The BluePrint - Volume 6, Issue 4

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A win-lose situation. Students fall behind on sleep to catch up on studies.

Hagerty High School

3225 Lockwood Blvd. Oviedo, Florida 32765

news....................2 lifestyles..............3 middle.................6 opinions...............8 sports.................10

Project Promway: The Project Promway fashion show is on March 17. Project Graduation will be holding a fundraiser during the show. If you would like to volunteer or donate, contact Michelle Preston at SGA Elections: SGA will be hosting a meeting on Monday, Feb. 28 for any student who wishes to run for office. The meeting will take place in sponsor Kari Miller’s room, 6-117, from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Students must attend this meeting if they want to be an officer. Prom Update: Prom will take place on April 30 at the Disney Contemporary Hotel. Project Graduation Updates: Grad Bash will be held at Universal Studios on May 6. The Boardwalk Bowl Grad Night will take place the night of graduation, May 26 and will include a DJ, bowling games, prizes, food and glow-in-the-dark mini golf.

Husky poll

Busy bus routes. Lengthy bus routes cause complications for students. volume 6 issue 4 february 18, 2010

Students walk to raise awareness in community

News bites

FCAT Dates & Breakfast: The FCAT Writes is on March 1 for 9th and 10th graders only during period 2. Juniors and seniors have off-campus breakfast on that day. Anyone participating must buy privileges and have a notarized permission slip.



Hearts for Autism

What’s inside

SAT Review: The UCF Test Prep Center will be offering an SAT review course on campus until March 5. The classes are on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Visit the Hagerty website for more information.


Sean Donovan


staff reporter ast year, YOUTH Providing Autism Links and Support helped sponsor the Hearts for Autism Walk at University High School, and on Feb. 19, from 8 a.m. to noon, the group will host the same event at Sam Momary Stadium. The purpose of this event is to raise funds to help the UCF-Center for Autism & Related Disabilities aid the 5,800 individuals with autism spectrum disorders, as well as raise awareness. These funds will benefit ASD, YOUTH PALS and UCF-CARD. Last year’s walk involved both University High and Hagerty, but this year it is only Hagerty, and one goal was to make it bigger and better. Most of the sponsors from last year will be taking part this year, but new sponsors, like Steak n’ Shake and Walsworth Publishing Company have agreed to help out. Sponsors have provided gift certificates and raffle prizes, plus use booths to provide information about their company, even selling products with a portion of the proceeds to go to PALS. Participants will need to register to take part in the event. Walkers can go to www. and fill out a registration form, or see club sponsor Brit Taylor in room 6-201 to get and turn in a form. While many have pre-registered, walk organizers will be taking pledges and registrations at the event. Registration is $5, or $15 to register and receive a t-shirt. Students wearing a t-shirt on Friday get out of class early sixth period. The walk will last four hours and will feature a number of activities. There will be

local bands, puppet shows, clowns and arts and crafts tables placed around the track alongside a hula-hoop competition, cornhole toss and inflatable basketball hoops. There will be a DJ, the varsity Unleashed dance team and the Lawton Chiles Middle School dance team as well. Principal Momary approved the use of the track grounds for the walk before YOUTH PALS could organize the event. PALS will use the money raised to sponsor social activities for the community members with autism. Normally, children on the autism spectrum do not get the chance to partake in many social events, and the group wishes to provide interaction. Club members also want to spread the word about autism awareness throughout the community and other events that the community should know about. “The whole point of the walk is to bring the community together,” sophomore PALS treasurer Snigdha Ila said. The group has worked all year, but has had to work extra since January to finalize preparations. “At the meetings we would talk about organization, finding sponsors and find events,” PALS member Lisette Eagan said. PALS members aim to provide opportunities for kids on the spectrum to socialize and enjoy them and also to make a difference. “The community loves it when young people try to make a difference, and will do their best to support us,” PALS president Michelle Laborde said. “They know that we are the future and want to guide us along the right path.”

photos by sammy somers

YOUTH PALS and community groups worked at last year’s Hearts for Autism Walk to promote autism awareness.

Debate team heads to Harvard Meagan Galczak


staff reporter aturday and Sunday, sixteen members of the debate team will compete in the prestigious national tournament at Harvard. Ten members competed last year, and seven members return to debate against 2,900 students from across the nation. Members will compete as five public forum teams, each containing two members, and six individuals. Last year junior Jazz Click and senior Calum Farley reached Monday’s final rounds, a rarity given the number of competitors, and both return to try and repeat the feat. The cost for the competition ranges from $700 to $900 per participant.

Members raised this money through private sponsorships and six fundraiser opportunities or elected to pay out of pocket. One member, senior Jim Daniel, fundraised while working at Giovanni’s by leaving slips asking for donations at the tables he waited on. His efforts paid off when he received a contribution of $800 from a restaurant patron. However, since Daniel had already fundraised a portion of the costs, he donated the rest to another team member who needed the funds. Other fundraisers included car washes, silent auctions, sponsored nights and seasonal grams. With their well earned dedication and profit derived from these fundraisers, debate team members are

able to travel to several tournaments, but Harvard is by far the most expensive. To prepare for such events, debate team members challenge each other at scheduled practices. “Practice is crucial,” junior Tyler Yeargain said. “You’re forced to be flexible and eliminate your boundaries.” To clarify the misconception, it is not mandatory for a debate team member to be enrolled in the debate class, but members are encouraged to study case writing, research techniques, debate strategy, and competition goals. “The positive aspects are meeting new people, learning about current events, and becoming a well rounded person,” senior Sara Gomez said.

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Issue 4

Estrogenius: all-girls robot team


Sohani Kasireddy



Sebastian Midtvaage

• Midtvaage is a budding magician. • Most of his performances are at birthday parties.

• He found an

interest for magic after a magic card trick he performed for his uncle.

• Midtvaage’s

uncle was so impressed that he convince Midtvaage to learn more magic tricks. This became the start to Midtvaage’s hobby.

• Midtvaage is inspired by Kostya Kimlat. However, his least

favorite magician is Chris Angel. He feels all of Angel’s tricks are staged.


Despite what people may think, I hate names like ‘Magic Man’, and ‘Sebastian the Great’. They’re not funny and not clever. I appreciate the enthusiasm, but come on people.

compiled by jack schwartz

co-news editor strogenius, the all girls robotics team, has made its mark. They were awarded eleventh place and “most spirited” at the regional USF Poly Tech competition. With this win, the girls are eligible to compete at the state level, First Tech Challenge Florida championship. This will include approximately 30 teams from around the state. “Our first competition was definitely a shocker to me,” sophomore Courtney Mang said. “As a soccer player, I was not used to the chaos, but with this experience I am more prepared for states.” Robotics competitions begin early at 8 a.m. and continue until about 6 p.m. Members participate in a series of eight to nine matches, each of which last approximately ten minutes. In these matches, one robot must team with another in order to maneuver through obstacles to reach a certain endpoint. Each year the game or obstacle course changes. “People often think of Battle Robots when they hear robotics, but this is different,” sophomore Samantha Collin said. “We drive the robot around and the ultimate goal is to get the robot to suspend batons into corrugated or rolling goal.” At the first competition, the robot,

Baby, ran into numerous problems. The entire left side of wheels would not move as the wires were not connected properly. In addition, the arm, which was constructed out of Legos, did not consistently stay in place. As a result, the team completely reprogrammed and reconstructed Baby with stronger materials. Collins explains the original robotics team consisted of male and female students. However, at the first competition, some of the female team members felt they could increase their participation if they could form an all girls team. These members voiced their concerns to sponsors Yvette Piggot and Po Dickinson. Coincidentally, the same week, Principal Momary came across a grant available to the robotics team and this money was used to create Estrogenius. The boys’ team has also participated in one competition, Get Over It, in which they placed fourth out of sixteen teams. Although the teams are separate, both hold meetings on Thursdays and Fridays after school for one to two hours. They help one another build their individual robots and discuss competition strategies. “You do not have to be specially gifted in math or science to be in this club; we need people who are artsy and creative as well,” Piggot said. “We definitely would love to have more girls on the team!”

Quidditch club flies onto campus Jem Mason


co-lifestyles editor roomsticks and snitches, wizards and witches; students now have the opportunity to experience part of the universe created in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series: Quidditch. The first meeting will be Feb. 24 at 2:30 in room 7-123. Rowling created the sport of Quidditch as the equivalent to soccer, but instead of running and kicking a ball, wizards fly on broomsticks and throw balls. Fans of the Harry Potter series adapted the magical sport so the non-magic folks, Muggles, could play, the result is Muggle Quidditch. With the formation of the International Quidditch Association, the sport spread across the country. Colleges from Harvard to the University of Florida along with 400 other colleges and 300 high schools have accepted Quidditch into the list of school activities. In the game of Quidditch, men and women play together on the field. Chasers pass a ball, called a quaffle, across the field

and throw it into the opposing teams one of three hoops at the end of the pitch. To obstruct the chasers are beaters, who throw soft foam balls, bludgers, at the chasers to temporarily put them out of play. To end a game of Quidditch, a seeker must catch a golden snitch. Without magic, the snitch cannot be a flying little ball, thus a player acts as a snitch. The snitch and seekers are granted a perimeter outside of the playing pitch so the snitch may be evasive and hide. Once the snitch is caught, the game is over and the seeker earns 150 points for his or her team. The team with the most points wins. There will be four interschool teams based off the Hogwarts Houses of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Founders plan to have official uniforms by next year, but will start off with appropriately colored t-shirts. Since neighboring high schools Crooms and Timber Creek have founded Quidditch clubs, founders hope to play against their teams before the end of the year.


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February 18, 2011

It’s a


Connection and love through music Matthew Neveras

staff reporter or juniors Becky Golden and Cody Hebda, music is one of the most important things. They are so passionate about it that they write and record their own music together. For them music is not just a hobby, it is the major reason they are a couple. “I was at a party, and his band was performing,” Golden said. “I thought they sounded awesome, and I especially noticed the guy on the drums; so I spent the entire party sitting and watching them play.” Hebda noticed her at the party too, but was too nervous to approach her. A few days later he built up the courage to ask her at school how she liked the band. Golden told him she thought the band was amazing. Soon after, they began spending most of their time together, and a few weeks later they were dating. Hebda had already begun to write songs about her. “I had written songs before,” Hebda said, “but when I’m with Becky, I get all this inspiration for my music.” Golden enjoyed the songs so much, she wanted to write with him as well. She thought it was a very interesting process and was eager to get involved in the art of song craft. “Cody is very passionate about his music, and seeing him perform made me want to get involved,” Golden said. Hebda writes the rhythm for the song while they both co-write the lyrics. He creates his own melodies for the guitar, piano, bass and drum parts, and then records them. When that is done, he and Golden begin to record the vocals. After a week or two of editing the music and vocals using equalizers, mixers and autotune, the song is complete.


Hebda turned his spare bedroom into a studio, where he writes, sings, and produces his songs.

photos by matthew neveras

The first time Golden saw Hebda’s studio, she was overwhelmed. “I had no idea that he was this serious about music.” Golden said, “He was not only just writing these songs but was actually recording them with some pretty high tech equipment.” The couple is currently in the process of creating their first full length CD titled “Hello, Sunshine,” which is all about their first year together. The songs will be up for preview on until the CD is finished for purchase later in the spring. “Some of the songs are happy and uplifting, but they aren’t all positive,” Hebda said. “There are some apologetic

tracks that talk about the hard times we have been through.” Friends of the couple agree that both are extremely talented young artists that portray their feelings so well, anyone that hears their songs can sense the chemistry in their music. “Their music can best be described as a slowed version of acoustic rock,” junior Marissa Menear said. “I have watched them record before and the outcome is really cool.” The couple will always have their love of music to thank for their relationship. “We’re both so passionate about making music,” Golden said. “It’s really brought us closer.”

Golden and Hebda bond over writing and playing music together.

before tests. “The thing with AP and honor classes is that if you do not get help immediately, you will fall behind,” Scimeca said. “The concepts build on top of each other and when a student does not get help, they fall farther and farther behind.” Sometimes students believe they do not need help, thus do not find a tutor and realize too late they are lost. Other times, students are embarrassed to seek help, especially when their friends can understand everything without a tutor. “I think there is no fear of asking questions to peers and sharing their struggles,” math teacher Heidi Grasso said. “Students do not want to look like they were not paying attention in class and are embarrassed to approach their teachers for help.” Not only is it easier to approach a fellow peer, but students can relax easier when they are in the presence of someone on the same level as them. Teachers are authority figures that may intimidate some, but tutors provide a window of familiarity. Tutors could have experienced the same problem and can relate better. “I really liked the one-on-one time I was able to get and the way Michael

explained things slowly and in a way I could understand everything,” junior Abby Kennedy said. “He helped me with everything I could possibly have a question on and gave me practice problems to do.” While these tutors do get paid while they help their peers, these entrepreneurs are also able to help themselves with their

own school work and prepare for their future careers. “Tutoring helps me practice my math skills; I remember stuff from geometry and algebra two even though I have not taken them in years,” Scott said. “I am planning on being an engineer, so it is good to keep my skills sharp for the future.”

Students help others and make profit

Jem Mason


co-lifestyles editor job that pays $10 to $20 an hour doing something you like? And you can set your own hours? What job is this? Tutoring. This lucrative business endeavor helps not only struggling students, but the tutors as well. Senior Tara Scott has been a tutor since her junior year. Every week she tutors kids from elementary to high school for several hours and can make up to $100 in a week. While a tutor helps students understand their school work, most students use tutors to help them cram before tests. Tutors often find an influx of requests for their time during test weeks and their role shifts from mentor to motivator. “[Tutoring] is not really me helping them; it is me boosting their confidence in their own abilities so they can do better,” junior Andrew Gisel, who charges $20 an hour, said. “A lot of kids just stress too much about tests; if they just calm down and relax, they will get better scores on their tests.” While it is good that students do seek help, junior Michael Scimeca wishes more people would go to tutors more than right

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Issue 4


Senior becomes successful entrepreneur Jack Schwartz


staff reporter s a wrestler, senior Chris Green has to watch what he eats. A wrestler can go days on end with small amounts of food to make weight, and Green is no exception. “I think when you’re hungry is when you have the most creative stomach,” Green said. Wrestlers get to eat after weigh-ins and tournaments. Earlier this 2010 – 2011 wrestling season at a tournament, Green ordered a baked cinnamon pretzel from the concession stand. He thought the pretzel tasted so good that he later attempted to create one of his own. “I failed miserably,” Green said, “but that didn’t stop me.” Green began to work on his craft in depth. After two weeks, he added fudge and challah bread (a light, Yiddish style bread) to his recipes. Soon enough, a friend of Green asked him for some of his home made fudge. Green agreed to make him a batch of fudge as long as he paid for the ingredients. The price was $15, $10 for ingredients, and $5 for Green’s baker’s fee. Before long, Green had frequent requests for batches of his fudge. “It kind of turned into something people expected from me,” Green said. “And I was fine with it; I liked making the food.” Green began to regularly make his own food, and bring it to all of his wrestling matches to eat and share with friends. “After matches, I can eat a big meal,” Green said. “So that’s exactly what I do.” Green decided he was going to take his hobby and turn it into something more. With the thought of making his ideas more

accessible to the public, Green launched a website called TheConstantCraving. com. The site includes pictures of the food he makes, recipes, and ideas for his own dishes. The site also contains a brief ‘about me’ section in which Green describes the origins of his inspiration to cook. The site launched on Jan. 27. Since then, Green has learned to make a wide array of new foods including candied bacon and, his creation, the Oreo Brookie Pie, a pie in which the crust is a cookie, topped with a brownie filling, a chocolate and vanilla layer of frosting and a crumbled Oreo cookie topping. Green put this idea on his site, and plans to put many more, so viewing costumers can vote via Twitter or Facebook on which foods they want Green to make. “I want to make what I would eat, but I also want to see what people would buy,” Green said. So far, Green has not sold his food regularly, except for the fudge. He plans to wait until the site catches more of an interest and is approved by the Florida Division of Food Safety. “Until then, I will be working on new recipes,” Green said. “People should just check the website from time to time or talk to me at school if they are interested in buying my food.” On Feb. 4, Green received first place at the District wrestling tournament. Holding a small plastic bag, he stood on the podium waiting for his picture to be taken. Green reached into the bag as the flash from the camera fluttered the top three wrestlers. Green quickly lifted up a single strip of candied bacon resembling the shape of the number 1, both celebrating his victory and honoring his new passion for cooking.

Earthy Dinner Rolls with Sweet Butter Ingredients: •4-5 cups all-purpose flour •7 TBS brown sugar •2 (1/4 oz.) Packages Active Dry Yeast (1/2 oz. total) •1/4 TSP salt •3TBS butter •1/2 cup milk •1 cup warm water (Do not exceed 110 Deg F) •About 2TBS olive oil(Cooking spray works just as well) Optional butter topping: •2 parts butter to one part powdered sugar •I used 2 TBS butter and 1 TBS powdered sugar Instructions: 1. Add the yeast to the warm water, add a pinch of brown sugar mix and let rest for about 5 minutes 2. While yeast is proofing, mix the butter, milk, and egg into the bowl 3. After stirring the mixture well, add the brown sugar and salt until evenly blended 4. Add the flour one cup at a time until it becomes to hard to mix

5. Coat your hands with flour and dump the dough on a lightly floured surface 6. Knead and add flour until the dough is tacky enough to stick to itself but not your hands 7. Knead the dough for an additional 4-5 minutes until the dough has a bigger spring to it when poked 8. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and acquire a large mixing bowl 9. Add the oil into the new bowl and using a napkin spread it around 10. Put the dough in the bowl and coat it evenly with oil 11. Let the dough rise for 1hr 12. For butter topping mix the butter and powdered sugar in a bowl until blended 13. Punch down the dough and place it onto a lightly floured surface 14.divide into 16 portions and roll into balls 15. Place onto one sheet close enough so that when they rise and cook, they will stick together (See photo). Let rise for 20 minutes 16. Bake in a 375 Deg. Oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned 17. Brush butter on top and serve recipe and photo from


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February 18, 2011

Over-worked Under-rested

Teens lose sleep for homework Sarah Casagrande


staff reporter he hours melted away as sophomore Alana Carey worked tirelessly on her AP homework after a long day at school and winter guard practice. She looked up at the clock and realized it was already 5:30. In the morning. Teenagers need an average of nine hours of sleep every night in order to be healthy and alert. However, most students get far less than that. Over 28 percent of teens get less than six and a half hours of rest each night, according to the American Psychological Association. “I feel super tired, but I can never seem to relax enough to fall asleep,” sophomore Ashley Heckle said. “I’m sometimes awake for hours because I’m so stressed about a big test or project that’s due.” In addition to large amounts of stress, which can put the body on high alert and prevent sleep, multiple clubs and sports are another cause for lack of sleep. Even when they are done with their activities, students still have homework to do after they get home. “With AP and honors classes comes a lot of homework, which takes at least three or two hours every night,” Heckle said. “I have horseback riding lessons twice a week too.” In order to get their work done, some

students are forced to stay up almost all night to do things such as study for a big test, but their test results the next day are usually worse than if they had just gone to bed. According to the Chicago Flame Newspaper, students who pull all-nighters, even only a few times, usually have lower GPAs and poorer test scores than those who do not. “I’ve never successfully pulled an allnighter, but I have gotten as little as an hour and a half of sleep before,” senior Sydney Topor said. “I felt disgusting and ridiculously drowsy.” In order to cope with their fatigue, many students use their classes as naptime. Students who sleep while class is going on can miss an entire lesson, which causes grades to drop, and students can receive detentions if the teacher catches them asleep multiple times. Caffeine is another common way teens try to make up for their lack of sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the nervous system and allows teens to feel buzzed and energetic, but too much can also have some health risks. According to, prolonged use of caffeine actually makes it more difficult for students to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. It can also cause bone loss, dehydration and even addiction and withdrawal symptoms similar to those

exhibited by drug or alcohol addicts. Teens should typically drink no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day, the amount in one small cup of coffee. “I have about three cups of coffee in the morning,” Carey said. “Without it I would probably fall asleep in every class.” Staying up late to finish homework, study or work on a project is usually a fight to stay awake. Heckle said she often gets bad headaches if she stays up extremely late. Without enough sleep, students start to lose focus, become fatigued and may eventually become nauseated and ill. “I have noticed that I become extremely grouchy, sore and hungry when I go several days with very little sleep,” Carey said. “Sometimes, I start getting sick and take extra vitamins.” Lack of sleep often affects teens out of the school setting as well. According to the APA, over 100,000 car accidents a year are

due to fatigue, and teens are responsible for half of them. Sleep can also cause behavior disorders such as depression and ADHD. “I think teenagers need to learn how to manage their time and not socialize until after homework and other obligations are finished,” Carey said. “Sleep is very important for young bodies because they are still growing.”

illustrations by justin moser

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Issue 4


Students get boost from energy drinks Sabrina Chehab

co-lifestyles editor ith trendy logos and attractive marketing tactics, energy drinks are essentially geared towards young adults. Some students on campus drink them religiously, others casually, but usage is controversial. Because energy drinks may provide a higher energy boost than soda, the ingredients are often questioned. For students like junior Douglas Mitchell, it is about flavor, not the ingredients. Mitchell does not experience any negative side effects after drinking a Monster every few days. “Assault is my favorite [flavor],” Mitchell said. “They taste good.” Junior Amanda Viola usually drinks at least one Red Bull every day, because she feels it tastes the best. “If I drink too many of them, I’ll get a little jittery,” Viola said. “My heart beats fast, but other than that it’s not so bad.” Advertising puns aside, Red Bull really can give you wings. It is easy to


feel anxious with sugar and caffeine soaring through the bloodstream. But the amounts of sugar and caffeine present in each drink is debatable, often because of labeling discrepancies. Labeled as “dietary supplements” by the Food and Drug Association, it is not required for drinks to label the specific amount of caffeine in each can. Despite this advertising, studies have shown that a cup of coffee can deliver the same amount of caffeine as an energy drink. Senior Bill Goodman gets twice the caffeine kick, bright and early. “[Energy drinks] get me ready for the day,” Goodman said. “I drink them in the morning with coffee.” Additionally, the time of day energy drinks are consumed can have various impacts on students’ internal clocks and physical well-being. Sleep patterns can be altered and headaches induced depending on the time of consumption; however, there are no ingredients that represent severely dangerous health

Ingredient Glossary

hazards—as long as moderation is taken into account. The fact that some energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine holds true, but only to a certain degree. Unpopular and relatively unheard of brands such as Wired X505 and Fixx contain approximately 500 milligrams of caffeine per 20 ounces. More popular brands, such as Monster and Rockstar, contain less than half of this amount. Large levels of some ingredients can prove toxic, but the same can be said for anything, even water. However, consuming energy drinks on a regular basis can lead to more severe side effects such as blood pressure fluctuation, heart arrhythmias and other cardiovascular problems, according to There is also the danger of dependency. “I’ve been drinking them since fifth-grade,” Goodman said. “If you don’t drink them for a while, you’ll get a headache.” But with over 500 brands and flavors to choose from, students can be selective with content.


TaurineTaurine is a natural stimulant known for its health properties that has no apparent health risks.

GinsengSide effects include sleeplessness, nausea, diarrhea, and high blood pressure.

CaffeineThe most common ingredient in energy drinks; caffeine’s side effects include hypertension, rash, addiction, nausea, convulsions, and irritability.

GlucuronolactoneThe side effects are unknown, and there are many debates on its safety in food products.

Acai Berry-

Gingko BilobaCan be dangerous if mixed with certain other medications, and can cause dizziness, heart palpitations, restlessness, and vomiting.

Mainly found in Rockstar (possibly) mixed alcohol in some energy drinks to help hangovers.

B-VitaminsTaking more than 35 mg of B3 can cause flushing of skin, more than 100 mg of B6 can cause nerve problems and skin lesions, and more than 3000 mg of B3 can cause liver poisoning. InositolLarge quantities have linked to diarrhea. information from


L-CarnitineCan cause problems sleeping, nausea, stuffy nose, and headaches.

Yerba MateDerived from leaves, the natural source of caffeine.

Supplies energy to muscles; most commonly found in energy drinks preferred by body builders.

From the acai palm tree, rich in antioxidants.

Milk Thistle-

AspartameSugar substitute, 180 times sweeter than natural sugar.

GuaranaDerived from the guaranine tree. Contains high levels of caffeine, denser than most coffee beans.


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February 18, 2011

energize! Energy drinks are known for their caffeine content and ability to keep people awake. But students who drink them may be unaware of the ingredients and possible side effects in each can.

Robyn Smith


managing editor

t is lunch and you are fighting to stay awake for your last, and most boring, class of the day. You need caffeine and you need it now. A diet Coke is not going to cut it. You need an energy drink. But if you want one from school, you are out of luck. There is reason for the absence of these caffeinated beverages in school vending machines, however, and it may be for your benefit. Hagerty is a national school lunch program school. This means that if the school follows certain federal guidelines regarding food and beverages, money is given to be used for lunches and education. Energy drinks do not fit in these guidelines because they are not FDA-approved. The Clinton administration created a federally-funded group called the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. According to Food Services Manager Frank Citrano, this group works with schools to determine what should or should not be sold in vending machines. Vendors, specifically Coke and Pepsi, “have decided with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to not have energy drinks in the vending machines for caffeinated reasons and high sugar content,” Citrano said. Specifically, the FDA will not approve energy drink sales in schools because their caffeine and sugar levels are too high. Citrano also says that banning energy drink fits in with the federal government’s goals: to create healthier options for students. Schools must follow guidelines in order to help create this healthier nation.

One of these federal regulations states that “the sale of foods with ‘minimal nutritional value’ is prohibited in areas where food is served or eaten.” Energy drinks, soda and sports drinks along with candy and gum are such foods that are not allowed to be sold in the lunch room, but all of them, except for energy drinks, can be found in vending machines around school. However, just because a student cannot buy energy drinks on campus does not mean they are not allowed in school. School officials say that there is no policy against energy drinks, including brands like Monster, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy brought to school. They do say, though, that caffeine pills are not allowed in school because all pills violate the student code of conduct. When compared to a chocolate milk carton sold at school, however, one serving of a Monster energy drink contains less calories, fat and sodium, with only four more grams of sugar, leading some to wonder why energy drinks are banned from sales at all. In some Florida schools, energy drinks have been banned, like at Hillsborough Middle School. Broward County also began to take steps toward banning energy drinks in schools because of a 2008 incident where four students went to the hospital after drinking energy drinks. Some still question why energy drinks are banned from school sales at all, however. When compared to a chocolate milk carton sold at school, one serving of a Monster energy drink contains less calories, fat and sodium, with only four more grams of sugar.

32% 26% 42% illustrations by sabrina chehab

What’s Your Favorite Energy Drink?

schools block sales of energy drinks

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Issue 4


Poor bus routes wasteful

Meagan Galczak

Hagerty High School

3225 Lockwood Blvd. Oviedo, FL 32765 Telephone: (407) 871-0750 Fax: (407) 871-0817 Email: hhsblueprint@gmailcom

The Blue Print is a studentproduced newspaper published six times a year in which the student editors make all content decisions. The newspaper belongs to the National Scholastic Press Association and the Florida Scholastic Press Association. Opinions expressed within the newspaper do not represent the staff’s view as a whole, and do not reflect the opinions of Seminole County Public Schools, the school board, or Hagerty High School’s administration and staff. Some material courtesy of American Society of Newspaper Editors/MCT Campus High School Newspaper Service. Letters to the editor are encouraged, but cannot be anonymous. Please submit to email, Brit Taylor’s mailstaff box or to room 6-201. For more information about advertising in the paper, please contact the staff via one of the methods listed above. We reserve the right to reject any advertisement. Principal Sam Momary Adviser Brit Taylor Editor-in-Chief Kaitlan Aries Managing Editor Robyn Smith News Editors Sohani Kasireddy Justin Moser Lifestyles Editors Sabrina Chehab Jem Mason Opinions Editor Kait Moorman Sports Editors Jacob Calloway Scott Strauss Graphics Editor Jacob Calloway Photos Editor Jem Mason Business Manager Kristin Krawczyk Staff Reporters Sarah Casagrande Sean Donovan Meagan Galczak Matthew Neveras Mehak Rahman Sam Salinas Jack Schwartz


staff reporter student wakes up, rolls out of bed, eats breakfast, then runs to catch the bus; where it will take them approximately 45 minutes to get one way to school, or an hour and a half of gas use per day with school buses that manage an impressive seven miles to the gallon. According to the Office of Program Policy & Government Accountability, at least 1 million grade level students within transportation guidelines ride the 15,900 buses available during the school year in Seminole County. A considerable amount of students (an average of at least 20 per bus) ride every day. Aggravated students and parents constantly question school officials: is bus route organization efficient to the fullest degree? Studies have proved this to be far from it. The OPPGA states that one

of the main issues it faces with school districts is that they are not fully able to “carefully manage their transportation costs” and limit “operational costs” that concern school buses. The Student Transportation branch of the OPPGA says the most helpful way to cut costs would be to improve routing. For example, Bus 160 does a u-turn down the street because she does not like the fact that students have to cross a twolane street to walk to their houses. This is clearly an inefficient way of spending precious gas money. Bus 143 drops off a student at least four miles away from all of the other stops; this student is released from the bus first. When riding Bus 301, the only way to go home is through side roads. Logical ideas? But of course. Although state student transportation funds cover 43 percent of transportation expenditure, which adds up to a little over $483,592,820 annually, OPPGA states

that the other 57 percent of funds come from “local district sources.” One of these local district sources includes all taxpayers of the district. Transportation services are still incapable of such difficult tasks and frequently re-route due to anything from new students to bus breakdowns, so new brainless bus routes are put into place. As a result there is no reasonable insight to find shortcuts, or sensible chronology of bus stop pick up, etc. Currently, bus route plans are not paid the appropriate amount of attention. Several solutions are available: organizing bus routes that are more fuel, environmentally and time efficient for students, bus drivers and tax payers.

illustration by justin moser

Honor societies lose meaning difficult to determine which students staff reporter actually meet the academic criteria as onor societies carry a lot of opposed to those who do not. prestige for high school students Honor societies are generally expected and continue to make a dignified to meet outside school hours, and some appearance on college applications. In societies require students to tutor or theory, these organizations perform community service provide academically projects, but students neglect oriented students with their duties as members and community service show up only to collect their experience and greater respective honor cord to academic exposure. wear at graduation. However, the message of Students skip meetings, these honor societies has and many have not been obscured. completed their service When students abuse hours. This negligence has caused the system, they rack up societies to lose their framework as multiple societies and club extracurricular activities. Members memberships as if they were are unable to properly organize merit badges or trophies. Some activities and service projects students have only joined societies are cannot to be completed in for the sake of their college the allotted time. applications. Information about Honor societies originated service projects does as an academic distinction that not reach students in served as a group only for the time. Campus clean-ups students that ranked in the and fundraisers lack top 5 or 10 percent of their proper planning which class. Now, it is common for accounts for more confusion among societies to lower the criteria members. Inadequate organization for admission so they are able and inefficient communication to accommodate a larger in the societies puts strain population. So, in turn on members of societies who illustration by justin moser schools can give every student an equal wish to commit a genuine effort to carry amount of academic opportunities. This the original message of these societies. so-called equal distribution makes it Nationally, there are about two

Mehak Rahman


dozen officially recognized high school honor societies. On average an honor student has a membership in three honor societies. According to an article in the New York Times, recent additions of music and art honor societies have bumped students up to as many as seven societal memberships. Some of these students who fit into this category are unable to commit to assignments. In order to make each society a successful organization, administrators should limit the number of societies a student is able to join so communication and organization is more manageable. Advisors should also better regulate student attendance at meetings. Some schools have a requirement that if a student skips multiple meetings or fails to complete an assigned project, his or her honor cord is with held until they fulfill their obligations. Some honor societies carry the load of too many students. Societies have exceeded the number of students that they are able to support; this in turn brings up communication issues. Club sponsors are unable to tally which members attend meetings as opposed to those who skip. Sponsors should make it a priority to limit the number of applicants that are made into members. So in turn, the societies are able to function and preserve the original purpose of what it means to be in an honor society.

Our view: Energy drinks not vending machine-worthy. Currently, school vending machines house a wide variety of drinks, ranging from sodas to Powerades to water. Although energy drinks are allowed in school, they are not sold on campus. As a staff, we believe that this is a logical school policy. The health movement is continually gaining popularity, and we feel that the absence of energy drinks from vending machines is a good way to encourage health among students and staff member. While sodas are not the healthiest liquid option, they are a

better choice for adolescents, especially those in a learning environment. Energy drinks contain caffiene, and while at least the caffeine in soda is regulated, energy drinks are classified differently, and their caffeine levels are not federally controlled. While this substance is not illegal, it is addictive. If the school were to permit the sale of energy drinks on campus, it would be exposing students to an addictive substance. An addiction is an addiction, no matter how benign, and should not be endorsed by figures who are supposed to

be looking out for their students’ and staff members’ welfare. Energy drinks would also yield more energized students, something many teachers would not appreciate, since too much energy would actually make students lose focus. Teenagers have enough distractions without energy drinks being added to the mix. Unfocused, caffeine-high students are the last thing our teachers need to worry about. Energy drinks are not in school vending machines and never should be.


page 9

February 18, 2011

Back Talk:Is it bad that the SAT and ACT weigh so much in college admissions?



“It is simply unacceptable to judge a student’s potential future performance on a score they received on one test.”

“Because the SAT and ACT are standardized, they transcend the other criteria’s shortcomings and provide an easy way to compare students.”

- Kait Moorman

Kait Moorman


opinions editor ollege applications ask more of a student than their SAT or ACT scores, but one must wonder if college admissions officers really look beyond these numbers when they determine whether applicants should be admitted to their school or not. Many colleges argue that the scores students receive on the SAT and/or ACT serve as a standard by which students across the country can be compared. Because of this, they place heavy emphasis on the importance of these scores—it could make or break the application. For example, Harvard University reports that the bottom 25 percent of its applicants generally have an SAT score of 1380, which equates to about a 31 on the ACT. Harvard and other colleges report the SAT and ACT scores that the bottom 25 percent of their applicants recieve, not their GPAs or how many extracurricular activities they are involved with. Clearly, scores are more important to colleges than school and comminity involvement. It is simply unacceptable to judge a student’s potential future performance on a score they received on one test. Some people are not good test-takers. Others may have had an off-day on the day of their exam. It is unjust to look at that single number represented by their score and make a decision that could affect them for the rest of their life, be it in a positive or negative manner. One reason colleges focus on SAT and ACT scores is because the scores they accept reflect back on the institution itself. If the college accepts only high-scoring students, it will appear more prestigious to the public. By raising the minimum score accepted at a specific college, schools make it nearly impossible to qualify for admissions. It is not fair to make students who work hard but do not score as high as desired suffer in an effort to make the college look better. Concerned about their children not scoring as well as a certain college requires, some parents become so consumed by these menacing tests and

- Justin Moser

how much they matter in the college admissions process that they force their children to prepare for it years in advance. Students take classes, attend workshops, get workbooks and study at home and online for the SAT and ACT. They push themselves so hard because it matters so much—too much—to colleges. Students and parents should both be more concerned about the student’s grades and involvement in school. Instead, they sacrifice time, effort and money to do all that they can to ensure that the student gets into the college of their choice. If colleges wish to get an accurate idea of how a prospective student will do at their institution, they should refer to a student’s scholastic records, not one score from one test. Scholastic records are composed of transcripts, behavioral reports, information about extracurricular activities the student was involved with and anything else that reveals information about a student’s performance in school over time. These records contain information that dates back through elementary school, kindergarten and pre-K in most cases. If college admissions officers were to focus on this aspect of the student, they would get a much more complete picture of the student’s scholastic performance than any score on any test could ever give them. While colleges do request this information when a potential future student applies, it is not as much of a determining factor fro acceptance as an SAT or ACT score. The qualities that make a good student—their organizational and timemanagement skills, personality, and interests—cannot be revealed by a test score. College admissions officers need to look beyond the numbers to decide who will be a good candidate for their undergraduate class.


Tell it like it is

impossible to tell how well these other factors represent a student’s abilities. It only makes sense that the SAT and ACT remain the most important pieces of the application. Some teachers’ classes may be easier than others, some states may have better education than others, letters of recommendation may contain bias, and membership in a club does not necessarily imply involvement in the club’s activities. Because the SAT and ACT are standardized, they transcend the other criteria’s shortcomings and provide an easy way to compare students. Although high SAT and ACT scores do look good on a transcript, they do not mean admission to a particular college is any easier. Not even a perfect 2400 on the SAT or 36 composite score on the ACT can guarantee someone will definitely get into a college, according to Todd Johnson of Colleges do not keep a minimum required SAT or ACT test scores for admission. Instead, colleges record the range of average test scores that accepted students earn. If a college’s average scores range from a 1500 to 1800 on the SAT, and a student earns a 1200, that student can still be accepted if their resume is strong in other areas. It is important to realize that low scores on these standardized tests will not ruin a student’s acceptance chances. Scholarships also usually require certain SAT and ACT scores in order for a student to qualify. That may not seem entirely fair to some test-takers, but there are plenty of other merit-based scholarships that do not require scores to qualify such as art, music or athleticthemed scholarships. The SAT and ACT are tests that must be taken seriously. Good scores are beneficial on a transcript, but bad scores do not mean that a student’s admission chances are ruined, despite the high weighting of the tests. Care needs to be taken to emphasize all aspects of a transcript, not just scores on the standardized tests, to ensure that a student will get the best possible chance of admission.

“No, they have to go through a lot of applicats, so SAT scores make it easier to choose people.” -Brandon Oliver, 12

“Yes, colleges should focus on well-rounded students instead of just scores.” -Victoria Gonzalez, 12 “Yes, extracurricular activities are more important than test scores.” -Destanie Wright, 9

Justin Moser co-news editor he high school years are a time when students start to think about their futures. They must consider what career they want to pursue and which college or university is best suited to the path they choose. Colleges are highly competitive, and students must build an impressive application if they want their college of choice to consider them. Many students fret over criteria for college admissions, especially the standardized tests like the SAT and ACT since they are weighted so heavily. However, this high weighting may not necessarily be a bad thing. The SAT, administered by the College Board, and ACT, developed as an alternative to the SAT, are the two most widely-used standardized tests for college admission in the country. The SAT focuses primarily on problemsolving, reasoning and analytic thinking while the ACT emphasizes facts and knowledge. Most undergraduate schools require scores from one of these two tests to be submitted for admission, but the weighting placed on a student’s test scores varies from school to school. Because the tests are often required for admission, one could assume that admission judges pay special attention to a student’s scores. It is important to keep in mind that, despite what people may think, SAT and ACT scores make up only a part of the overall admission package. In addition to test scores, colleges look at the classes a student has taken, their GPA, admission essay or personal statement, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular involvement in clubs and the community. However, it is

“Yes, it should be about grades and not just test scores.” -Ke’Andre Boyle, 11

“No, it should be more about the academics and less about the extracurricular activities.” -Stephen Jackson, 10 “Not really, it’s a big test, so it should be weighted like that.” -Keara Rosa, 11

page 10

Issue 4


Basketball team wins first ever district title Scott Strauss


co-sports editor

team is not defined by its amount of experience, but by the talent that it puts on the court every single night. Without the tradition and experience of other schools in the district, the boys varsity basketball team has still broken through for their first district championship. The team has only two starting seniors, but is built around the talent of the team’s younger members. “[Young players] tried to be more mature with the way we play because being a younger player on the team is a more challenging role,” junior Ira Smith said. The team finished the regular season with a record of 17-8, the same as last year. They finished second in the district behind Lake Howell with a district record of 13-3 but first in the Seminole Athletic Conference. The team’s SAC championship came after a 64-39 win at Lake Brantley. “Finishing first in the conference means that every season is better than the last and that we are improving as a team which every team wants to do,” junior Ethan Albers said. Despite being the second seed in the playoffs behind Lake Howell, the team managed to win three straight games against Lyman, Lake Mary and Lake Howell en route to their first district title. In the district championship game, senior Deion Bernard had 15 of his gamehigh 22 points in the first nine minutes, leading the team to their first ever district title with a 74-60 win over Lake Howell. “Winning districts means that [the season] was a great success,” junior Aaron Bodager said. “We put in a lot of hours this

photo by jem mason

Deion Bernard passes to Ira Smith against East River. In the district championship, Bernard had a game-high 22 points. season at practice, going out individually, trying to make ourselves better. Everything just came out as a success this year and all the hard work paid off.” The season was also highlighted by two wins over division rival Oviedo; each victory was by no more than three points. “Beating Oviedo really set the tone for the season and boosted the team’s confidence that we could accomplish anything,” Albers said. Ironically, the team’s success is built on only two seniors, Bernard and guard

Marcus Daniel. Other starters for the team include leading scorer Ira Smith, and sophomore Luke Doyle. The team’s bench is full of young players as well. According to players, the team’s attitude is the key to their success this season, and has helped to guide them throughout the trials of the season. “The attitude of the team is always up and down; people love each other and hate each other but when we get on the court, we all begin to love each other,” Smith said. “People in families argue just like we

do, but at the end we are one, and we know that we step on the court we have each other’s back.” As the team moves forward, they hope the abundance of young talent means great things for the future years. “I think we all expected to win districts” Bodager said. “We had that winning mentality that we were the best and we proved it.” The team’s first playoff game was a home regional contest against Cypress Creek on Thursday.


page 11

February 18, 2011

Cheerleading places fourth at states Sam Salinas


staff reporter ouble downs, full-ups, switch ups, back handsprings, back tucks – the varsity cheerleaders used all of these and more to win over the judges at Nationals on Feb. 12. After the state competition on Feb. 5, the cheerleading squad went to Nationals to try and win the first place title. “I couldn’t wait for Nationals because it was my first year and I was able to do it before I graduated,” senior Amanda Dixon said. The squad went to Nationals a few weeks after they competed at the state competition, and after their performance at the Jan. 18 basketball game. The threeday national competition was hosted at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. There, the cheerleading squad faced off against other teams in the large division. “We have a whole team this year, and nobody’s gotten kicked off like last year after a few incidents,” senior Kristen Lowe said. Other team members of the cheerleading squad also agree that in order to be a good team, great skills are not enough. It is a team that wins; not just a few individuals.

“In previous years, the team was just a bunch of cliques and not everyone got along, but now we’re more united,” Lowe said. Although it is a sport, cheerleading often falls into the shadow of the basketball teams, football teams, and the other sports that the squad supports. The squad observed that their competition dates and locations were never shown on the announcements while the football players and any other team sport, receive recognition and fanfare.

“People haven’t realized how good we are, and we don’t have anything big; the football team has banners and recognition,” Lowe said. The squad showed just how talented they were when they wowed the judges in state competition. Out of 24 other cheerleading teams, the squad finished fourth. The top five teams then went on to finals. There, the squad maintained fourth place, as opposed to a twelfth place finish in previous years.

At Nationals, the judges looked for more advanced technique and difficulty in the moves and stunts the team chose. The team advanced to the preliminary round, but unfortunately did not place high enough to move ahead to the semifinal round. The cheerleaders did well considering that it was their first time competing at a national level. “We made minor changes in our routine and practices,” Dixon said. “This is the best year for our team.”


photo by gina krawczyk

The varsity cheer team finished first in their division in the Showdown in O-Town competition at the Amway Center.

Athletes rake in big scholarship money Kristin Krawczyk


business manager hile most students could safely identify at least one athlete who earned a college scholarship, graduate Jeff Driskel is not the only talented athlete who received a scholarship to play a sport in college. In the three years since the first graduating class, 25 athletes have been recruited to a college; six of them so far are from this year. To earn a scholarship, most of these athletes joined year-round teams that forced college recruits to notice their skill. Senior Kelsey Carpenter, who began playing softball when she was ten, became a member of a team who would play in elite tournaments that coaches would attend. Florida Gulf Coast University, a Division I school, became aware of her and offered Carpenter a full scholarship. “I worked hard to become [recognized],

so I was happy and relieved that everything was over because [the process] was really stressful,” Carpenter said. Senior baseball player Gabe Rivera also obtained a scholarship to Florida Gulf Coast University, his dream school since freshman year. He felt ‘encouragement, happiness and excitement’ when the offer came. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was three, that’s 15 years that I’ve been playing, so I’ve been working really hard,” Rivera said. “Now I have the scholarship, I get to do it for four more years.” Rivera joined Coach Goodwin’s [AAU] team and went to showcases, games where many college and pro scouts watch the players. It was not until Rivera’s sophomore year that Florida Gulf Coast contacted him. The college brought him to the school and offered him a scholarship senior year.

Senior Tyler Marlette had the chance to play in the AFLAC All American baseball game and was named MVP. Because of his performance, college recruiters noticed his potential. He decided to accept the University of Central Florida’s scholarship offer because he had a better chance of starting on the baseball team his freshman year. Baseball players have an advantage for exposure because they have many showcases and tournaments. Swimmers do not have as many chances to be seen by college coaches. Senior Matt Curby is one of the lucky ones. He showed his talent through being on a swim team, even though it is an individual sport. He first caught the attention of recruiters sophomore year when he became a state champion in swimming. Since then, he obtained another state title his senior year. “I feel like I got lucky because there’s

not a whole lot of money in swimming, and for me to get any from a school such as Florida is pretty miraculous,” Curby said. He looks forward to swimming with other top recruits in the nation at the University of Florida. Although talent is the first part, and year-round teams and showcases are another, nothing takes the place of routine training. Senior Ronnie Gajownik received a scholarship offer purely through constant practice. She installed a batting cage in her backyard so she can train every day, even on softball’s off season. Gajownik accepted a scholarship from Jacksonville University and is excited to create a new legacy at the college. “[The process] was definitely stressful. You don’t know how everything is going to work out until you’re actually [in college] and you realize you’ve made a good decision,” Rivera said.

The award highlighted on an already successful season. Among the most important matches was the Seminole Athletic Conference championship match, where the team placed fourth. Most of the junior girls placed well and set personal records. Many of them were close to getting to Sectionals. “At conference we got to prove ourselves,” Valdes said. “We also got to show how hard we had trained.” From the sectionals meet, the team managed to send two lifters, Aries and Valdes, to the state meet; both placed third

for their weight class to advance while they continued to set their postseason recordbreaking streak. At states, Valdes placed sixth and Aries placed seventh. They both set their own records in the clean-and-jerk lift with 150 pounds, and Aries set her own record through the 155 pound bench-press lift. “We’re doing things this year that we haven’t done before,” head weightlifting coach Nate Gierke said. This season’s team retained eight lifters from last year’s team, which added to the success. Previously, girls would attempt

to join the team but would quit because it more intense than they thought it would be; but this year 20 lifters made it through the season. Seven of the girls came from the track team, which had a new offseason workout system; which mirrored that of the girls weightlifting offseason work. The team was not expected to do very much this season, but by the end they completed the most successful season yet with better technique and an improved confidence level from previous years. “It feels really good to have set the bar,” Valdes said. “It’s an exciting feeling.”

Weightlifters advance to state competition Sean Donovan


staff reporter t the sectional meets at Flagler Palm Coast High School on Jan. 25, Cristina Valdes waited for a ribbon, a certification of whether or not she would represent the school for her weight level, 129 pounds at the state competition on Feb. 12 in Kissimmee. Only the top three from each weight class move on. Along with fellow senior lifter Kaitlan Aries, who belonged from the 139 pound weight class, Valdes became the first lifters to advance to the state competition.

page 12

Issue 4

Sickle cell



Strong teen overcomes deadly disease

Kaitlan Aries

editor-in-chief econd chances are rare. However, no one told sophomore Cory Blackwood. Cory had a life-threatening disease and was able to eliminate it. His second chance came when he beat the odds and created opportunities for his future. Cory suffers from sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder that affects 70,000 to 100,000 Americans according to the Center for Disease Control. Diagnosed at birth, Cory has had to deal with the effects of sickle cell anemia, which has resulted in frequent trips to the hospital. “There are times when I get to work and by the time I get to work, I get a call that he’s sick,” Cory’s mother, Jhana Blackwood, said. “I pick up my pocketbook, come back, pick him up, and he ends up in the hospital for two weeks.” But on Sept. 24, Cory underwent


a bone marrow transplant in Atlanta, to being separated. Jhana stayed in Ga. With the transplant of new bone Atlanta with Cory while Sherlock, marrow, Cory will no longer have Cory’s father, remained in Oviedo the symptoms associated with with Mia. sickle cell anemia; he will only carry “One parent was now taking the trait in his DNA. That means no on the job of two parents,” Jhana more episodes of pain, no more risk said. “My husband is here and he factors for stroke, and the only time has to be a mother and a father to he will have to go to the hospital my daughter, is on scheduled and I’m in appointments. Atlanta, I have “It’s a whole new world. [The Cory’s only to be a mother transplant has] opened up so sibling, his sister and father to many opportunities for him to Mia, was a 100 Cory, plus be a do stuff that he could never percent match to caretaker.” Cory and decided do before.” Since the to donate her -Jhana Blackwood procedure, bone marrow to Cory returned save her brother. home on Jan. The procedure, however, not only 4, however he is still in isolation. came with risks for Cory, it also Because of his compromised involved risks for Mia. immune system, Cory cannot go out “It was a really hard decision to in public, and he has to wear a mask make, but as a family we made the if he ventures outside the house. decision,” Jhana said. The procedure, however, did When Cory was in Atlanta, the not come without its costs. The family had a difficult time adjusting surgery came with a $600,000 price

tag. That cost includes the surgery, hospital expenses, future doctor appointments and all medications. To further complicate the issue, Sherlock recently lost his business and Jhana has a health issue and will not be able to return to work. As a result, she will lose her health insurance at the end of the month. “I’m not going to worry about that right now,” Jhana said. “God will provide, he has brought us this far.” In spite of the financial difficulties, the family has maintained an optimistic outlook. According to Jhana, Cory gains strength every day. Cory looks forward to being able to go back to school and play sports. Now, with his sickle cell anemia no longer a problem, that can become a reality. “It’s a whole new world,” Jhana said. “[The transplant has] opened up so many opportunities for him to do stuff that he could never ever do before.”

Fire Only Makes the Wood Stronger concert Sohani Kasireddy

co-news editor he mere thought of a life threatening disease evokes a feeling of uneasiness in many, but for sophomore Cory Blackwood, it is reality. Blackwood was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia at birth. And after 15 years, Blackwood has the opportunity to lead a relatively normal life as he recently underwent a bone marrow transplant in Atlants, Ga. To assist the Blackwood family with their medical expenses, the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society have collaborated to plan a benefit concert - Fire Only Makes the Wood Stronger. “The title is a metaphor referring to how Cory will become stronger by surviving through this entire journey symbolized by the fire,” NHS president Branden Oliver said. The concert will take place on Friday, March 11 from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in the auditorium. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Blackwood’s medical expenses. The transplant process will range from approximately $400,000 to $600,000. This figure includes post surgery medication, follow up treatments and nonmedicinal costs. “Since the surgery will make [Blackwood’s] immune system so weak, the family will have to get new flooring and install a new air conditioning unit, we would be


happy if the concert could help cover those costs,” Oliver said. Because the transplant process is so extensive, the family has turned toward the Children’s Organ Transplant Association. They will help organize, plan and execute events or activities to raise donations that will

pay for transplant-related expenses not covered by insurance. SHS president Anthony Weishampel was inspired to help Blackwood after he received an email through a soccer league in which

illustration by xavier moss

This design is located on posters advertising the benefit concert.

Blackwood’s father, Sherlock Blackwood, worked. The email described the difficulties the family was forced to face due to the sickle cell anemia. Weishampel immediately sent the email to Oliver who was enthusiastic to help. “I just thought it’s our classmate, our peer and we have to help him in any way we can,” Weishampel said. NHS and SNHS members will oversee the production of the concert. SNHS will be involved with the concession stand and the ticket booth. NHS members will help to set up, usher the show and clean up at the end. Tickets and t-shirts to promote the concert will be sold towards the end of February. Oliver and Weishampel hope to further publicize this event on the radio. Both hope this cause inspires other clubs in the school to help with the concert as well. Local bands will provide the music for the night, which will consist of acoustic guitar, soft rock and instrumental. Old Bear Run will perform. Many of the band members scheduled to perform are Hagerty alumni. Oliver and Weishampel hope this further emphasizes the idea of the entire community coming together to help a fellow student. “We are definitely expecting all the seats in the auditorium to be filled up because it’s a cause that everyone can relate to,” Weishampel said. “We just hope that everyone comes together for this.”