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To make an end is to make a beginning


letter from the editor Since I was in 7th Grade, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. I joined the Roundtable Review just two years later and began my journey into the world of media. I was immediately drawn in by the feeling of writing about topics that interested me and truly being able to provide a well-written story to my fellow students. My focus was in Sports and I became the Assistant Sports Editor and then the Sports Editor over the next two years. However, the holistic approach to journalism drew me in as well as I saw the Editors- In-Chief, Connor, Maddie, and Paresha, not only approaching the publication from their favorite aspect, but from all of them. So I stuck with it despite being the only guy in the publication for two years running because I had a passion for news writing. That is what I hope you are able to see in the publication this year. We are students who interview, research, write, and edit all of these articles with passion and care. I hope you can see this in every issue, every article, every sentence, and every word, as we strive to bring fun, personal, and interesting stories to you, our classmates, about stories inside and outside of JCHS. We have worked for years to get the magazine to the quality it is right now. It was a long journey, but we finally made it.


table of Contents Knightlife Page 3

Dressember, Senoritis, Parking, The Armory

Spotlight Page 7 Slave Trade, WildFires in California, Suicide Awareness, Bitcoin

Sports Page 12 JCHS Ballers

Op/Ed Page 13 Snow Days, Finals

Newspaper Staff: Editor In Chief: Jake Lyman Assistant Editor In Chief: Taylor Rentz Layout & Design Editor: Sarah Hite Section Editors: Laila Latif Dhara Shukla Newspaper Advisor: Stephanie Moi

Writers: Taylor Donaldson Kelly Hernley Trisha Ravigopal Sana Ahmed Shelby Duncan Hannah Lee Olivia Lovelace Sherknur Mehsut Noor Singh


Has Senoritis Already Hit? Noor Singh

As the second semester of the 2017-2018 school year begins, senioritis has become an issue not only for seniors at our school, but in many other high schools across the nation. As most seniors complete their college applications, seniors have already started to catch senioritis a lot earlier than expected. With senioritis striking early, seniors are questioning their motivation towards schoolwork. With many days off during winter break and multiple snow days in the past month, seniors have chosen to procrastinate a lot more than their previous year. As one senior says it, “The week before winter break I had a couple nights where I realized that senioritis is a real thing and I struggled to do even the most basic homework,” says senior Aman Sandhu. “Motivation has come from the prospect of college looking at my senior year grades to determine acceptance or denial.” College decisions are becoming an important factor in keeping the dedication of seniors consistent Although senioritis when completing school seniors from submitting College is a goal that many prioritizing college appliseems reasonable to them. “When taking into account I put that as a priority over Sophia Seo. “If I had a test same day, I would definitely tion. But, I know better than to

has become a huge obstacle work, this has not stopped their college applications. students take seriously, so cations over school work college application season, schoolwork,” said senior and an application due on the choose to work on my applicawait until the last day.”

Senioritis is a plague increasing its amount of victims every year at a faster rate, affecting seniors all around the nation. Senioritis has affected everyone at some level ranging from a little to a lot. Sandhu, and Seo are doing their best to avoid this epidemic by staying focused and motivated throughout the year. “I see myself on the same level of commitment or even higher to school because of the number of AP classes I am taking, and I have a rush of energy and motivation to do things especially with my club [American Teen Cancer Society],” said Seo. Having the dedication towards academics, Seo has been avoiding any consequences. “This year the commitment factor has changed to keep everything a good balance with my grades and extracurricular activities,” said Sandhu. “I am the same amount committed this year, as I was for the majority of last year. Since I am in the process of trying to get into colleges, that pushes me to work hard,” said Seo. Senioritis has not kicked for the entire grade as they are afraid of any possible consequences in the long run.


Parking at the school: Paying or Detention Dhara Shukla Since the inception of JCHS, students have had to pay for parking, but many students have avoided paying fees while still continuing to park in various parking lots. Until this year, the consequences for not paying for parking were not strictly enforced and students were merely excused with a warning. Students did not experience any harsh repercussions for not paying, so they continued to alternate where they parked in order to avoid being caught. In December 2017, many students received tickets for not paying for parking. They were left with three options. “The options are always to either buy a parking permit or if you continually violate the parking rules, you would have to see your administrator and it would be up to them to determine what consequences are appropriate,” says Safety and Security Specialist Brian Elliott. “I chose to pay $50 because I was forced to pay and that was the cheapest option. Plus I do not drive to school everyday, so it makes no sense for me to pay more if I do not know if I am going to even drive to school,” says senior Aditya Pulipaka. The parking fee for Loudoun County High Schools increased from $25 to $200 in 2009. According to an article by Jenna Johnson in the Washington Post, principals respond to discontent from parents and students by stating that parking at school is a privilege that can be taken away for bad grades or many tardies. Many students are willing to pay for parking but find the $200 fee too expensive. Most schools in the Washington region charge less than $100, so JCHS students’ unhappiness is understandable. “$50 for the whole year would be reasonable,” says senior Rachel Stec. Many students park in Village Run, the neighborhood right next to JCHS. The Homeowners Association has enforced new rules and will tow students’ cars that are parking in the neighborhood. Starting January 18th, students will also no longer be allowed to park on the side of Sacred Mountain Street closest to the neighborhood and will receive a ticket from the police if they park there. Although some students are refusing to pay, many hopeful new drivers cannot wait to start driving to school and are okay with paying. “I will pay and drive to school everyday, because the bus takes so much longer and it is nice to drive home by yourself or with friends,” says junior Samhitha Mada. Will students continue to feel that paying for parking hinders what should be a smooth-sailing rite of passage or will they accept the price they have to pay for this gateway into adulthood?

No parking sign on Sacred Mountain Street.


The Armory

Sherknur Mehsut

Ever wonder who chooses the merchandise and runs the school store? Over the last few years, the JCHS school store, also known as the Armory, had made a few changes and students like senior Kayla Mathews has noticed. “The school store has definitely changed since my freshman year, I personally like the apparel and designs better now!” Mathews said. “I think the store follows the current trends because, it’s always updated by season. At the beginning of the year they had trendy choices such as had half-zips, windbreakers, and baseball caps.” This is because at JCHS, the business and marketing students run the school store. High school courses, like business and marketing, allow students to imitate more real-world situations that will help them in the future. Students learn about beneficial subjects such as money management, social skills, and teamwork. Business and marketing teacher Ms. Buckingham says, “the students are heavily involved in the school store. They help make decisions about what items we should sell in the store and different promotional materials such as flyers so that we can use around the school to promote the store. While working in the store students work the cash register, fold merchandise, and make sure that all items are properly stocked.” By allowing the students to decide and manage such important aspects, it allows them master skills needed for the future. These skills include money management, social skills, and work. Students pursuing a career in business believe that the skills that they have acquired by working will help them will definitely help them in their future careers.

to teamin the school store

Other than making a profit, school stores help to “teach [the] basic skills needed to be a worker in retail,” says Senior Maren Oliver. “I do think [this experience] will help me in the future if I ever plan on doing something in retail because it’s run like an actual business and mimics what it would be like to work at any other store.” Aside from just preparing students for retail, managing the school store allows them to make big decisions and manage important aspects that can have large consequences if chosen poorly. “For the decision of the merchandise, we have multiple representatives from different clothing brands come in and show us different merchandise we could buy and how much they sell it for,” says Oliver. “Then as a class, we tell our teacher what items we think the students would like best.” Students are placed in a setting where they have to make a decision as a whole, much like the “real-world.” Teamwork is an important quality to have for most careers. Working together can help strengthen the outcome of projects by adding different viewpoints. “Working at the school store has made me think more creatively about how we can advertise and get more buyers,” says Business and Marketing student Maren Oliver. Students come in before school starts to take their shifts at the Armory. They are required to take a responsibility for each shift such as collecting the correct amount of money and organizing merchandise. Not only does working in the school store help students with teamwork and social skills, but it “allows students to practice real-world marketing methods,” says Buckingham. Students in the Armory are also placed in a setting where they have to make a decision together as a whole, much like in the real-world. Teamwork is an important quality to have for most careers. Working together can help strengthen the outcome of projects by adding different viewpoints and provide the students with valuable social skills that will be useful both in college and work life.


Suicide Awareness

Sana Ahmed

Suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States and has been made more known to the public through positive and not so positive influences of media. “The lack of awareness of suicide is definitely an issue in our society.” said senior Ankitha Anumolu, “the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, is one way people have been made more aware of suicide.” 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix original show, was about the events that Hannah Baker experienced and eventually led her to commit suicide. The show brought about awareness of suicide and the events tied to it and how it relates to teens. However, due to adult themes and its depiction of self harm and suicide, it was recommended by many school districts and mental health services, for those under 18 to not watch. Loudoun County Public Schools sent out an informational email about the series and warned parents of its potential effect on students. It also included multiple resources for potentially suicidal individuals to receive help from. “There has been a lot more suicide awareness due to people coming out against Logan Paul,” said Anumolu, “the video he uploaded caused a lot of uproar.” With the recent release of youtuber Logan Paul’s Japan vlog in which he visits the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, many of society is condemning the video and his insensitivity to the issue of suicide. In the vlog, he is roaming the forest and comes across a body of a man who seemed to have hung himself. He then proceeded to film the man, only blurring out his face and is seen laughing in certain clips immediately after. He was also criticized for uploading such a video on his channel when his audience consists of many young children who should not be exposed to such a thing. “I think that Logic’s song, 1-800-273-8255, also helped spread awareness for suicide,” said senior Roxana Naemi, “it had a really strong message that could help a lot of people who are struggling.” 1-800-273-8255 is the suicide hotline number for the United States provides support for those in distress. It is also the name of the song made popular by artists Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid. Logic’s influence as an artist allowed him to release a song has made an impact on a large audience. The song and video tell the story of an individual who feels like they don’t have any purpose and wants to end their life and their evolving story. The song has served as great help to those who are struggling In the three weeks after the song was released, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline experienced a 27% increase in calls and after the night of the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards when the song was performed live, the NSPL experienced a 50% surge in the number of calls. National Suicide Prevention Month is September, but the struggles suicidal individuals go through are not limited to one month, so as a society, we need to make sure to spread awareness for those struggling all year round. Call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


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Dressing in December for Dressember

Hannah Lee

Through the cold of winter that December brings, people of all ages, including students at John Champe High School, participated in “Dressember” to bring awareness and raise money for human trafficking in order to help provide support for rescue missions and rehab efforts. Through social media and the Human Trafficking Awareness Club (HTAC), students at John Champe High School dressed up every day of December to come together and grab everyone’s attention concerning the true peril of human/drug trafficking that many people are actually uninformed about around the world.

Dressember not only tests the styling abilities of students, but also was a chance to be a part of a movement that could possibly make a difference. Senior Aatmika Deshpandee was working to promote human trafficking awareness and the Dressember foundation campaign through Girl Scouts and wanted to participate through school as well. “I realized a couple months ago how serious of an issue modern slavery is with nearly 20-30 million enslaved through this trade,” Deshpandee says. “I was amazed about how little people knew about it so I wanted to get involved, even though it would sometimes be difficult to wear dresses everyday through school, work, coaching basketball, and running errands. However, it’s all worth it because I remind myself that it’s a little cost for me to be making (hopefully) a bigger difference.” In addition, junior Rachel Koh initiated Dressember through John Champe High School last year and has continued to spread information, raise money, and persuade others to join in and support the movement. “One of my church friends had asked me to join her team and I wanted to be that person for others at Champe,” Koh says. “I use social media-- instagram, twitter, facebook-- to post and spread information about Dressember and a lot of people messaged me saying that they were interested in advocating for Dressember.” This year, Koh raised $611.20 for the 46 million victims.

Rachel Koh and Narie Kim posing in

Several students at John their dresses to support Human Traffiking Champe High School decid- awareness. ed to take on a challenge of dressing up for 31 days in December to not only have the motivation of looking nice everyday together, but also standing up and raising money and awareness for human trafficking. Students like Koh and Deshpandee strive to lead and allow more and more people to join this campaign over the years and hopefully these little things start leading to bigger changes for those suffering from the dangers of human trafficking.

Senior Aatmika Deshpandee, a participant in the Dressember campaign, continues to spread awareness of human trafficking during her winter break in Florida.


Slave Trade in Libya

Olivia Lovelace

In the past few months a video of men in Libya being sold for $400 has been circulating the internet. An investigation in Libya operated by CNN uncovered the shocking truth of the slave trade in the north African country. This has led countries such as Libya, France, Germany, Chad and Niger to intervene and evacuate thousands of people held captive in Libyan detention camps. Al- Statistics show that the middle east and north Africa have 2,936,800 enslaved, Sub-Saharan Africa has though, it seems the U.S. has not gotten involved or 6,245,800, and Libya has 1,000,000 alone. covered the devastation in the mainstream media. “I think Libya hasn’t had much news coverage on the events of slave trading because it is such a sensitive topic that is often brushed aside or looked over,” said Senior Serena Gilbert. ” The subject of selling human beings for money is something that most would like to think of as a thing of the past, while what we’ve seen in Libya proves that the practice of people being auctioned off is still very much relevant. “Throughout our entire lives we learn every year about the tragic history of slaves in our country, but there has been almost no news coverage about the events going on in Libya,” said Senior Madeleine Knight. “It’s disappointing to see such little talk of such a devastating issue simply because it is not happening here.” Many people around the world are not even aware that this is occurring. Libya is the main transit for refugees trying to cross into Europe; hundreds of thousands of people have made the journey in each of the last three years and therefore, thousands have been captured and kept in detention camps. While the world seems to be staying silent on the massive issue, the Champe community hopes to raise awareness. “To raise awareness within the Champe community, it is very important that we make one another aware of slave trade and how prominent it is in our world,” said Gilbert. “Life is such a precious thing, and many people who are victims of slave trade/trafficking sometimes never get the chance to live the beautiful life they deserve to have.” As many people as there are seeming to avoid the problem avoid the problem, there are others that strive to make a difference and make their peers more conscious of slave trade and trafficking by creating/joining clubs such as Human Trafficking Awareness Club that hope to evoke change all over the world. “I joined HTAC where I wore a dress every day of December to raise awareness along with some other incredible champe students. I think that just the action of wearing a dress and people asking about it was able to create conversation.” said Gilbert. HTAC was able to raise over $6,000 and inform so many more people than before, creating a chain reaction for a big change. Human Trafficking Awareness Club has continued to use their social media platforms to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and slavery is not a tragedy that only happens overseas, it happens all over the world. With access to technology growing abundantly, it is easier for offenders across the world to connect with one another and make it an even bigger issue. With the help of teens and adults alike making an effort to stop the problem, there is hope that human trafficking/ slavery will eventually be a thing of the past.

HTAC members sell spirit links during lunch to raise money to fight human trafficking.


Catching Fire

Trisha Ravigopal

Hello! This is Trisha Ravigopal, serious environmentalist, bringing you news once again on a sad tale of natural disasters occurring all across California. Global warming has taken a turn for the worst and people in California are suffering. Nearly 9,000 wildfires have caused chaos and fear to spread and have up popped up in multiple regions, burning 1.2 million acres of land. “The damage in San Diego is much less than that of Los Angeles but one of the major damages was the loss of vegetation,” California resident Camaron Nito said. “The loss of vegetation makes it very easy for flash flooding to occur whenever we have rain.” People in other states have been trying to help in any way they can. Even if they are not physically there to help, students have been donating to charities and have started fundraisers. Others are simply trying to keep themselves informed on the issue. “I think that what we can do as teenagers witnessing these tragedies, is we can educate ourselves and our peers,” junior student Sammy Shabon said. “The biggest tool we have at our disposal nowadays is technology and i believe it’s very important to take advantage of that and stay involved and informed which is what I intend to do for the duration of these horrible events.” The fires had been seriously affected due to the weather. With the mix of a rainy winter and spring last year, undergrowth sprouted, so during the dry summer that undergrowth became very flammable. Others think that the start of the fires could be because of the insane amounts of heat in the environment. “I think the main cause of the wildfires is the extreme dryness of the area combined with extreme heat,” junior student Nikolle Esteban said.

Trees that have burned from the fires are now collapsing, causing a bigger cleanup process for firemen and residents. (photo courtesy of abc news)

The aftermath of the fires left neighborhoods in devastating conditions including burned off fields and fences. (photo courtesy of Franco Moi)


“This could probably also be explained by global warming.” Global warming is also being factored in by multiple people as a cause. The constant change in temperatures and mistreatment of the environment has some people believing that these natural disasters are going to be a common occurance from now on. “These natural disasters just strengthened my belief and fear of global warming,” Esteban said. “People tended to take it for granted and say that it’s not real, but all these horrifying disasters should prove that global warming is an issue and that is necessary to be addressed.” Students at Champe with family in California have sighted fires near their very own neighborhoods and the damage has been terrifying. The fires has been known to cause multiple landslides, killing eight people in Santa Barbara, and has even caused the death of animals. “During the fires, horse clubs close to the coast has to open their doors to horses in Eastern San Diego County,” Nito said, “so they wouldn’t burn like a few dozen did in L.A.” Fortunately, safety precautions have been taken in order to ensure people’s safety. Many have evacuated to safe locations in order to resist getting stuck in an area vulnerable to fires. “Before and during a wildfire, communities will be notified of evacuation plans and where they can go,” Nito said. “Scripps hospital in San Diego offered Day Care programs during the fires so that single parents wouldn’t have to stay home with their child during a period when school was off due to fires.” The amount of damage that has occurred in California will forever be imprinted into the hearts and minds of JCHS students because it has caused pain not only to people living there, but to family involved as well. “I do have relatives in California, but thankfully they live in San Diego, which was out of the major range of the fires,” Esteban said, “however, we have family friends whose cities were affected. None of their properties were damaged, but the physical environment they live in was filled with smoke, which they said was a terrifying scene.”

California’s areas being most targeted by the wildfire.



Taylor Donaldson

From an episode of popular show Grey’s Anatomy to headlining top news companies, bitcoin is making its rounds, but not many people understand what exactly bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a decentralized payment system that consists of no banks or single administrators. Transactions that are made with bitcoin are peer-to-peer and are not monitored by banks or the government but instead through the Blockchain. The Blockchain is basically a record book of all the transactions made with bitcoin. Anytime a transaction is made with bitcoin, since there is no bank to monitor whether the transaction was valid or not, it is judged by a mathematical algorithm completed by bitcoin miners to see whether the transaction was indeed valid, and in return, the miners, who have special computing skills, take a small payment, of bitcoin, for verifying that transaction. Each transaction adds another “block” onto the chain, hence the name “blockchain.” There is a large debate on whether or not bitcoin is considered “real money”. Bitcoin is more well known as a form of digital currency or cryptocurrency. The way bitcoin works is similar to a stock. It was released that the Winklevoss twins, who had an affiliation with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, are worth around $1.3 billion due to bitcoin. The price and the worth of bitcoin can vary day to day; therefore, it is not a stable money source. Bitcoin has been around for almost nine years, but it was not until recently when the worth and price of bitcoin increased, that it gained such popularity in the news. Bitcoin is not the only type of cryptocurrency. Different sources say that there may be hundreds or even thousands of different types. This makes it hard to say how long the “trend” of bitcoin will last, due to all of the other potential competition. Bitcoin is more favorable than other types of cryptocurrency because there is more proven security. The perks to bitcoin is that the transfers are fast and digital, which is how society likes it. With pros, there are always cons. Bitcoin is said to have many flaws. One major concern is that bitcoin is found on the “dark web”, this leads many to believe that it is shady. The “dark web” is a part of the world wide web that one needs to have special software to access. Bitcoin can be traced as it does leave a trail, so this should ease some of these concerns. There is an alternative called altcoin. This was released shortly after bitcoin was created. Altcoin shares a lot of similarities with bitcoin. Altcoin is another form of cryptocurrency. Altcoins are built from the basic framework provided by bitcoins. But bitcoin is still the leading form of cryptocurrency. It is uncertain how long bitcoin will last. There are a few ways that bitcoin could “die”. A technical flaw can occur in which bitcoin may be able to be stolen. There could also be an economic flaw that could mess up the amount of bitcoins. The economy and technology change all the time. “With how our government operates and their capabilities, I don’t think bitcoin will have a huge affect on our current economy.” says junior, Harrison Hall.

Courtesy of


The JCHS Ballers Shelby Duncan The JCHS girls basketball team is a force to be reckoned with on and off of the court. Their bond that has formed throughout many years together in the basketball program is unlike anything seen in the school’s history. Their record may not be perfect, but their hard work and determination has the potential to pay off. According to Vince Lombardi “individual commitment to a group effort” is what makes a team successful. The team members are best friends on and off the court and recognize that team bonding is important in both basketball and non-basketball aspects of life. The girls rely heavily on their team mom, coaches, and supporting staff. “As Team Mom, I prepare decorations and surprises for the girls as well as team bonding activities,” Team Mom Karen Harman says, “I take pride in making sure the girls are always in good spirits and provide them a healthy environment so they can better themselves on and off the court.” Early on this season, Champe beat Fauquier High School with a final score of 47-17. “Our spirits were up and it was great to get a little taste of what we hoped the season would be like,” senior Briana Porter says. “It’s really rewarding to see all of our hard work we put in, especially during the off season, finally pay off.” The following weeks were spent preparing for their next game against Woodgrove High School. They practiced daily and ran drills to help them perfect their skill. Later on in the week, they took a big loss to Woodgrove with a final score of 3758. With heavy hearts, they moved on and began to focus on their next game. “Win or lose, I love this sport and my team. Karlie Harman said. “The lose was tough but I know we will keep pushing ourselves to truly be the best. I look forward to see how the team and I grow and flourish as the season progresses.” Although their season is far from over, JCHS girls basketball is proud of how far they've come this season and look forward to seeing how successful they can be this year. They are preparing to face their next challenge as they take on Rock Ridge and Kettle Run High School. With an overall record of 2-9 the team hopes to increase their wins and improve their record to move on to playoff season.


“I’m so proud of the girls and how close they've become this season,” Coach Kelsey Buchanan said. “I can’t wait to support them through their season and watch them all grow as a team.The progress they have made this year already has truly amazed me and look forward to seeing our success as the season continues.” As the season continues on, team captains Karlie Harman, Briana Porter, and Anvita Anumolu, as well as the rest of the team remain, optimistic and. Team appears to have a bright future and look forward to crushing the competition.

Karlie Harman, Senior, going for the shot.


Finals: Helpful or Harmful?

Laila Latif

Much to many students’ delight, during the 2014 - 2015 school year, Loudoun County Public Schools, LCPS, studied the value of offering midterm and final exams. Ultimately, the decision was that LCPS would no longer require midterm or final exams, but they would allow teachers to give a summative assessment at the end of a course, semester, unit, etc. Another part of this decision was that administrators and teachers will continue to ensure that assessments are not weighted so heavily that students cannot recover from one low assessment grade. However pleased students are with this policy, does it really help Loudoun County students? “Having a midterm or final, when it’s cumulative, makes you actually study and remember the stuff you learned in the past,” says AP Statistics teacher Emily Brandon, “Then when you get to the AP exam, you’re not trying to remember things you learned in September, you restudy them throughout the year.” In AP classes specifically, if students decide to take the exam, they are faced with a cumulative test, much like a final. The same is true of SOL’s, both are exams in which students are tested on all of the information from a course. In these situations, cumulative exams throughout the year can prove to be beneficial if they help students remember the content. One of the main factors in the decision to prohibit midterms and finals was the fact that they can sink a student’s semester or final grade from one low assessment grade. However, the AP teachers at JCHS have figured out a way to give cumulative exams without this problem. “Teachers who give out practice AP exams as our midterms or finals usually curve them according to the AP standard curve,” says Senior Vandana Keshavamurthy, “so this doesn't hurt our grades too much.” Grades are a cause of stress and concern for many students over the course of the school year. In the past, there have been many debates and concerns expressed about grades; because, unfortunately, students’ focus has been concentrated on grades rather than learning. Senior Lucille Reyes expressed a lot of concern over the anxiety that exams cause her and her stress over college acceptance in relation to exams. “It causes a lot of anxiety and makes me nervous for what it will do to my grade,” says Reyes, “And that matters a lot to me because I know colleges still look at your first semester grades.” Reyes and Keshavamurthy are two of many seniors struggling with multiple AP classes. Keshavamurthy is taking multiple AP classes this year, and her teachers typically give out practice AP exams that serve as a final exam in the spring. As she balances these classes, she finds the cumulative exams beneficial, as they force her to look back at her older notes and remember past content. However, it is important to remember that these are specifically considered cumulative exams, not finals or midterms. “As much as I like it right now to not have to take too many midterms and finals,” says Keshavamurthy, “It's honestly quite harmful because I feel less prepared going into college.” A large percentage of JCHS students pursue a higher education at a university. Not having midterm or final exams definitely puts the students of Loudoun County at a disadvantage. Without these exams, students could go to college without ever taking a cumulative exam, and would not know how to study for finals. In the future, this policy may hurt more than it helps. The “no midterms/finals” policy has its benefits and consequences. Consequently, the policy puts us at a disadvantage with college midterms and finals because students will not know the proper way to study for them. However, it also allows for better grades and more focus on the content rather than upcoming tests. Overall, I think both arguments have good evidence behind them, but the method of cumulative testing in place of midterms and finals has proven to both help grades and prepare students. Maybe we should consider making it a permanent policy?


School or sNOw school?

Kelly Hernley

A chilling winter storm gripped most of the east coast with temperatures in the low teens and wind chills below zero accompanying it for days after, causing LCPS to be closed for days. All of this cold weather leads people to speculate about how bad this winter will be in the coming months. Differing weather and news sources believe that this winter will either be warmer than normal or frigid. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, two thirds of the continental U.S. could have warmer than normal winter conditions this year. The NOAA also mentions that the southern U.S. could be warmer and drier, even though Tallahassee, Florida, has experienced a snow/ ice storm recently. This is the first one in that area since December 1989 (FSU News). “Since we haven’t gotten many snow days or much snow in the past years, I feel like this year’s weather will be mild and expectable,” said junior Anvitha Anumolu. According to The Washington Post, Friday, January 5 saw wind chill temperatures around -10 degrees in the D.C. area. Wind gusts were around 35 to 40 mph, which caused LCPS to close for the day. The temperature and wind combination made it hazardous for students to wait for buses and to be outside altogether. The Washington Post warned that hypothermia and frostbite were serious concerns, so people should stay indoors.

“Since it’s cold outside I try and stay inside as much as possible and that causes me to get really lazy,” said junior Devon Coleman.

A cause for all of this early extreme weather is La Niña. According to USAToday, La Niña is a climate pattern that brings cooler than average ocean water in the Pacific. Typically, La Niña winters are characterized by wet and cold northwestern conditions and drier and warmer conditions in the south. This being the case, so far, the typical La Niña conditions have been correct in the northwest conditions, but incorrect in the southern conditions. The south has already faced colder than normal conditions along with a little snow and ice. “La Niña is affecting us in a variety of unseen ways, from the wind chill temperatures sometimes being below zero, and the higher accumulation of snow in places that typically don’t see a lot of winter weather,” said junior Tyra Free. “It’s surprising that it has caused school to be closed because of the freezing temperatures.” According to a video posted on the LCPS website, when a snowstorm is predicted, the LCPS staff members responsible for making the decisions about snow days conduct a variety of steps. First, they watch local weather forecasts and read websites, such as The National Weather Service, about the upcoming weather. Next, they consult with the Loudoun County Sheriff 's’ Office and the Virginia Department of Transportation about the road conditions. Then there are members of the LCPS Transportation Department that drive on roads throughout the county, the ones that are on bus routes. They also check the buses to determine if they can start. They also sometimes find out what the conditions are at schools, to ensure that the sidewalks and parking lots are clear and that the pipes aren’t frozen. The assistant superintendent reports to the superintendent who ultimately makes the decision about closings and delays. “I think LCPS makes the right decisions when deciding on closings and delays,” said Free. “After it snows, there can be patches of black ice and slippery conditions which makes driving to school difficult. There are always accidents on the roads following snowstorms.” The extreme weather that some of the U.S. has experienced recently has proved that this winter might be worse than a lot of people have expected. In the past, the typical snow and cold weather in the D.C. region has started in late January and has continued into February and March. The temperatures have been frigid since after Christmas and before the New Year. Based on this prediction, and the continuous crazy weather in 2017, the U.S. is in for a wild winter. “I’m hoping for extreme winter with a lot of snow,” Free said. “I want this year to be the year that we use up all fifteen snow days.”

Winter Weather forecast for our area, photo courtesy of WTOP


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