Gender identity sets its presence in classrooms
By Ha-Yeon Jeon Features Editor
When Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was announced, students thought it was the peak of anti-LGBTQ+ hate in schools. Since then, however, the number of states that ban transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity has risen to 18. Furthermore, approximately 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are currently being considered by state legislatures nationwide. With the rights of LGBTQ+ students being endangered across the U.S, what is Montgomery County doing to protect its students?
In September 2021, Montgomery County released their ‘Guidelines for Student Gender Identity in Montgomery County Public Schools,’ an 18-page document that provides guidelines for MCPS faculty regarding student gender identities. In particular, students’ rights to privacy are emphasized; it stipulates that school staff members are not authorized to disclose a student’s gender identity status to others, including parents and guardians. This publication was the result of years of effort by MCPS students, guardians, and staff to create more concrete protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
MoCo Pride Youth, a student-led, county-wide queer advocacy organization, has successfully worked to amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ students and allies in MCPS policy-making. They celebrate that having these privacy guidelines and the case-
to support individual students has created the foundation for improved support systems in schools. Students have reported that it is easier to report situations where their identities are not respected
“The existence of one common plan between all schools means that there is
well-meaning error,” Cedar Dwyer, the president of MoCo Pride Youth, said.
“When teachers and faculty know how they should respond to a transgender student – [for example] “Can I use this name/pronouns for communications home?”– that makes students far safer to be themselves in school.”
While MoCo Pride Youth celebrates the progress, they underscore that this one document certainly does not mean that the issues within
Although the guidelines are more comprehensive than before, translating the policies from paper to realworld changes is not a smooth process.
after I tell teachers and other faculty that I am transgender, they immediately begin to misgender me more than they did before,” Dwyer said. “I know classmates whose identities, both sexuality and gender, have been the focus of rude or inappropriate comments from both students and faculty in schools.”
As discussions about what the next steps are, it is essential to recognize that the road to making these changes was not without obstacles, and there has been some notable resistance since then as well.
In late 2020, parents of two
against MCPS claiming that the guidelines violated their constitutional rights to their child’s information. Although the case was dismissed, it demonstrated that even in a county widely viewed as progressive, students’ gender identities can be a divisive topic.
“To be frank, the type of parents who would feel a of this nature are the reason these guidelines have to exist in the way that they do,” Dwyer said. “I would tell those parents that if they were supportive, unconditionally accepting parents, they would would tell them to address their own biases, because no one is suffering more from the bigotry they are acting on than their own children.”
At WCHS, there are signs of support for the LGBTQ+ community around the school, and the administration emphasizes yearly through Bulldog Pride presentations and announcements that all identities should be respected. Regardless, there are still black spots that need to be addressed. For example, at this past Club when a male student placed a rainbow GSA heart sticker on another male student and the situation escalated.
“In regards to changes at WCHS, I would love to see more open dialogue with all students about LGBTQ+ topics,” Kaylen Chang, copresident of the WCHS Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) said. would have been preventable if bias, stereotypes and hatred had been addressed.”
There are positive signs that indicate progress. The WCHS GSA has started giving the Rainbow Bulldog Award to supportive teachers around WCHS to encourage students
also reported an increase in membership over the past few years. Get-to-know-you surveys for students at the beginning of the year now ask, “What are your pronouns?” and “Is it okay to use these pronouns with your guardians?” At the administrative level, they are also working to improve the physical school environment.
“I serve on the LGBTQ+
committee for the staff, and we’ve been talking about how we could do better in our WCHS buildings,” WCHS teacher and cosponsor of the Churchill GSA Riley Bartlebaugh,
(they/them), said. “A small but meaningful change that was made was taking away gendered staff bathrooms; they are now neutral. There is a push to create a similar change for students.”
As conversations grow, advocates at all levels are working to ensure that schools continue to become more inclusive. A large part of their message is that every member of the WCHS and MCPS communities has a role: reaching out to see if someone needs support, reacting to adverse situations and listening when someone is communicating what they need are all small but extremely important contributions.
“We talk a lot about safe spaces and safe adults to talk to. [My perspective as an LGBTQ+ teacher] is part of
advocate,” Bartlebaugh said. “High school is when you all students have the love and support that they need during this time at home. School can sometimes be the only safe space you have to express yourself - we need to protect that.”
New PMD policy sends mixed waves throughout WCHS
By Michael Demske Sports Editor
As the 2022-23 school year kicked off, students quickly pointed out the new policies implemented by MCPS to address and solve past issues regarding the usage of phones or other personal electronic devices. But, it was clear from the get-go that the new policy implemented by Montgomery County Public Schools was not a crowd favorite. Introduced at all four town hall meetings on the
Mobile Device (PMD) policy was met with audible groans from students.
The new plan, aimed at cauterizing phone usage in class, was met with initial confusion and
frustration from many students. and then their device can be con-
what the teacher says. WCHS senior Isaac Horn was shocked that this drastic change was made so quickly.
“I was a little surprised by the zero tolerance for phones in class because last school year, the county seemed to be much less harsh on enforcing a no phone policy in class,” Horn said. “I was very opposed to how strict the PMD policy is.”
For teachers, PMDs have long been a distraction and an obstacle in their teaching, especially during virtual learning and the return to in-person instruction last year. The constant monitoring of students can distract teachers from their lesson content and other classroom tasks.
WCHS science teacher James Fish-
man believes this policy was a much-needed boost for teachers. According to TMC news, 95% of students bring their phones to class every day. 92% use them to text in class, and even 10% admitted to having texted during an exam.
“I thought [the policy] was well overdue because the past several years I have found easily out each period every day,” Fishman said. “It is easy to see how having a cell phone on you reduces your attention span by a
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See where our former Bulldog athletes are with their next steps on their athletic journey.
PHOTO BY JEREMY CHUNG.
PHOTO BY JORDAN PASHKOFF.
WCHS students are seen sitting on their phones in class during free time. Under the new PMD policy, students are not permitted to use their phones during class time at all.
Take a trip behind the curtains to witness the making WCHS’ annual fall
PHOTO BY MICHAEL DEMSKE.
Updated “PMD” regulations spark controversy at WCHS
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any PMD during class time. A change from last year, teachers can not let their stuLehtman is one of many students who was originally opposed to this idea.
“When I have downtime in class I feel like I should be able to communicate with also don’t like how in the case of an emergency, we don’t have immediate access to
Although seemingly inconvenient, the PMD policy aids teachers in areas in addition to keeping students focused. Cheating, copying of assignments and other forms of academic dishonesty have decreased so far this year.
“Last year was especially bad, and I was having many students continue to pull out their phones even after there were conseChromebooks will also reduce some of the academic dishonesty I saw last year on a
A month after the PMD policy was implemented, students began to realize it may not be as bad as they initially thought. noticed an improvement in their focus and
less overall distraction.
“I have noticed that I have been a little more focused in class due to the PMD pol-
having the availability of using my
With students being willing to hop on board, teachers have had an easier time teaching the material and relat-dents get better grades and stay more focused. -
tion from all of my students, and far less confusion by students about our said. “I was also expecting to see some but fortunately, I have seen very little
For now, the PMD policy has proven to be a relative success. It has been observed in limiting interruption and academic dishonesty, while also providing an improvement in focus and productivity among students. For stuor still struggle to keep their phones away, there are methods to overcome this struggle.
“If you are struggling to keep your phone away during class, shut your
effort of turning it back on and by that
MCPS strives to bridge mental health resources with students
By Caroline Harless Observations Editor
For most students, high school leads to a lot of stress. Between class assignments, homework, extracurricular
stress worsens mental health, a trend that has increased drastically over the pandemic. As mental health continued to decline in students, MCPS knew that they needed a plan to help combat this growing issue. So, a new initiative was created: Bridge to Wellness.
MCPS has always emphasized initiatives to improve mental health in students. Especially after COVID-19, many new policies and programs were introduced with the goal of supporting students. Bridge to Wellness is a new program where physical wellness centers will be put in all MCPS high schools. Six high schools across the county already have fully operating wellness centers where students can go Bridge to Wellness is to expand these programs to all high schools.
“With the uptake in mental health concerns among teenagers, the county council wanted to address these
they came up with is a program called Bridge to Wellness. With this program, they funded putting physical wellness centers in every [MCPS] high school and each school is pairing up with a mental health provider in the community to have assigned staff in the buildings to
In the wellness centers, there will be full time staff members who provide mental health services such as therapy and crisis support. Currently, MCPS is working to train specialized staff as they prepare for the opening of wellness centers. Staff positions include mental health clinicians, care managers and youth development staffers.
“What they have described to us is that there will be three full time staff case management and will have an assigned group of students that they other is a full time therapist who will be meeting with kids all day long and
doing therapy during school hours. member for the wellness center hired, Mr. Elliot, who is already working with students and eventually we will have
Staff in the wellness centers will be focused on working with specific groups of identified students who students can then be evaluated for what
on their situation, such as a meeting about attendance, a home visit to talk with parents about what is going on or working one-on-one with a student.
for students who do not have access to resources outside of school that really
who are having crises in the building, and not so much those who regularly
From an outside perspective, it can be difficult to see how the wellness centers differ from the health room or the counseling offices. Many of the already existing wellness centers include a medical clinic and all wellness centers have mental health support,
something that may seem similar to different purposes.
a technician who mainly check vitals counseling office is where students go concerning classes and maybe to discuss issues they are having, but does not have a vast extent of mental health support compared to the wellness because they will focus on socialemotional health. Wellness centers address mental health issues and are a liaison to the county for people who
As Bridge to Wellness is being implemented in 19 high schools across the county, many factors will vary from school to school. Some schools may have a high demand for mental health support, while others may only have a handful of students who need the services. Although the need for mental health assistance may differ, it is clear students.
“Every school is different, but I think have more kids that need short-term
support and not so many kids that
is that we have amazing, highperforming kids, but there is a lot of stress and anxiety to go along with that. Managing all that stress when you are a teenager can be hard to handle so the wellness center is there to provide that
In April 2022, the Montgomery County Council approved an $8 million budget to fund the expansion of wellness centers. While the original six wellness centers at other MCPS high schools are large, extensive facilities that have been in use for years, the new wellness centers being added to the rest of high schools are going to be smaller and less elaborate, most of them simply being repurposed classrooms.
will be in room 124, which is located down the math hallway said. “124 is a smaller classroom originally designed as a meeting room so we converted it to where
Although Bridge to Wellness will be focused on creating smaller wellness centers, many are still optimistic that the program will have a positive impact on students, especially to those who need the specialized support. As of now, MCPS is expecting to have all wellness centers fully staffed and ready for student use by the end of October.
“I think the wellness center
us a lot of resources that we did not have previously to address
in school is going to make it more equitable and fair to students who do not have access to these resources outside of school. It is going to make it easier for kids to get the help that they need and I
October 17, 2022 2 News
I am taking more thorough notes and participating more in my classes without
PHOTO BY KALENA YEE.
Each teacher’s room was equip with a phone caddy at the start of the school year. Students may be instructed to place their phones here for safe keeping
PHOTO BY ABBAS YAZDI.
As a part of Mental Health Awareness Week, students drew positive messages in the bus loop on Oct. 11 during lunch. These activities are
Teacher of the Month: James Fishman
By Diya Kachoria Photo Manager
With both an immense amount of knowledge in the subject and prior experiences that pair perfectly with the course, Mr. James Fishman has a lot to offer as the Anatomy and Physiology teacher at WCHS. Along with Anatomy, Fishman has taken on teaching Biology this year and shows his passion for the sciences with his educational history that has brought him to WCHS.
“For undergraduate school, I went to Connecticut College with a degree in botany,” Fishman said. “I went to graduate school and got my masters degree at the College of William and Mary at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. I researched marine science
graduate degree at George Washington University for education and started teaching here.”
Fishman has taught at WCHS for 20 years, and his long journey shows his commitment towards students at this school. With such a long history at WCHS, some may wonder how Fish-
“I used to do research, but I found that I was much more inter ested in immediate rewards,” Fish man said. “I always loved go ing into classrooms as a guest speaker, so I thought about giving teaching a shot. So, I went ahead and entered into a graduate program for education and moved up here which is where my family is from.”
Fishman’s passion for teach ing also grew because of his family’s history. Mr. Fishman’s father worked in the medical field, and he brought in his father’s book about color blind ness to class to relate to a unit students learned in Anatomy and Physiology.
“I had the choice to teach Anat omy, and I have always been inter ested in it and I chose it because most of my family has worked been around it all of my life,” Fishman said.
Although Fishman has been teaching for many years, he had not encountered a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic before. However, he was able to adapt his lessons and still make a virtual Anatomy and Physiology class as interesting as an in-person
year teaching during COVID-19 because Anatomy had to change from a very hands-on class to being virincluded labs and changing ways students could learn online. However, I was able to make some new updates to the class, and I have taken the best parts of the virtual lessons and am using it as a supplement for students this year.”
Being able to start back up with in-person labs and dissections the past two years has made it easier for Fishman to connect with his students and give them extra help.
Alex Pelletier, a senior at WCHS
who had Mr. Fishman last year forted from his assistance.
“When I had Mr. Fishman last year, I was amazed at how much he knew,” Pelletier said. “From labs to dissections, Mr. Fishman always knew how to explain a certain system or body part so I could understand it for assessments and future knowledge.”
Fishman believes that a teacher’s help can be a great tool for success. He always makes himself available to answer students’ questions and believes that clarifying anything can be very
Fishman wants students to know that teachers at WCHS want to help them in any way possible.
“I would tell students not to be afraid to ask for help,” Fishman said. get overwhelmed by keeping up with your work and continuously asking of opportunities for extra help, not just with teachers, but also with the Science National Honors Society and with various tutoring.”
Limited lunch options leave students hungry for more
By Clara Young Assistant News Editor
Walk into the cafeteria and take in the sight: lines of restless students,aged food and utensils littering the last year, except now, the click-clack of students typing in their pins to pay for
“Lunches from last year and this year are basically the same,” WCHS sophomore Edward Zhao said. “I expected a bit better but for them to be the same to a certain degree.”
Students have realized that the school lunches from this year compared to last year are very similar. Although expectations for school lunches are not very high, due to the new prices students expected at least some sort of change.
“Going into this school year, I expected similar lunches to ones we got from middle school, like the slushies, cookies and such,” WCHS junior Melchi Jonah said. “I don’t agree with the fact we are paying for the same lunches that were given to us for free last year; there should be more enjoyable choices.”
In the past, Herbert Hoover Middle School (HHMS) and Cabin John Middle School (CJMS) students were given a wider variety of quality snack options and other side dishes. However, the diversity at the middle schools has also decreased this year.
“No one really seems to enjoy school lunches anymore,” HHMS seventh grader Sachin Wedam said.
frozen and pre-made. It doesn’t seem like anything is nutritious. We don’t even have slushies anymore to make up for it and there’s rarely breadsticks. It seems like there’s less variety overall.”
extended itself to WCHS, and likely found with the side dishes has now stretched to the entrees. Even though school lunches have claimed to be more nutritious in many ways with the changes, the county seems to not consider people with distinct food restrictions.
WCHS senior J.P. Newman said. “Yes there are options, but, for example, [the only food] that most people with a
vegan diet can get is a salad or a veggie burger. Additionally, I’d be a SMOB [supporter if we were to get] a condiment bar, like I’d do anything just for hot sauce on most food items they provide.”
During the election for the 2022-23 SMOB, candidate Arvin Kim promised better school lunches. After he won, this promise combined with the lunch costs returning likely raised students’ expectations.
“In all honesty the lunch feels lack-
Newman said. “I see tons of people having to buy more than one entree just to feel somewhat full.”
According to Eatright, the average teenage boy needs around 2,800 calories per day while a teenage girl
means that per meal they should be consuming about 730 and 930 calories respectively. Unfortunately, according to the menus found on the MCPS web-
site, entrees in schools range from 200 to needed amount. Now with less snacks and side dishes served in the cafeteria, one would expect the main dish sizes to from the case.
“I would like the SMOB to make the quality a bit better since [school lunches] cost money now,” Zhao said. “I’m all for improving quality.”
Other students who buy school lunch daily agree that the quality should be improved, at least to some degree. But due to new prices and SMOB plans, students are being less lenient. Although it is understood that lunches were free due to COVID-19, students still feel that they should be getting better overall lunches if they are to pay.
“I know for a fact that this month they’ve run out of apples because of an order mistake, at least the lunch last year was free so more things would be forgivable,” Newman said. “I understand
that we go to a public school. I’m not expecting a fully plated 5 course meal served table side, but I feel like it’s fair to say that I’d want an apple with my lunch. It’s been a month and I haven’t seen any improvements or changes to the lunch. Where is this money going?”
3 October 17, 2022 Observations
PHOTO BY CLARA YOUNG.
Students crowd the WCHS cafeteria on the morning of September 29, 2022 to buy and eat breakfast. Many students are left disappointed with the lack of options.
Credit for school sports is a slam-dunk
Online Editor-in-Chief Rachel Mattison
Online Editor Collin Chen Vaughn Malamut
Assistant Online Editor
Sneha David Kendyl Groisser
News Editor Jeremy Chung
Assistant News Editor Clara Young
Observations Editor Caroline Harless
Assistant Observations Editor
Opinions Editor Liam Klein
Assistant Opinions Editor Abbas Yazdi
Melissa Redlich Ha-Yeon Jeon
Assistant Features Editor Ananya Pandit
Arts Editor George Chang Kalena Yee
Michael Demske Justin Greenzaid
Social Media Manager Jack Gans Paige Tasin
Photo Manager Cecilia Bernstein Diya Kachoria
Online Photo Manager Leah Kreisler
Advertising and Subscriptions Manager Brianna Frank Tafa Nutakor
Graeme Finley Nate Levine Naomi Wright
Internal Communications Manager
Nataly Behnia Isabella Ngwana
Adviser Laura Zitnik
Currently, one of the high school graduation requirements in Maryland is one full year of physical education. However, is it necessary to spend a whole school year learning to be physically active? Could a policy be implemented to give a physical education credit to students that have participated in a varsity sport?
This proposed policy would permit students who have participated in a junior varsity or varsity sport for at least two years or more, to receive the credit. To claim the credit, students would have their school coaches sign a form that the students will then give to their counselors.
This would be a positive change because the purpose of physical education is for students to learn how to be physically active and develop motor skills for physical fitness. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 57% of
high school students played on at least one school or community sports team in the past year. And for a school such as WCHS, that has a large and successful athletics program, wouldn’t most of these student-
levels of physical education? Simply put, the answer is yes.
Through my observations and opinions of high school students, one can see that most treat physical education as a free period. Often you will see students slacking off during the activities - some not participating at all - and teachers not doing anything about it. Along with that, the PE curriculums have few graded tasks - most of which require the bare minimum of effort. For example, in yoga classes, students can or walking around the track. In essence, the whole system is set up for students to waste 45 minutes of school to earn a wasteful credit.
It is important to note that
each period is only 45 minutes maximum. With the time it takes to change in the locker room, get situated for class and then go back to the locker room to change again, there is barely enough time for any activities or lessons. The goal to have students meet their physical activity requirements is understandable, but a 45 minute class is not enough time to have a
physical health of students.
On the other hand, student-athletes spend multiple hours after school practicing and competing in their sport - which consists of proper physical activity. Along with training athletes for up to several hours a day, sports successfully develop kids’ motor skills and teach the importance skills students learn from participating in sports will serve them well for the rest of their lives. -
nating a mandatory PE course
is students can use the free period to take another more
PE credit, there are many other credits that students must meet to graduate. Within the four years of high school, meeting all these credits is relatively easy, but having an additional free period would give students another opportunity to explore more electives; the purpose of high school is to prepare kids for college and discover their interests, and having more opportunities to take electives gives students a better understanding of their interests and possible career choices.
PE requirements have existed, throughout the country,
a considerable athletic scene in Montgomery County, the graduation requirement is unnecessary for student-athletes. Waving the obligation for students already invested in school sports will promote them to pursue new interests.
Show me the money: Is Personal Finance essential?
By Vaughn Malamut Online Editor
part of understanding and managing financial needs. After high school, students enter adulthood and are put to the test of living on their own
Thus, knowing how to invest, save money, do taxes and find a place to live are very beneficial skills for students to have.
The MCPS graduation requirements consist of 22 course credits and 75 SSL hours. The courses required are english, fine arts, health education, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies, technology education and electives. It is very managealong with the other courses required.
Recently, The Maryland changed the graduation requirement for health educarequired to take a half-semester of the class, but now students are required to earn one full credit of health education.
This change only affects students from the Class of 2025 and younger. If this requirement is able to be changed,ment status should be as well.
In June, the Montgomery
that “now is not the time” to require students to take personal
proposed the idea to require all high school students to take a half-credit financial literacy course.
The idea was rejected in a five to three vote. Instead of requiring the course, the school board approved a plan to require expanded access to literacy.
the social studies category for MCPS courses. MCPS requires World History, Government and U.S. History. This allows students to put personal fi -
nance in their schedule for one year while doing the other three courses in separate years.
The MCPS course bulletin describes this class as “designed to help students identify and learn personal strategies for managing financial resources. Investment simulations are used to focus on the importance of managing funds and investing wisely. Topics include consumerism, personal planning.”
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Foundation, students who are required to take personal finance courses have better average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as
dents a helping hand on how to be financially stable and prepared with their money. The course teaches students basic financial aspects that will be needed in their daily lives as adults. For example, credit-cards, debit-cards, credit scores, investing, saving and buying a house are all topicsnancial education is one of the most relevant and applicable classes to students.
Some may argue that personal finance should not be a requirement to graduate because of the accessibility to internet. Much like other topbe learned through YouTube, articles, online courses and more.
being a requirement can add stress and decrease the flexibility that students have with their course selection.
Although the idea was rejected, not all hope is lost. Students can create petitions to help raise awareness for WCHS can also create clubs that inform students about
Education through their email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 October 17, 2022 Opinions
The Churchill Observer Staff
Thank you for reading of the year!
PHOTO BY LIAM KLEIN.
Best use of English class: To apply or not to apply?
By Rachel Mattison Online Editor-in-Chief
WCHS prides itself on their elite academics alongside its positive student culture. They boast an impressive 98% college attendance rate post graduation and emphasize the need to prioritize mental health through initiatives and presentations. But as it currently stands, many seniors don’t see how both of these priorities can coincide in their life.
The college application process is a rigorous, multifaceted conglomeration for students: deciding which col-
creation of an activity list, linking Naviance and Common App accounts, securing teacher recommendations and more. Unfortunately, the brunt of this work falls for most seniors from September to December. During this time, students are adjusting back to school and working to get good grades in their classes in addition to everything above. Seniors are expected to of their schedule and maintaining a high GPA while checking off all these tasks - which is not a feat that many
staying sane and maintaining a social calendar.
In order for WCHS to allow students the time they desperately need to complete college applications as well as providing them support in order to achieve optimal success, they should make 12th grade English classes designated work periods for college applications during the month of September.
Seniors are drowning in college applications as it currently is, working extracurriculars and social obligations 45 minutes every day of work time would allow them to focus and be in a productive environment.
Additionally, many students are already using class time to work on their applications. A look around a class’ Chromebook screens will show many are writing supplemental essays
Permitting that time to be used for college applications would not be suc-
cumbing to those not on task, it would be respecting the current prioritization of seniors and not making them miss out on instruction for their choices. Having the time of English class used for college applications would also reduce additional workload burden on students by not getting anything new for one period a day.
In addition to providing students a designated time to work on college applications, giving them their English period to do it would also give them necessary support. While WCHS boasts the elite colleges that students will be attending, getting accepted to them is no easy task. Giving students resources such as help from their English teacher, writing workshops, editing and tips, will improve students’ essay writing and therefore their odds, though. This will not only improve their essays for college, but practicing and developing these writing skills will help them for their entire life, and is what English class is supposed to be
At WCHS some students receive private help on their essays in the form of a college counselor or college essayvidual support and guidance on a student’s essay, but it is not cheap - often costing over $100 an hour. This makes it so that the opportunity to write great essays is harder for lower income students to attain. Offering English teachers as resources will level the playingnomic statuses the same opportunities in the college admissions process. If English teachers are not spending their time creating lesson plans and grading Hamlet papers, they will have the time to invest in mentoring each student’s essay development.
to implement this proposition. Many other schools in the area see the ben-
At Wootton High School they do this during a student’s junior year. In May,
after the AP exam students brainstorm essay ideas, work through graphic organizers and write a draft of their personal statement. This process is all done during class and with the feedback from their English teachers.
Private schools in the area also offer this service. Georgetown Visitation, St. Andrews and Bullis also use time in English class to help students - McLean School focuses a big effort on supporting their college applicants. Starting in February of junior year they begin writing and receiving edits on their personal statement and supplemental essays. At JDS, the student’s writing assignments towards the end of junior year are personal narratives so that they can learn the style of writing and even end up using those essays. In addition, JDS has a day off of school in October which serves as a designated work day.
Letting students use the time of September English classes for college applications would detract from time used on the English 12 curriculum or AP Literature course work. While this would be an adjustment, classes would be able to adapt and students would not be missing out on life English skills. English classes often have extra time throughout the year. Going at a faster pace is not ideal but it is doable, and by removing multiple days allotted for the same assignment, teachers would still be able to get through all the instruction they normally would. On top of that, getting into college has more long term implications than an AP score does, and writing supplemental essays isn’t necessarily taking away from learning time - students are still practicing writing.
In order for WCHS students to be able to relieve stress and succeed with their college applications, English classes should transition to support students in their applications during the month of September. The guidance from teachers on their writing will cause essays to greatly improve. Time allotted during school hours will help students manage their time and be productive. The results for WCHS and the wellbeing of seniors will great-
WCHS should limit club total, focus on quality
By Tafa Nutakor Advertising & Subscriptions Manager
Seconds after the lunch bell rings, school year now in full swing, many of them are headed to club meetings. From activism to speech and debate, the number of choices can be overwhelming. While students should be able to express and practice their pasare there too many clubs at WCHS?
Each passing year at WCHS has marked a large increase in clubs. In six short years, the number has nearly doubled, with 180 clubs listed for the 2022-23 school year. With no end in sight to this trend, it has become increasingly clear that something needs to change.
The recent teacher shortage hasteacher is only able to sponsor up to three clubs and those clubs end up competing for the classroom space. Additionally, many teachers have harder for clubs to have meetings in their rooms.
It is no secret that getting into the college of one’s choice is often what
motivates students at WCHS to found clubs. This has led to some clubs being created for the primary purpose of having an extracurricular activity to list on college applications, and not to actually explore the passions of students. These clubs are created, only to
The argument that there should be
no limit on student creativity is certainly a valid one. Students should be free to express themselves and share their passions with others. With that being said, it is unreasonable to argue that WCHS should have an unlimited number of clubs. A large number of the current clubs are inactive and there are multiple clubs that serve the same purpose. For a club to exist at WCHS, moderately popular.
Ultimately, action needs to be taken when it comes to the number of clubs present at WCHS. Stricter regulations during the club application process could potentially combat this issue. Having a minimum number of memcertain number of times per year could go a long way. This along with stronprevious years could work to ensure that the clubs are active and legitimate.
5 October 17, 2022 Opinions
English classes in the month of September.
Students in Ms. Dinu’s English classes keep their computers open. Some work on classwork but some do their college applications during that time instead.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VESA BETAPUDI.
PHOTO BY RACHEL MATTISON.
Autism program brightens future for shining stars
By Ha-Yeon Jeon Features Editor
“Smile, don’t stare!” is an apt statement for what the WCHS Autism Program would like the community to know. Coined by the Lollipop Kids Foundation, it aims to explain that when faced with someone who may seem different, having a smile instead of a detached stare can make a world of difference.
Although not many students are aware of it, the WCHS Autism Program exists and has two spheres: a multiclassroom Classic Autism Program and Autism Resources Services. With a combined staff of 16 teachers and paraeducators, the two programs work to support WCHS students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The Classic Autism Program serves students who are not able to learn from traditional special education instruction and require support in all areas. Autism Resource Services is similar but aimed towards a slightly different group of students: they attend classes with the general education student population but are two to three years below grade level, requiring individual accommodations and support.
The goal for students in the Classic Autism Program is to receive a Maryland High School Certificate, which differs from the traditional diploma and is awarded for completion of a special education program. As such, they work on an Alternative Learning Outcomes (ALO) curriculum, which combines general subject classes with a focus on community and vocational support.
“During the academic day, students work on ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. Beyond academics, students also have two electives which are PE and Music,” Purvi Algama, a Special
Education Teacher in the Autism Program, said. “Students also work on functional communication skills, vocational skills and community based instruction. To help students prepare for post-secondary life, they have the opportunity to go out into the community to work on life functional skills such as working, shopping, purchasing
ordering food at a restaurant, etc.”
For students with autism, the markers of success may be different than those of other high school students, butence is that in addition to academic prolife skills that they will need to increase their independence in the adult world.
“I love the moments when we watch students move from dependence to independence or from assistance to mastery,” Danielle Gilbert, a paraedu-
cator in the Autism Program, said. “It is cause for celebration and is my favorite part of being a teacher.”
Regardless of these highs, working with students who have different and at times.
“We all struggle at times with learning how to communicate. It is frustrating to know that we can’t help with a problem because we have not been able to identify the problem,” Gilbert said. “When our students are struggling to let us know how they feel about something, but the message isn’t clear, it can be tough.”
Although the road is not always smooth, attending public high schools can be valuable for these students. They are able to interact with their peers and improve social skills. Furthermore, their participation in academic programs is supplemented
by their access to important resources, such as specialized learning support and speech or occupational therapy.
“Having an Autism program at WCHS gives special needs students resources to learn functional living skills that allows them to improve their quality of life by being independent,” Algama said.
It can be seen that well-established Autism programs at public schools but WCHS is one of only four MCPS high schools to have a Classic Autism Program. Autism Resource Services is similarly rare, existing only at three MCPS high schools. The WCHS Autism Program team hopes to see this change.
“More schools should have an Autism program as it allows students to have programs close to their homes,” Gilbert said. “This provides equitable learning for students with special needs, and also for general education students to understand different perspectives.”
Although WCHS has taken meaningful steps to become a more inclusive community, the Autism Program team is aware that there are still misconceptions about students with autism. Unfounded assumptions can sometimes be madefamiliar with. Moreover, students can be wary of approaching students with autism because they do not know how to interact with them. The Autism Program team wants to emphasize that there is no need to worry or be wary.
“Students with Autism have unique personalities that are amazing and with some patience can sometimes bring a profound understanding of both yourself and the student,” Algama said. “Students love it when their peers come up, say hi, and have a conversation with them!”
Local market is a fresh pick for fruits and veggies
By George Chang Arts Editor
Between the mini-mall and Capitol One Bank, bursts of laughter and wafts of fresh chilly autumn air. Fall spirit is in full swing and with the festivities that the season typically brings, Milk Lady Markets (MLM), a hidden gem within Cabin John Village, opens Sundays from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. until October 30th.
“Our market is all about local food, fresh food and making it available to everyone,” Gigi Goin, the founder of MLM, said. “We host farmers from the area that are bringing their freshly produced crops and products and we are serving people here so we can have a successful market and affordable food.”
For Goin, food and farming are in her DNA. Born on a farm in Trinidad, she was exposed to a variety of crops and the effects of diverse eating from a young age.
“I grew up on a farm as a kid, but my family moved away when I was 12, so I’m comfortable in a farm environment,” Goin said. “When I asked myself what I really loved, I realized that it’s healthy living and healthy eating. This eventually led me to the farmer’s market, and we’re now on our 12th season!”
An aspect of MLM that differentiates it from other farmers’ markets is Goin’s passion for tackling food insecurity in Maryland.
“Not everyone in our country is wealthy or even well-off, so we offer an initiative called ‘Double Dollars’ to create greater access to food,” Goin said. “For anybody food stamps or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) vouchers, we give them tokens—each token is worth a dollar, so essentially, we double what they are spending.”
to quality food disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic communities. According to data from the Maryland Food Bank, 52% of respondents who recently lost their jobs were BIPOC Marylanders—and 57% of that group had experienced struggles with affording food.
“Community supported agriculture (CSA) was started in the 60s during segregation in the South, when Black people couldn’t buy from white stores easily—it was either physically unsafe or emotionally unhealthy,” Goin said. “So, Booker T. Whatley said to the Black people in the area, ‘We should support the Black farms. Buy a share when the farmer needs money in the winter and when his crops are coming, everyone can come and start picking.’ They would come in and pick the food that they wanted for the week for their family.”
At MLM, Goin incorporates this same approach to ensure families in need have the ability to purchase high-standard food products at discounted prices.
“Our CSA is based on a market style because we want the customer to have a choice,” Goin said. “We bring everything directly from the farm to the vendor stands, and we say to our CSA members, ‘You buy at a certain subscription level according to your family size, you come in every week, and you spend down that balance.’”
As a result, Goin has built strong and personal relationships with the people that she works with and the people that shop at MLM.
“[The most rewarding part] is when a customer recognizes the quality that we offer when they tell us about something they tried and how good it is,” Goin said. “It means a lot because we source everything carefully: ensuring that milk is grass-fed, the yogurt is grass-fed, the ingredients, the quality, etc.”
For WCHS sophomore Sarah Bland,
volunteering at MLM has offered her a chance to meet new people and give back to the community.
“I mainly help restock food, lay out products so that customers can look at it and answer any questions that they might have,” Bland said. “My favorite part is working with other volunteers—I’ve gotten to know them very well, and it hardly even feels like volunteering anymore. When you work with someone in close proximity every weekend, it’s hard not to feel some sort of community.”
Through volunteering, Bland has also gained a newfound appreciation for farmers.
“When it comes to farmers, I feel like they’re under-appreciated in general,” Bland said. “They work a lot harder, and with food monopolies and corporations -
cult for farmers to get a leg up. By establishing this farmers market, [Goin is] providing them an opportunity to sell their goods in wouldn’t be the case if they were under a food giant monopoly.”
Through years of interactive involvement with the farming community, Goin has personally witnessed the highs and lows of agriculture in Maryland.
“We just need more farms! That’s really it! We need more farms, and to all the young people reading this—get into farming, get into agriculture,” Goin said. “We lost a lot of topsoil in the last 50 to 60 years, and [your generation] is looking at regenerative farming, organic farming, where we can actually build the soil which sequesters carbon, getting it out of the air and into the dirt. Regenerative farming—that’s the future.”
October 17, 2022 8 Features
organic produce from local farms, ranging from peppers to peaches.
The WCHS Autism Program supports students with autism by providing specialized academic support, vocational training, life skills practices and speech or occupational therapy.
PHOTO BY GEORGE CHANG.
PHOTO BY HA-YEON JEON.
Happiness bubbles from attendees of festival
By Jeremy Chung News Editor
Bubble tea, otherwise known as boba, is a hot commodity loved by many at WCHS and has grown in popularity in Montgomery County. In fact, if “boba stores near me” is searched on Google, at least 20 boba tea stores
However, while many enjoy the drink, many do not question its existence or how it reached its popularity.
Now, this question has been answered. On Sept. 24, the Rockville Town Square hosted the 3rd Annual Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival. Organized by the Taiwan Sisters Cities Corporation, the festival celebrates the unique relationship between Rockville and Taiwan. In 2019, Rockville, Md, and Yilan City, Taiwan, unanimously voted to adopt a sister city relationTea Festival and the rest is history.
“The sister city partnership between Yilan and Rockville is a vibrant and robust relationship,” President of the Taiwan Sister Cities Corporation Dr. Hung-Bin Ting said. “Over the last three years [of the relationship], it has withstood many challenges, including the pressures of the pandemic.”
The festival also recognizes the diverse population in Montgomery County. In the 2020 census, 16% of Montgomery County residents identi-est-growing populations. At WCHS, 30.6% of students identify as Asian, the second largest racial group.
Although sister city relationships serve no political purpose, they encourage cultural and educational exchanges between the two cities. These exchanges are a common theme found at the Bubble Tea Festival.
focus on the cultural and food aspect of our relationship,” Hsiao Bi-Khim,
in her opening remarks. “Diversity…is the face of Taiwan, which we wish to share with the world.”
Even though the two cities sit on opposite sides of the world, the amicable relationship between Yilan and Rockville provides a direct cultural link that many residents on both sides typically do not experience.
As stated in the name, although -
cup to greet all attendees and popular stores such as Tiger Sugar Rockville, it was not the only attraction. The festival closed off nearby roads to the Square to make space for other non-boba ven-
and Bao Bei, which capitalized on selling classic Asian and Taiwanese street food items such as popcorn chicken or the notorious homemade pork belly buns made by Bao Bei, which translates to “buddy” in Chinese.
“[Bao Bei] has a good relationship
with Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival organizers because they represent Taiwan as a country, like my food. So naturally, we are inclined to work together,” Bao Bei owner Kevin Hsieh said. “We usually go to the festival every year to try and promote our brand and also Taiwanese as a nationality, as a food, as a country and to other communities around the area.”
Hsieh, a longtime Gaithersburg native whose parents immigrated from Taiwan, started Bao Bei three years ago and currently operates out of a ghost kitchen in Rockville open for pickup and delivery. Their menu revolves around traditional Taiwanese food, such as the signature bao bun and minced pork rice. When Hsieh visitedval goer, he was inspired to bring Bao to teach people what makes Taiwanese cuisine unique from other Asian cultures.
“Because I sell Taiwanese food and am one of the only people to do so, I wanted to link up with [the event] to
express my food and help in any way -
cause we have such a big uprising in the Asian community in Rockville. I think that would allow all the Asian
and people can really grasp Asia as a whole instead of just blanket everything under Chinese or Korean.”
Other than the food, the usual stage was used by starred performers, such as local Taiwanese bands performing original songs and students, like WCHS sophomore Aaron Han, from the Formosa Association of Student Cultural Ambassadors (FASCA), performing creative and advanced Chinese yo-yo tricks.
Han said. “The environment was really nice and I think a lot of people enjoyed all the performances and activities.”
As the festival has ended and festival attendees will have to wait another year to relive it, people are reminded
and how we can learn about different parts of the world before coming to generalizations. It will surely be no surprise that the festival will continue to grow year by year, as this year capped the highest attendance ever.
“I would personally love to do this every year since I want to be connected to TSC and allow Rockville to experience more of the culture that has not yet been expressed,” Hsieh said. “I believe that the only thing people really know about Taiwan in this area is that
By Kalena Yee Arts Editor
The crushing crowd packed the stands under the bright Friday night lights on September 9. At exactly 8:19 p.m., the WCHS student section erupted with cheer. Did the football team score a touchdown? No, it was time to “BeReal.”
“The entire student section was yellAgata Dolinska said. “Everyone was smiling and taking pictures together at the game all at the same time.”
With 22.8 million active users since August 2022, according to TIME, the trending social media app BeReal has taken the world by storm. What makes the app unique is its goal: to embody the idea of “casual” social mediatered daily lives. Once the BeReal noof the day - users have exactly two minutes to take a picture of what they are currently doing using both their front and back cameras.
“Nothing beats the satisfying feeling of capturing a Bereal, especially ifing,” WCHS sophomore Kai Zou said. “My BeReals usually consist of me with friends, doing homework, after tennis practice, in the car, anything really.”
BeReal relieves the arguably draining pressure of social media in numerous ways. Similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories, posts disappear once
“Posting a temporary photo about your day is a lot less stressful than posting a picture that will be on your
feed forever,” Dolinska said. “Also, numbers since there are no likes or followers.”
However, this does not mean that there is no interaction on the platform. posts, users can comment and take Realmojis, a live picture of themselves reacting to a BeReal.-
tions to your BeReal, especially when you post something that surprises them.”
Another special feature of BeReal is the monthly memory collection. BeReal saves everything users post into a memory collection sorted by month. This is seen exclusively by the user to look back on what they did every day.
“Seeing all the BeReals I took with my friends or during the summer makes me nostalgic,” Dolinska said.
San Francisco. The back camera had a pretty background of the city sky.”
Along with the unique features of the app, various ongoing trends motivate users to actively post on BeReal. However, these trends are different from typical trends on other social media platforms.
“Trends on BeReal are more fun and genuine than other apps since you execute them,” Zou said. “My favorite trend is when people have strangers take their BeReals because the stranger it.”
BeReal not only promotes authenticity among its users, but also a sense of
community. Something about knowing that people are living their everyday lives alongside them creates a comforting feeling for BeReal users, whether they personally know each other or not.
“One time BeReal went off when I was in New York. Random people all around me got their phones out to post,” Zou said. “I felt connected to them because we all shared something in common.”
With all of these aspects of BeReal, one question remains: how real is BeReal? Different features of BeReal have the potential for users to somewhat alter the integrity of their posts, for example, the ability to post late. post on time,” Dolinska said. “The care whether you post late or not, as hours until you are doing something interesting.”
To counteract users taking advan-
tage of this feature, one cannot see taken their daily BeReal. In addition, if posted late, BeReal displays how much later the photo was posted after the timer went off.
people retake photos until they look good,” Zou said. “However, BeReal will show how many takes a post took so you can see how genuine someone is being.”
Despite the debate of exactly how real BeReal is, it may be the closest platform yet that attempts to remedy
users enjoy having fun with the app they are portraying themselves in the moment.
“On BeReal, no one is trying to impress or show people how great their life is or how good they look,” Dolinska said. “BeReal is a refreshing change, and I hope there will be more apps like it in the future.”
October 17, 2022 Features
more Taiwanese exposure around the
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (second to right) and Taiwan’s Ambassador Bi-Khim Hsiao (second to left) were present to
PHOTO COURTESY OF AGATA DOLINSKA.
WCHS junior Agata Dolinska poses with her friends in the student
PHOTO BY JEREMY CHUNG.
Verdes drops “HDTV”, a heartache journey
By Ryan Weiner Editor-in-Chief
The month is May 2020. Needing a new WiFi plan, a customer walks into the Verizon store and asks one of the store’s employees for help. Although the employee looks out of place, as he is six feet seven inches tall, the customer dismisses him as a former basketball player and continues with their day. Little do they know that this lowly employee, Tai Verdes, would amass over a billion music streams in the next two years, become a social media icon and be named one of pop’s fastest rising stars.
in the Middle,” in August 2020, Tai needed when the track blew up on TikTok. Then, after dropping a few
was a relative success for Verdes, and launched his career. Now, just over a year later Verdes is back at it with his
love life and his recent breakup. Come,” an upbeat track that kicks off the album with a bang. Verdes is remi-
.Paak) in the track, as he perfectly balances bursts of rap with melodic notes. Although Verdes generally does not rap, he impressively keeps this up throughout the album in songs such Interestingly enough, this track strays away from the themes of the rest of the album and doesn’t deal with love or breakups at all.
well with its subject matter of a failing and extremely toxic relationship. The similar over arching theme is most likely why the song was included in the album, despite it being produced well before.
Another song to give a listen to is
utilizes his smooth voice and backup music in the form of trumpets to remind the viewer to love the world we live in and cherish every moment of -
tive message balances out the negativity of the lyrics of other tracks in the album.
Another classic Verdes track istener is a complete summer vibe song due to the angelic background singing and beautiful guitar instrumentals. In contrast, Verdes still dives deep into his toxic relationship with bars such as,
a heart of gold,” that demonstrate the true darkness of Verdes’ love life.
Although he normally keeps his music upbeat or relaxed regardless of the subject matter, Verdes chang-
Like most of the album, Verdes talks here it seems like he is describing the aftermath and not the moment of the
baby, I made bad exceptions for your love,” combined with the dreary tone and perfectly-timed autotuned sounds make for a song that will put anyone in their feels.
Just a few tracks later, Verdes com-
vibe, Verdes absolutely knocks this song out of the park. Although autumn is drawing near, this song is the perfect thing to blast in the car while driving on a warm sunny day. Although the theme of love is apparent in the lyrics of the tune, it is masked by the whimsical instrumental provides.
Near the end of the album, Verdes
though there is not a feature, this track feels like a mix of Verdes’ classic style to the repetition of lyrics and fragmentation of sentences with dragged out pauses. Yet again, this song is a hit and is a relaxing way to start closing the al-
bum out. -
erage breakup or romance album. Verdes does a spectacular job balancing tones to keep the listener feeling a variety of emotions and navigating all the stages of the end of a relationship with ease. The instrumentals and background noises are spot-on in all tracks, supporting Verdes throughout this journey of an album.
album made in less than a year with impressive and deserves recognition to see a lot more of Verdes in the next couple of years as he continues his meteoric rise through the music industry.
Behind the Scenes of the WCHS Fall Musical: “Matilda”
By Ananya Pandit Assistant Features Editor
the chorus room, harmonizing with air conditioner in the corner. Chilly and charged, the room’s atmosphere senior, clapped his hands, calling for attention.
presented, I will change it.”
Matilda is a story about a girl with dumbfounding intelligence and psychokinetic powers working with her teacher to provide justice for her school.
crucial. From casting, blocking, coorand managing logistics, he embodies
creating the set themselves,” directordent buy-in to the production, which is amazing to see.”
er teachers—Matthew Albright and and tech respectively—act as guiding logistics, provide a framework and guidelines and act as an organizing, unifying authority. Working in tan-rez, they strive to build a show that is not just stage-ready, but one that displays the full potential of the story.
nah Choi, who plays Lavender, said.tumes and makeup, props and producers and directors.” -
productions. Without them, the stage would be barren—devoid of intricately designed sets and stripped of carefully balanced sound and lighting cues. In more involved, as almost every piece is a moving part. -
time with each other than with our own families, so tech becomes a second
This familial connection expands beyond the tech crew. Through late nights, inconveniently timed rehearsmandatory week of rigorous rehearsals before opening night, in whichuct—every participant, no matter their role, bonds through their shared experiences. These relationships, forged through unique perspectives gained from theater, are often fueled even further through the actors’ interpretation of their characters. Actors make oftentimes allowing actors to identify with their stories.
feel like I’ve had those moments in my life, so I can live them through her,”
Involvement in all aspects of theater can also impart lessons about personal and interpersonal environments. The capacity of storytelling and performance can convey messages in a subtle discovering lifelong passions or learning to collaborate, theater is powerful.
be really embarrassing sometimes, so I have to be able to tune out what other people think to be able to do it.”
Performance is a diverse art form,
highly stigmatized form of expression. When one enters a stage, telling the story of someone else as their own re-
to muster up. With every sideways glance or dismissive comment, cast and crew call for a more empathetic audience, one that is aware of what it takes to produce a show.
theater with an open mind, they would be a lot more receptive to theerrez said.
With an open mind and an open
see the fruits of their efforts. This musical tells a story beyond Matilda’s psychokinesis and book smarts; it tells the heartwarming tale of the fractured life her identity and in her chosen family. have ever felt like something wasn’teval said.
10 October 17, 2022 Arts
Just like many of the tracks on HDTV, the album cover clearly highlights Verdes’ journey through heartbreak and moving on.
PHOTO COURTESY OF APPLE MUSIC.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANANYA PANDIT-
Choreographers Ian Rubin and Aliyah Primich lead dance rehearsal with the cast members in preparation for the performances this November.
Anyone who knows senior Aliyah Primich would tell you the same thing: she has an unmatched fashion sense. What people might not know from most memorable clothing items were Primich uses her self-taught skills to create clothing that expresses her individualism and unique style.
The beginning of Primich’s fashion journey started during the early panout-of-school hobby to being a part of her everyday life. As a student in Adcan perfect her skills on the daily.
learned how to draft patterns on mystanding of how sewing works and the simplest and most effective ways to
The process of creating an article of clothing is no simple task. Before any a well-thought-out plan and idea.
needed to create it. “What type of pattern is needed and how can it be creatasks herself.the pattern part and tracing and cutting
Primich began taking fashion at WCHS during her junior year with skill under her belt Advanced Fashion Production has allowed Primich to further develop her skills and solidify her sewing technique. Some of her class red plaid shorts and cow print shorts.
“Aliyah’s strength is that she has whether it is upcycling or creating her 1 and Advanced Fashion Production will work diligently to create a quality Fellow senior Tarina Amaralikit started Fashion Production in her junior year with Primich. Amaralikit and
Primich are able to bounce ideas off of each other and share their continuous love for fashion in the class.
ideas and working on her projects. She’s one of the most passionate people in that class and she always wants to inspired by Aliyah’s drive. She is always working and moving forward to the next step and thinking of the next
Primich has learned through class and her at-home projects just how special the fashion process is. -
proud when people enjoy and appreciPrimich is involved not only in fashis an asset to the musical theater department. Some of her involvement includes playing Alice Beineke in the WCHS production of The Addams-
wood in this upcoming fall production
skills do not go unnoticed and allow Primich to express her creativity in another outlet.
“Clothing allows me to be whoever -
for me and allows me to be the most auto be unapologetically loud and true to
Looking at the past decade: Kendrick Lamar’s albums
By Liam Klein Opinions Editor
or Kung Fu Kenny is a man of many names and albums. The 14-time Grammy Award winner is one of the most -
which was released 10 years ago this month.bum holds up to some of Lamar’s new-cords from Lamar’s catalog is the best? Let’s start with the oldest of the Told from the perspective of a younger in the hostile environment of Compuses this to explore universal themes -
This album follows Lamar evolvinging a picture of what the world around him is like as well as the people and lifestyle that surround him. ThroughLamar’s dream is to break free and succeed which then leads to people chasing money and lavish lifestyles at the This is a theme prevalent throughoutcome more grounded. The album notably comes to a close with a spiritualon how he turned his life away from
structive lifestyle that once surrounded him.
Lamar only further grew his superstardom and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest rap artists of all time.
collection of demo tapes named “UnAll of this led up to arguably his Lamar’s most famous album is certi--
Album award at the Grammy Awards. know that it is actually intended to be the album’s true themes: the role of they are intertwined with one’s life. more unique records. Throughout the
some of Lamar’s most braggadocious more abrasive than his previous works. some of Lamar’s best storytelling and discusses some tricky topics. The main root of the album is Lamar’s retrospection and internal thoughts. Throughin life where he feels fate played a
robbery at a local KFC where Kendworking. The robbery goes wrong and -
theme of fate that is present throughout the album. leads Lamar internally to question hiswould you still love me? Keep it a hun-
also heavily present throughout the the duality of religion: give into your or resist temptation and submit yourself to God.
Lamar’s newest and possibly most of thought-provoking lyricism and complex production choices that show Lamar at his most vulnerable. With a -
most important thing in his relationship is love.
The theme of internal struggle is
deals with more of his emotional pain and distress than his previous albums.
October 17, 2022 11 ARTS
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is the most recent addition to Kendrick Lamar’s discography. In the past 10 years, he has released many greats.
PHOTO COURTESY OF @KENDRICKLAMAR ON INSTAGRAM.
Aliyah Primich incorporates many clothing pieces that she
shorts she sewed earlier in 2022.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALIYAH PRIMICH.
By Michael Demske Sports Editor
Jordan Lapidus does not like to brag about herself. Fans and teammates on the other hand, cannot stop. It is hard not to marvel when she bursts down the sideline to recover a wild drive or blasts a shot where the goalie cannot reach.
“I had an older friend who
Lapidus said. “I started playing with some of my soccer friends and I ended up loving it enough to start playing full
One of these soccer friends is Emma Datch, a junior at WCHS and Lapidus’s teamShe, like so many others, has always known Lapidus as a special athlete and a one-of-akind teammate.
“Jordan has always been said. “I played soccer with her when we were younger and whenever she lost the ball, she would always hustle to get it
Lapidus’s hustle became a trademark of her game, and she was named a captain before the start of the season. Being a captain is a crucial role in team sports as they are responsible for setting the precedent for the rest of the team.
“As a captain, I try to support my teammates on and off super important to me to have high morale and spirit, so I see it as my job to encourage ev-
Fellow seniors Sanaz Wyckoff and Hailey Yentis have played with Lapidus throughout her high school career. Both feel she deserves the captain title and enjoy her
“Jordan is a very strong and pivotal player on our is very inclusive of everyone and I feel like I can always
because she is a reliable player, gives 100% effort and has a said. “She consistently makes everyone feel included and a
With Lapidus at the helm, the Bulldogs have roared to a 8-0 start, outscoring opponents 38-1. This type of success is not uncommon for WCHS Field Hockey, as just last year they battled their way into the State Championship Game.
Lapidus recognizes this and understands what it means to play for WCHS.
the reputation of being one of the better teams in the county. Last year we went to states, and the year before we were said. “The environment is also incredibly supportive and uplifting. Our theme of the year
Lapidus hopes to return to the state championship and have an amazing time along the way. She also wants to make players feel welcome and bring the team closer together. Perhaps these goals are part of the reason why she is a favorite among so many.
“One of my favorite memories with Jordan was when she scored the tying goal in the Wyckoff said. “We were nervous because we were down one and only had a corner left. If the ball left the circle, it was game over, and would haveson. Jordan perfectly pushed it in and we all ran to her to celebrate. It was the best feeling
Lapidus has proven she can be clutch when it counts. All she needs is a chance to make her mark on the game and it happens. Once the game is over, Lapidus can relax and celebrate with her teammates.
“One of my favorite memohockey is the car ride home said. “We both got goals in that game and took a famous
A winner on and off the it takes to be the best. When asked what advice she would give to the next generation of Lapidus returned to her roots.
“My advice would be to continuously work hard during the season and during the
Alumni adapt to new experience at the next level
By Isabella Ngwana Internal Communications Manager
Collecting their diplomas and saying goodbye to their high school memories, the WCHS Class of 2022 completed their walk across the stage set in the beloved football stadium. But what truly happens after the whole high school experience? With the end of high school, some WCHS athletes chose to take the opportunity to play their sports on a more serious level.
Dickinson College student Irene Haramis committed to playing basketball for their Women’s Basketball team. In her freshman and sophomore years, Haramis played a crucial role in helping the team win 46 of the 49 games she played in and two division titles. She made 74 percent of 71 rebounds, garnered 40 assists, and scored 116 points during the season.
“The transition from high big change. In college, it feels like you have a lot of free time when you don’t. Time manage-
ment with studies is very imporfelt very unprepared, but as time went on I got into the rhythm of studying, going to class, and working out,” WCHS alumni Irene Haramis said.
Like many college freshmen, Haramis realized that she was in charge of her own life. She had tolege before she was completely overwhelmed and would not be able to succeed. In college, there
is an expectation to be able to keep up with the fast pace and double the high school workload. Adding sports to the mix taught Haramis how to manage her time better.
WCHS students who participate in a sport either have a passion for it or just want an extracurricular activity that looks good on their transcript. Haramis has a passion for basketball, but was not able to share her full potential on the school’s basketball team
when she tore her ACL during the 2021-2022 school year.
“ACL tears take just as much mental toughness as physical toughness. Last month I had a mental block where I felt I was never going to get better. However, this injury has taught me hard cleared to play this winter!” Haramis said.
Sports are the driving force at WCHS, with football season being a core part of the high school experience. Many students rethe next level, including WCHS alumni Jaden Selby. With such success during his senior season, being one of the new players on the team shifts one’s mentality.
WCHS alumni Jaden Selby committed to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill after for football. Selby was the quarterback for the WCHS football team and passed for 2,200 yards and 29 touchdowns during his career. Selby was also named
year in 2022.
“Going from the best player on my team to just an average player took a little while to get used to. I
got used to it because most of the kids on the team are experiencing the same thing,” Selby said.
Fall camps can be viewed as an excruciating experience for those who aren’t used to the routine. With a loaded training schedule during the summer, Selby found himself learning a lot.
“Fall camp was an interesting experience. It was two weeks straight and we had to stay in a hotel as a team. We would wake up every day at 6:30 and would be at the football facility until ten at night. It was so tiring and there were four meetings a day that were at least one and a half hours each. It was a fun experience and I got closer to all of my teammates.”
Adjusting to their new lifestyles has been an adventure for these WCHS alumni. Being able to connect with their loved ones has kept them anchored and able to stay true to themselves.
“I always go to my mom for advice. She may not be the most sports-oriented person, but she has always been there for me. Especially through my knee recovery, she has always pushed me to be my best,” Haramis said.
Volume 46 - Issue 1
thechurchillobserver.com 12 October 17, 2022
Schools Winston Churchill High School 11300 Gainsborough Rd. Potomac, MD 20854
mitment to Dickinson College in the WCHS gym with support from her coach, Pete McMahon.
PHOTO COURTESY OF IRENE HARAMIS.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDI LAPIDUS.