The Warrior•Features December 11, 2009 Swimming Upstream:: You can try all you want, but walk-
Haphazard HallwayTraffic by Allie Sivak ‘11 Ask any student about walking through the hallways between classes and a groan of dread is likely to result. Hundreds of students are constantly jammed into overcrowded halls, slowing down routes to class. The most congested halls are the upper D, F and G halls, and intersections located near stairways. “The more narrow hallways in the older parts of the school, as opposed to the wider ones in the newer K Wing, [encourage] more traffic and crowd students into a smaller space,” explains security team leader Patrick Rooney. “Some hallways are narrower than others. They are all essentially big enough for students to pass through, but people stop to chat with friends and create major problems with crowding the intersections.” As students make their way to their next classes, a series of social interactions slow them down and block others. This communication is bound to occur between friends, and cannot practically be stopped. However, security sees this interaction between students as a core root of hallway congestion. “What we’ve been doing to try to prevent this is simply asking students to either stop their conversations or move to the side, [so] as not to block other students’ ways. We also advise the teachers to stand outside their classrooms and try to filter their students in so that there will be less of them crowding the halls,” says Rooney. Many teachers follow Rooney’s instruction and stand outside their doors, ushering in students. Some hallways are noticeably more jam-packed than others. “There are always tons of students hanging out in packs in front of my room because of its close proximity to the media center,” remarks math teacher James Key, whose room (D215) is at the crossroads of the busy student meeting place. Key constantly stands outside his room between classes. He does this in large part because he simply enjoys greeting his students, but also to help the flow of traffic outside his room. This area, the D hall intersection across from the media center, is a popular congregation spot for students between classes. “In the hallway across from the media center I have to push through the hordes of people-- especially freshmen still trying to find their way,” says sophomore Jack Blaa. However crowded the halls may get, some teachers do not believe they have much influence in speeding up hallway traffic. No matter how many teachers are standing outside their rooms, students will still inevitably linger and converse with friends between classes. “It’s definitely a good thing for teachers to be present in the hallways, except I don’t like to be the one to yell at people to go and get to class. Instead, there needs to be an administrator or someone from security there to help the movement of students,” Key says. In past years, security has attempted to fix the congestion problem by trying various solutions, such as putting down tape in the halls to direct traffic and having four-period lunches to distribute the student population more evenly. However, students still went about their ways and continued to chat with friends and block hallway traffic. “Students are creatures of habit and choose to walk the same exact way every day to every period of the day. This opens up particular halls to be more congested than others,” Rooney says. “The school was built for the population in 1950, and here we are in 2009 with 2200-2300 students. This poses a big problem … I really don’t know how to solve it.”
ing one way while everybody else is walking the other way is an extremely difficult task. (Make sure to keep your balance, for if you fall, I’m relatively certain that people will not think twice before stepping on you.) This is particularly problematic after seventh period. Trust me, it’s better to make your bus than to back-track. Forgot something in your locker? Oh well.
The Baywatch Kid: Could they possibly move any slower?
The only thing missing is a rendition of “She’s Like the Wind.” And if you had your iTunes speakers, you might plug it in just so you could make your point. But you can’t, so the best thing to do is to try to slip by them. And if you can’t, it’s probably best to just deal with it. Chances are, they’re in their own little world and wouldn’t hear the song anyways.
The Line-up: In a congested hallway nearly 10 feet across,
it should be obvious that students will not always have the opportunity to walk side-by-side with their pals. But this doesn’t stop them. There really is no way around a line of friends. I suppose you could play it old school and start your own little game of red rover, but chances are you’ll end up embarrassed and possibly injured. Break through at your own risk.
The Michael Cera: To all those oblivious, awkward teenag-
ers out there: if you ever find yourself lost or looking for someone, be aware of where you decide to stop. Do not stop at the top of a staircase. Do not stop in the middle of an intersection. Try a cove in between a two sets of lockers, or maybe even flat against a wall. That way, you aren’t a giant roadblock, and chances are that you will not become roadkill.
The Drunken Swagger: You’d think that a straight line
would be a relatively simple concept. Think back to geometry, people. 180 degrees; no stops, no curves, no sharp angles. Keep your eyes straight ahead, placing one foot directly in front of the other. If you find this task too arduous, consider challenging yourself to walking within one column of floor tiles. It’ll be good for your brain and the poor people behind you.
Your Hallway Survival Guide by Moriah Ellenbogen ‘10 We’ve all been there: behind the spastic underclassmen on the way to English, or the football player with a ridiculously wide gait as you scurry to fourth-period math. You’d think that after 15, 16 years of walking, we’d have all mastered the skill. But it seems that most of us haven’t. Here’s your hallway survival guide. Now you’ll know what to call that aggravating girl in front of you, and how to navigate your way around her. And if you find yourself as the culprit, please, keep reading. Because whether your left leg hurts, you have one too many friends to say hi to in the hallway, or your mind is on another planet, try to remember that everyone behind and around you has to make it (in one piece) to their next class in five minutes. So, Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Mother May I?: Ah, yes. What a, wonderful game. Mother
may I … take two steps? Mother may I … jog for three seconds? Mother may I … stop in the middle of the hallway? Mother may I … frustrate the people behind me to no end? Take heed, students of Sherwood: you are much too old for this game. And if, for whatever reason, you feel that absolutely MUST play it with your friends, please do so at home.
The Panicked Freshman: These are the kids who always
seem much too intrigued with floor tiles. The only thing on their mind is getting to their next class before the bell rings. They are the ones that you need to watch out for, because they, in their speedy, self-absorbed scurry, will not see you. So if you see one approaching, the best thing to do is to move. And beware of swinging instrument cases.
The Shadow: You spot a student walking straight towards
you, so you move right. But so does he. You then decide to get out of his way, and move left. But so does he. Both slightly irritated and embarrassed, you decide to once again move right … and he follows suit. This frustrating. lengthy process continues until one person decides that they will stop moving side-to-side. You should be this person.
The Huddle: You expect them to place their hands in the
middle and shout, “1, 2, 3… GO TO CLASS!” but to your disappointment, no such thing happens. The best way to get around a circle of friends is to speak up. A polite but obviously frustrated, “Excuse me,” might send the message that you’re looking for. And friends, get together during lunch or after school. Two hours apart will not kill you. I promise.
Texting Assassins: Remember all of those stories that you
used to read as a child? The ones with simple, straightforward sentence structures and clear-cut, obvious morals? Well, this one’s simple enough: See John. John likes to text. See John texting. John texts all his friends. See John running into a wall. Bam! John should pay more attention when he walks.
Passless Students Easily Meander Unnoticed in Halls by Jacob Bogage ‘12 The hallways of Sherwood High School are quiet around 12 o’clock noon, in the heart of fifth period. From around the corner a student walks down C Hall, head down staring at his reflection on the shiny white tiles. And in his hand, he holds no agenda book, no note and no hall pass. This has become quite a frequent occurrence around school. Teachers and security staff will pass him by with nothing more than a nod and a “how are you” and said student will continue his unauthorized journey about the halls to an unknown situation. Recently, The Warrior decided to put the trend of students wandering the halls passless to the test and sent reporters to walk the halls on five random occasions during second and fifth periods. They walked to and fro, back and forth and passed countless teachers who did nothing more than nod their heads and continue past. They meandered past all three security offices (main office, B Hall and downstairs office) and into the parking lots. They passed Security Assistant Bob O’Hara as he drove his golf cart around school grounds during lunch and fifth period. They ran into Athletic Director Jim Meehan when they walked by Caruso Memorial Stadium and yet, they were not stopped or questioned. “I guess the system is lax,” says Security Assistant Jeff Pettenati. “We don’t have time in our day to call mom and set up a detention for everybody we see out there.” Sherwood’s Instructional Leadership Committee noticed the same trend The Warrior did and discussed the issue of unauthorized students in the halls at their November 5 meeting. Several teachers who requested to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue brought their concerns to Gloria Condelli, the staff representative, who expressed the teachers’ concerns at the meeting. “In general we’re very respectful of students in the school so we think that they’re doing student business,” says Condelli. “An example is a student just getting a drink. We’re not going to write them a pass. But a 30-minute thing, we’re going to have to write them a pass. The problem is when kids say they’re going to one place and then they end up somewhere else with a friend or they don’t come back for 10 minutes. We have to do a better job of enforcing that.” In lieu of creating new measures or regulations regarding hall passes and late arrivals to class because of hall pass issues, ILT opted to have department heads remind teachers to impose the current regulations. “[Stopping unauthorized students is] a big priority because every student should have a pass in their hand,” says Pettenati. “A lot of times everybody thinks ‘oh, I’m so close to where I want to go that I don’t really need it.’ Too many young people get a pass to go to the bathroom and we [security staff] find them at a vending machine half-a-mile away. That is a problem. [We encourage teachers to] question students [without a pass]. Where are they supposed to be? Check with the teacher and report them.” That same student that walked through C hall will turn onto A, then E and then down the stairs to his locker, still passing faculty and other passless students. He’ll retrieve his notebook and continue back to class ... or maybe he will just wander until sixth period, and still he will not be stopped.
The Warrior•Features December 11, 2009
Average Website Warrants Above Average Fan Base Also, I think a lot of the posts on the websites come from people our age. It’s something that we Go to MyLifeIsAverage. can relate to or see happening to com and one will find hundreds us which makes it worth reading of thousands of anecdotes from and makes us laugh,” says senior anonymous people. The slogan Erin McCarty. MLIA is a sister website to a under the logo of the website reads, “Life is pretty normal to- somewhat popular website known day.” After reading some of the as MyLifeIsG.com, a website first entries, one can conclude that where good things that happen can be posted. But that website, life is indeed normal. “Today, while watching Na- ironically, is more mundane betional Treasure I realized that the cause the things that are posted good guys use Google while the are not funny, but more records bad guys use Yahoo!. You win of personal triumphs. It is eviagain Google. MLIA” says one dent that people like laughing at the expense of others, or having recent entry. “Today, on the bus a kid an outlet through which they can was throwing Goldfish crackers express anger, sadness or any othat people. They kept hitting me er array of emotions. FMyLife. in the head and it was annoying com is another popular website through so I stood w h i c h and turned p to yell at “I think these websites ap- e o p l e can exhim. When I started peal to high school [students press bad talking he because] they make us feel things that to threw one normal. I think they could be happen them. directly T h e into my a lasting trend. People are gomouth. I ing to always have secrets and w e b s i t e s have an was laughundeniable ing too stories, aren’t they?” humor, hard to mphayell at him. ~Senior Nicole Hodges-Austin esized by MLIA” many peoreads anple who other. “Today, I was walking in entertain themselves via this site. my neighborhood when I heard “MLIA is really funny,” says jusomeone running behind me. I nior KC Emerson. “[But] FML is turn around, only to see some fake.” She also posts on MLIA teenagers dressed up as three dif- in a comical manner, submitting ferent colored crayons yelling, Pokémon references. It is hard to forecast where it ‘We’re free! We’re free!’ and an empty crayons box chasing after will be in the future, as websites them. Try to picture this in your of this nature are entirely new head. It made my day. MLIA” as the internet evolves rapidly. The quick movement of peoples’ says a third anecdote. People are drawn to the web- interest has been demonstrated site in droves, as demonstrated by by fads on the internet such as the countless entries submitted MySpace and Friendster. As far each day. In fact, according to a as the creators are concerned, recent Wall Street Journal Q&A they are just happy that it was with the creators, MLIA has re- able to get off the ground. “[We] ceived more than 100,000 sub- never expected so many people missions in its short, popular life. to get the joke,” say Guru Khalsa When one looks at the Frequently and Enrico Mills, the founders Asked Questions page, the cre- of the websites, in a Wall Street ators of the website give surly, Journal Q&A. “I think they’re definitely sometimes witty answers to what could be commonly asked ques- just another quick Internet fad,” tions about the site. For instance, says McCarty. “I mean, of course one of the FAQs says, “How people still look at them after the come you guys don’t have a ran- original obsession of them [is dom stories option?” They an- over] but the popularity of them swer sarcastically, “Because we definitely wanes after a couple of are lazy and slow. We are work- months.” Whether the traffic on these ing on [this], though.” In general, the website presents itself as one websites will decrease can be giant inside joke, but high school disputed, however. “I think these and college students apparently websites appeal to high school are in on the joke given the site’s [students because] they make us feel normal,” says senior Nicole popularity. “I think they’re appealing to Hodges-Austin. “I think they high school [students] because it could be a lasting trend. People gives us something to do in the are going to always have secrets computer lab other than our work. and stories, aren’t they?”
by Eric Van Gelder’10
by Ariana Rodriguez-Gitler ‘10 and Kim Wan ‘10
Horoscopes’ Empty Promises by Ariana Rodriguez-Gitler ‘10 Zodiac horoscopes have become increasingly commonplace. They are put in newspapers, magazines and online, without any qualifications for the writers behind them. Websites and magazines offer horoscopes for love, careers and even fashion. According to “Teen Vogue,” Sagittarians, people born from November 22 to December 21, have style in their stars. This characterization of Sagittarians is based off of the science of astrology, which centers on the belief that the position of the planets and the stars has influence on people’s lives, personality and relationships. Astrology takes its roots thousands of years ago, but still holds some significance in many eastern cultures today. Modern western astrology focuses on the solar zodiac, which is the constellation that the sun was in at the time of a person’s birth. Someone born from May 22 to June 21, for example, is a Gemini because the sun was in the Gemini constellation when that person was born. This style of astrology is most commonly used in newspaper, magazine and online horoscopes. In recent decades, the idea of astrology has created debate between the believers, including psychics, who consider it a science that can accurately predict a person’s fortunes in love, work and economics, and skeptics, including astronomers and other scientists, who have proven that there is little, if any, scientific basis in horoscopes. In fact, psychologists have conducted tests and studies comparing factors like the marriage rates, career choices and personality test results against the zodiac sign characteristics for various people. As maintained by many astrologers, both occupation
choice and compatibility between people can be determined through a person’s zodiac sign. However, when psychologist Bernardo Silverman from Michigan State University studied the birthdays of 2,978 couples who were getting married and 478 other couples who were getting divorced, there was absolutely no correlation between the couples’ actual signs and the supposed compatibility, or lack thereof, between the signs. Regardless of the apparent shortage in evidence against the scientific accuracy in astrology, there are still many people who believe and try to make sense of their horoscopes. Psychologists account this acceptance to two tendencies: the Forer and Barnum effects. The Forer effect involves the inclination of people to believe that statements that are general enough to apply to many people are highly accurate for them personally. To make a statement that someone is occasionally extroverted and outgoing, but introverted and distant at other times, tells nothing specific about any one person. Scientists believe that psychics and astrologers utilize these vague descriptions to reel in their readers and customers. “Sometimes you can force their predictions in to some aspect of your day. They are usually very vague and cryptic which make them pretty unbelievable. But every once and a while they will have something really specific, like you’re going to see an old friend, that really does happen,” says sophomore Devin Cornelius. Similarly, the Barnum effect refers to the tendency for people to believe a positive statement about themselves even if it the statement lacks much truth. People selectively perceive the more preferable pieces of information and ignore the things that are less favorable. In a study conducted
on students at Lawrence University in 1989, psychologist Peter Glick gave both believers and skeptics of astrology personality descriptions, which he claimed were specific horoscopes. Both groups, the skeptics and believers, were more likely to accept the “horoscope” if it gave a positive, flattering description, even though the horoscope was the same description for all the subjects. However, only the believers were still inclined to accept the validity of the horoscopes when they were negatively worded; the negative horoscopes were also the same for all the subjects. “I think it’s very easy to get caught in especially if the personality description is sort of flattering. I was way too addicted to Myers-Briggs [a personality type indicating test] … and I’ll admit I just loved how the … description called me unique and loving and good at writing. Then I found it hard to accept myself when I didn’t fit all the lovely compliments it gave me, and I saw how shallow the whole thing was,” says senior Kimberly Choi. Regardless of these effects, many people still find reassurance in astrology. Believers who seek out psychics and astrologers often desire comfort through someone explaining how they as individuals are connected to the entire universe. Psychics also offer flattering descriptions and advice that people have a tendency to trust. Whether or not astrology can be proven, often does not matter to many believers who search for consolation and guidance. “If everything [horoscopes] say is so general then it can apply to anyone, it’s a really smart idea. Though I’m not surprised that horoscopes are very false, I won’t stop reading mine. I think its fun to match up what it predicts about my day. It’s become too routine to stop now,” says Cornelius.
The Warrior•Features December 11, 2009
A Reindeer Got Run Over by My Grandma by Maria Romas ‘10 We see them every day: lurking on the street corner, staring out from some random person’s yard, walking alongside the road, not paying attention to anyone or anything but themselves. That’s right, they are the deer of Montgomery County. They have become so comfortable around people, houses and cars that they do not even flinch anymore, which can make it more dangerous for both us and them. Montgomery County officials have stated that the number of deer per acre should be around 15 to 30; in the county, the estimated average of deer in one acre of woody areas is about 90. Though not every acre of land has 90 deer in it, a safe estimate is that about one million deer live in Montgomery County, while only about 990,000 people do. A number of students and teachers have been involved in collisions with deer in the county. Senior Sam Park describes one of his two recent collisions with deer, though fortunately remained uninjured in either occasion. “A dog was chasing the deer and it jumped over a fence and into the path of my car. I swerved to avoid it but it was too late,” Park explains. “There was no damage done to my car—thank God for brush guards. I turned around to check the deer, and it was dead.” Math teacher Bethel Tan had a similar run-in with a deer. “I was coming to work around 5:40. I saw a deer coming toward me and I did my best to dodge [it], but it still hit the back of my car,” she says, describing the scene. “I didn’t check to see how the deer was doing. I was really lucky, because there were only a few scratches, and not a big dent. Now I am much more careful.” Hitting a deer does seem to make a driver more careful on the roadways, especially at night. This is just one instance in which deer
fearlessly dive into the unknown to fit their fancy. They do not seem to have grasped the concept as a species that if they run into the large metal objects moving at various, yet swift, speeds, they will die. “Me and my dad were driving and we were at a stoplight. The deer ran into us—we were completely stopped. It smashed into both passenger and side windows, and got glass all in my hair,” recounts senior Marlena Milenkowic. Senior Daniel Hagedoorn has also been in the passenger seat during a collision with a deer, having the deer itself roll over him while he was in the convertible. “There’s a lot [of deer], but I think more should be done to move them so that they can live more freely,” he explains, upset about the accident. The most feasible solutions would be to either hunt the deer, or to relocate them. Science teacher Laura Dinerman has weighed both options, and decided that the former would be better for the overall good. “In my opinion, it is pointless to relocate deer. Relocation is always expensive and they have overpopulated pretty much anywhere you might consider sending them,” she says. “The overpopulation problems have arisen because we have created a perfect ecosystem for them in suburbia and we have eliminated their predators. Controlled hunts are effective and more humane than letting the deer starve to death.” In 1993, the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group (MCDMWG) was founded in response to the apparent overpopulation of deer. They run annual managed hunts in order to attempt to control the deer population in the area, and have harvested about 850 deer with the program. The main focus of the MCDMWG is to limit the number of humandeer collisions and interactions, so that both parties can walk away unharmed and,
illustration by Michael Wagner ‘12 overall, happier. The number of collisions involving deer has remained constant at
around 2,000 for the past decade, and that is just of those reported.
Powell Retires after Nearly 40 Years of Hard Work by Andi Hubbell ‘11 Many people enter their workplaces each morning with a good idea of what tasks are ahead of them that day. They have certain assignments allocated to them in advance, and specific schedules that they must follow. For these individuals, everything is predetermined and predictable. However, Plant Equipment Operator (PEO) Sam Powell is not one of these people. Each day, Powell arrives at the school at 5:30 a.m. to open up the building. Afterwards, he is responsible for attending to whatever facility-related problems arise throughout the day. This ranges from changing ceiling tiles, filters and grease motors to fixing problems with heating and air conditioning and replacing light bulbs. Essentially, Powell must do “whatever [his boss] wants [him] to do or whatever needs to be done.” In short, an average workday for Powell can mean just about anything. And remarkably, Powell, who retired December 1,
(From left) Principal Bill Gregory, Plant Equipment Operator Sam Powell and Building Service Manager Keith Snowden celebrate Powell’s retirement at a November 24 gathering. photo by Andi Hubbell ‘11 has confronted this type of hectic schedule almost every day for the past 38 years. From 1958 to 1971, Powell worked as a landscaper at MA Olend. However, landscaping did not offer the health benefits and financial security that he desired. So in 1971, Powell began working at Sherwood. Since starting at the school, Powell has gone through a number of job titles. He first attained a job as nighttime building services
worker, which he maintained for years before acquiring a position in which he was mostly responsible for outdoor work. Eight years later, after taking classes at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College and obtaining a special license, Powell became a PEO and assumed responsibility for the school’s heating and air conditioning systems. Throughout his extensive time at the school, Powell has witnessed many changes, both
in the student population and the building itself. “When I first started working here, I think there were around 1200-1300 kids,” says Powell. At present, more than 2000 students attend the school. The school has had to accordingly adapt and expand to accommodate its growing student population. Most recently was the K Hall addition constructed in 2006; many of the school’s other features also underwent drastic changes. Powell had firsthand experience of how drastic these changes were. About a month before the 2007-2008 school year started, Powell had to come to the school and learn how to use new systems. “[The building] got bigger and it changed chiller compressors so you had to learn all of that over again ... You had to work with the guys who were putting it in to learn what’s working where,” says Powell. “Then you had to learn [about the changes in electricity]. It’s a lot.”
But Powell set his mind to learning everything in time for the upcoming school year, and he ultimately did. Powell applies the same dedication and determination to everything else his job entails. So it comes as no surprise that after 38 years of working at the school, Powell wants to retire, move from Silver Spring to Hagerstown and do “hopefully nothing.” Nonetheless, Powell says, “I guess that I’ll just miss getting up and coming to work ... It’ll take awhile to get used to that. I’ve been working 54 years out of my life. I’ve been working here 38 years,” he says. “Basically that’s what I’ll miss ... Just getting up and going to work.” After retiring, Powell simply wants to be remembered as “a good guy.” Building services worker Shelley Washington, with whom Powell has worked for seven years, considers him to be much more than that. “If you ask any building services worker, [Powell] is a great person,” she says.
The Warriorâ€˘Features December 11, 2009