Looking Forward BY TATTLER STAFF
The current Tattler senior editorial staff came into this year with the idea of B-CC 3.0. Now, we’re going into the upcoming year with a new outlook: a 2020 vision. The idea of B-CC 3.0 was derived from the pattern of change within the school. With a third new addition to the building, and the aftermath of the Climate Change article surrounding staff satisfaction from May 2017, the editors of The Tattler saw imminent need for change. However, the school wasn’t the only thing that was altered. For the first time, The Tattler was produced strictly in the form of newspaper magazines. With this new image, the quality of The Tattler surpassed expectation. The content of the articles was more sophisticated, the editing was significantly stronger, and the art and images were more creative and detailed than ever. Many of these qualities can be attributed to the fantastic senior editorial staff. They’ve done
a phenomenal job with Tattler this year, proving The Tattler team of 2019 was undoubtedly one of the most talented the paper has seen. We, The Tattler editorial team of 2020, are determined to follow in their footsteps while adding our own originality and bringing our own spirit of change to B-CC. In our vision, we have chosen to keep the magazine format for The Tattler. While switching entirely to a magazine format has been criticized (we’re looking at you, Mr. Zehner), the magazines have proven worthy of keeping. Magazines are easier and more enjoyable to read, and expand the opportunity for artistic content.
we want to see the most impressive B-CC in all of history. This edition is the future of The Tattler. We have the clearest and most optimistic vision: The 20/20 Vision. Please enjoy.
-THE NEW TATTLER EDITORIAL STAFF
In the edition you currently hold, you will find stories that focus on the future of B-CC. We hope that you view the diversity of articles in this edition as an accurate representation of what we promise to produce next year. In the year 2020,
GRAPHIC BY YAEL CHIAPPORI
Student Profiles: BY CHARLIE KANNAPELL
The class of 2019 has done an exceptional job as leaders of the Barons this year. After years of excelling in athletics and academics, their reign over the school is coming to a close, and the class will part ways to find their new homes as college-level athletes and hardworking scholars or experienced individuals ready to enter the workforce. The conclusion of this era will bring the emergence of new leaders in the school -- the class of 2020. The rising seniors possess a diverse student body, full of impressive talents and strong leaders, all of whom will have a major impact on the next year in the life of every B-CC Baron. The Tattler wanted to highlight some of the exceptional members of the 2020 class who will be major contributors to the “2020 Vision:”
The Athlete Maggie Lucas Maggie Lucas is a star lacrosse player who began playing the sport in first grade. Lucas, who is one of nine siblings, says that “[I] watched my older siblings play for as long as I can remember.” Upon her arrival at B-CC as a freshman in 2017, Maggie made the Varsity lacrosse team and has been an important weapon for “Pagan’s Army” ever since. As a lacrosse player in one of the most competitive lacrosse areas in the nation, Lucas’s excellent lacrosse skills have been noticed by college lacrosse coaches, especially during tournaments with her club team MC Elite. As a result, this year, Lucas committed to study and play Division Two lacrosse at the Queens University of Charlotte, in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I could never imagine myself not playing, so I wanted to continue to play into college,” said Lucas. Named one of the captains of the Barons lacrosse team her Junior year, Lucas has played a major role in leading her team to success. As for her plans for her senior year at B-CC, Lucas says she is “really excited” and “can’t wait for what next year has in store” for her and her teammates.
The Leader Arjun Akwei If you’re in the class of 2020, chances are you’ve heard the name Arjun Akwei a few hundred times. Akwei has a strong background in leadership, beginning his road to class presidency in elementary school, and now, he says, has “had the honor of serving as the class of ‘20s president since freshman year.” Throughout his time at B-CC, Akwei says “it’s been an enduring goal of [his] to expand our SGA’s mission to be encompassing of all sorts of student life initiatives.” For Akwei, this mission has meant working to plan more events to rally and promote school spirit, as well as partnering with student clubs and organizations to expand the impact of student-led activism. After three years of dedication to the school as Class President, Akwei is excited and prepared to make a change his final year at B-CC. “ Next year is filled with opportunities for our class and our school”, says Akwei, who has laid out his plan for the school next year. Akwei says that for his senior year, he wants the SGA to not just give the class of 2020 a great homecoming and prom, but also to “pursue more lasting and meaningful campaigns as well.” This, Akwei says, entails working with students to promote voter registration, “creating organizational boards” to ensure cooperation among school clubs, recognizing and reallocating tasks and jobs internally for the SGA, and lastly, “[he’d] like to capitalize on the return of the field and the entry of our largest freshman class to revitalize spirit.” Akwei believes that “with enough commitment, confidence, and creativity”, he doesn’t doubt that the class of 2020 can do great things.
MCPS in the news... BY LILLY BEHBEHANI AND EMMA VOLKERS
his school year, Montgomery County Public Schools have been in the news cycle for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being recognized for student and school achievements, MCPS has been recognized for poor practices of students. On April 29, two female freshman students Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda posted a picture on Snapchat of themselves wearing face masks, posing as if they were wearing blackface. The picture was accompanied with a caption including the n-word. Soon after, one of the girls posted another picture of herself wearing blackface with a caption including the n-word. Of the 2,085 students at Whitman, 67% are white and less than 5% are black, according to official Montgomery County Public School data. This is the third reported incident of racism at Whitman this year alone. The photo came a week after students in Whitman’s Minority Scholar Program gave presentations to all students in math classes on how it feels to be in a minority at Whitman and the inequalities they face at their own school. In a letter home to parents, Whitman’s principal Robert Dodd condemned the racist photo and said that the incident has been reported to Montgomery County Police as a hate bias incident. The photo has sparked outrage amongst not only the Whitman community but Montgomery County schools and the school board as elected officials said they were deeply troubled by the racism. It has been said that the two female students only received 5 days of suspension. On October 31, six 15 year old Junior Varsity football players at Damascus High School in Damascus allegedly hazed and sexually assaulted four 14 or 15 year old teammates in the JV locker room. The boys suffered from what was reported to be a habitual hazing, but both current and former Damascus players told Fox5 that the hazing has never gone this far before. The six alleged attackers were indicted and charged with rape or attempted rape. They were originally charged as adults because of the violent nature of the crime, but one, who some call the “ringleader” was soon brought to junior court, with excuses ranging from “family problems,” to “undiagnosed and untreated attention hyperactivity disorder.” The teen tried as a juvenile simply received 100 hours of community service. The other four boys have all been indicted on eight counts each: one count of first degree rape, three counts of attempted first degree rape, and four counts of conspiracy to commit rape, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. Alongside the excuses from the victims came a strange lack of response from Damascus administration. A text chain released by The Wash-
ington Post showed and exchange between JV football Coach Wallich and principal Crouse of Damascus where the principal seemed to care more about the “star” JV team than the victims and a sexual assault on campus. While the leadership at Damascus may have had mixed responses to the incident, the surrounding community was much less dismissive of the charges.
“These were 14-year-old boys traumatized in front of their teammates through no fault of their own. The last message they needed to be hearing, even inadvertently, was that this wasn’t incredibly serious.”
A retired member of the Special Victims Investigation Division who goes by the name of Humphries found the reactions of the school to be appalling. “These were 14-year-old boys traumatized in front of their teammates through no fault of their own. The last message they needed to be hearing, even inadvertently, was that this wasn’t incredibly serious,” Humphries said. Four months later and seven miles away at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac Maryland, four male sophomore students were found passing out n-word passes that resembled Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. These tickets granted “permission” for recipients to use the racial slur. Mostly handed to white students, the passes were quick to appear on social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram, with a range of
... for all the wrong reasons reactions spreading from humorous to enraged. Finally, a black female student found the passes and reported them to the administration. The four students found to be the sources of the tickets came from a background of “mixed races,” and received anywhere from 1-6 days suspension (MCPS chose to keep this private). This was met with a range of emotions. Friends and parents of the students found the punishment to be blown out of proportion, with one parent labeling the condemnation as “grossly mischaracterized,” and one sophomore claiming that, “No one was trying to offend anyone, no one was saying the actual word, and no one thought it was okay to say the actual word.” The administration at Churchill however, was quick to urge the community to set their standards higher. “I feel very fortunate
to be the principal at Winston Churchill High School, but acts of hatred and intolerance frustrate and sadden me because I believe that we are better than this,” said an email sent by Principal Brandice Heckert to the families at the school. The Churchill community was quick to respond and focus on rebuilding and educating its members on tolerance and respect. While some students were defensive, calling the cards “memes” and jokes”, most were appalled. “I just think we as students realized that even though we live in a more progressive community there are still individuals who are ignorant and do not understand the effects of their actions on others. Instead of taking a more cynical approach and outwardly attacking the students who made the passes most of us wanted the students to be more
educated on why it was wrong and how others were hurt by it,” said a Churchill student. Around 40 student leaders stepped up and began working with the administration to find a way to share their experiences with racism, its severity, and its effects with their peers. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School hit the headlines recently after a list made by several boys ranking 18 senior girls in the International Baccalaureate diploma programme based off of their appearances circulated around the senior c As soon as the list came out, the girls united together and created an initiative against toxic masculinity within B-CC. Not only did their efforts focus on creating a more respectful male community, but also on giving young women the ability to find strength and confidence within themselves. The student body is split between those who do not see an issue with the list and are frustrated by the attention it is receiving and those who deem it a product of toxic masculinity. In an effort to start a conversation about the toxic aspects of our society, both girls and boys gave presentations to underclassmen classes about what happened and toxicity. Within their own grade, the IB students held multiple socratic seminars in hopes of creating common ground between those split about the list. MCPS is a county that prides itself on being inclusive and diverse, yet there seems to a pattern within its high schools this year. Montgomery County needs to focus more of its efforts on educating its youth and teaching them about the practice of tolerance and acceptance. Ignorance is not bliss. We have some of the best resources in the country, so we should be using them to educate our kids and make them more aware of their surroundings instead of letting the privilege make them naive. We should acknowledge the wrongdoings in our community and make efforts to prevent them in the future instead of covering it up now. It should not be assumed that every child, every family, and every area in Montgomery County is aware of their privilege and the bubble they live in. Throughout these many events, the county has seen students step forward with a new voice for positive change and growth in the community. Whether it be holding a discussion on a controversial topic, or spreading awareness to fellow peers, Montgomery County should recognize the positive leadership that is stemming from these negative incidents. The dirty laundry has been waved long enough. It’s time to take the steps necessary to get MCPS out of the rinse and repeat cycle and into the dryer.
GRAPHIC BY YAEL CHIAPPORI
Suicide Prevention Training Lacks Substance GRAPHIC BY BELA OMOEVA
BY EMMA VOLKERS AND ALEX WATERMAN
wenty-five students file into their class, most excited because there was no lesson on English today. The bell rings. “I will not pretend that I am qualified to talk to you about this...” starts their teacher, pacing in front of the Promethean board. Worksheets are distributed, students are told to read aloud, and then the comments begin. “I know a girl who did this once,” one said excitedly. One acronym particularly caught the student’s attention. “A.C.T, (acknowledge, care, and tell)” said one, “I’m studying for mine right now that’s scary.” “Yeah,” responded the teacher, “talk about being triggered.” A teacher making a suicide joke? This was beginning of the “Signs of Suicide” training at not only B-CC but all over Montgomery County. In November of 2017, a young girl from Whitman took her life, opening the community’s eyes to the reality and severity of mental health. Just a couple weeks later, a male student at Walter Johnson took his life. The community was in shock. For the first few weeks after the suicides, awareness buzzed throughout Montgomery County, but was lacking within the school systems. While the schools that were directly affected by the suicides received counselors and extra support for any and all students, the tragedies were barely addressed within the others. This was many students’ first exposure to the realities of the severe effects of mental health, and the only resources they were provided were each other. Due to this, the teen community saw the suicides as more of a spread of gossip than one of support and learning. The “Signs of Suicide” Training was first introduced into B-CC at the end of the month in November 2017, presented in science classrooms by SGA student volunteers who read quickly through county-provided slides. The whole presentation lasted no longer than 15 minutes, and questions were unasked and unanswered, with most teachers rushing to excuse the presenters in order to continue their lessons. This year was a bit different. Students were made aware of the lesson a day or so before, and those who did not feel comfortable staying in the vicinity were al-
lowed to step out, the first red flag. Who would want to inadvertently admit that they or someone close to them struggles with mental illness by asking to be excused in front of the whole class? We wondered. Although required by the county to present this topic in class, there was discussion among students that some teachers didn’t go over the resources. How are the students expected to take the topic seriously if there are teachers within the school that don’t take it seriously themselves? This year, the training was even more of a joke. The resources that were handed out by teachers were outdated, and clearly worded for a much younger audience. “Depression is more than the blues and the blahs…” was one of the first sentences that students were directed to read aloud. Our class erupted into laughter after this sentence was read, and the joking only got worse. The objective of the training is to talk about a serious issue that impacts our own lives and those of our peers, but the classroom was far from a safe environment. Embarrassment is how we felt. Yes, you could say that depression is more than the blues and the blahs, but that seems to be the way one would address a class of kindergarten students, not a classroom of well educated young adults. To add more to the discussion, students in the education system are constantly exposed to severe and difficult topics. U.S. and world history classes are required in order to graduate high school, and students are exposed to hard-to swallow topics such as the Holocaust, and are taught and expected to be able to process serious themes. Yet, the training in high schools reflects that adults still find teenagers to be too naive to understand mental health. Not only was the information dumbed down, but it was also outdated and isolating to those who suffer. The statistic that stood out to us the most was found within a resource from 2016 and read “Depression...is less common for teenagers [than adults].” Not only does this isolate teenagers who are experiencing mental health struggles by telling them it is abnormal, but the claim itself is completely incorrect. In fact, according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI), 1 in 5 youth (ages 13-18) suffer from a severe mental disorder, while 1 in 25 adults experience the same. Not only this, but mental health can have extremely detrimental effects on a person’s life and future. According to NAMI, “50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness dropout of high school,” and suicide is the 3rd leading cause in death in youths ages 10-24. These statistics make mental health more relevant not only to young people, but also to the high schools that are losing students. With such a high statistic, many feel that schools should be more active than ever in supporting those who struggle with the support they need to stay in school, and that includes informing the student body and making mental health a normalized topic in the classroom. In fact, the official Montgomery County website underneath the “Mental Health Crisis Support” section it reads: “In the event of an individual or school wide crisis, the goal of the team is to return those affected to their academic focus as quickly as possible.” This being said, many students need to have support focusing on themselves mentally before focusing academically, and for many students the only adult resources they have are found within school walls. One of the main causes of mental health stigma is misinformation and ignorance, with people making assumptions regarding these issues simply because they do not know enough about them. This lack of information starts with our schools. If we do not educate our citizens about mental health, then how can we expect them to understand such an important topic. Not only this, but if mental health is rarely discussed, then many students struggling with it may not feel comfortable reaching out for help, or recognizing symptoms early, leading to more detrimental effects. With 450 million people worldwide suffering from mental health, it’s time to finally take the matter seriously and open the discussion.
Tattler’s Take: The Adversity Score BY DAN SHAPIRO
The College Board, the nonprofit organization that administered the SAT, recently announced that in addition to distributing their merit based standardized testing scores, they will be providing “adversity scores” to all who take their exam. This adversity score is designed to assess the hardship that the test takers face, scored through means such as the quality of the high school the students attend and the average poverty and crime levels in the neighborhood the students live in. Once applicants are assessed on a set of 15 criteria (the exact metrics have not been released yet), they will be as-
signed a score of 1 (no adversity) to 100 (extreme adversity). It was commented in a debate about the topic that “Malala’s school would have scored a 100. Whitman would score a 1.” It appears that the adversity score will be factored in to the admissions of incoming college applicants-- starting with the class of 2020. As one could imagine, such an abrupt change to something as important as the college application process is bound to produce strong-- and mixed-- reactions. These are some of the opinions of the Tattler Staff about the topic.
“By definition, this score holds the privilege of well-off students against them, as they are being scored based solely on their assumed level of affluence. This is wrong. Even if I had a tutor for the SAT, it was still my merit, capability, and grit that earned me my score. It upsets me that hard work is chipped away by this rating.” -- Grace Carter
“Colleges already have admission officers whose job is to know the ins and outs of schools in their assigned geographic area. They already know all the information that the College Board is calculating, so I see no reason for the College Board to create this and add a whole other dimension to the college application process.” -- Natalie Schwartz
IMAGE BY YAEL CHIAPPORI
“With the holistic review process, people do not understand why they got rejected. This attempts to fix this problem by contextualizing students’ scores” -- Malaika Bhayana
“The College Board is a standardized testing organization whose job is to give fair scores that are standard for all applicants. It is not their place to judge adversity. Instead, colleges should be judging individual struggles when they read your personal essay.” -- Josh Garber
“It is a step in the right direction. It shouldn’t be the only metric used to determine a student’s hardship, but does help to address inequalities-even if the college board is doing it in a hand fisted way.” -- Bela Omoeva
“You cannot quantify adversity. The College Board is putting a number on someone’s whole life through a few questions. All the information should be given along with the SAT score, but not in the form of an ‘adversity score.’” -- Rachel Auerbach
A Look Into B-CC’s New Sports Facilities With the school year coming to a close, the B-CC student body is starting to dream about the new age of Baron athletics. The 2019-2020 school year will mark the end to a homeless B-CC athlete, with the addition of new tennis courts and a fresh football stadium on campus. As final touches are being made to the facilities, both excitement and controversy are sparking up around the B-CC community, with a vision of a revitalized B-CC in everyone’s mind.
IMAGE BY CLARK CONSTRUCTION
Serving Up Some New Tennis Courts For the Barons BY DAN SHAPIRO
It seems that the long awaited tennis courts will finally be constructed on campus for the upcoming school year. There will be six courts put up on the roof of the staff parking lot, and the Boys and Girls’ teams could not be more excited. For the past three years, the teams have had to commute to Westland and Tilden Middle Schools for practices, and they have played their games at Silver Creek Middle School and Meadowbrook Local Park. The teams are looking forward to the superior quality of the new courts, as the courts at Meadowbrook “were cracked, which negatively affected gameplay” according to Sophomore Nathaniel Winnick. The new courts will further be far more convenient as there will be no need to commute off campus for practices. The commute would have been a significant burden for the boy’s team, as current junior, Zach Martel will be the only senior, and he would have been “required to transport oth-
ers around to the other locations,” says Martel. These updated tennis courts will be a new luxury for the teams, as the new courts will contain six courts compared to the four courts that they
have had to use for the past few years. When playing against another team, six matches should occur simultaneously. If there are only four courts, two of the matches must take place after the
rest. Considering that each match takes approximately two hours, the additional two courts will greatly reduce the time of the entire team match. Likewise, the team will have a better feel for the court as they will be practicing where they’ll play. They will know whether the ball bounces slow or fast, and high or low, while their opponents will not have this feel for the court going into matches. As it has been three years since the tennis teams have last played home games, none of the current team has had the experience of playing on a home court. Previously, fans had not wanted to make the commute even to the home games, as every “home game” was never really at home. But now, both teams hope that, with the addition of the new courts, more fans will start coming to cheer them on. The courts are long overdue, and although it has been a tumultuous wait, the Barons are ready for the new tennis era.