klashia4shizzle and Lil Jay! I love u guys to all mi haters & lovers keep it real!! Peace. --------------------------------------“Then there is the terrorist beard that says “I’ll seduce you, make you give birth to ten children and then strap a bomb to your chest.” --------------------------------------“For a bearded man, hair does not only grow from the top of his head, but in all directions, so which way is up?! I dont think even he knows. But also this man must accept that he does not know which way is up and therefore is open to everything.” --------------------------------------“I’m sure I will enter a competition. A beard competition. Whether it be an official one or just the beard competition that is life.” --------------------------------------If you give a moose a muffin, you should grow a beard. --------------------------------------CHINCHILLA --------------------------------------PANDA --------------------------------------MANGY OL’ MCCAIN --------------------------------------If I were a snail, I would have one big slimy foot. --------------------------------------Alex Taub. --------------------------------------GF, I know I said I was on the pill but SURPRISE! I’m preggers... with twins. - IM --------------------------------------Want a cheap and easy way to shout out to your besties? Buy some unclassifieds! 70 cents for the first ten words and then 5 cents for every additional word! --------------------------------------please, we need the money. right now. --------------------------------------Unclassifieds are the cheapest way to shout out to your friends, rant about your fave tv show, send annoyingly lovely messages to your gf/bf, and cheer on your sport team. --------------------------------------All Beat staffers are more than happy to sell you unclassifieds. And candy, if they have it. BUY THEMMMMMMMMMM ploz.
Sword-wielding students stay on guard as they slash, stab for love of fencing, p. D6
Fasdmen;rit uhnbroiutbnsrtnrtnsrtjsrtj rysrjrstjsfsr Section D
Blake Beat Sports
D? November 14,2008
Football finishes with victory over Rockville Rams, 27-22 Team recovers from its defeats, ends year with gratifying victory
x by Benuel Hostetter
With nothing left to play for but pride, the varsity football team was victorious on the Rockville Rams’ home turf last Friday, after the Bengals were fed up with their previous poor play. The win was bittersweet for many seniors like quarterback Collin Keegan. “Everyone was in high spirits but we were upset too because we knew some of us would never play again,” says Keegan. Led by junior running back KB Asante, the team’s offense had no trouble getting points and scored a touchdown in all four quarters. Asante scored three on the ground and senior Daniel Wilson ran in a fourth that proved to be the game winner. Asante, Wilson, and sophomore Brandon Simms combined for 330 rushing yards. The key to the Bengals’ win over Rockville was their improved defensive play. The team was able to get stops in crucial situations. Sophomore defensive end Willy White sealed the win, getting an interception with less than five minutes left in the game for a final score of 27-22. The Magruder Colonels came to Blake Halloween night with no intention to distribute candy. The Blake offense, however, made a good show, putting up 23 points, and senior wide receiver Mike Ogbonna made what may be this season’s best catch, diving into the end zone to haul in a 25 yard lob from Keegan. Despite their impressive performance, the Bengals still lost 50-23. At the rival Paint Branch Panthers’ Homecoming game, the team was simply outsized. When asked how the Panthers’ receivers’ height affected the game, senior Joe Mensh says, “All their quarterback had to do was throw the ball up and they would come down with it.” The Bengal offense stumbled again, only posting nine points to the Panthers’ 40. Despite an early 7-6 lead, the Bengals could not hold off Springbrook October 17 and wound up losing by a score of 38-14. Problems on special teams were a large factor: a dropped punt return and a blocked punt both resulted in Springbrook scores. Adds Mensh, “The fact that we aren’t pumped when we play our rivals is Senior Daniel Wilson clutches the football in a flurry of sad.” Springbrook Blue Devils, fending off the opposing team
skillfully. Wilson has been a valuable asset to the varsity football team this season. --photo by Ben Martin
Tough loss in regional semifinals breaks field hockey’s perfect streak Lady Bengals had best regular season performance in school history
x by Hannah Mellman
After an unprecedented perfect regular season, the reign of girls’ field hockey came to a sudden end with a loss in the Regional Semifinals to the Whitman Lady Vikings. The Lady Bengals were able to shut out the Lady Vikings in their first game of the season, but found no such luck the second time
around. The game remained scoreless until the last five minutes, when Whitman nailed an unexpected cross goal. Blake’s offense was aggressive throughout the game, but the Lady Vikings’ defense rejected all shots on goal. “That’s the way field hockey is,” says senior midfielder Kerry Irion. “You can dominate 99.9% of the game, but if you let up for a second, the other team will take advantage of that.”
Despite an unexpected playoff exit, the Lady Bengals possess the only undefeated regular season record for a team sport in Blake history. They knocked out the impressive Wootton Lady Patriots, the Seneca Valley Lady Eagles, and the Richard Montgomery Lady Rockets as the girls wrapped up their unparalleled regular season 12-0. Finishing the season strong not only attests to the team’s su-
perior skills, but also to the team’s dynamic chemistry. “Towards the end of the season, we developed relationships... outside of hockey that helped us on the field,” says senior forward Hannah Elie. “We played better because we didn’t want to disappoint each other.” Rather than dwelling on a tragic ending, the Lady Bengals look forward to continuing their dominating legacy next year with
eight returning players and several promising JV recruits. “I’m so excited for next year,” says junior forward Justine Allen, “It gives us a chance to pick up where we left off.” Still, this season marks the end of an era. Says head coach Janis Maloney, “I thought this years’ team was the most talented group of field hockey players Blake has ever had.”
Girls’ volleyball leaves behind unforgettable 15-2 record, division title x by Rui Fu Despite a heartwrenching loss to the #1-seeded Magruder Lady Colonels in the 4A West Regional Championship, the girls’ volleyball team came home Friday night with an unprecedented 15-2 record and Blake’s first divisional title in volleyball. Going into the championship, the girls were not intimidated by the Lady Colonel’s undefeated record and opened the first set 8-3.
“We scared Magruder,” says co-captain Micaela Perez Ferrero. ”There were times when we were beating them.” However, the Lady Colonels came back and won 25-23. Coming off of their momentum, the Lady Colonels led the Lady Bengals early on in the second set. Although the Lady Bengals fought back after trailing by 17-12, says coach Leigh Tinsley, “It was too little too late.” The girls ultimately lost the second set 25-20. The third set proved to be the toughest,
with the two teams neck and neck and fighting for every point. But the Lady Colonels pulled ahead at the end and clutched the regional title with a 25-20 win. Says junior Jiwoo Jang, “We made some mistakes at crucial times and that's what hurt us.” To secure their seat in the finals, the Lady Bengals defeated the #3-seeded Churchill Lady Bulldogs November 5. Although the girls won effortlessly in four sets, they did not play with their usual intensity and dominating of-
fense. “We didnt play to our full potential,” says sophomore Meagan Lagerlef. “We waited until the end of the games to pull through.” In their last game of the regular season, the Lady Bengals crushed the Sherwood Lady Warrior 25-17, 25-15, and 25–23 to clutch the first division champ title in the school’s history. Adds Perez Ferrero, “We have no superstars--we have 12 girls who fell in love with the sport and never looked back.”
Fall Athletes of Year Metzger, Asante excel in girls’ field hockey, football seasons, p. D5
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Cross country makes strides, finishes strong x by Jay Sharma
The 4A West Region Championship held at Watkins Mill High School proved to be tough for the Bengals. However,
sophomores Rohan Raju and Daniel Lee sprint ahead of the game to help their team. --photo by Ben Martin
After a stellar 5-2 season for both boys’ and girls’ cross country, the Bengals came short of reaching state final glory. Although it came in last at Regionals, the team is proud of its accomplishments this season. October 30 marked the day of the Maryland 4A West Region Championships at Watkins Mill High School. Against all of their division foes, the Bengals could not perform up to par. "We tried our best but just came up short,” says senior Daniel Rosenberry. The Montgomery County championships took place October 18 at Gaithersburg High School. Against the best competition in the county, the Bengals had a tough day but gave it their all. The boys came in 21st out of 25 teams, and the girls failed to make the top 19 teams. Cocaptains senior Steven Klingner and junior Becky Doane were the first to finish for their respective teams. Says Klingner, "I’m very proud of my team because people stepped up in order to better themselves and strive for personal bests." The Bull Run Invitational October 11 was not a great showing for the Bengals, finishing 17th out of 19 schools. The meet, which had over 400 male runners, was just too much for the Bengals and they failed to live up to their potential. However, Klingner was able to finish as one of the top 200 runners. Says Klingner, "It is the hardest course in North America, so it was a hard fought race.” The girls did not fare too well either, with over 300 female runners participating. Klingner was not only happy with his teams play, but very excited about his own as well. “I lowered my personal record by a minute,” says Klingner. With only two seniors leaving, the team has a bright future. "The youth on the team really improved [through the season],” says Rosenberry, "so next year they should do well."
Boys’ soccer completes rough season, looks to improve next year
Players to return with heart, dedication; hope to get program back on track by Sarah Levitt x & Maureen Madden After a hard fought year of ups and downs, the boys’ varsity soccer team finished their season 1-11 when the Sherwood Warriors defeated them 5-0 October 24. With the recent loss of six upperclassmen players, the boys were left with a younger, less experienced team to compete with some of the best in the county. Says coach Patrick Howley, “This team went through a lot of chal-
lenges and pushed through with a lot of success that they should be proud of.” The Bengals finished their regular division play October 21 with a tough 6-3 loss to the strong Quince Orchard Cougars. Regardless of the Bengals playing a man down the entire game, senior Jeremy McDonald was still able to score three goals. “He really deserves some credit,” adds Howley. The boys gave the Kennedy Cavaliers a run for their money
October 15, as sophomore Jaime Lopez scored during the 62nd minute, bringing the game within reach. The Bengals began dominating the field in the last 10 minutes, taking every opportunity they had to tie the game up. Unfortunately the Bengals were unable to come up with another goal, losing 3-2. The five seniors of the team, Andy Attah, Ben Herrington, Marcus Brutus, Jeremy McDonald and Kyle Lancon took the Blake field for the last time October 11 against the Northwest Jaguars. In an excit-
ing match that went into overtime, the boys came out just a hair short, falling to the Jaguars 3-2. The Bengals traveled to Magruder to take on the second seeded Colonels October 7. Playing strong, the boys still let four goals in. Junior goalie Timmy Ostermeyer says, “They got lucky, it’s as simple as that.” As the end of the game drew nearer, it was looking like the Bengals were going home empty-handed until the Colonels fouled in the box, and McDonald hit the back of the net on a penalty
kick, ending the game 4-1. Towards the end of their season, the boys began putting points on the board nearly every game, showing their improvement and determination. The offensive line scored 14 goals, 11 coming from the second half of their season. “Our last five games were all very close,” says coach Howley. “With the very dedicated players returning next year mixed with the addition of some of the hard working JV players, we will have great leadership and success.”
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The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Girls’ soccer upset in playoffs after stellar performances Younger players show potential to continue winning tradition in 2009
x by Jeremy McDonald After entering the playoffs as the #4-seed in the 4A west region, the girls’ varsity soccer team was upset 2-1 in the first round game against the Sherwood Lady Warriors. The team came into the game as strong favorites, having beaten the Lady Warriors 3-1 in an earlier encounter. The team was very disappointed as they had the talent to challenge for a state championship. “I think the playoff loss was not at all a reflection of the kind of team that we are,” says senior captain Liza Sitz. “It was unfortunate because we should have advanced much farther in playoffs than we did.” The Lady Bengals came into the match with little momentum after losing to the Quince Orchard Lady Cougars 2-1 three days earlier. The match proved to be difficult since the Lady Cougars are one of the
tougher teams in the county. Senior Sarah Levitt tallied for the Lady Bengals on their senior night. October 15, the team had an emphatic 4-0 victory over the Kennedy Lady Cavaliers. Says senior Rebecca Salmeron, “I think we played decent and got the job done.” The victory against the Lady Cavaliers ensured that the Lady Bengals would be seeded in the playoffs. October 11, the Lady Bengals narrowly defeated the Northwest Lady Jaguars 1-0. Despite the disappointment of the playoff loss, the mood of the team is positive when reflecting on the season. Says Sitz, “We all enjoyed each other a lot so it helped us work well together on the field. I think it was a really good season.” Ten of the Lady Bengals will return next year, but the team will lose many starters. However, there is still hope within the program. Adds Sitz, “I don’t think the team will be the same, but I think they have the potential to be successful.”
Despite losing record, JV football prevails with positive attitudes
Bengals penetrate endzone against Springbrook, prepare for next season
x by Morgan Cali
For their final game of the season the JV football players traveled to Rockville to face the Rams November 6. Assistant coach Derek Ritzenberg says, “The team desperately [wanted] to win this game and [hoped] to make it our very first win this season.” Unfortunately, they weren’t able to achieve their goal and ultimately lost 33-0. The Bengals played the Magruder Colonels at home No-
vember 1. The team was defeated 14-8 despite freshman running back Brian Battaglia running 22 yards to score a touchdown and sophomore safety Samoy Young intercepting a pass in the third quarter. Despite the progress the Bengals made in practice, they reverted back to their old ways and couldn’t come together on the field October 27 against the Walter Johnson Wildcats, resulting in a tough loss of 25-0. Playing the Paint Branch
Panthers October 23, the Bengals were led by freshmen running backs Brian Battaglia and Brian Ogbonna scoring two touchdowns. Unfortunately, the team was ultimately defeated 39-12. Ready to take on another rival, the Bengals played the Springbrook Blue Devils October 18 and were led by sophomore quarterback Peter Calhoun throwing a 16 yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end John King. Calhoun says, “The whole team was all really excited about scoring the first touchdown
of the season especially against our rival Springbrook.” In addition, Battaglia ran 13 yards to score a touchdown followed by Ogbonna running eight yards to score another touchdown. Although the team lost 48-24, putting points on the board lifted the team’s attitude. The Bengals played the Gaithersburg Trojans October 13. Although the line was blocking better, the team consistently missed key blocks, allowing the Trojans to score and resulting in the Bengals losing 26-0. Despite the
loss, assistant coach Chad Wilson says, “They never get down; they always think they are going to win every game.” Coach Ritzenberg adds, “Our ‘no quitting’ attitude and being able to step up during challenging times has given our athletes the experience of dealing with adversity.” Coming back after losses is not an easy task; however the Bengals’ consistent positive attitude allowed them to work hard during practice to improve their individual skills and team chemistry.
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The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
JV teams prepare upcoming athletes for varsity levels
Players have fun, learn rules, make friends, anticipate higher competition x by Rui Fu & Joey Samowitz Proudly finishing their seasons, the JV soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams established solid records and are already preparing for next season. The JV girls’ soccer team beat the Kennedy Lady Cavaliers 2-1 October 15 to end the season 6-5. The Bengals’ leading goal scorer sophomore Rachel Porzel notched the final goal, giving them the win. “I feel like all the hard work we put in this season culminated in this one game,” says junior defender Rachel Appel. With only three games remaining in the season, the girls found themselves at 4-4, with remaining games against the Magruder Lady Colonels, the Northwest Lady Jaguars and the Kennedy Lady Cavaliers. On October 11, they beat the Lady Jaguars 5-1. Earlier that week, the girls beat the Lady Colonels 2-0. Although the boys’ JV soccer team ended the sea-
son with six straight losses, they still improved. “The win column doesn’t reflect our hard work and improvement,” says sophomore captain Matias Perez-Ferrero. PerezFerrero, sophomore captain Jesse Boulandi and sophomore midfielder Richard Pak were all moved up to varsity for playoffs. The Bengals lost 5-1 in their last game of the season against the Kennedy Cavaliers. Prior this game, the boys lost 2-0 against the Jaguars and 3-0 against the Colonels. “We didn’t put our best foot forward. We had the ability, but it was like we gave up,” adds sophomore captain Femi Fadeyi. October 16, the Lady Bengals’ JV field hockey team finished its season with a heart-wrenching loss to the Richard Montgomery Lady Rockets. Although the girls lost 1-0, they played an aggressive game, keeping the ball on the opponent’s side of the field throughout the entire game. Says sophomore Maya Campbell, “It was a really disappointing
loss, but we knew that we played our hardest.” In an exciting 3-2 win, the Lady Bengals defeated the Magruder Lady Colonels October 6. The girls attributed their win to a dominating offensive performance and a cohesive defense. “We applied all of our skills, which included fantastic passing, into that game,” adds sophomore Rachel Babcock. Despite a rough first half of the season, the Lady Bengals’ JV volleyball team turned their season around with a demolishing win over the Wheaton Lady Knights. Says sophomore Lily Hua, “We were still pretty pumped from our previous win so we worked very well together and were able to add another win to our record.” They won in three sets with scores of 25-19, 22-25 and 15-5. However, the Lady Bengals ended their season with an unfortunate loss to the B-CC Lady Barons. “Our last game was by far our most brilliantly played game,” adds Hua. “We put up quite a fight.”
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The Blake Beat
Boys’ basketball team ready to start season with open mind x by Ryan Arrendell
Despite losing to Blair in the first round of playoffs along with losing six graduating seniors, the Blake Varsity Bengals Basketball team has high hopes for its new season. “Once last season ended, this season began,” says junior Nathan Dalgetty. Since the close of the 2008 season, players have been gathering together for lifting and running sessions to help them to stay in shape for the next season. “There is no set team,” adds coach Wiggins. “But I really feel that there is enough talent in this building to make it to states.” Tryouts are sure to bring many returning players as well as new ones, like senior Springbrook transfer Darnell Wilson. “I’m going to miss being on that team,” he says, “but there were a lot of cliques…playing for Blake is like getting a fresh start—I’ve noticed there is more chemistry among the players so far.” The Bengals were 12-7 last season,
struggling to find team chemistry and focus on the same goals. Says senior Evan Curdts, “There were too many personal goals and not enough communal goals.” Adds junior Max Hedgepeth, “We had too many attitudes and too many people playing for themselves.” The return of the state championship to the Northeast Consortium by Springbrook last year has created a buzz with the Bengals, who fell short of making it to the state finals due to a tragic loss to Sherwood in overtime in 2007. “In order for us to have a successful season,” says senior Akeen Glasgow, “we must focus, work hard in practice, communicate, and have fun.” The season kicks off with 7am tryouts tomorrow morning, which, in addition to drilling offense and defense plays, will include a 3 mile run. The day will ultimately end with the selection of a 13 or 14 member team. “It’s exciting,” says Wilson. “We have a lot of people to prove wrong.”
Seniors not on fence about passion for thrilling sword duels x by Christina deGraft-Johnson
Senior Isabel Smith-Berstein stands proudly with her sword and helmet. After fencing for four years, she continues to practice whenever possible, striving
to become the best she can be. Smith-Bernstein understands the dangers of her sport, but the reward is greater than the risk. --photo by Jonathan Yuen
Despite a lack of powdered wigs, candelabras and revenge-seeking counts, seniors Megan Richards, Isabel Smith-Bernstein and Travis Rogers still manage to stay on guard while they fence in their spare time. Fencing is the sport of using a weapon for both defense and attacking your opponent. Says Smith-Bernstein, “It’s like dueling, minus the blood.” She has been fencing for about four years; Richards has been fencing since the second grade. Rogers used to fence for about one and a half years. Many people fence for various reasons. “I always liked weapons,” says Smith-Bernstein. “The idea of [doing] a sport that originated with hurting others really appealed to me.” “Fencing always seemed like such a cool thing to do... The Princess Bride [was] a huge inspiration,” adds Rogers. Richards’ parents influenced her choice. Her father competes and her mother is a fencing coach. “[My father dragged me willingly] to every fencing tournament when I was younger,” says Richards. Smith-Bernstein likes fencing with the foil, the smallest weapon, because, she says, “It’s light and I’m a girl.” Richards fences with the epee, the largest weapon, and the sabre, the most violent weapon. She says they are faster, more brutal, and more fun. She adds, “In epee, you have to plan ahead, [and] in sabre you have to be fast.” Rogers believes that confidence is needed to be successful. Richards and Smith-Bernstein like to parry riposte (a block and lunge move). Richards also likes to beat the blade (knock the blade out of your opponent’s hands) and switch hands while fencing. Rogers likes to confuse his opponents by running away. While fencing may come off as a safe sport, you can get hurt from faulty weapons or inexperienced opponents. While fencing, someone’s blade broke and slit Richard’s left arm from her wrist to three inches above her elbow. Smith-Bernstein adds, “When I started with sabre, [I got] a huge bruise on my collar bone from being whapped too hard by another beginner.” Accidents are also bound to happen. “You can accidentally slide your blade through gaps in clothing or just jab it really hard in soft spots,” says Smith-Bernstein. These fencers believe that the worst thing about fencing is that being proficient at the skill takes years of experience. However, adds Smith-Bernstein, “Practice all the time.”
Women ditch WWE for unscripted fights in Mixed Martial Arts octagon
Lack of room in UFC leads to leagues for aspiring female ring warriors x by Brittany Beecroft Mixed Martial Arts, like coffee or classical music, is an acquired taste. The idea of one fighter raining blows upon her pinned opponent is not for everybody. These mixed martial artists are not the highly paid WWE divas-- they do not come into the octagon with made-up faces and French manicures. The women of MMA are
taut and toned, and in some cases tanned, but they are not fighting to display sex appeal. Some people say the cage is no place for a girl, regardless of her perfected “triangle choke hold,” a choking technique where the legs are scissored around an opponent’s neck and arm. Perhaps this is part of Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White’s reasoning against adding females to his male-only league.
In an interview with Pramit Mohapatra of the Baltimore Sun in January 2007, White stated that he had no plans of adding female fighters to the male UFC. “I’m not a huge fan of women fighting,” he said. “Not to say that I don’t acknowledge that there are amazing female athletes out there in every sport; I just think right now we [are having] a hard enough time getting over the stigma of the men [fighting].”
With UFC being the undeniable king of the MMA hill, other leagues have been cropping up, looking to establish a niche and make their mark. EliteXC, ProElite, the International Fight League (IFL), World Extreme Cagefighting, Bodog Fight, Spirit XC, Strikeforce and M1 are looking to expand their audience and differentiate themselves. Since UFC does not present female bouts, one organiza-
tion has tried to fill that void. During the past 15 years, women in the MMA have only been able to train and hope that a match will ensue. Not anymore. MMA outfit EliteXC signed a deal with CBS to showcase women’s fights on the network. The Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobold October 4 fight, won by Carano due to a slew of head kicks, left Carano satisfied, mentioning afterwards that being in a fight is the best feeling.
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Internet fantasy has whole new meaning for football fans x by Benuel Hostetter Fantasy football strikes fear in the hearts of girlfriends nationwide and causes their boys to spend hours every week trading players to relatively trivial ends. Yet to many, the game remains somewhat of a mystery. When asked why he enjoys fantasy football, junior Tommy Messett says, “It helps me keep up with the stats of my favorite players.” Staying up-to-date on these numbers is extremely important in fantasy football and being able to predict players’ poor scoring week can make or break a season. The scoring is based on the individual performances put in by the players that owners choose to start each week. Points are awarded for passing yards, rushing yards,
Online league consumes students’ time, now more concerned with success of custom-picked teams receiving yards, extra points kicked, field goals, touchdowns, etc. Scoring for defense/ special teams is based on interceptions, fumble recoveries and defensive or special teams’ touchdowns. Messett spends over three hours managing his four fantasy teams most weeks. His only regret about playing fantasy, however, is making bad picks in his fantasy drafts. Each fantasy football season begins with a player draft in which owners select the 14 or so play-
ers they want to start the season with. While the early rounds of each draft tend to be where big name players are added to rosters, being able to predict breakout players can have just as much impact as the draft. Says senior Zach Swartz, “The draft is important, but the owners that do best are the ones with the best mid-season pick-ups.” One of the most common criticisms of fantasy football is that fans become less partial to their “favorite” teams and lean
more towards the individual success of their fantasy players. There are some ways around this dilemma. Says senior Paolo Marinucci, “I never feel away from my team because my fantasy teams always have some players from my favorite team.” Some owners, like Swartz, admit that they usually do care more about the success of their fantasy team than that of their “favorite” team. “If the Eagles win that’s great,” adds Swartz, “but if my fantasy team wins that’s better because I’m beating someone.” Because honestly, what could be better than talking smack all week about how you crushed your friend in last week’s fantasy game? It’s totally worth spending four hours analyzing and reanalyzing whether or not to start Brett Favre.
Redskins peel off losses, plan to show true colors despite difficulties
With record exceeding expectations, winning ‘Skins season within reach x by Justin Pereira Yes, it was embarrassing. Six measly points on offense, an awful 20% third-down conversion rate, and a blocked punt for a turnover—all on ESPN’s primetime Monday Night Football. There is no doubt about it: the Washington Redskins got crushed Week 9 against the Pittsburg Steelers. But, Redskins fans, there is no need to panic. A record of 6-3 is by no means bad, especially for a team in the NFC East division. The ‘Skins have exceeded everyone’s expectations so far this season, and a loss to one of the NFL’s best teams is nothing
to get worked up about. Last season, the Redskins’ impressive play took them all the way to the playoffs. If they just keep pace with their record from last year, their chances of returning to the playoffs are very good. At this point last season, their record was not even as good as it is now: it was 5-4.
Again: no need to panic. Expect the ‘Skins to come back strong against the Dallas Cowboys at home Sunday. Refreshed and revitalized from the bye week, the injury-plagued roster will have had time to get healthy and prepared for the rest of the season. And with all of the weapons they possess, a healthy
group of players will make all the difference. As long as they have one of the NFL’s leading rushers, Clinton Portis, there is just no way to count the Redskins out of the playoff picture. Going into his bye week, he held a comfortable lead in total rushing yards, rushes for a first down, and av-
“There is just no way to count the Redskins out of the playoff picture.”
erage yards per game. He is on just about every sportswriter’s MVP-candidate list, and he’s a threat to rush for 125 yards or more every week. Let’s not forget about the defense, either. With two key players, line backer Jason Taylor and corner Shawn Springs, likely to return, the defense will play much more like the dominant unit it was earlier in the season. Look, I’ve been known to doubt the Redskins just as much as any other fan, but there really is no need to do it now. Let’s just take it one game at a time—for Week 11, Dallas is in serious trouble.
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The Blake Beat
Christian music lovers rock out to Jesus jams, appreciate wholesome message, p. E2
Blake Beat Fine Arts
November 14, 2008
Mrs. McIntosh paints pottery with hair-raising brushes
Ceramics teacher Nancy McIntosh paints away with a brush she made out of her own hair. Creating and using these brushes, a tradition that has existed for thousands of
years, has been a hobby of hers for the past 23 years. Mrs. McIntosh teaches brushmaking to her level two and three ceramics students. --photo by Ben Martin
Ceramics teacher uses noggin to create beautiful masterpieces—literally x by Laura Brady Most people sweep their hair up into a trash bag after it has been cut off, but ceramics teacher Nancy McIntosh does not waste her luscious locks: she turns them into paint brushes. Mrs. McIntosh has been transforming her own hair into bristles for the past 23 years. As original as her method may seem, Mrs. McIntosh says, “The idea has been around for thousands of years.” She decorates pottery with her brushes and sometimes gives them as gifts. She doesn’t draw the line at her own hair; Mrs. McIntosh also ventures to her backyard for materials. “My
cat catches and eats squirrels, and I live in the country and have eight to 11 deer every evening in my backyard,” says Mrs. McIntosh. “In the spring, one can pull clumps of hair off of the shrubs.” Mrs. McIntosh’s lucky level two and three ceramics students have the opportunity to learn brush-making. She says, “They are not hard to make once you have the materials.” These materials include bamboo or cane, waxed linen thread, dental floss, hair and glue. She has also taught the process to painting classes at Blake, and has had workshops for adult potters in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Her students often find this hobby repulsive. “Many
of [them] don’t want to make the brush because [they] are working with animal hair,” she says. “They go ‘ewww’ or ‘yuck,’ but then they also play with the commercial brushes. When you tell them that that brush is hair as well, they put it down really fast.” Though many are disgusted, some find it intriguing that Mrs. McIntosh paints with her own hair. “It brings a whole new level of personal connection and meaning to one’s artwork,” says senior Nathan Tucker. Even though it takes longer to make your own brushes, it can be worth the time. Says Mrs. McIntosh, “Each handmade brush is individual and has its own voice or personality.”
Showcase brings out best moves, sounds, beats of Motown magic by Anna Ching x & Kirsten Petersen Performers in the Dance Company, Advanced Tap class, and Musical Theatre Company presented pieces inspired by the music of the Motown era at the annual Dance Company Concert November 6. Dances set to songs by Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and other artists brought the Motown era to the auditorium stage. Junior Sarah Harrison, who is in the Dance Company, says, “The whole Motown theme is really more fun, so it was a type of
Talented performers have (Stevie) Wonder-ful concert, display Supreme variety of dances crowd-pleaser thing.” Dance Company students choreographed group and individual dances set to Motown music. Harrison performed a piece with junior Ashley Haymaker and seniors Kryshion Lewis and Lynn Poe, set to “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. The girls even dressed like the family band by donning afros. “I thought [they] gave the dance
more flavor and excitement,” adds Harrison. This is the first year that the Advanced Tap class has performed in the Dance Company Concert. They tapped to “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Diana Ross and the Supremes. Senior Lily Johnson, who is in the Advanced Tap class, says, “It’s just a very comfortable setting for us to perform in because we
know everybody so well.” The Musical Theatre Company performed “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas and sang and danced to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. Junior Jacob Perry, who performed with the Musical Theatre Company and in the Dance Company performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight,” says, “I abso-
lutely love working with the musical theatre company. We always get a high energy performance out of this class.” Choral teacher Johnathan Dunn brought comical relief to the audience when he sang for the Dance Company performance of “Do You Love Me” by Stevie Wonder. Harrison, Johnson, and Perry were all a little nervous before they went on stage. Says Johnson, “You don’t get nervous [until] the last second, but it all goes away when you get on stage.”
Chorale to lift Jones’ morale, take her singing career up an octave
Senior to audition for national choir after participating in summer program x by Talia Chicherio Senior Jasmine Jones is not exactly the tallest figure in the halls, but anyone who has heard her sing can attest that she has the largest voice in the room. Jones has taken voice lessons since sixth grade and studies various forms of classical music. She has also participated in numerous audition choirs and programs, from the Blake A Capella Choir to the Oberlin Vocal Academy. “I like the challenge of singing,” she says. “I feel it’s a great way to express yourself and to express your emotions.” Jones’s talents have paid off, earning her awards, including one from Renaissance and another from being the “Best in Chamber
Choir,” and a possible spot in the National Philharmonic Chorale at Strathmore. This summer, she participated in the National Philharmonic Summer Institute, during which her teacher announced the auditions for the school-year program. Jones is excited about possibly being
in the Chorale. Over the summer, she says, “I had an amazing time. I felt like [my peers and I] had a lot in common, and the people were easy to talk to and hang out with.” She hopes that the school-year program will give her a similar experience. The Chorale will be a big commitment,
“I like the challenge of singing. It’s a great way to express yourself and to express your emotions.”
however. At the Institute, which had a similar schedule, there were weekly three-hour rehearsals and weekend retreats; now, she would add school and her other activities to the list. Nevertheless, Jones says, it is important to “learn how to be a soloist and a choir member, because no one wants to hear that one person sticking out when you’re supposed to be blending.” After high school, Jones plans to attend a conservatory for vocal and opera performance. The next step is graduate school for opera and auditions for apprenticeship programs. If you want to be a good vocalist, she says, “Try out for as many things as possible, even if you don’t get them. Getting used to… auditioning is important, because [it’s] really frightening.”
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
Choosing class over crass, these fancy dancers waltz into ballroom lessons x by Melanie Spaid & Shannon Gale While most students think of the waltz and foxtrot as dances of the past, some have ditched dirty dancing with hopes of reviving these classical genres. After watching the reality show So You Think You Can Dance, seniors Beth Brown and Katelyn Toy were inspired to take weekly beginner ballroom dancing lessons together at Glen Echo Park. “It’s so classy, and there’s a nice rhythm to the movement,” says Brown. “Watching [it] is like watching an old black-and-white movie.” Senior Alla Fletcher has been ballroom dancing since age nine. She signed up to learn to be more feminine, and now helps teach an etiquette and ballroom dance class. “I love meeting new people, especially cute boys, and just having a good time while dancing,” she says. Although Brown was initially disappointed by the lack of younger generations involved in ballroom dancing, she has accepted the age difference. “[Katelyn and I are] by far the youngest students, and there are a few adults pushing, if not over, 60.” She adds, “It’d definitely be cool if there were more kids my age ballroom dancing.” For Brown, ballroom dancing turned out to be more than just gliding and dipping. “The only negative or alarming experience I’ve had so far was when one man asked me to dance,” she says, “[and] proceeded to step on my toes about 15 times in two minutes.” While Brown and Toy may seem anomalous, they represent a growing trend. “Many dancers…are becoming inspired to try partner dancing,” adds Brown. With dance experience in jazz and ballet, Toy signed up for the class because of its difference from the other styles she’s tackled. “I like the fluidity and elegance of ballroom dancing,” she says. Unlike Brown and Toy, who favor for the foxtrot, Fletcher prefers the informal steps of swing dancing, as well as the various benefits it offers. “I think swing dancing teaches you how to socialize with people because it’s so relaxed.” With their basic knowledge of ballroom dancing, Brown, Fletcher, and Toy accept the traditional aspects of the dance and plan to continue learning different styles of this genre. “Coming out of a spin, you picture yourself at a ball, twirling around in a floor-length sequined dress,” says Brown. Seniors Alla Fletcher and Bryan Levillain take a “It doesn’t get much better than that.” dip into the classy genre of ballroom dancing, which
Fletcher has been swinging, whirling, and trotting in since she was nine years old. -- photo by Sacha Vega
In this genre, peace, love, happiness better than sex, drugs, violence Students of all faiths enjoy lyrics, messages of eloquent Christian rock
x by Ian Nyanin
Much of the music blasting from the headphones and speakers of today’s teens is hardly anything they would want their parents, let alone their ministers, listening to. However, a more praisefriendly genre of music has grown rapidly in popularity, spreading faith-based messages to millions of playlists nationwide. “A lot of people get the impression that just because it’s
Christian music it has to be boring organ music,” says senior Christine Doore. The genre, contrary to the beliefs of many, is far more than Time Life’s Songs 4 Worship; various sub-genres include alternative, hardcore, metal and punk, while chart-toppers Flyleaf, Switchfoot and Relient K all define their music by their faith. However, the music is always about the message. Says Doore, “It’s not the same old music about sex, drugs and violence...it has a
message, a message of hope.” These faith-based views are not always displayed explicitly. “It’s not a message that’s blatant and obvious. It’s more in-between the lines,” says senior Sara Consolino. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, hey, look at my faith’; it’s more like, ‘This is what I believe.’” This subtlety allows the music to transcend various creeds. “You don’t have to believe in God to listen to it; it’s just plain good music with beautiful lyrics,” adds
Consolino. “Even though I’m not a Christian exactly, I still really relate to the music because they speak of something they believe in, which everyone has...be it God or a chicken.” Senior Jeremy Baker has taken his love for the genre to the stage, singing in Dependent, a local praise band. Unlike secular musicians, it is the band’s faith that motivates them to create music. “Other bands are in the music business to draw attention to themselves and to
gain fame,” says Baker, “whereas Dependent is a band that focuses on…helping people connect with God.” While the faith behind the music attracts a large fan-base, many listeners feel that religion is not a major factor. “I doubt that the Christian bands I listen to want the audience to focus heavily on the fact that they’re Christian.” says junior Emily Stevens. “They want to make music, and their music reflects their lives.”
Visit The Blake Beat online at www.blakebeat.net. (You can also access it from the Blake High School home page.)
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
REVIEWS FOR YOU Alicia Afterimage offers touching tribute x by Tomiko Mason Each morning when I walk down B hallway, I see her picture out of the corner of my eye. And each morning, I can’t help but stop and appreciate her smile. I was never blessed with knowing Alicia Betancourt, but as a Blake student, I have always thought that we are somehow connected. After her death in a car crash four years ago, I marveled at the way her life rippled out into the community, how she meant so much to so many. But it wasn’t until I read the poignant memoir Alicia Afterimage, written by her mother, Lulu Delacre, that I un-
derstood how real and raw and beautiful she truly was, and is. In this honest and open tribute, the reader sees Alicia through the eyes of her mother, father, 12 close friends and the driver of the car. The stories intertwine, and page by page the girl appears—a Pom, a sister, a best friend, a daughter. A short read, the book mirrors the fleeting time Alicia spent in the world, yet overflows with the joy she spread. As each person mourns, a source of healing is found in Alicia herself. Her “afterimage,” for which the book is named, takes a different form for each life she touched. For one friend it is a song; for another, a footprint. The book melds past and present,
slipping in and out of memory effortlessly. On one page she is trick-or-treating; on another she is stopping a classmate from killing lady bugs. On many she is laughing with a good friend. Artwork created by Alicia is included on several pages, adding a powerful realness to the text. I found myself flipping to the back cover of the book, Alicia’s self-portrait, many times while reading. In death, as in life, she is breathtaking. This book is a must read for all Blake students, because Alicia is as much a part of this school as the lush woods that surround it, as the youthfulness that energizes it, and as the community within it. She always will be.
Listeners go GaGa for The Fame, feelin’ those fresh beats x
by Ian Nyanin
As anyone with a television, internet access or a pulse knows, it’s the end of the world. So what’s one to do? Make budgetwise decisions in order to live within their means? Act calmly and refrain from completely pulling out of the stock market? Make amends with their God? No, party. And that’s exactly what New York club sensation Lady Gaga is all about. Taking Top Ten download and radio playlists captive with her monster summer hit “Just Dance”, Gaga is back with more of the same on her debut album The Fame. Listeners are taken on a wild ride through her decadently materialistic world of fast cars, scandalous hookups,
insane parties and all-night club hopping. Think Gossip Girl meets the escapades of La Lohan delivered through paper-thin metaphors and blatant lyrics on tracks like “LoveGame” and “Beautiful Dirty Rich”, all layered over heavy beats and super-slick synthesizers. This record, however, is far more epic than most could hope to comprehend, as it represents the birth of new a pop megastar. Though many of the album’s tracks could be mistaken for a new and edgier Gwen Stefani, what separates Gaga from all other Madonna wannabes of the past two decades is the thought process behind her music and retro-chic persona. Despite this being her debut, Gaga is in control of and deliberate in everything she does, unlike Britney and Christina
who even on their so-called declarations of independence (In the Zone, Stripped) still came off as excessively labored over and inorganic. Gaga makes no qualms about wanting to make a hook-heavy, electro-pop dance record purely about having a good time. And does so effortlessly. Already, Gaga is an entity upon herself, as much image as much as she is music, renowned for her outrageous ensembles, diamond-encrusted sunglasses, theatrical stage shows and online videos/ guerilla marketing campaign, Haus of Gaga. Musically, however, The Fame is a meticulously crafted, non-stop sugar rush, packed with ultra hip, genre-hopping club bangers, requiring multiple plays to fully grasp its total brilliance.
Asia Taste brings culture, culinary delights to states
Shih says“having Chinese” has never tasted better x
by Kelly Shih
Nowadays, “having Chinese” is like “ordering pizza” or “getting KFC.” But I have “had Chinese” almost every day since I could possibly chew solid rice. I know good Chinese food. And Asia Taste and Tapioca in Rockville is good Chinese food. The little restaurant’s specialty is authentic Taiwanese “street” snacks. This refers to the fresh-made nibbles and drinks sold by street venders in the city and at traditional Taiwanese night markets. The must-try is the Taiwan Chicken with Spiced Salt and Basil (it’s a mouthful, I know, but a scrumptious one). It might not be tossed in a wok in front of you as is common in Taiwan, but this is as close as it gets. It’s
like popcorn chicken but better, with crispy breading, tender meat, and a barely-there dash of spiciness. For a full meal, all the usual inexpensive Chinese takeout options are there, from Egg Drop Soup to Kung Pao Chicken, but I recommend the Taiwanese Lo Mein for its authentic yellow noodles or Shrimp with Lobster Sauce on Rice (we usually substitute beef) for its delicious mix of flavors. You cannot leave, though, without getting a cup of bubble tea—perhaps Taiwan’s greatest culinary export. I always get the traditional Milk Tea flavor, but the options range from Mango to Lychee to Coffee, so you’re bound to find what suits you. The tapioca balls that come with each order are chewy, and the tea has just the right sweetness. I have scoured
the Metro area for good bubble tea, and you will find none better than this. The only letdown of Asia Taste is its design. Situated in College Plaza near Montgomery College, it is meant mostly for takeout, so there are only three tables to dine at and the décor is bland. However, the staff is friendly (made up mostly of Chinese and English-speaking college students) and the Chinese music always playing sets genuine Taiwanese mood. Whether this is your first foray into Taiwanese “street” food, or you’re a seasoned expert searching for the best bubble tea deal, Asia Taste will not disappoint. Without coming to my house for dinner, or buying a plane ticket to the other side of the world, this is the most authentic, good Chinese food you will find.
High School Musical 3 bops its way to the top What time is it? Senior year, for this Disney trilogy x by Christina deGraft-Johnson
Disney is responsible for movies like The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, but who ever thought that Disney could also create a hit series about teenagers? High School Musical 3: Senior Year does just that and may be its greatest yet. There have been many concerns about whether the High School Musical series would translate well to the big screen, but with High School Musical 3: Senior Year, the movie only got bigger and better. HSM 3 starts out with the Wildcats trying to defend their basketball championship. It then spirals out to include the spring musical, which aims to address the many concerns the Wildcats face, including which
colleges to go to, how to stay near the ones you love and even what to wear to prom. The sequel has a more realistic setting than its previous counterparts. Like a bag of exploded Skittles, the screen was filled with many bright and welcoming colors. However, for the younger generations that flocked the movie theaters to see the movie, high school life is portrayed as highly lavish and over the top. The 12 songs were flawlessly seamed into the movie, making the experience all the more enjoyable. The opening song, “Now or Never”, easily sets up the rest of the songs for success. It is upbeat (like the majority of the songs) and very easy to relate to. The songs climax at the end with a Graduation mix of “We’re All in this Together.” Kenny Ortega’s choreography is truly
amazing. Every song incorporated a variety of dancing styles including jazz, hip-hop and the waltz. The group dances were visually appealing, very inventive and able to draw the viewer in. For some reason, though, a crew of younger Wildcats made an appearance in the movie. At first, it may be confusing as to why they are needed, but then again, Disney has already started writing High School Musical 4, so there must be some sort of connection. If you’re into the serious, makes-youthink, inspirational type of movie, HSM 3 is not for you. However, if you want a movie that makes you feel like a little kid again with no added stresses or worries, HSM 3 has the ability to give you your temporary “happily ever after.”
The Blake Beat
November 14, 2008
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