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Dulaney High School Timonium, Maryland

Volume 56, Issue 4 PLAN DROPPED

the griffin

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February 17, 2017

Political shift ignites activism

see page 2




number of FBLA members advancing to state competition next month see page 2 NEAR-WIN

photos from cristina reitmeyer, and by jane peterson, drew persinger and julia clark Clockwise from the left: SENIOR JENNY PETERSON participates in the Women’s March Washington Jan. 21; THE PRE-INAUGURATION CROWD spills down Constitution Avenue Jan. 20; SCIENCE TEACHER Cristina Reitmeyer protests in the Women’s March; SOPHOMORE GRACE GUILDENER, junior Brynn Handley and senior Christina Panousos display banners for the B1 demonstration in Washington Feb. 1.

Students, teachers hit streets of Washington

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number of Chinese exchange students here this year PROM PREPPING


meher hans and meera rothman, editors-in-chief enior Michael Gonglewski and sophomore Annaliese Colins each set their alarms for 5 a.m. the week of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Gonglewski, a long-time supporter of the new president, headed to D.C. Jan. 20 for the swearing in ceremony. Colins trekked to D.C. for a different reason—the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21. Colins found herself immersed in a sea of pink hats and bold signs, while Gonglewski made his way through crowds of iconic red hats, clapping and cheering. Donald Trump’s election and early actions in office have spurred political involvement from

students and staff from both ends of the spectrum. The inauguration, Women’s March, Prolife March, nonpartisan B1 demonstration and unorganized marches have proved to be most popular. Gonglewski had been working on the Trump campaign since March 2016, making phone calls from a regional office in Pikesville every other Saturday morning. “I feel like Trump laid forward a plan,” Gonglewski said, explaining Trump’s appeal. “We’re going to try to unite and fix the problems we have now.” Gonglewski said he’s always wanted to go to an inauguration “to see the spectacle of it.” The ceremony included military bands, marching bands, and speeches from the president and vice president. “While the speeches were going on, there were some protestors scattered around,” Gonglewski said. “They said ‘you’re racist!’ and ‘you’re fas-

Survey: cheating persists julie chotivatanapong, editor-in-chief and greg zapas, staff writer espite mastery grading’s redo opportunities, cheating has inched up this year, reversing a two-year downturn. The 88 percent of students who say they have ever cheated is up two percent since last year. It remains 7 percent lower than the highest rate recorded in 2015 (95 percent). Assistant principal Connie Dean attributes the increase to a lack of clarity. “Ultimately, mastery grading should cause a decrease in cheating,” Dean said. “I think it had


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INDEX 2-3 news 4-5 opinion 6-7 sports 8-12 features

graph by tirzah khan

cists!’ The response would be ‘Get over it, he won. Stop crying.’ The normal back-and-forth.” Colins joined an estimated 500,000 protestors the next morning. She travelled to the march with about 70 others from the Baltimore City branch of Planned Parenthood, where she is a peer educator. “It was amazing getting there at six in the morning and just feeling that tingly excitement like a kid before Christmas. You’re just waiting, everything’s quiet, and you know this is the calm before the storm,” Colins said. Science teacher Laura Braly also attended the march, wearing a shirt she made that says “I march for my family, my faith, my students, those who are afraid.” “I march for my family because my family is so diverse,” Braly said. “I put ‘for my faith’ because my version of Christianity is not a version that includes hating people.” see POLITICAL SHIFT, page 2

the reverse effect because there was a lot of misinterpretation about what mastery grading was.” The anonymous pen-and-paper survey, taken by 257 students in all grades and levels of English classes, asked students 23 questions about how frequently they cheat and what methods they’ve used. The majority of surveyed students, 60 percent, indicated that mastery grading has had no effect on cheating. One anonymous student put his rationale bluntly. see SURVEY, page 3

FYI: President’s Day Feb. 20 school closed

Sports Boosters Meeting March 13 7 p.m. library

Junior Interviews March 15-16 8:30-11 a.m. library

Jimmy V Basketball Game

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March 16 4-7 p.m. gym

Spring musical “Legally Blonde” March 30-31, April 1 7:30 p.m. auditorium

In-school SAT for juniors April 5 classrooms to be assigned (see page 2)


the griffin


Political shift ignites activism continued from page 1 Braly’s list continued. “I put ‘for my students’ because they matter a lot to me. The last one was ‘for those who are afraid’ because someone needs to stand up and march for them,” Braly said. Braly sponsors SPECTRUM, a club here that discusses issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. Senior Jenny Peterson said the march was a launching point for further political action. “I joined the ‘10 Actions for the First 100 Days’ campaign launched by the Women’s March team where every 10 days, followers take action on a certain issue,” Peterson said. Peterson wrote a postcard to Senator Chris Van Hollen about the deleterious impact of defunding Planned Parenthood, she said. Physics teacher Cristina Reitmeyer has also taken action after attending the Women’s March by calling and sending cards to senators weekly. “This election reminded me that I can’t just sit back and let other people make choices for me,” Reitmeyer said. “I have nothing against our president. It’s about making sure that we continue to protect all smaller groups.” In the weeks after the inauguration and women’s march, students have continued actively participating in D.C. events. Senior Claire Po-

dles attended the annual March for Life Jan. 27. “I wanted to march in solidarity with all the other people who believe the same thing I do especially since the pro-life movement is so big

photo by claire podles MARCHERS JAM the screening station near 16th Street at the annual March for Life in a picture snapped by senior Claire Podles Jan. 27.

in government now,” Podles said, noting that her opinions are often silenced in other settings. Seniors Julia Clark and Alex Stocksdale partook in B1, a nonpartisan project Feb. 1 intended to unite people through art. “This election has really deeply divided our country and there’s been a lot of debate over what values it was founded on,” Clark said. Senior and Griffin staff writer Christina Pa-

BCPS One cards axed

nousos’s mother launched the project Nov. 2016. Participants painted signs on bedsheets with messages that promoted values of love, acceptance and unity. Clark and Stocksdale were among 12 students who traveled to the nation’s capital Feb. 1 to make a statement with banners held up near the White House. “It was really inspiring to see all the artwork,” Stocksdale said, adding that the group received about 40 banners in all. Some pedestrians passing by joined the event and stopped to hold up the banners for hours at a time. Senior Caroline Surak spontaneously marched against the Muslim ban on a trip to D.C. Feb. 4. “We were having lunch and when we walked out, we saw a bunch of people with signs and we just jumped in,” Surak said. She marched for several hours, starting in front of the Trump hotel and walking to the Capitol Building. “Peaceful marches and protests have a very positive energy,” Surak said. “They let people know that their opinions are valid and that they’re not alone.” Editor-in-chief Julie Chotivatanapong, managing editor Emma Walz, associate editor Matt Ellis and staff writers Jane Peterson and Emily Williams contributed to this story.

photo by joodh waleedh JOANNE BOLONDA, vice president of field sales at KIND snacks, speaks at the Future Business Leaders of America Regional Conference in the auditorium here Jan. 20. Bolonda explained how her firm uses consumer marketing to create new snacks their customers truly want.

FBLA convenes, wins big


julie chotivatanapong, editor-in-chief ore than thirty Future Business Leaders of America members earned first place during competitions at their conference here Jan. 20. Saying he was proud and excited, FBLA sponsor Pat Holt praised students for their success. “We help, we teach and do all those things, but the reality is teachers come and go and even students come and go, but something keeps feeding that culture of ‘we’re going to be the best’ and that’s what makes us the best,” he said. The conference featured workshops and guest speakers as well as competitions in areas like social media campaigns and 3-D animation. More than 140 members will advance to the state competition March 23 through March 25. Among the victors was sophomore Joanna Song, who won for public speaking, following her regionals win and nationals advance last year. See our March edition for a full profile.

Teacher book study opens dialogue on equity in education


jason fontelieu, deputy editor he need for book studies like the one he and 37 other teachers engaged in last semester is oh so real, social studies chairman Tom Maranville said. “Whether it’s Hispanics or African Americans or females or jocks or artistic people, everyone is always doubting their abilities,” Maranville said. “So we start talking about as teachers, if we say things that we’re not aware of, that could perpetuate this whole stereotype threat.” Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (STAT) teacher Kim Culberton and assistant principal Angela Berry led the initiative, a study of “Whistling Vivaldi” by Claude Steele. “We have to be aware of the stereotypes that exist so we can disrupt the pattern and provide equitable learning opportunities for all students,” Culbertson said. Berry said the book allowed teachers to examine issues in the school community, including racism, sexism and ableism, which is discrimination that favors able-bodied people. “Teachers are becoming more culturally responsive in their approach to instruction,” Berry said. “This may mean students are now exposed more frequently to authentic resources, novels, artists, activities or perspectives that may have once been excluded for whatever reason.”


TEACHER HONORED History teacher John Wagner has been named the school’s nominee for the Baltimore County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Principal Sam Wynkoop praised Wagner for his passion and prowess. The winner will be announced later this spring.

BASE SCORE SET Juniors taking the mandatory SAT administered here April 5 will be required to score at least a 500 on a scale of 200 to 800 of the evidencebased reading and writing section, English department chairman Jason Bowman said. Students who do not meet the minimum score requirement will be placed in either an SAT preparation class or a remedial English class during their senior year, according to BCPS policy.



reporter witnessed students opengrace gary, staff writer lthough they were ini- ing the side door of school to allow tially touted as a high-tech someone to enter in the morning method for taking atten- the week of Jan. 11. Assistant principal Connie Dean dance and maintaining security, wasn’t surBCPS One prised. cards won’t “How be employed you control here. that, I don’t “They have know,” pulled the Dean said. plug on that Wynkoop and it is finacknowlished,” prinedged that cipal Sam it’s a strugWynkoop gle to handle said. the situaSecurity tion without should be breaking fire strengthcode. ened by the “It’s not a school’s jail. We can’t renovation, lock the set to begin photo by grace gary doors so that this summer, THE SIGN on the doors in the main office hallway aims to W y n k o o p deter students from letting others inside the building. they can’t go said, adding Students are still being let in by teachers and their peers, out,” Wynkoop said. that for now, an anonymous source reported. An anonymous student confided it’s virtually impossible to monitor all 33 of the school’s exterior that he leaves school to get lunch doors, especially without upgrad- and then re-enters via a side door trouble-free. ed security cameras. “I’ve had a teacher open the door Regardless of the signs that say “Please do not open these doors for me. They just let me in,” the to allow others to enter,” a Griffin student said.

February 17, 2017

Economics teacher Phil Bressler, another participant, agreed with the danger of the stereotype, familiar with the topic from speeches by University of Pennsylvania psychology profes-

photo by jason fontelieu TEACHERS HAD THE OPTION to participate in online discussions after reading chapters of “Whistling Vivaldi” by Claude M. Steele.

sor Angela Duckworth. “One of the things [Duckworth] talks about is how we look at students and sometimes, if they don’t perform well, we think they’re lazy,”

Bressler said. “We don’t think of the other things that might be hiding their poor performance.” For more than two months, teachers shared ideas on chapters such as “A Broader View of Identity” and “The Distance Between Us.” The study culminated with a “chat-and-chew,” a face-to-face discussion over lunch. English department chairman Jason Bowman also notes the need for unwavering efforts to eliminate inequitable conditions here. “No school is perfect,” Bowman said. “As you walk through the halls, you see certain things happening that definitely convey a sense of inequity.” Bowman, along with other teachers and administrators, has attended Baltimore County Public Schools’ Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency seminars. The intent is sincere, he said. “We are not, as a system and as a society, helping large fasces of our population,” Bowman said, “and there are social inequities that are just not being addressed.”


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Sophomore Karina Wang will compete in the Junior Olympics Feb. 17 through Feb. 20 in Kansas City, Mo. Wang placed 53rd in a pool of 169 fencers at the Foil Cadet European Cup in Italy Jan. 22. Wang said the greatest challenge of fencing is that it’s an individual sport. “Your result completely depends on you,” she said. “If you don’t do well then it’s your own fault.”

WINNERS NAMED Four students have advanced to county judging in the annual PTSA Reflections Contest. Juniors Lily Widner, Hope Eckhart and Lydia Naughton earned honors for their narratives interpreting this year’s contest theme— What is Your Story? Freshman Nicole Wang won for her musical interpretation of the theme.

WRITERS EXCEL More than a dozen creative writers won the Silver Key Award in this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Senior Majorie Bowerman won two Silver Keys for poetry, and senior Christina Panousos earned a Silver Key for her writing portfolio. Juniors Henry Rittler and Samantha Engler earned Silver Keys for short stories. Winning for their flash fiction were senior Matt Waters, juniors Samantha Papastephanou and Faith Hall as well as sophomores Audrey Bartholomew, Mackenzie Deal, Grace Hazlehurst, William Overman and Brooke Seward.

DEBATERS WIN Senior partnership Will Sogge and Meera Rothman went undefeated at the Jan. 28 debate tournament at River Hill High School, earning gold medals. The tournament featured debate partners sparring over whether the United States should boost military spending.

February 17, 2017

the griffin

3 news

Survey: cheating persists continued from page 1 “When I redo assignments, the teacher will sometimes leave a group of students in a room. What do they think is going to happen? It’s like they’re asking us to cheat,” the student said. “If you do a redo, it’s because you want a better grade, and most of the time, you’re going to do whatever you can to get it.” According to survey results, 68 percent of students reported that they cheat to meet their own expectations and connected this to the pressure of earning good grades. “As the school system teaches kids more and more to care about grades, students will do everything they can to do well, even if it means cheating,” junior Liam Snow said. “Cheating will continue to happen unless school is about learning again.” Social studies teacher Phil Bressler agreed that while students put most of the pressure on themselves to succeed academically, cheating should not be justified. “The expectations do come a lot from within, but I don’t think there’s ever an excuse for cheating because that’s your character,” Bressler said. “As a person who works in the school system, it depresses me because personally I have to look at myself and ask, ‘Where’s the blame here?’” Another key survey finding shows that cheating with cellphones has increased 4 percent since 2015, the last year the policy prohibiting cellphone use in classrooms was in place. Science teacher Mark Glaeser sees a correlation between cellphone use in classrooms and academic performance but recognizes that preventing students from using their phones during the day remains difficult. “It’s proven that in schools that take cellphones away, students do better academically,” Glaeser said. “But when we said no cellphones between 7:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., it was a battle. When we said ‘you can have them in cafeteria,’ that just proliferated into the hallways. When we said ‘you can have them in the hallways,’ well, now it’s 24/7.” English department chairman Jason Bowman explained that teachers can only do so much to prevent students from using cellphones. “Students use their phone to look things up ahead of time, like on Spark Notes,” Bowman said. “For me, I don’t have a ton of resources to catch them. I’m not the CIA, so I have to teach to the students that are righteous and take the moral high ground.” But Dean notes that the change in cellphone policy main-

ly affects those who make the voluntary decision to use their phone during class. “I think kids in this building are old enough and smart enough to understand when they can use their phone and when they can’t,” she said. Survey results revealed that for the third year in a row, cheating persists most frequently in math, science and foreign language classes. “A lot of people struggle with math, and it’s not like you can easily copy someone’s entire English essay,” sophomore Anna Boland said. “But it’s pretty easy to copy someone’s math homework.” Snow agrees, adding that students are more likely to cheat in subjects like math and science because they involve problem solving, which is more difficult than memorization for classes such as history. Out of all grade levels, seniors have cheated the most this year (76 percent), followed by juniors (71 percent), freshman (70 percent) and sophomores (66 percent). This doesn’t surprise administrators and students. Dean said she understands that ‘senioritis’ tends to be a dominant reason behind cheating. “I think most seniors reach a point where they’ve had

“I don’t think there’s ever an excuse for cheating because that’s your character.” enough and just don’t take school quite as seriously,” Dean said. Senior Hannah Bostwick agrees, but notes that cheating is often related to the commitment of their teachers. “For teachers who don’t care, or assign busy work or fail to properly teach because they expect us as seniors to know something, it’s hard not to reciprocate the minimal effort they’re putting forth,” she said. As the school-wide problem of cheating persists, staff members continue to search for viable options to curb academic dishonesty. For Bressler, that solution is to remove cellphones entirely. “We shouldn’t have cellphones in the classroom at all.

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graph by tirzah khan THIS INFORMATION was gathered in an anonymous paper-and-pen survey in standard, honors, Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement English classes Jan. 18-20.

I’m less concerned about the academics as I am about the mental health,” Bressler said. “They’ve become too addicting for students.” As for reducing cheating rates, principal Sam Wynkoop thinks that the first step is analyzomg why students cheat and then working to motivate the students. “Are they cheating out of necessity? Are they cheating out of laziness?” Wynkoop said. “If it’s necessity, then we need to look at the instructional program. If it’s out of laziness, then we need to encourage and help them to prepare.” Science teacher George Mathew provides his students with different test forms. He also tries a different approach, hoping to encourage students to make morally conscious decisions. “I tell students all the time, if you’re going to cheat in school, and you design a bridge later in life, make sure your name is on it so I know not to drive over it,” he said. “Because I don’t want to drive on something from someone that cheated their way through engineering school. I won’t trust that bridge.” Editors-in-Chief Sophie Bates, Meera Rothman and Amanda Musolf, and staff writers Alan Zhang, Andrew Vuong, Olivia Summons, Quinn McCabe and Claire Vecchioni contributed to this report.

the griffin

4 opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor, While this is in response to the editorial “Does Trump victory forebode havoc?” I want to be as clear as possible: this is not arguing for Trump. The facts show that he is a racist and a misogynist and not fit to lead the country, and speaking out against him through writing and protests is how this country was designed to express its distrust in the government. The editorial, however, shows the same ignorance it claims to be fighting. This letter is simply a call for greater empathy in our society. While you do suggest that it was possibly Trump’s personality that blinded voters to his glaring issues, you make your opinion clear that you’re “disgusted” with “uneducated white America” for “exploiting the luxury” to vote for someone like Trump. Because you state that it was “specifically uneducated white America” at fault, I will focus my rebuttal on uneducated white America and ask you to place yourself in their shoes. Uneducated whites have had their voices pushed to the side in our political system and a prejudice has built up in America against uneducated people. This gave them the necessity, not the “luxury,” to turn to someone who expressed empathy for them, and Trump’s focus on the white working class made them believe he was the only one to help them. Clinton’s lack of focus on the working class resulted in loss in territories Obama won in 2012 such as Iowa, New England, and areas in the Midwest. In the eyes of uneducated white America, Trump was the lesser of the two evils because he identified with them. While arguing this, I want to continually stress that I’m not arguing that Trump’s views are even remotely decent. The reason he won was because of a mixture of his focus on the working class and Clinton’s lack thereof. Regardless, the fact that it was Trump and Clinton that won the primaries alone is the perfect demonstration for my belief that we need more empathy in America. Both parties turned to extreme candidates out of America’s growing divide. A lack of moderates in the government and increasing hostility in disputes has led to a shift towards ends of the political spectrum for both parties, which is devastatingly unhealthy for both liberals and conservatives, and by extension, the country as a whole. This election wasn’t just white America trying to “shake it up at others’ expense” as you put it, but the nation as a whole trying to “shake it up.” Look to Bernie Sanders. His popularity with millennials shows a want for change in the government, and no matter who was elected the shake up would always be at someone’s expense. While I do fear for the future with Trump as President, it is our duty to recognize that people with different experiences and different lives will always have different opinions than us and their point of view is just as right and true to them as ours is to us. Instead of ignoring and ostracizing people from our political system we need to remain consciences that we don’t pin the blame on any one group, allowing us to focus more on moving the country forward together as a unified nation with a moderate disposition. - Michael Zimmerman, 12

February 17, 2017

Closing race gap in advanced classes


maria eberhart, staff writer tep into any Advanced Placement class, and you will find commonalities: a rigorous course load, challenging assignments and a blatant lack of black and Latino students—a lack that promotes an evergrowing racial gap in higher level classes, prevailing despite the efforts of educators nationwide. Guidance reported that black and Latino students make up 26 percent of our school’s total enrollment. But last year, only 12 percent of black or Latino students took an AP test. This percentage gap is consistent with the national struggle to register more minority students for AP classes. According to the College Board, black and Latino students made up 34 percent of high school graduates in 2015, and only 24 percent of AP test-takers. This opportunity gap emphasizes the well-documented pattern of black and Latino students lagging behind white and Asian students. The cost of this gap is huge for minorities: they’re less likely to graduate, less likely to attend college and more likely to be pushed to the margins of American life.

Although the task may seem daunting, teachers and administrators must focus on reducing this gap and guarantee all students, regardless of race, an equal opportunity to participate in rigorous study that leads to college. The good news is, as a nation, we have already embraced a college-and-career ready agenda. As states continuously implement these standards, there are measures districts and high schools can take to close the gap. Some argue the racial gap is difficult to combat without a supportive home environment that encourages enrollment in advanced courses. A 2012 study reaffirms this concern, revealing that parents are more influential than schools in determining academic success. Nevertheless, schools can strengthen parental engagement in the home when students register for classes. Guidance counselors and administrators must begin by educating parents of minority students about the importance of AP classes for their child’s educational development. Teachers must focus on building better relationships with black and Latino students and developing their knowl-

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edge of teaching a diverse classroom. Teachers should not adopt a colorblind attitude. Rather, they should embrace the differences among their students. It is vital that Honors and Standard classes are taught as stepping stones to AP courses, emphasizing note- and test-taking abilities. Administrators must encourage teachers to register more minority students for advanced classes and continue to mentor them after enrollment. Our education system supposedly values equal opportunity, yet there are deep inequities within our system that thoroughly stack the odds against minority students. Blacks and Latinos are continuously falling through the cracks in our education system and educators must help catch them.

Phones: students’ take versus teachers’


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the griffin

Still seeking formula to terminate cheating


fter six years of annual cheating surveys, it seems far too many students toss morals aside and do whatever they must to get a high grade. Even in this age of mastery grading—complete with retests—79 percent of students surveyed said cheating has helped them get a better grade. Last year that figure was 67 percent. The survey shows that 60 percent of students overall say mastery grading has not affected cheating trends, while 21 percent believe the policy has made cheating easier. Whether intended or not, the perception that tests matter most persists. Over the last three surveys, an average of 51 percent of students who

Dulaney High School, 255 E. Padonia Rd. Timonium, MD 21093 (410) 887-7633 Student population: 1,851 Staff population: 150 The Griffin prints 1,500 to 2,000 copies of each edition. These are distributed during homeroom on the fourth Friday of October, November, December, February, March, April and May. Extras may be found in the library or room 115. A Columbia Scholastic Press Association member The Griffin’s mission is to enlighten and entertain. December 16, 2016 Volume 56, Issue 4

have cheated admit to looking at classmate’s work while testing. To students, yes, grades matter, but obtaining them dishonestly is immoral. Show some integrity. If your conscience holds no sway, take heart in the new grading policy. Some failure is forgiven in redoing assignments. Use failure productively, as a tool to identify skill and knowledge deficits. To teachers, thank you to those striving to adopt the principles of the admittedly unclear mastery grading policy. And know that we hope the school system and administration will offer you more specific guidelines after this pilot year. We also ask that you guard against cheating during class. Separating desks into rows may sound old

editors-in-chief sophie bates, julie chotivatanapong, doria diacogiannis, meher hans, grace knotts, amanda musolf, meera rothman managing editors tirzah khan, emma walz deputy editors randhika aturaliya, jason fontelieu sports editors patrick fitzgerald, daniel krugman associate editors hanna bewley, matt ellis, drew persinger, grace schneider adviser maria hiaasen

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school, but with so many confessing to wandering eyes, such a move seems wise. So too does stressing the value of academic integrity and resisting the tendency to look the other way rather than investigate a suspected cheater. Lastly, it’s time for students, teachers and administrators to confront the reality of cell phones. About half of students said they cheated with a cell phone during class in 2014 and 2015. Under our more lenient cell phone policy permitting phones almost all the time that percentage has ticked toward 60 percent and has done so for two consecutive years. We certainly could debate what to do about this. We say, let the discussion begin.

The Griffin welcomes story ideas, commentaries and letters to the editor. These may be brought to room 115, placed in Maria Hiaasen’s mailbox in the office or emailed to dulaneygriffin@ All submissions are subject to editing and must be signed. The Griffin Editorial Board makes all final decisions regarding content. The staff editorial reflects the thoughts of the Griffin staff, but all other opinon pieces reflect individuals’ views, not the paper’s. Interested in advertising in The Griffin or purchasing any photos seen in this issue? Use the same contact information.

5 opinion

the griffin

February 17, 2017

Fake news poses real threat T

patrick dochat, staff writer he Trump administration seems to disdain legitimate facts. This was most notably on display when counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway defended Trump spokesman Sean Spicer’s overestimate of the inauguration crowd size as “alternative facts.” But it didn’t start there. There is a problem if your president builds his campaign and presidential strategies based on fake statistics and facts. It is a threat to national security and our democracy. Anything that is negative about Trump is immediately dismissed by his administration as fake news, or lies, from the corrupt media. So instead of fixing himself and straightening out his campaign, in order to hear positive things about himself he turned to the fake news. I don’t know whether Trump actually knows what he reads is fake or if he truly believes it, but he sure likes to talk about what he reads and hears on the internet. Craig Silverman, a journalist and editor for Buzzfeed, spoke with Terry Gross from NPR about his findings related to fake news in political campaigning. “In late December, fake news being viewed, shared or liked, had surpassed the numbers of actual news from some of the biggest news outlets around,” Silverman said. His analysis clearly demonstrated that the most popular fake stories were those that were either pro-Trump or anti-Hillary which explains the rumors and lies about the Clinton Foundation and Pizza Gate. Maybe it’s not unbelievable that there

is a battle between fact and fiction on the internet. But it is crazy that the creators of the websites that spread the fake news are from all over the world. From just one city in the tiny Balkan country Macedonia, there are more than 100 websites that are influencing our political views by disseminating fake news, NPR reports. These websites have deceptive American-sounding names that are easy to mistake for real websites, like “US Daily News 24” and “DC Gazzette.” But that’s not all.


becomes a problem. Although Trump doesn’t have complete control over global warming, he has the power to appoint the people who do, one of whom is Myron Ebell, who has a history of opposing efforts

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The fake news situation reminds me of George Orwell’s “1984,” in which the dystopian, authoritarian government known as Big Brother, benefited from the widespread ignorance and impressionability of the general public. The novel’s iconic government chant, “Ignorance is strength,” credits the public’s lack of awareness to the government’s increasing power. As the line between real and fake news continually blurs to the point of indistinguishability, ignorance escalates, creating a breeding ground for govern-

ment scandal. Given the current administration’s inexcusable affinity for dismissing real news and covering lies as “alternative facts,” it’ imperative that the public becomes vigilant in its distrust of questionable news sources—even on their own Facebook feeds. Let’s also not confuse manufactured news organizations’ unbelievable feeds with reported information from professional news outlets, such as CNN. Translation: understand that the president uses the moniker fake news to label coverage he finds unflattering. As alluring and self-affirming as fake news can be, it’s dangerously misleading. That and the fact that it’s not going away any time soon means we all need to be sure we can tell fact from fiction. Facebook has faced a huge outbreak of fake news. The spreaders buy and create accounts where they can attach links to their websites. According to NPR, they have shared fake news stories in Pro-Trump group pages. This method, and other tactics of fake news writers, are curated to target thousands of people at once. I don’t believe that Facebook can do much about this problem, but since the company is taking the blame, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has been developing technology in order to help the nearly 2 billion users to identify fake news. According to the New York Times, Zuckerberg’s algorithm will flag fake news articles and limit links to other fake news stories. I’ve even seen some of my friends share some sketchy news stories. This isn’t just a problem for politicians, it affects us all.

Planet could suffer under Trump claire vecchioni, staff writer itting cross-legged in my lifeguard chair, I attempted to stay hydrated by forcing down my third bottle of water. My fifth hour of prolonged sun exposure approached as I baked in the 113-degree heat Aug. 13, the hottest day of the year. Not only was 2016 the hottest year ever, it was the first time in the modern era that temperatures have exceeded the previous record three years in a row, according to The New York Times. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration refuses to write off this pattern of increasing temperatures as a phenomenon. In fact, they concluded that it’s an indicator of large, irreversible changes. All around me I hear about climate change, whether it’s from CNN or my environmental science teacher. Yet, the one person I really want to hear about it from is our president. I used to think that it didn’t matter what the president believed when it comes to environmental issues, and that the private organizations and treaties would handle it. When the president denies the existence of global warming, however, it

art by jane peterson

to fight climate change, even accusing scientists of “manipulating and falsifying data.” Trump has been in office for a month and has already angered scientists. His administration put a “bar” on EPA communications, preventing them from

posting on social media, providing information to reporters or awarding new contacts or grants. It may be within the administration’s power to do this, but after removing climate change information from the White House’s website, filtering the EPA’s website and instituting this bar, it seems to me as if they are trying very hard to keep scientifically proven facts from the public. Scientists are outraged and concerned over this news, worried that their hard work will have been for nothing if it cannot be shared with the public. Hundreds of scientists and 50,000 volunteers have joined together to plan the March for Science in Washington, D.C. Apr. 22, aka Earth Day, according to the official website. As citizens and scientists alike are coming together in order to stand up against the administration’s attempts to oppress the EPA, it’s becoming evident to me that being informed on climate change is more important now than ever before. It is our duty as responsible U.S. citizens to enlighten ourselves and others on the scientific facts the administration wants so badly to keep hidden from us.

Mishap mandates prudence on social media


hayden cohee, staff writer t all arose from boredom. During their regional gathering last month, Model UN delegates, -- who grew weary of watching dozens of competitors in Hershey Lodge conference rooms – began to complain through the anonymous social media app Yik Yak. But the second night of the conference someone went too far. Around 12:30 p.m., Jan. 7, all committees were put on lock-down. After rumors spread, we were notified that a delegate had made a gun threat on Yik Yak. The head of the program told all 2,000 of us that local, state and federal police

were notified. In one hour and 38 minutes they found the alleged perpetrator, and in three minutes, he was in handcuffs, adult organizers said. Despite this student’s impetuous move, I couldn’t help but feel empathy. What he did was incredibly stupid, but I doubt he was seriously going to shoot up the conference. He reportedly made a flippant post to that effect, and I suspect it was to gain a brief moment of satisfaction, to make a few people laugh. He failed to realize the post could be traced to him. According to Common Sense Media, 75 percent of American teenagers have

profiles on social networking sites. . We have access to more information, social connections and technical tools than any other generation. But user, beware. The New York Times reported in 2013 that 31 percent of college admissions officers answering a Kaplan Test Prep phone survey reported visiting social media pages of applicants. The Times reported that 30 percent spotted items that harmed those students’ chance of admission. The Times noted that plenty of colleges don’t do this routinely. Still, the Model UN incident makes one thing clear – digital footprints matter.

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on the better side of average

Nevertheless, these women persisted


tirzah khan, managing editor sk your teacher. Ask your mail carrier. Ask your boss. Chances are, even if they don’t say it in as many words, this scenario was familiar to them: Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plight Feb. 8 as she read Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter detailing the anti-black rulings of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Midway through the letter, every single Republican senator voted to silence her for the rest of the debate. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Here are six women who refused to be silenced: 1 & 2. ROSA PARKS AND CLAUDETTE COLVIN: You know the former but maybe not the latter. Parks famously boycotted the segregation of buses in the 50s, refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. But nine months before Parks’ boycott, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin did the same thing. The NAACP decided to raise Rosa Parks as an icon instead because they thought the actions of Colvin, a dark-skinned teen mom, would not be as wellreceived by the public. 3. MALALA YOUSAFZAI: An activist for girls’ education in Pakistan, Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban at 15. Rather than be deterred, she used the new platform to raise awareness for girls’ education around the world. She also rejected the one-dimensional narrative that the West imposed on her by boldly telling then-President Barack Obama to stop his drone strikes in Pakistan. Raised hands emoji.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” 4. ANITA SARKEESIAN: Sarkeesian is the founder of Feminist Frequency, a website that criticizes the portrayal of women in pop culture. She was targeted in Gamergate, a 2014 controversy in which women in gaming faced severe harassment and chilling death threats—one attacker made a game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian. Yeah. “Oh my God” is right. But Sarkeesian wasn’t daunted: she used the publicity to bring the issue of misogyny in gaming to attention. She’s now broadened her scope to include the erasure of women in history, and her success is on the rise. 5. LINDA SARSOUR: If you’re a fan of the recent Women’s March on Washington, send a nice tweet to co-founder Sarsour—she could probably use one these days! As a Muslim-American hijab-wearing woman, she’s a victim of hatred from both sides. She’s criticized by liberals doubting her feminist qualifications because she sports the “oppressive veil” (okay, fam). And conservatives have long labelled her and other Muslim civil rights leaders as terrorists. Nevertheless, she continues to be a bold force for progressive socio-political causes: climate change and racial equality, among other things. 6. CECILE RICHARDS: Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood, under fire recently because of the rising anti-abortion movement. Widespread Republican demonization of the organization has led to Richards being called a monster, a murderer, and a Nazi. When she first became Planned Parenthood’s leader, Jim Sedlak, president of the American Life League, predicted that she wouldn’t last a year in her role. Ten years later, she’s still there and going strong in a sea of violent hatred. Unless we make changes to the way women are treated, we will always have to persist—and you bet we will if we must, because that’s what we do. Sources: NPR, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, The American Prospect

the griffin

6 sports




February 17, 2017

Multi-talented teammates lea

Determined to succeed will boeller, staff writer asketball was never her priority, but over the course of two seasons, junior forward Cori Levy has worked hard to make it one. Despite it being her secondary sport, Levy was determined to make varsity. Levy trained intensively in the offseason by joining the spring Bigger Faster photo by sophie bates Stronger (BFS) program as well CORI LEVY as playing soccer in the fall. Levy was rewarded for her training, as she has gone from being a reserve on junior varsity last year to a starter on a varsity team with a 9-11 record at press time. “My biggest improvement from last year is getting in better shape,” Levy said. “It’s really putting an impact on my playing time.” Levy’s improvements this season have not gone unnoticed by her teammates. “She’s become more and HEALTHY HABITS more aggressive and confident when going to the basket or taking shots inside the 1) Does BFS in key,” sophomore guard Mae Dickens said, “She is always off season pushing herself and encour2) Plays soccer aging everyone around her.” 3) Stays off the Coaches too have taken notice of Levy’s new level of couch play. “She has adjusted to the pace of the game well. She works hard each day and is very coachable and willing to modify her game to succeed at the varsity level,” head coach Jessica Szymanski said. Levy wants to prove she can be her best and benefit her team any way possible. She hit a game-winning shot in a 54-51 victory against Western Tech Dec. 16. “I plan on helping my team succeed this year by never hanging my head down when we’re down and trying to get as many assists I can,” she said.



Spectator turned star

brian ellis, staff writer t didn’t take much for sophomore Jenna Isaacson to find her passion in basketball. “Watching my friends play and seeing the game made me want to try it, I did, and basically I fell in love with it,” Isaacson said. Isaacson is a scoring threat, averaging 10 points per game for the junior varsity team photo by sophie bates as point guard. According to JENNA ISAACSON teammates, Isaacson’s intensity helps her succeed on both sides of the ball. “She is always moving around. She brings a lot of energy to the team on the court,” sophomore guard Gabby McKnight said. Isaacson recalled a time where she helped out one of her teammates as an example of her leadership. “We were at Catonsville High School and in the first quarter about two minutes into the game, she was trying to block a shot and this girl into her and her shoulder HEALTHY HABITS ran popped out,” Isaacson said. So I ran over to her, helped her up and then brought her 1) Exercises the bench and then walked 2) Eats fruits and to with her to keep getting ice.” vegetables According to head coach 3) Avoids greasy Lori Ryan, Isaacson has responded well to the challengfoods es of the point guard position. “It requires being able to handle the ball and being able to initiate the offense each time down the court,” Ryan said. ”She also has quick reflexes and anticipates well, which allows her to help on the defensive end of the court by getting steals and starting the fast break.” In addition to basketball, Isaacson plays softball, but her true passion is basketball. The team’s record for the season stood at 9-4 as of press time. Ryan said Isaacson’s presence on the court has helped the team play at a high level.


photo from sierra prior Above: JUNIORS LIAM SNOW AND JACOB PLINER ward off Arundel defenders as they carry the puck into the offensive zone during a regular season game Jan. 13. The team went to win the game 5-2 and has qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.

Despite new tech, concussions remain, leave lasting impacts


a lot harder to focus.” patrick fitzgerald, sports editor Brown said he goes to Kennedy Kriegenior Lauren DeGori has no recollection of the basketball play that er Institute monthly to have an electrocardiogram and do exercises involving changed her life. “I don’t even remember it other than balance and reaction time. The progress has been limited, Brown the fact that I got a rebound, then saw stars. I just remember that I woke up in said, and doctors don’t think he will ever fully recover. the hospital,” she said. Senior Leah Mexis suffered a concusThe injury was DeGori’s third concussion, sustained in an eighth-grade bas- sion last May in an offseason basketball ketball game playing for Cockeysville game when she tried to take a charge. According to Mexis, she missed about Middle School. three weeks In an attempt of school after to get rid of the blacking out in headaches, Declass the day afGori had nerve ter her injury. decompression Mexis is back surgery after playing on the her freshman girls varsity year. The sursquad this seagery was largely son, but the imunsuccessful, pacts remain. she said, and “It makes me she gave up the photo from lynn krugman scared somegame after her Above: SENIOR TYLER BROWN dives for a save during a 2015 varsity sophomore sea- boys soccer game. Brown has suffered seven concussions and times to be rehas had to stop playing soccer as a result. ally aggressive son. because I don’t Even after want to get anstopping, DeGori said she felt the impact of her in- other one,” she said. Last year, six football players here got jury, and blurred vision caused by too much spinal fluid around her optic concussions. This year, there were four, nerves led to a second surgery to drain Read said. Helmet manufacturers have improved the fluid. According to athletic trainer Bryan the safety of their products. According Read, there have been six concussions so to a study by the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Scifar this school ence published on the school’s website, year. Last year, the safest helmet on the market is the there were 15. Schutt Air XP Pro VTD II, which costs Senior Tyler about $200. Brown, a forHead varsity football coach Daron mer soccer Reid is encouraged but realistic about goalie, was the prospects of the technology coming held out of here. the sport after photo by patrick fitzgerald “I think it’s great for the sport. The a shot to the LAUREN DEGORI downside is that we can’t afford it behead resulted in his seventh concussion. The injuries cause it’s so expensive,” Reid said. Reid noted that only 50 kids tried continue to affect Brown’s everyday life. “Some of my buddies told me they out for both football teams this season noticed my mood change,” he said. “I as compared to 80 the past three years. always have a headache, so in school it’s Though he doesn’t believe that concusFind us at

sions are the main reason for this dip in numbers, Reid has made an effort to improve safety at practices. “We don’t tackle as much we would in the past,” he said. “In the summer time we do more hitting, more live stuff so we get acclimated to tackling, but as the season rolls around we try to keep their body fresh.” The team is looking into purchasing Guardian Caps for the upcoming season. The caps, which cost about $60, go on top of helmets and absorb impact from collisions, Reid said. Despite the risk, Brown chose to keep playing. “In the end, it’s up to the athlete,” he said. Editor-in-chief Sophie Bates and staff writer Hyunsung Ko contributed to this report.

Does gameday dress impact play?

photo by perry harrington

photo by hanna bewley


For more details, see staff writers Bryce Frederick’s and Hyunsung Ko’s feature on our website.

ad Lions hockey to playoffs sophie bates, editor-in-chief and kevin zorbach, staff writer unior center Jacob Pliner slings the puck around the net as junior wingman Liam Snow glides across the ice into the circle, ready to score. Snow hits the puck, shoots and scores. This wasn’t the first time the duo provided an assist and goal for the record book of the Lions’ club ice hockey team. During this season—the team’s first in its eight-year history qualifying for the state playoffs—Snow racked up nine goals and two assists while Pliner amassed seven goals and seven assists. Such performances also helped power the team to the second round of the unrelated Eastern Conference playoffs. The Lions beat Arundel 7-1 in round one Feb. 6. “Everybody showed up,” Pliner said afterward. “It was pure domination.” The team lost to Broadneck 1 to 5 in the second round Feb. 8. Snow and Pliner each managed an assist. As the team headed to the state playoffs at press time, Snow and Pliner counted their experience as an asset. Each has been playing hockey since age 7. “Hockey’s one of those sports you can’t just pick up, so by the age of 14 skating has to be engrained in your mind like walking,” Pliner said. Pliner plays for the Team Maryland Youth Hockey League, which hosts practice two to three times a week, while Snow has been named in the All Star Eastern Conference second team,


which is the first time a player from here has had the honor. Assistant coach Andy Gray notes that Snow’s ethic and demeanor as a player and person led him to be the pick for the team. “Liam always tried hard to do whatever his coaches asked of him. His strong skill set, hard work and cheerful demeanor made him an easy pick for the All-Conference Team,” Gray said. But hockey isn’t all these players are known for. Snow, who began piano lessons at age 6 and continues them today, impresses friends like junior Sepehr Akhtarkhavari when he plays. “I have seen him play on numerous occasions and it’s honestly beautiful,” Akhtarkhavari said. “He can just go and keep playing, sitting there with no sheet music, no nothing, it’s amazing.” While he plays his share of Mozart (the photo from sierra prior most difficult piece he plays is “Sonata Above: JUNIOR LIAM SNOW eyes the puck after a faceoff during the Jan. 13 away game against Arundel. Snow is Facile”) Snow said he also enjoys popu- second on the team in goals with 9 on the season. lar tunes. On the ice for the Lions, Pliner said he’s “I have more fun playing songs like ‘Careless Whisper,’ Snow said. “I fell in a natural communicator, but he relies love with the song ever since I saw the on hand signals –not Russian. These are movie ‘Deadpool’ and have been over- especially helpful during a penalty kill when a player behind may not have clear playing it ever since.” Pliner, on the other hand, is known for sight lines, Pliner said. Still, on his club team, he and a Russian his bilingualism. He demurred in Advanced Placement English 11 when seat- friend enjoy talking to each other in Rusmate Kirsten Roys labeled it a superpow- sian, he said, and he has noticed that it er, but he wrote a narrative essay for the affects opponents. “They’re intimidated, and at the same PTSA Reflections Contest this year detailing his initial struggles of being bilingual time they’re confused,” he said. in elementary school.

SOPHOMORE MATT O’CONNOR prepares to hurl a bowling ball at the Allied Bowling team’s match against Woodlawn and Catonsville at the Timonium AMF Jan. 25. At press time, the team (6-3) of 13 bowlers and 24 peer assistants was scheduled to attend the county championship match Feb. 15 at the Woodlawn AMF, where 20 teams will compete for the Western Conference County Championship Plaque. “It’s like a party every time we go to the lanes,” head coach Anita Shaw said. “Every athlete can be so successful and fully participate in and enjoy the sport.” The team’s top bowlers as of press time were O’Connor, sophomore Chase Douglass and sophomore Rebecca Custer. O’Connor averages 89 pins per game, Douglass averages 82 and Custer averages 81.

Changing culture of male athletes’ locker rooms upper 90


daniel krugman, sports editor n my sports locker rooms, we talk about the Friday night basketball game or plans for the weekend. We blast music over the speakers while griping about a math test the next day. And, of course, we talk about our relationships and the females in our lives. So when the Harvard University soccer team gets caught with a sexually explicit “scouting report” ranking their female counterparts and high school recruits on their looks and ability to perform sexual acts, it is clear that not every locker room is like mine. Such disrespectful “locker room talk” and misogyny are clearly intolerable. “It would be naïve to assume that the


the griffin

February 17, 2017

soccer team’s reports are an isolated instance of misogyny,” New Yorker Magazine columnist Phyllis Thompson wrote in her article responding to the case at Harvard. The Princeton University swimming and diving team, Washington University in St. Louis soccer team, Amherst College cross country team and Columbia University wrestling teams were each suspended within one month of the Harvard scandal, according to reports. Such scandals – while rare—have damaged athletes’ and athletic departments’ reputations. The number of such incidents may be low, but their impact on public opinion has been great. That’s why we need to ensure that the culture I’ve seen in high school locker rooms permeates college locker rooms. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Assault Survey on the One Love Foundation’s website, a third of all women and a fourth of all men have experienced sexual assault, abuse or a violent relationship while almost half of both groups report it between the ages of 18 and 24. With these statistics showing the peak

of sexual disrespect and abuse at college age, the solution must begin in high school, starting freshman year when maturity and independence are first developing. The One Love Foundation, which was introduced here two years ago, has become a vital resource for athletes and students at 896 high school and college campuses across the nation. After having success last spring with the “escalation workshop” on abuse for juniors and seniors, the club raised $900 for the foundation and is now beginning a campaigned focused on educating men, according to club sponsor and assistant principal Connie Dean. Critics call for punishment as a key strategy for halting egregious sexist behavior such as that exhibited at Harvard. But, I fear that keeping teams from doing what they love to do could create more problems. Athletes come to these schools to play sports. Being banned could lead to restlessness or even retribution at universities. Rather than castigate, let’s educate. Then, perhaps, we can make leaders of these misguided young men.

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Senior’s drive energizes

giorgio gayleard, staff writer fter learning to play basketball with his dad at age 3, senior guard Cole Harshman has been in love with the game his whole life. Harshman’s attitude toward the game as well as his motivation and drive seems to be what puts him above the rest, teammates said. “What I have seen is that he photo by sophie bates COLE HARSHMAN works really hard and is laserfocused,” sophomore guard Cameron Amoruso said. Harshman is chipping away at his season goal to improve from last year. He scored 31 points and had 15 rebounds Jan. 4 against Perry Hall, the top-ranked public school in the county according to the Baltimore Sun. Harshman’s team goals for the season include winning a county championship and making a run in the 4A state playoffs. As of press time, the team’s record stands at 14-6 HEALTHY HABITS overall and 11-3 in the county. After high school, Harsh1) Stays hydrated man hopes to play in college. 2) Goes to the “Right now, my main fogym after prac- cus is winning a state and county championship here. tice I can’t get too ahead of my3) Eats Subway self thinking about college already,” he said. before a game Harshman’s experience allows him to lead the squad. “He being a senior on the team really motivates everyone to follow his lead. Every time someone makes a mistake, he will give them advice on how to fix it or do it better. He wants everyone around him to succeed,” Amoruso said. Teammates and coaches praised Harshman’s drive and work ethic. “He’s kind of the motor that gets our team going, diving on the floor for loose balls, taking charges,” varsity head coach Matt Lochte said. When asked what professional player he was most similar to, Harshman said “I don’t compare myself to anyone. I’m just me.”



Freshman breaks barriers

brian mccullough, staff writer he five-minute mile is the first battle up-and-coming distance runners must face. For freshman Cooper Giesler, the accomplishment was achieved rather quickly. Giesler achieved the milsetone at the Freshman-Sophomore county championship indoor track meet Jan. 26 at the Baltimore Armory, where photo by sophie bates he won the mile with a time COOPER GIESLER of 4:57, setting a new record for the junior varsity team. Giesler also placed third in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:19. “I felt pretty nervous on the line because it was my first county meet,” Giesler said. But this nervous energy soon translated to critical success when Giesler won the race, overcoming his teammate sophomore Alex Whatley in a battle that head coach Chad Boyle knew would come down to the final three laps. Boyle commended Giesler for his record-breaking potential. HEALTHY HABITS “On his current trajectory, he has the potential to run 4:40 as a freshman. 1) Goes to bed by under Very few have been able to 10 p.m. achieve that feat in my time 2) Eats protein in at Dulaney since 1998,” Boyle said. the morning Giesler has been training 3) Limits sugar alongside freshman Ethan Samels this season. This duo has been running together since eighth grade and are friends on and off the track. “We just kind of push each other to get faster every day,” Samels said. Boyle sees potential in Giesler, hoping for him to get his mile time under 4:30 by the end of his high school career. “It’s what every runner should aspire to. Once you break five, it gives you confidence and you run even faster the next time you race,” Boyle said.


8 features

the griffin

Counselor channels positivity through sartorial selections

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR Daniel Skelton sports a sweater, khakis and tie each from Banana Republic along with a dress shirt from Express Jan. 27.

fashion forward photo by sophie bates

Between coaching the Boys Varsity Soccer team, Baltimore Armor teams and chasing after his three kids, counselor Daniel Skelton still finds time to dress with style. Staff writer Emily Levitt sat down with Skelton to discuss his clothing inspiration and typical look. Q: What is your favorite thing to wear? A: For work, I typically shop at Banana Republic, Express or J. Crew. I do a typical button-up-tie-and-sweater kind of deal. When I coach for soccer, I wear a lot of Under Armor clothing typically because I like the way it fits.

Department rallies to reverse reading rate decline S anna mason and annabel park, staff writers ophomore Shannon Tragesar has read more this year than ever before. “I’ve read five books and last year I read none, besides the books we were forced to read,” she said. Her change in habits is because of a new program encouraging English teachers to leave 10 minutes of class for free reading. Tragesar has already noticed benefits. “I read faster, which makes my homework go by quicker,” she said. English department Chairman Jason Bowman said the program stemmed from students reading below their grade level and underperforming on standardized assignments. “The idea was that if they read one or two or three books throughout the year, that would be an improvement,” Bowman said. English teacher Alicia Drechsler is one of the teachers who has implemented the program. “A lot of kids have told me ‘Oh I haven’t read a book in a while, this is nice’ or ‘I used to read a lot, I just haven’t had the chance to read,’” she said. Drechsler has compiled a library of books in her class, many of which she has obtained from donations and from the website “I’ve seen more kids getting books from me than

Q: Would you say that your fashion sense reflects your personality? A: I guess so, yes. I like to wear brighter colors and things that are vibrant because I like to think that I’m a pretty positive and outgoing person. Q: How have your kids impacted what you wear? A: I have to be a little more conscious especially with having young kids. My one-year-old son very easily gets food all over me so I have to be a little bit more careful. I may choose to wear something a little bit darker so that I can afford to get something on it. Q: Do you have any celebrities whose style influences you? A:There’s a lot of soccer players that I watch, and I think that my style reflects a lot of what the European soccer players wear.

February 17, 2017

photo by bella martin SOPHOMORE SHANNON TRAGESAR reads “Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch as Told by the Father/Son Team who Really Know” by Sherwood and Lloyd J. Schwartz in Alicia Drechsler’s 2B Honors 10 English class Feb. 14.

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the actual school library,” she said. The book club has also mobilized to promote more widespread reading. Junior Kirsten Roys, who joined the club her freshman year and again her junior year, said the club is choosing easier and more interesting books. “I think a good book has a likeable character who’s narrating, or it’s narrated from an interesting point of view,” Roys said. “One of my favorite books is ‘The Book Thief’ and that will be February’s book.” Junior Lindsay Docken, book club member, also enjoys reading in her free time. “Reading helps me experience a new world or escape reality,” Docken said. “I love anything by John Green, Cassandra Clare or Ally Carter.” But Docken noticed a trend among the required reading for English class. “Some of the books are good, like Shakespeare, which inspired a lot of other works,” she said. “But some of them can be thick or dull to read. Picking better books would definitely encourage reading.” The next book club meeting will be March 15 and will cover “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Regardless of the content or setting in which students read, Bowman reiterates the need for habitual reading. “Arguing about reading is like arguing against glaciers. There’s just no point arguing against it,” he said. “It’s something you need to do well at otherwise your life’s going to be more of a struggle.”

the griffin

February 17, 2017

9 features

Cancer survivors relay unique message sophie bates, editor-in-chief and emily williams, staff writer uniors Evelyn Jiang and Samira Vuchula have both faced the dreaded C word: cancer. Jiang was only 14 when she was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma. “When my parents first got the news, they almost fainted. They didn’t know how to deal with it,” Jiang said, recounting how she was in and out of the hospital. “I would go into the hospital for a week and get a lumbar puncture and fluid from my brain to make sure the cancer didn’t spread,” Jiang said. She hid her cancer and treatments from her friends. “I didn’t want them to see me as the girl with cancer,” Jiang said. “They were all busy with school and stuff, while I was busy with my treatment.” Vuchula was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 3. “It boggles my mind because at such a young age I understood the severity of the situation,” Vuchula said. After undergoing chemotherapy, both are now in remission and raising awareness for cancer as a part of Relay For Life. Jiang is the Survivorship Committee chairman and Vuchula is co-chairman. They cooperate to produce the kick-off event April 29, which includes finding survivors to speak and keeping the dinner upbeat, Vuchula said. The committee hopes to have at least 10 teams participate and raise more than they did last year, which was over $8,000. “The American Cancer Society is a non-profit, so all of the money


Right: STUDENTS PLAY a horseshoe-like game in the gym during last year’s Relay for Life April 16. As a fundraiser, groups brought their own games and charged for tickets to play. Below: RELAYERS COMPLETE another lap in the gym as part of last year’s fivehour event. Members from each fundraising team took turns walking laps at the event, which raised $8,000 last year.

photos from peter hong

Relay for Life: what you need to know DATE: April 29 TIME: 5 p.m. -10 p.m. WHERE: gym HOW TO REGISTER: ($10 fee) 1. Join or create a team or sign up independently. 2. Donations are not required but encouraged. 3. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. 4. If the $10,000 goal is reached, principal Sam Wynkoop has agreed to have his head shaved. photo from vuchula photo by sophie bates Left: JUNIOR SAMIRA VUCHULA displays a Relay for Life luminaria bag donated in her honor at last year’s event. Right: JUNIOR EVELYN JIANG, seen here in her 3A math class, said during her treatments for B-cell lymphoma, she had fluid removed via a puncture in her back to make sure her cancer didn’t spread.

source: club president Lauren Kuhr

directly goes to finding cures for cancer. Our goal is to get $10,000,” Vuchula said. “I think that’s an easily achievable goal.” Junior and Relay for Life chairwoman Kelly Pentz praises Jiang’s ambition in the club. “Her passion and her drive make other people more involved and she’s a really good part of our committee,” Pentz said. Both Jiang and Vuchula are planning to pursue medical careers. “I’m just trying to be a well rounded student so that I can be a doctor and save other kids,” Vuchula said, noting that she was inspired by her oncologist. Advanced Placement Psychology teacher Kendra Swam noticed Vuchula’s ability to be a “questioner” when the class discussed the show “Grey’s Anatomy.” “Very often she would ask whether something was accurate from the episode or inaccurate as far as our psych k n o w l edge,” Swam said. Despite the hardships they have gone through, the two have bounced back from cancer stronger. “I appreciate life a lot more and the people around me,” Jiang said. Vuchula agrees. “It’s given me a lot of strength, perseverance and determination that defines who I am,” she said. “You know when you’re going on a roller coaster and there’s that first really big hill where you’re like oh my god, oh my god, but then once you get down it, the whole ride is so much fun and you’re not afraid anymore? That’s how I feel about my life so far.”

“I didn’t want them to see me as the girl with cancer.”

post: manasseh nyirongo

Between succeeding in four Advanced Placement classes to fostering his interest in computer science, senior Manasseh Nyirongo is a go-getter. He sat down with staff writer Emily Levitt to discuss his future prospects in engineering and current entertainment favorites.

READING: I’m currently reading “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. It’s kind of weird seeing his thoughts. I also like “The Things They Carried.” It’s about a Vietnamese solider and how he was forced to go to war against his own will. He decided to fight in the war, and he learned a lot of lessons, which was really interesting. LISTENING: When it comes to music, I listen to everything. I’ll literally listen to the weirdest music ever. It just depends on how I’m feeling that day. I like the The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Roy Woods, Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley and Lucky Dube. WATCHING: “The Walking Dead” lost a lot of characters this year, but it’s getting really good. Daryl is my favorite character. He’s this cool motor cycle dude who’s kind of unethical. I also like how the characters all stay together, competing against other people for their survival even though the outcome isn’t as likely. ENGINEERING: I’m interested in electrical engineering and mixing it with architecture so I can start projects, like making better roads, especially in third world countries.

That’s something that I really want to do and get an early start on. I was raised in a third world country (Zambia), so if I could do something to make people’s lives easier then that would be pretty cool. DEFYING: I feel like there are a lot of causes behind (the lack of) minorities in Advanced Placement classes. For one thing, parental advocacy. It also has to do with personal motivation, like if families are struggling on the side, you can’t really give 100 percent of your focus to school. There’s also the role model factor. I mean now, it’s better than it was before but back then, you didn’t really have as many role models to look up to as a minority. But seeing more and more minorities these days make it – I feel like that looks better for photo by sophie bates the future.



photo by hanna bewley

SENIOR ARIANA GLADSTONE works on her concentration of “People and Their Environment” in her 3A Advanced Placement Digital Art class Feb. 13. “I chose my concentration because I wanted to explore different time periods,” Gladstone said, adding that this assignment contains images of disparate items such as a 1950s housewife and a girl on a picnic in solititude.


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10 features

Children’s flick tackles stereotypes, prejudice

Lighthearted film enchants



emma walz, managing editor he film “La La Land” opens with a stretch of colorful cars immobilized by traffic, prompting a spontaneous musical number. Brightly-colored shirts contrast with dull concrete on the highway as young men and women jump on top of their cars and sing about their hopes of “making it” as actors. After this peppy outbreak is over, the two main characters Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) meet for the first time as strangers: Sebastian honks at her and she gives him the middle finger. Directed by Damien Chazelle, this movie is equal parts musical and romance. Aspiring actress Mia frequents auditions without luck; jazz pianist Sebastian is having trouble finding work because of his reluctance to stray from the pure origins of jazz music. They bond over their balance of sunny optimism and pragmatism, and, despite their initial disdain, end up dating. The rest of the film involves the conflict faced when choosing between pursuing dreams or settling for the people you love. The movie derives its themes from the very real concerns of those struggling to chase their aspirations. Gosling and Stone have previously worked together as love interests in “Crazy Stupid Love,” and their easy chemistry is clearly visible on screen. Leads Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are nominated for best actress and actor. Stone plays an idealistic yet sensible struggling actress, and you can’t help but feel like there’s an autobiographical element. Gosling embraces his role as a love interest who exceeds in quirky dates and cheesy pick-up lines bound to make anyone swoon. I didn’t expect either of

February 17, 2017

photo reproduced by permission of Lionsgate

them to be able to sing, but their voices worked very well together. This film’s strongest feature was its soundtrack. Although “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” were nominated for best original score, my personal favorite number was “Someone in the Crowd,” where Mia finds hard to accept the reality that success in acting is all about social connections, not actual skill. Almost all of the critics I’ve heard have stated that they “just don’t like musicals.” So I’d like to make it clear: “La La Land” is a musical. It can be seen as paying homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood, drawing motifs and visuals from classics such as “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” Needless to say, when the lights went up, my mouth was touching the ground. The final scene was easily the most powerful, and I freely admit to being a nuisance in the theater and yelling at the screen in agitation. I wouldn’t be surprised if “La La Land” won the award for best picture, as well as those for its whopping 13 other nominations. As of press time, the film was still playing at the Hunt Valley Regal Cinemas. It is slated for digital release April 2017.


anna yan, staff writer bunny hops through a dark forest, eyes wide and innocent. She sniffs at a pool of water when a stalking cheetah suddenly pounces with a ferocious roar. Just before it gets gruesome, the scene cuts to a play where kindergarteners are enthusiastically reenacting the history of mammals before their civilization. In a universe where humans never existed, directors Bryon Howard and Rich Moore depict a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals. After the idealistic Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) breaks boundaries by becoming the first rabbit to join the police force, she is assigned to parking duty. Determined to prove herself, she jumps to solve a missing mammal case with the help of a sly fox (Jason Bateman). I admit, I initially did not have high expectations. From the trailer to the promotion art, everything screamed childish. Yet with the inclusion of mature jokes and references (such as a scene mirroring one from Breaking Bad), the reluctant, dragged-along older sibling will not be bored. It is obvious that the animators have spent hours painstakingly taking care of every detail. The transition is smooth and seamless—there’s no awkward motion despite the character’s quick movements. The movie’s only pitfall is its somewhat cliché plot. A country girl heads into the city, hoping to achieve her dreams. On the way, she meets a boy with a tragic past, and changes him for the better. Sound familiar? But I must applaud “Zootopia” for tackling real life issues. The prejudice that predators experience reflects the racism that minorities undergo every day. While the issue remains unresolved, the message is clear: don’t judge others by their external appearances. Overall, “Zootopia” is another win for Disney, earning a nomination and likely an Oscar for best animated picture. The animation’s relevance to current social issues will give it a strong chance for a win in its nominated category at the Oscars Feb. 26. “Zootopia” is available for streaming on Netflix. photo reproduced by permission of Disney

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the griffin

February 17, 2017

11 features

Powerful film fulfills hype E

photo reproduced by permission of A24

jason fontelieu, deputy editor very second of director Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” contributes to this gorgeous triptych, a haunting narrative about an African American male’s journey of selfdiscovery. The movie, one of the year’s most provocative films, denounces the stereotype of equating homosexuality with weakness. It centers on Chiron, an impoverished African-American male who faces the added challenge of being gay. Three actors portray Chiron – Alex Hibbert, as a child, Ashton Sanders, as a teenager, and Trevante Rhodes, as an adult. Each reveals his solemn solitude. My only problem with this role division was that no single actor got enough screen time to make a run for best actor. Actor Mahershala Ali stands out as Juan, a pragmatic, kind drug dealer, who takes young Chiron under his wing to protect him from bullies. Juan acts as a father figure to Chiron, treating him to luxuries he has never enjoyed, most poignantly a swim lesson in the aqua waters of Miami Beach. It’s a raw, dramatic and spiritual scene. The brief relationship between the two characters is a soft attack on the idea of toxic masculinity, which deems intimacy and imagination antithetical to manhood. Ali’s absence from the rest of the film feels like a deliberate hole taken out of Chiron’s life.

‘Manchester by the Sea’ gracefully portrays grief


maria eberhart, staff writer ake tissue, Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” paints a stark portrait of grief. But go anyway. Casey Affleck’s phenomenal performance will likely win him best actor and ranks among some of this year’s best.   A cinematic masterpiece, the film has garnered an Oscar nomination for best picture in its painstakingly intimate dissection of Lee Chandler’s period of prolonged despair. An exceptional performance by Affleck anchors the slow-pacing film. Affleck delivers a quietly brutal performance, embodying Lee almost to an alarming extent. We first meet Lee living a reclusive existence as a Boston handyman whose pain radiates through his weary face. We can sense him suppressing an all-consuming private misery through his every sluggish movement exhibited in his daily routine of unclogging toilets and shoveling snow.  The death of Lee’s beloved brother, Joe, summons him back to his seaside hometown of Manchester, Mass. Joe’s will designates Lee as the guardian of his nephew Patrick, played breakout star Lucas Hedges. Lonergan interjects a succession of flashbacks of happier times to unveil the source of Lee’s constant grief. Often a screenwriter’s crutch, the flashbacks are not seamlessly woven into the main drama, rather appearing abruptly as if bursting out of Lee’s memory, injecting life into the frequently overused film technique. Lee does not make a great comeback in the final scenes to rejoin the tight-knit community, ultimately failing to leave the baggage of his tragic past behind for a new life of guardianship. Some may consider this excessively bleak: movies should be about overcoming adversity and escaping the struggles of real life for a few hours, but what makes “Manchester by the Sea” such a compelling drama is its roots in reality. People don’t always overcome grief, they grow numb to it—Lonergan captures this with profound eloquence, and could easily snag him a win for best picture.     “Manchester by the Sea” is on Amazon video and iTunes and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 21. 

photo reproduced by permission of Amazon Studios


Best actress nominee Naomie Harris plays Chiron’s mother, a woman you can’t help but hate. Her tender moments with her son are fleeting glimpses of her soul but are tragically eclipsed by her demanding crack addiction. The way her mood changes so quickly from smiling to screaming captures the reality of a drug addict’s mercurial moods. She did her homework for this role. The New York Times reports that she watched YouTube videos of interviews with addicts in crack dens. The film’s technical aspects contribute monumentally. The cinematography centering on Ali’s character in the opening scene disorients the viewer and siphons the focus onto him. The score is perfect as well. The first number sets a 1970s vibe for the film’s initial time period. The soundtrack also includes melancholy jazz, rap, a touch of 1960s pop and a stately classical piece. Each sets the mood for the vicissitudes Chiron endures. True, the film dragged here and there, but in hindsight, I see every detail that was shared epitomized a deliberate effort to reveal Chiron’s evolving character. “Moonlight” has a strong shot at winning best supporting actor for Ali’s memorable performance and is perhaps one of, if not the only film able to give “La La Land” a run for its money for best picture.


Unsung heroes take spotlight


randhika aturaliya, deputy editor he 1960’s were a time of jamming rock and roll tunes, electrifying space discoveries and, above all, a deep and poignant racism. “Hidden Figures” in no way shies away from this racism, portraying the day to day racism that African Americans faced. While also unearthing a piece of history never discussed before. “Hidden Figures” directed by Theodore Melfi, is a biographical drama about three African American women who worked at NASA, running crucial calculations to the United States during the grueling space race. The movie seamlessly tells the tale of the three ladies and the obstacles they faced in their career. Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) receives a photo reproduced by permission of 20th Century Fox new position and immediately finds herself deeply uncomfortable as she is the only African-American in the room. Her co-workers are quick to dismiss her, namely the snobbish Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons). The pain and anger that Henson portrayed towards her racist co-workers was deeply moving and realistic Meanwhile, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) has her dreams squashed by her aggressive white boss, who can’t seem to get past her own internalized prejudice and bluntly denies her any chance of a promotion, despite Vaughan’s overwhelming competence. The sass and fire that Spencer brings to the character brings the character to life. In one distinct scene, Vaughan bluntly tells her boss, Vivian Mitchell (Kristen Dunst) that even though she may be a women. She doesn’t truly understand the struggles she faces as a black woman. This is a relevant issue today with the rise of “white feminism.” The third figure in the trio is Mary Johnson (Janelle Monáe), who aspires to become the first black woman engineer. She tears down boundaries by appealing to take high school courses at an all-white high school to gain the education necessary. The icing on the cake for me was the soundtrack, composed by Pharell Williams and Hans Zimmer. It captured the retro-funk of the 60’s featuring songs from Pharell Williams, Alicia Keys, and Janelle Monáe. I can see “Hidden Figures” winning best picture, and have no doubt that Octavia Spencer will win best supporting actress. This film is also nominated for best adapted screenplay. “Hidden Figures” is still playing at the Hunt Vallet Regal Cinemas. The estimated release date for the DVD is in April. OVERALL RATING:

Fast-paced heist movie revitalizes tired western genre


victor yang, staff writer irector David Mackenzie‘s film “Hell or High Water” separates itself from the rest of the heist movie genre by focusing on the characters more than the gun-play. The movie opens with the unprofessional robbery of a run-down West Texas bank by two brothers armed with pistols and ski masks. The small town setting immediately indicates that the movie wouldn’t be a Mission Impossible thriller, but instead a sauntering western. Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) embark on several small-scale raids on Texas Midlands Banks, planning to pay off the bank that unfairly threatens to foreclose his deceased mother’s ranch with their own money. While Toby’s Robin Hood-like motivations are grounded in providing his estranged family financial security, his ex-con brother is in it for the thrill. On the case are retiring Texan Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham). The movie has not only snagged an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor (Jeff Bridges), but also for best pic-

ture, best original screenplay (Taylor Sheridan), and best film editing (Jake Roberts). “Hell or High Water” draws its strength primarily from its charming dialogue and tight writing. Bridge’s slow, experienced character constantly banters with his half Native American partner Alberto. Likewise, Toby’s morally-rooted apprehension clashes with Tanner’s loose-cannon mentality. This friendly ribbing builds a deep sense of companionship and love for the two duos, creating characters the audience can genuinely care about. It’s through this impeccable character development that the film turns the cops versus robbers dynamic on its head. Because both sides of the chase are fleshed out and likeable, the film guides the audience to see the bank as the villain. Foreclosure signs and loan advertisements pepper the rural Texas landscape, creating vivid imagery of the greed and dangers of this financial institution. “Hell of High Water” creates the paradox of a mellow thriller. The majority of the film let me take in the calm, Texas atmosphere while enjoying relaxing conversations Find us at

spoken in deep southern accents. But, the fastpaced heists and spectacular climax pushed me to the edge of my seat, allowing me to call “Hell or High Water” a heist movie worthy of an Oscar for best original screenplay. Physical and digital copies of this film are now available for purchase, and streaming on Amazon video.

photo reproduced by permission of Lionsgate


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February 17, 2017

Prepping for prom night, posting results online I

her dress in June. “I was just trying on dresses for fun and I fell in love with it,” Norris said. From the first post in October, certain trends are noticeable. “Some trends seem to be high neck lines, a low v-cut, leg slits and open backs,” senior Samantha Lannon said. “I’ve seen tight dresses, which surprised me, and there have been all different two-piece dresses which is sort of a new fad,” senior Abby Epstein said. Quick check of the page proves two-pieces are popular this year as well as mermaid style dresses, those that are form-fitting through the thigh or calf and then flare out at the bottom. The embroidered look in most Sherri Hill dresses is popular, Linhard said. Colors seem to vary. “Bold colors are in—navy, dark red and black – but pastels are also popular,” senior Kiera Abdul said. Other standout trends? “It seems dresses are either really sparkly or really simple,” senior Natalie Levine said. The Facebook group serves a practical purpose. “You post to make sure no one has the same dress as you,” senior Lisa Zimmerman said. “You know if that would happen then - oh man someone better hold my phone - because I’m going to fight this young lady.” And the Senior Prom Dresses group does have a sense of decorum. “I think one to two pictures is enough, and the photo from shelby taylor photo from ariana gladstone SENIORS SHELBY TAYLOR and Ariana Gladstone pose for pictures in their dresses. Gladstone price shouldn’t be posted,” Levine said. “Also, I

hanna bewley, associate editor t’s not only a rite of passage, but also an opportunity to spend hours in dressing rooms. The senior prom dress search isn’t complete until the dress has been selected and posted on Facebook. Just ask the 173 members of the Senior Prom Dresses Facebook group who’ve been sharing their dresses and opinions of them for months. The first post was senior Elizabeth Norris, who bought

drew inspiration for her choice from Barbra Streisand’s role in “Hello, Dolly!” she said.

an artist among us:

photo from emily linhard SENIOR EMILY LINHARD takes a selfie after finding her prom dress at Synchronicity Boutique in Pikesville. She posted pictures on the Facebook page Jan. 10.

think you should wait to post until you buy it to reserve it,” Levine said. Views tend to agree this etiquette is noticeable throughout the page. “I think most people will post around one to three pictures depending on how intricate the dress is. A lot of them, for example, have detailed back designs or side cutouts. Nobody really posts the price of the dress,” senior Yasmeena Fakhouri said. Does all this previewing dampen the excitement for the big night May 20? Not at all, Zimmerman said. “I am honestly so excited to see everyone at prom.”

Junior credits former instructor with inspiring her to new heights


audrey houghton, staff writer ne sketchbook plus one pencil equals a masterpiece – at least in junior, Joslyn Lapinski’s case. Lapinski, who takes five Advanced Placement classes, finds her fantastical artwork is a relaxing outlet. Still, she said, if she has learned anything in her Gifted and Talented Studio Practice class, and attention to detail is crucial. Her teacher, art chairman Christopher Marsico, is quick to compliment her work ethic on her piece based on a still life. “She is focusing on the small details, making sure she gets the reflections in the glass,” he said. “She’s following the instrucINSPIRING TUNES: tions exactly as I gave as 1. “Paper Crown” by far as layering the colors,” Marsico said. Alec Benjamin Lapinski hasn’t always 2. “Neptune” by excelled at art. Her skills emerged in high school. Sleeping at Last “I don’t believe it’s an 3. “Forest Still” by innate talent,” she said. “Art is something anyTwenty One Pilots one can do.” Lapinski credits retired art teacher James Kuhlman with helping and inspiring her. “What he was telling me to do actually made me a lot better, and he also introduced me to a lot of things I never used before like water colors.” Lapinski said.

art by joslyn lapinski JUNIOR JOSLYN LAPINSKI created these three illustrations in her Gifted and Talented Studio Practice class. Lapinski’s compositions are usually realistic and include humans or animals, she said.

Lapinski’s especially pleased with a ballpoint pen composition that features blue jays with hands reaching up toward them. Those hands symbolize how complete freedom is unattainable, she said, adding that she usually works realistically. “I include humans or animals in most of my artwork because I like to appreciate their natural beauty,” she said. Lapinski doesn’t just create in a classroom setting. She sketches at home, often to music. “Music can really set my mood and influence the themes

that I focus on, and certain lyrics are really inspiring,” she said, adding that Twenty-One Pilots is among the bands she has enjoyed recently. She doesn’t limit herself to just one genre and doesn’t worry about the perfection of her final outcome. It’s something she does to find calm. “Art can just be something simple and enjoyable to do as a distraction from other things,” Lapinski said. “It’s just like any other hobby that just takes you out of your head for a little while.”

New songwriting club aims high, starts with fundamental techniques


photos by grace hazelhurst Left: ENGLISH TEACHER AND songwriting club advisor Dirk Frey, plays a short piece on his guitar for new members at the first meet. Above: JUNIOR SAMANTHA ENGLER teaches junior Agya Rai a muscial scale on the board to go over the basics of music theory with the rest of the club.

grace hazlehurst, staff writer lub sponsor and English teacher Dirk Frey strummed his guitar briefly and played a video of a Bare Naked Ladies singer-songwriter. Then he promptly turned over the debut meeting of the songwriting club to the students. After all, the club originated with junior and sequel staffer Samantha Engler. “I wrote a piece for his class as part of an assignment,” Engler said, recalling sophomore English with Frey. “That’s how he knew I could write music. Then, we got around to talking about how there’s no actual music-writing clubs at this school.” The two agreed that the club would meet on the last Friday of each month.

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The club’s goal—songwriting—is easier said than done. She found the eight students who attended the Jan. 27 meeting arrived with varied skill levels. So she taught an impromptu lesson on the circle of fifths, how to compose a major scale and common chord progressions. Engler, who cites the Beatles as her first musical inspiration, confessed that she has struggled with composer’s block for the past few months. “We’re here to write music and get better at it,” Engler said.

NEXT MEETING: 2:30 P.M. FEB. 24 ROOM 308

February 2017 Edition