The BluePrint - Volume 5, Issue 5

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3225 Lockwood Blvd

Hagerty High School Oviedo, Florida 32765

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what’s inside news....................2 lifestyles..............4 middle.................6 opinions.............. 8 sports.................10

news bites Mandatory senior exit survey: In order to walk at graduation, seniors must complete the exit survey. The online survey has expired, so seniors who have not filled out this survey must meet with their guidance counselors as soon as possible. Senior DVD orders: Senior DVDs are now on sale from May 22 to June 7. The price is $40. The price rises to $50 on June 8 until the last DVD is sold. To order one, complete the order form and bring a check made payable to Hagerty High School to Donna Mullins Parker,TV production teacher, in room 2-115a. DVDs will be available after graduation practice on June 7 and throughout the summer. Locker laws: All lockers need to be cleaned out by the end of the school day on Tuesday, June 8. Anything remaining in the lockers after 12 p.m. will be thrown away. Backpacks and large bags are not allowed on buses on Monday, June 7, Tuesday, June 8 or Wednesday, June 9. Summer school dates: Session 1 is from June 14 to July 1. Session 2 is from July 6 to July 22. 2010-2011 schedule pick up: On Monday, Aug. 9, students in upcoming grades 10-12 are to pick up their 2010-2011 schedules in the cafeteria. Students with last names A-H go from 8-10 a.m. Students with last names I-Q go from 10-12 a.m. Students with last names R-Z go from 1-3 p.m. No parking stickers will be sold on schedule pick up days.

husky poll

Based on a survey of 300 randomly selected students compiled and created by Jem Mason




Family feud: Students attend school with their siblings and must adapt.




Later, gator: Jeff Driskel plans to graduate early to pursue his football career at UF. volume 5 issue 5 May 26, 2010

Jake Martin wins Junior Nationals Robyn Smith


co-news editor

n any normal night sophomore Jake Martin can be seen flipping, tumbling and flying through the air. He spends most of his time at the gym practicing gymnastics. Recently, Martin won the Level 10 14-15-year-old Men’s Junior Olympic National Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. on May 8 and 9. Martin won the all-around, which is all the events in the competition combined with a score of 177.600. Martin also placed first in the horizontal bar, an individual event, with a score of 29.80. “The best moment [of the competition] was definitely the last event, seeing the score and realizing that I had just won National Championships,” Martin said. To qualify for National Championships, gymnasts must place at state and regional championships. Martin trains six days a week for six hours every day to prepare for competitions like this. This six hours mostly includes repetitions of routines. He also maintains a healthy diet in order to stay in shape. Martin has been successful in other competitions, such as the Pan-American Games in Brazil, a competition between all the countries in the Americas. He placed

fifth on the pommel horse which helped the U.S. team place second overall. Competitions like the National Championships and the Pan-American Games are located out of state which means Martin must take time out of his schedule to compete. Because of the time and effort commitments, gymnastics is the main focus in Martin’s life. Due to his busy schedule, he does not have much time for things other than homework and gymnastics practice. “I don’t really have a social life. I try to do as much stuff as I can on the weekends, but since I practice for six hours a day, I don’t have the time to do anything,” Martin said. “It’s always gymnastics first and if I have time, then I’ll go and do something.” Although he sacrifices a social life for his success, Martin’s interest in gymnastics has held strong for over eight years. He was introduced to gymnastics when his family taught him how to do a back flip and enrolled him in gymnastics classes. “The most satisfying part definitely has to be when a younger athlete comes up to you and tells you how much they look up to you,” Martin said. At only 16, Martin has established himself as a solid gymnast and hopes to continue with the sport in the future. His win at the Junior National Championships

photo from

Martin competes on the horizontal bar. He placed first in this event during the Men’s Junior National Championships. will help him further his gymnastics career by providing a résumé of success stories. “It’s amazing. I never really thought I’d be here,” Martin said. “It’s been a long journey; it’s kind of weird. It’s really fun because people know my name. I guess I’m kind of famous.”

Worst to First petitions for better child welfare Sohani Kasireddy


co-news editor

lorida schools are often chastised for poor investment in children’s education. Although people have complained about this in the past, a recent petition to change the currently poor status of Florida schools has been put into effect. A statewide campaign, the Worst to First petition aims to develop aspects of children’s welfare such as health care, socioeconomic status and educational standards. According to the web site for the Worst to First petition, Florida ranks 49th out of the 50 states in terms of the welfare of children. The ultimate goal of this petition is to raise Florida from the forty-ninth rank to the first rank. Advocates of the campaign strive to do so by increasing the state government’s spending on children’s welfare. In addition, the petition attempts to unite all groups working toward children’s welfare into a statewide community to make such issues a top priority. “The only way you can fight what has been happening is by collective citizen action,” Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, son of late former governor, Lawton Chiles said in the January 2010 issue of the Orlando Sentinel. “And once people start coming together, you won’t be able to stop them.” The petition was initiated by the Lawton Chiles Foundation headed by Lawton “Bud” Chiles III. The Lawton Chiles Foundation draws attention to statistics that show the state government’s declining efforts to provide necessities for children and students. Members attempt to use these statistics to convince political leaders that a change in Florida’s educational institutions must occur. “[As Floridians] we reject those who care so much about their political popularity

that they would preserve it at the expense of our kids,” Chiles said according to the Capitol News Service. Chiles explains a method by which the state government could extract money from various sources in order to invest more heavily in the education sector. Closing tax loop holes such as sales tax exemption for large corporations, raising cigarette taxes and investing less in prisons, will allow the government to make the petition a reality. “We’re not investing in success, we’re investing in failure,” Chiles said. Florida’s current state budget for prisons and reform centers is one of the highest in the nation. Chiles feels this issue can be corrected from the root cause by providing students with exceptional educational amenities to prevent them from leading a life of violence or crime in prison. He believes the state is forced to invest in remedial programs, emergency rooms, etc. because the wiser front end spending on prenatal care, clinics and a strong education was not performed. The petition, however, has also been under scrutiny of the Seminole Education Association (SEA), an organization similar to a union that handles collective bargaining and workplace grievances for teachers. Social Studies teacher and head representative for SEA Jane Palmer attests to the significant changes that will occur if the funding given to schools increases as a result of the petition. “When the school district and the state build schools, we are only provided with the bare bones,” Palmer said. “[The Worst to First campaign] would let us upgrade technology and improve the abilities of the teaching staff.” The enactment of the petition would allow schools to hire more teachers, consequently reducing class sizes. Students

would not be required to donate classroom supplies. Major changes that would follow would be the upgrade in technology with devices such as the ELMO and Smartboard apparent in each classroom. Teachers would be able to develop professionally as there would be more opportunities for them to attend workshops and similar activities. Through these workshops, teachers can familiarize themselves with the new technology, learn methods to deal with specials needs students or broaden their knowledge on the subject they may teach. “If we invest in your generation …it will pay off in ten or fifteen years,” Palmer said. “[Students] will have the skills to draw better than minimum wage paying jobs to Florida.”

Florida ranks... 31 in children in poverty 40 in teens not working and not attending school

41 in child abuse deaths 42 in the state spending on

education as a percentage of total resources

43 in high school graduation rates 47 in access to prenatal care for children and pregnant women

48 in juvenile violent crime 48 in standardized test scores 49 in health coverage for children 50 in state per capita spending on corrections vs. education

...out of the 50 states

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Issue 5

Beauty bears a price


tumors and high blood pressure. Long term staff reporter effects include infertility, development of ociety has formed a deceptive image breasts and growth of facial hair. of the perfect body: tan, skinny, Researchers at the NIDA report that symmetrical and flawless. But users of this product “may suffer from what happens when students try to meet paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, these expectations with dangerous body delusions and impaired judgment stemming enhancement techniques? from feelings of invincibility.” “Hollywood has a big impact on regular Tan, toned bodies often create the people, [but] students should understand image of a “perfect body.” Tanning beds that those types of images are not healthy are a way to get a head start on a beach tan or typical,” anatomy teacher Brandi and maintain it throughout the year. Malkovich said. “[I tan] in oder to darken my skin and get Steroids, muscle milk and tanning can rid of my tan lines,” junior Skylar Amkraut help people achieve a more attractive look, said. “I was [warned, however,] that it but these enhancers come with adverse side could cause skin cancer, bad sunburns and effects for the body. eye problems.” Some athletes make use of steroids or According to ABC News, over 30 muscle milk to million people go help them lose to the tanning bed “[Muscle milk] helps me get fat and build per year and those bigger, but I know there are lean muscle who are under some bad side effects to it too.” mass. These the age of 35 - Tim Patch products can increase their risk help an athlete of melanoma skin train harder and longer, but these drugs cancer by nearly 75 percent. and excess nutrients can cause harm to the The tan appearance is caused by UVA user’s body as well as their mind. rays released by the tanning bed bulbs. “[Muscle milk] helps me get bigger, but These penetrate the skin in a way that I know there are some bad side effects to it causes the same or more damage than too,” junior Tim Patch said. normal sunlight. The UVA rays are thought Muscle milk contains glycocyamine to cause premature aging, wrinkles and which can lead to heart diseases. It is also even skin cancer. difficult to digest muscle milk because the In spite of probable complications, milk hinders the body’s natural ability to people still go through tanning, steroids detoxify itself. or other body enhancers to develop their Because of the pressure to get a more physical image. muscular body, students may resort to “I think many of [my students] do not steroid use as a quicker way to get buff. understand the risks,” Malkovich said. According to the National Institute on “It’s still early and some of these effects Drug Abuse (NIDA), anabolic steroid use may still not be seen and won’t be seen can lead to short term effects such as liver until later in life.” Elaine Lam


Lucas Wainman • Sophomore Lucas Wainman enjoys juggling while riding his five foot unicycle. • Wainman began riding his unicycle five years ago. His parents were able to ride unicycles and Wainman started after they bought him one. • He rode his unicycle during teacher appreciation week because it was circus themed. Wainman rode around the courtyard dressed like a clown, while juggling. • For first time learners, Wainman recommends practicing balance by holding on to a stable object. • He emphasizes the importance of trusting oneself in order to keep peddling. • Wainman learned through trial and error. He would pedal five pedals at a time and then fall until he was able get the hang of it.


[I ride my unicycle] because I think it’s fun and unique and no one can do it really.

compiled by kristin krawczyk

photo by elaine lam


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May 26, 2010

Dangerous driving develops among teens

Mehak Rahman


staff reporter tudent drivers have witnessed other student drivers partake in unique activities in the driver’s seat at least once. Some drivers go through their daily beauty related routines while they operate their vehicles. Others choose to eat fast food meals while they propel through an intersection. Not only are these habits a danger to the general public but they irritate the majority of sane drivers on the road. As a new driver, sophomore Cristina Key is able to differentiate between normal driving patterns and irritating tendencies. “I see really random things, like girls painting their nails on the way to school. Some people just don’t have common sense,” Key said. A forementioned activities are not only a distraction for the driver itself but a danger to surrounding drivers. It increases their likelihood of becoming involved in or causing a careless accident. Traffic analysts previously associated teenage car accident statistics with substance abuse. However, most teenage accidents are documented with references

to distractions caused by technological devices in the form of cell phones and MP3 players nowadays. “I know majority of the traffic around school is caused by distracted drivers. They are either texting or scrolling through music,” Key said. With the increased use of cellular devices or lack of time management Student drivers are more prone to forget common procedures that are essential to properly driving. “I hate it when people drive slow in the left lane, and when they forget to use their ‘blinkers’,” Junior Kris Ryan said. Student drivers have found loop holes through which they can continue conversations while they drive. Most students now drive with one hand on the wheel and the other pressed against their glossy phone screens. Others drive with their knees and text in their laps. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 67 percent of all teenagers involved in accidents used a technological device. Some student drivers are easily distracted by loud sounds and fast moving

objects. Researchers for the American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted a survey that determined that most teenage drivers engaged in risky habits while in a car with their friends. “Sometimes I play ‘human frogger’ and see how many times I can switch lanes between cars,” Ryan said. Most student drivers feel that they can multitask but they do not realize the risks involved with driving if they do not completely concentrate

on the road. “I hate it when people cut you off and speed up and slow down irregularly. Teenagers pay less attention to the road when they are with their friends. It’s just how it is,” Key said.

illustration by justin moser

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Issue 5


PALS club offers helping hand to autistic Sabrina Chehab


co-lifestyles editor

apers shuffle and officers discuss future events. Club members listen attentively and offer occasional suggestions. Meetings may seem boring, but when they bowl, eat lunch and play games with autistic students, this group makes a difference. Interaction is one of the most important aspects of this group in addition to compassion, dedication and patience. These qualities personify members of Providing Autism Links and Supports (PALS) group, a collection of students who put effort toward autism awareness. The PALS group meets every other Friday in sponsor Brit Taylor’s room. Composed of approximately 30 members, the group interacts and spends time with autistic students as well as autistic students from Carillon Elementary. “We play games with [the autistic students] and we spend time with them,” sophomore Rebecca Kennedy said. “Every so often, we’ll take a lunch to eat with them and just talk to them.” It may not seem like much, but according to Kennedy, this interaction makes autistic students feel acknowledged. In addition to playing games, the group also bowls with the autistic students. Communication can be difficult due to the repetitive behavior and lack of effective emotional conveyance on the autistic student’s part. Autistic students can be stubborn, and some members occasionally suffer from frustration. “[The most challenging part of helping autistic students] is probably just

trying to get them to listen and talk to you,” sophomore Jessica Richmond said. “They’ve taught me a lot of patience.”
 Due to their communication problems, students outside PALS club are less sympathetic when it comes to dealing with those who have autism. “I’ve seen kids around school that tend to make fun of autistic kids, and it’s really harsh because it’s not like they can help it,” Rebecca Kennedy said. “In the club, we make it aware that it shouldn’t happen.” For some, the motivation to join PALS came from home. Sophomores Rebecca and Abigail Kennedy have an older sister with cerebral palsy. Freshman Michelle Laborde, creator of PALS, has a brother, Genio, who is autistic. “You learn a lot from [the autistic students]; that it’s okay to be different,” Laborde said. “You learn how to interact with them and you learn that it’s better to give than to get.” The group’s activities reflect this statement. Fundraiser booths are set up in front of stores such as Publix to collect donations and help spread autism awareness throughout the community. Group members also started to sell buttons that display the message, “okay is different.” These activities require a sense of commitment from members.
 “You have to be patient and kind, and also make sure that you always put your best foot forward,” sophomore Abigail Kennedy said. 
 Even though diligence and consideration may already exist in members, some believe that an association with this group has taught

photo by simone bodecker

Freshman Michelle Laborde, president and founder of PALS club, helps an autistic member of society, Aian Alvarado, pick out a bowling ball. them new skills and changed them for the better. There are some members who believe that they have learned from the autistic students.
 “[Autistic students] have taught me

how important some causes are, and how important it is to take some time out of your day to just spend time with someone else because it really makes their day,” Rebecca Kennedy said.


May 26, 2010

page 5

Student siblings share experiences at school

Shannon Dunne


staff reporter

tatistics show that adolescents appear to spend an average of ten hours a week exclusively with siblings. However, siblings who attend the same school can possibly spend from 7:20 to 2:20 together every day. Whether it is a ride to school in the morning or even a seat next to each other in class, siblings feel the effect of being together at school in both their academic and social lives. “We can never get enough of each other,” freshman Tayler Johnson said in regard to her sister, Candice. “We go to sporting events together after school, she gives me rides, and we even share clothes.” Some say that siblings who attend the same school lose their identity and individuality, but for sophomore Hunter Menning, being in the same sports as his sister Zavia serves as a motivation. “My sister and I are on the same cross country and track team. It motivates me more to do well because I live with her; the support she gives me is more personal than

support from others,” said Menning. certain classes for my To have a sibling attend the same schedule,” Johnson school can also act as a comfort said, “Her advice about zone for students getting used to teachers and the courses the changes that accompany was really helpful and it high school life. has definitely paid off.” “It’s really comforting Some pairs of siblings because I know that in the same school just pass [Zavia] will always be each other in the hallway or there for me anytime I talk to each other at breaks and need immediate help with at lunch, but juniors Kirsten anything,” Menning said. “It and Jordan Burns experience will be different next year what it is like to have two when she graduates because classes together. I’ll be losing one of my best “It can be strange at first, friends at this school.” but we don’t really mind,” Besides companionship Kirsten Burns said, “I like and reassurance, a sibling having [Jordan] to talk to or also has experience to offer. work with.” Older siblings help their In addition to an younger brothers or sisters automatic friend and decide what classes to a partner in class, a n o take, as well as provide sibling can also be an s ma jem o by them with useful advice. introduction to new phot “My sister helped and interesting people. me decide what foreign They can get to know language to take and she recommended classmates individually or together and

are also able to participate in school events with each other. “Some good things about having a sibling at school are that there is always someone to talk to and you make lots of friends,” senior Jessica Ellis said. “The only bad thing is that you have to wait after school if one of you has to stay after.” Though having a sibling at school has many positive aspects, there still are certain downfalls. Comparisons and stereotypes are often associated with siblings. “A lot of our friends just assume that [Jessica and I] have similar personalities,” sophomore Nicole Ellis said. “We do share some things in common, but for the most part we are pretty different.” Despite the negatives, most pairs have embraced the positive aspects of it. Jordan and Kirsten Burns have even considered attending the same college. “I love having my sister at school with me,” Kirsten Burns said. “We always get along and I always have her to talk to if I need her. We can help each other out, remind one another of things we have to do, and we get to spend time together.”

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Issue 5



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May 26, 2010

Going GREEN Teachers and students alike take up their respective roles in society to benefit the environment.

Leadership helps environment Megan Amend


staff reporter

ur current school recycling program entails weekly classroom pickups for extra trash. The leadership classes manage a school-wide routine to collect recyclable paper materials. Even with paper pickups teachers feel that our program leaves something to be desired. In turn, teachers have taken it upon themselves to recycle more than their fair share. German teacher Kathy Koons devotes herself to the well-being of the environment. “I really hate seeing stuff in the trash that can be recycled; I mean if you could reuse it then why not,” Koons said. Because our school does not currently have a recycling program for bottles or cans, Koons makes it a habit to collect bottles from her students and take them home. “I think it would be nice if we had bottle recycling. I am not taking home a ton of bottles but I am taking home some,” Koons said. Koons integrates recycling into her curriculum as well. She collects used paper with blank sides to use for German quizzes, and other teachers have also adopted this method in order to conserve paper. She also intends to collect the workbooks that her student used throughout the year and recycle those as well. “I will bring in my junk mail with blank backs and the back of my Christmas cards; anything that can be reused I will reuse and recycle,” Koons said. Math department chair, Carolyn Guzman makes an effort to enforce recycling within the math department. “I collect all of the cans, plastic bags and the other stuff the school doesn’t recycle and I take it home to recycle; I even recycle Styrofoam,” Guzman said. She maintains an optimistic approach with how students have embraced recycling but admits that expansion for our school’s current program is not a considerable option at this point in time. “It would cost too much for one school to expand the recycling program,” Guzman said. “It is just not financially feasible; any expansion would have to be a district wide program.” Teachers like Guzman and Koons still believe that the remaining percentage of the student body can reuse their water bottles and take the initiative to help the environment as representatives of a younger generation. “One or two cans might not make much of a difference right now, but more than anything it encourages recycling as a habit to carry into adulthood,” Guzman said.

Plastic Recycling:

- Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour. -Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

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hree years ago, the leadership class and Student Government Association (SGA) decided to begin a program that would address environmental issues at school. Last year the idea became a reality through a paper recycling program. “I think [paper] recycling is good for the school because it helps us to be environmentally friendly and sets the stage for future recycling,” sophomore Tyler Yeargain said. Every classroom has a cardboard box where students and teachers can recycle their unwanted paper. The leadership class collects the paper each Thursday and puts it into a dumpster located behind the school. “I don’t mind collecting the bins from the classrooms,” junior Dori Wood said. “It’s for a good cause.” A company called SP Recycling collects the paper. The company then pays the school for each ton of paper recycled. “All of the money goes into the SGA account,” leadership teacher and SGA sponsor Kari Miller said. “When Mr. Momary or Mrs. McDonald ask for money for [materials or events], [the money] goes to the school, like the breakfast provided before AP exams.” Miller estimated the program made $150 last year and she thinks the program has made closer to $200 this year. “For the most part I think that this year there has definitely been an increase in participation over last year, but I still see paper in my trash can all the time,” Miller said. All high schools in the county have a paper recycling program and a few have a plastic recycling program. Previously, it would have cost SGA money to recycle plastics. However, the company that recycles the county’s plastics has agreed to recycle the school’s plastics at no charge. “Plastic will start soon, probably through leadership,” Miller said. “It’s something we’re going to work on next year, but we should be able to put it into place.” From here, the leadership class must organize the logistical aspects of the plastic program such as containers in the classrooms and a second dumpster outside. “[The recycling program] decreases the garbage we produce,” Miller said. “I think that is our ultimate goal.”


Mehak Rahman


co-lifestyles editor

photos by jem

Teachers support recycling efforts

Leaders hip stud ents co paper fr lle om the designa ct boxes in te d th Thursda e classrooms every y during mid-blo ck.

statistics from

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Issue 5

According to Kait

Hagerty High School

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

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 Helen Reed’s mailbox 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 Helen Reed Editor-in-Chief Naveed Clarke Managing Editor Sarah Landers Lifestyles Editors Megan Amend Sabrina Chehab News Editors Sohani Kasireddy Robyn Smith Opinions Editor Kait Moorman Sports Editors Kaitlan Aries Patrick McCormack Graphics Editor Jeff Howell Photos Editor Kaitlan Aries Business Manager Kristin Krawczyk Staff Reporters Jacob Calloway Aidan Coffey Eileen Dombrowski Shannon Dunne Kristin Elias Will Henken Elaine Lam Jem Mason Justin Moser Mehak Rahman Scott Strauss

Kait Moorman


opinions editor he long-awaited Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park’s grand opening will be held on June 18 at the Universal Orlando Resort. People are excited about this new attraction, some more so than others.

a series initiates a widespread eruption of children biting fellow classmates in an effort to be like their hero Edward there is a problem. And that’s not to mention the online forums, conventions, and other events that are devoted entirely to idolizing series such as these. Of all the issues in the world people could be discussing, they blab about their favorite series. Don’t worry about the recent oil spill in the Gulf. Nope, I’d feel much more productive dressing up like Chewbacca and talking about Star Wars. I don’t mean to say that admiring a literary work is a negative thing—it’s not. But there are healthy ways to express this love, like through a book club or a movie marathon with friends.

AP made easy for unprepared students Justin Moser


staff reporter ow more than ever, the Advanced Placement (AP) program has become a hallmark of U.S. high school education. Many students take at least one of the rigorous courses at some point in their high school career. Elite universities expect to see transcripts full of passing grades in AP classes. The College Board, the AP program sponsor, is lobbying for the program’s expansion. Inevitably, student enrollment in the AP program is on the rise. But contrary to what many believe and to what the College Board claims, higher AP enrollment may do more harm than good. According to several studies, enrollment in AP classes across the country has risen from 700,000 in 1999 to 1.7 million in 2009. This increase in student enrollment means that the percentage of students taking the AP exams in May is also climbing. About 66 percent of students in AP classes took the AP exams in 2000. In 2009, that number jumped to nearly 76 percent. Enrollment and test participation are not the only things on the rise in the AP program. The number of students who receive a one or a two on the AP exams, or in other words, fail, is also climbing. With more students taking the exams, one would expect the amount of passes and fails to increase, which is partly the case. But in fact, the proportion of students failing the exam, not just the number, is on the rise. AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program, a book recently published by Harvard University, compiles various studies on the AP program. The results of the book’s studies vary, but the general consensus is that the AP program has expanded too much. “The growth [of the AP program] has reached a point of diminishing results,” Philip Sadler, co-editor of Harvard’s book and senior astronomy lecturer at Harvard, said. In other words, AP has outgrown

Our view:


illustration by sabrina chehab

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.

Appreciation unnecessarily becomes obsession

Potter fanatics plan on camping at the park on the night of June 17 to make sure they are at the front of the lines the next day. Extreme measures such as this beg the question: when does a fan’s appreciation transform into an obsession? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for Harry Potter myself, but a line must be drawn between admiration and obsession. Too many people today come across a series of books or movies and instantly develop an unhealthy infatuation with it. Recently, Twilight and Harry Potter have claimed the most victims, but a number of individuals hold true to their love of older series like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. The authors of these novels and the directors of the movies that accompany them are likely flattered. However, when


itself. The huge expansion of the program attracts students who may not be ready for the rigors an AP course demands. The higher percentage of students ill-prepared for AP courses causes a higher proportion of failing grades. The expansion of the AP program has also sapped millions of dollars from school districts for things like classroom materials and teacher training that could have put the money to better use, such as extracurricular expansion or academic department improvement. But from the College Board’s point of view, the program deserves nothing but praise. It argues that its classes and exams are beneficial to all students who take them, even if the students fail; AP helps students complete credit requirements and graduate on time. Claims also say that AP raises the number of college bound students. Such claims have little validity because most students who enroll in AP already do well in school and are already college bound. In truth, the problem comes from students’ misconceptions of the program. Many students who enroll in an AP class often only look for a boost in their grade point average or for the fulfillment of a

credit requirement. This kind of attitude is what encourages unprepared students to take AP and what hurts the program more than helps it. If an AP course stays at the same rigorous level, then most ill-prepared students will fall behind and begin to fail. If the AP course is diluted to accommodate for the increase in lower level students, then the entire class may be at a level too low to pass the AP exams in May. Neither scenario is attractive to anyone involved. Others say that when students take AP classes in high school, they will not have to take those classes in college. However, some AP classes that students take must be retaken in college if the subject coincides with his or her major. For example, a student takes AP Biology in high school and majors in biochemistry in college, that student will likely have to retake the same biology course once they enter college. AP classes are great, but only if those taking them are well-prepared. Enrolling in an AP class should not be taken lightly. If the program’s expansion is allowed to cross its threshold any further, more harm than good will result.

There should be an age limit on tanning beds

n a society that tries so desperately to promote the “be happy with your body” slogan, one might be surprised to discover that artificial body enhancements are more popular than ever. Chief among these is tanning, which has become common in all age brackets. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that the artificial sources of light used by tanning beds may produce 12 times the amount of ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun. A nationwide age limit should be set for tanning beds. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, of the nearly 30 million people who tan indoors in

the U.S. each year, 2.3 million of them are teens. As it is, most states require that people age 16 and under either have a guardian present while they tan or have a signed parental consent form on file. Although it is responsible of tanning salons to have such standards in place, salons (and guardians) should not allow people under the age of 18 to receive an artificial tan. Period. The American Cancer Society reports that individuals under the age of 36 who regularly visit tanning beds are eight times more likely to develop melanoma than people who never visit tanning beds. Also, according to Fox News, “[s]tudies show

one in four melanomas in young people can be attributed to the use of tanning beds.” Making oneself appear a slightly darker shade is not worth the health risks. Tanning beds not only endanger one’s health, they also distort the common image of beauty. This encourages individuals to concern themselves more with how they look on the outside than with their inner beauty. If tanning salons were to ban people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds, skin cancer would be far less common and future generations would likely live much happier and healthier lifestyles.


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May 26, 2010

obtaining a GED a good Back Talk: Isalternative to a diploma? YES


“GEDs are, at best, a second chance for individuals who missed out on high school the first time, not an excuse for privileged slackers to quit school a few years early.”

“If the state were to use test scores as a meter for intelligence, high school dropouts who earn their GED would prove to be more intelligent on average than those with an official high school diploma.”

- Will Henken

- Aidan Coffey

Aidan Coffey


staff reporter igh school success certainly is not the only way, and it may not even be the best way, to become a well respected member of society. The thought that high school dropouts cannot succeed is ridiculous when our country offers so many other avenues for success, such as the General Education Development (GED). While success in high school should be encouraged, high school dropouts should feel no shame if they seek to improve through a GED, a series of five tests on high school subject matter. The GED is considered a substitute for a high school diploma by most colleges and workplaces which makes it a necessity for dropouts. The Department of Education states that to obtain the GED, the test taker must score better than 60 percent of graduating seniors nationwide on all five tests. Statistically, this makes a GED harder to obtain than a high school diploma, contrary to the negative stereotype of high school dropouts as lazy and stupid. The Census Bureau states that 72 percent of all high school dropouts earn their GED by the age of 24 which proves that high school dropouts are not the deadbeat losers the public may perceive them as. If the state were to use test scores as a meter for intelligence, high school dropouts who earn their GED would prove to be more intelligent on average than those with an official high school diploma. The state ignores the intelligence of high school dropouts because the public education system takes an approach known as “utilitarianism,” which emphasizes the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Public education works for the majority of American children, but many intelligent children “slip through the cracks” according to U.C. Berkeley professor Michael Burawoy. The professor also states that intelligent children with behavior problems or alternative

learning styles cannot adapt to the structured learning of public schools. Burawoy’s study also suggests teens with artistic talents are likely to be unable to adapt to the school environment. These students choose to dropout because high school is intolerable for them socially and intellectually. The GED program provides an environment for these students to pursue success on their own terms. While many school administrators are pessimistic on the success of the GED program, there is a financial incentive for administrators to encourage it. School budgets and the American taxpayer are strained an average $10,000 by every student each year. If a student has no desire to stay within a school, school officials have no reason to continually drain their budgets to keep failing students in the system. The solution is to let the students go and encourage them to pursue a GED program. If a dropout fails to earn his GED, the state is not responsible for his failure. However, if that student had stayed within the public education system, the student would be able to blame his condition on the failure of the public education system. Essentially, the GED program removes financial and liability burdens from school administrators. Successful high school dropouts come from every field and background. American President Andrew Jackson, the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, and everybody’s favorite pirate Johnny Depp all dropped out of high school. Henry Ford established an automobile empire without a high school diploma and Rosa Parks launched a bus boycott without a diploma, either. Americans are not the only ones with successful dropouts, as the British billionaire Richard Branson and the original 007 Sean Connery clearly show. These individuals span time and space, but all of them finished their school work on their own account and outside of the public school system.

Will Henken staff reporter t is the old cliché of child prodigies, deadbeat teenagers and youthful rebels without a cause alike: to drop out of high school. Every year, half a million students make this mistake, most with the plan to obtain a General Education Development (GED). However, this route is nowhere near equivalent to a high school diploma. Students who drop out to receive a GED do worse professionally, academically and financially compared to those who finished their four years of high school. The first strike against dropouts is that the GED was never intended to be an equivalent alternative to a high school diploma. In fact, they were originally created for draftees who fought in World War II and, because of the war, were not able to finish high school. GEDs are, at best, a second chance for individuals who missed out on high school the first time, not an excuse for privileged slackers to quit school a few years early. GEDs are not treated as equals in the workforce either. According to the National Review, “[a] study by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman and colleague Stephen Cameron found GED holders to be ‘statistically indistinguishable’ from high school dropouts: They’re not significantly more likely to land a job or to have higher hourly wages.” Many universities also look unfavorably upon a GED and may be biased against accepting students who do not hold diplomas. A study conducted by Brown University reveals that, on average, students who receive a GED in place of a high school diploma receive fewer benefits from postsecondary or college education. Those with GEDs receive less money in relation to their college degrees and the likelihood of their completion of four years of schooling at a university is


much lower. This is all under the assumption that the dropout has actually obtained a GED. In 2000, only 150,000 students obtained their GED compared to the 500,000 who dropped out. Only 30 percent of the students who had this path open to them actually took advantage of it. Juvenile behavioral psychologists attribute the low number of obtainers to the fact that high school dropouts grow accustomed to quitting and not putting forth all of their effort, which they view as an acceptable life strategy. They are therefore less likely to follow through on other things. The relatively low number of those who receive a GED is fueled by factors other than indifference; statistics from the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy state that only 63 percent of people who take the GED test pass. This may be because their incomplete high school education makes it difficult to take a standardized test based on high school courses, or that they may be intimidated by the seven and a half hour test time. A common argument of those in favor of a GED is the abundance of nowsuccessful high school dropouts. Since people like the Google brothers, Albert Einstein or Bill Gates did not finish high school, so the argument goes, no one else has to either. The glaring inconsistency in this position, however, is that all these people either had genius-level IQs or incredibly smart business sense mixed with a good amount of luck. To drop out of high school just because these people did with the same results in mind is a logical fallacy; these are exceptions and not the norm. The GED is an outdated, unjustified and unequal alternative to a high school diploma. No one should bank on an option proven to be so disadvantageous simply because a few famous faces have done it before. In the end it is wisest to just play the game and finish out all four years of high school now, or else face numerous disadvantages for the rest of one’s life.

Tell it like it is...

“Yes, because you can always go back to school; it will always be there. It is never too late.” - Dana Nguyen, 12

“Yes, it takes just as much hard work to earn a GED and is only fair to those who cannot finish high school.” - Calum Farley, 11

“No, disregarding extreme circumstances, students shouldn’t dropout because a GED doesn’t offer the same educational value as a high school diploma.” - Amy Dickerson, 10

“No, because your high school career builds character and is an important life experience.” - Tyler Hosterman, 9

page 10

Issue 5

Scotty’s Say Scott Strauss


staff reporter ith the 25 pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos selected Florida Gator superstar Tim Tebow. For months there was speculation that Tebow would go play for the Jacksonville Jaguars. But what no one expected (except for maybe the most hardcore of Broncos fans) is that Tebow would go to Denver to play football a mile high. It has been made perfectly clear that he will be a quarterback, instead of a tight end or linebacker position. Josh McDaniels, the Denver Broncos’ head coach, has always been a pretty th

straightforward guy. After two weeks of being inducted as the Broncos’ coach in 2009, McDaniels immediately got rid of the rude and obnoxious quarterback Jay Cutler. This frightened fans, and even made me a little skeptical about the upcoming season. Kyle Orton, the Bronco’s starting quarterback last season, was nothing special, but surprised many who did not have faith at the beginning of the season. Despite this, it is time for a new quarterback in Denver and Tebow may just be the perfect fit. Good work ethic, strong leadership and determination. These traits define a star football player. Tim Tebow is the epitome of what Josh McDaniels looks for in a player: someone who will lead the team on and off the field. Tebow is the not the type of guy who will get pulled over at 3 a.m. with a drunk driving charge. As made evident in college,

he is the type of player who inspires his teammates to perform at a higher level simply by his ability to push himself harder than anyone else. Josh McDaniels has made it evident that he does not want a player with solely talent. He wants a player with self-discipline. The Broncos did not use their first round pick lightly when they used it on the Florida-born prodigy. Allowing him to keep his college number proved this fact. Other teams and football critics said Tebow had more of a “big man” body for positions such linebacker and tight end. The Broncos drafted Tebow as a quarterback, nothing else. He will play quarterback and he will excel at it because when other players are home after a long day of three-a-days, Tebow will be out for his own private fourth-a-day. Tebow skeptics argue that his wind up


is slow and will affect his professional performance. If you have seen Tebow play football at any time, you will notice that he does not throw as fast as other top quarterbacks. But Tebow is a warrior. In fact, he will probably have one of the best mechanical wind ups of any player in the NFL by the time September comes around when he puts on the Bronco uniform. Despite what critics say, Tebow will be a dominant force in the league no matter how many hours of extra practice it takes. The Broncos made a bold move with their first pick, but it was a move that will definitely cause remorse in the hearts of managers when they see the level at which Tebow performs in the fall. Tebow’s first game action will be an exciting and interesting moment. The real potential of this young star will come out the moment he steps foot on the field.

Girls relay team runs to state success Scott Strauss

staff reporter t is the fifth year; the first without the group of runners who have created the track team’s tradition since the school’s inauguration. Success is not expected, but imminent with this predominately freshman and sophomore group of athletes. “This year’s team is a very talented group of kids,” head track and field coach Jay Getty said. “We have a ton of freshmen and sophomores who know how to perform, enjoy working hard and have been reaping a lot of the benefits of that hard work.” This season has been the most successful mainly in part to the influence of the younger athletes on the team. Freshmen Abby Hani and Taylor Johnson are both multi-event athletes and both compete in the 4-by-400 event. The influx of talent has especially helped the team score considerable points for the team. The girls 4-by-400 relay team, which is comprised of freshmen Abby Hani and Taylor Johnson, sophomore Alyssa Younker and senior Arika Short, competed at the state level, and was able to run a seventh place finish. “It feels great [to be able to make it to the state competition] because we are able to compete against other kids and we know that we are just as good as them,”


Younker said. “We know that we have time to improve, so we should be even more successful next season.” Many underclassmen names have been added to the top ten charts this season, with Hani setting records for girls 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes, as well as the long jump. The 4-by-800 meter relay record was broken this season, run solely by freshman and sophomores, who include Taylor Johnson, Alyssa Younker, Amy Ankli and Shannon Dunne. The team’s success has led to a more focused tone during each practice and has forced the athletes to be more serious during their conditioning. No team is complete without the influence and leadership of seniors, and this year’s track team is no exception. Although there are relatively few seniors, they have impacted the team by being able to handle stressful situations very well. The seniors who were around during the second season of the track team have experienced success at the state meet and know how to handle stressful situations. Due to the team’s sudden turnaround in success this season, other teams began targeting them as the team to beat. Naturally, other teams would want to gun for the young squad. By keeping a level head and remaining calm and courteous, the team has avoided having a target on

photo from jay getty

Shannon Dunne, Amy Ankli, Taylor Johnson, and Alyssa Younker compete at states for the 4-by-800 event. their heads. Because the team is courteous stepping up into larger shoes and taking on and does not rub in their success, they are more demanding roles. respected by other teams and not always “When it comes to winning, if you can being gunned for. win, have fun and be gracious and courteous The team will begin to blossom in about it, it does make a big difference and upcoming years due to the underclassmen our athletes know that,” said Getty.


page 11

May 26, 2010

Quarterback commits to University of Florida Eileen Dombrowski


Altogether, Driskel received over 15 of- and one of our faster players,” Gierke said. fers from colleges since last In early winter, Driskel began to get ofsummer. Schools that tried fers from University of Florida to recruit him include Auand started to speak with the burn, Louisiana State, and coaches. While in Gainesville, Virginia Tech. Teams from Driskel spoke with some of the around the nation showed university’s leading football interest in Driskel due to his coaches, such as Urban overall impressive athletic abiliMeyer. He made his offities that set him apart from high cial decision after he made school football players. a final trip to Gainesville Driskel has started in 28 of several weeks before he 30 varsity games in our school’s announced his commitment five year history. He has clocked about a month ago. a 4.5 40-yard dash, thrown 3,021 “About six months ago, some passing yards, 21 passing touchUnivesity of Florida football redowns, and 13 rushing touchcruiters began emailing and calldowns. Last season, Driskel ing Coach Gierke about recruitcompleted 105 of his 210 passing me. Then I started talking to es, threw 1,427 yards and comsome of the coaches, like Urban pleted 11 touchdowns. Meyer, and started getting re“I think the biggest reason ally interested,” said Driskel. he’s so recruited is because of After five trips to Gaineshow athletic he is; a lot of collegville, and several trips to other es look for players who interested colleges can make fast plays Jeff Driskel throws a pass in a game across the country, with his feet. He’s one against Seminole. He completed 105 Driskel is confiof our better players passes this year for 3,021 yards. dent that he will be p m ds

o fro


staff reporter ince he began to look at colleges his freshman year, Driskel wanted to be a Florida Gator. Since his freshman year, Driskel has been varsity quarterback and has earned an impressive reputation among top college football teams in the country. In April 2010, quarterback Jeff Driskel verbally committed to the University of Florida. “Jeff stepped right in his freshman year and blew the team away. He has shown amazing leadership all three years he’s been on the team,” football Coach Nate Gierke said. Driskel consistently displayed his athletic abilities over the past three years and is currently the top Orlando-area high school quarterback. He is ranked fifth in the Sentinel’s 2011 Central Florida Super60, an annual report on prominent high school football talent. For the past few months, Driskel has received college recruitment offers. However, after Christmas break serious offers began pouring in from prominent colleges across the country.

happy with his decision. “Out of all the colleges I visited, University of Florida, the campus, atmosphere and sports teams just felt like the right fit for me. I’ve wanted to be on a nationally competing team since I was little, and the Gators almost always are contenders,” Driskel said. Gierke was also confident that Driskel would perform well and stand out as much as he has in high school. “Obviously Jeff is very physically talented, but his desire to be the best is what separates him from other quarterbacks. He has shown this in all of the work he’s done in the off-season,” said Gierke. Although National Signing Day is not until February 2011, Driskel says he is confident in his decision to become a Florida Gator. He has also chosen to graduate from high school early after next year’s football season ends so he can attend University of Florida sooner. “After I graduate I’m planning on working out for a few weeks or a month and then attending University of Florida in time to play for their spring football season,” Driskel said.

page 12

Issue 5


Playing with fire:

Nicolas “Nico”Gonzalez finds self expression through poi Jem Mason


staff reporter

he Maori people of New Zealand have a unique art form of juggling where a ball swung around on a cord forms patterns in the air. This art form, poi, has been adapted through years and across continents and has ended up in senior Nicolas “Nico” Gonzalez’s hands. Four years ago, someone at a party introduced Gonzalez to the art of poi through a light emitting diode (LED) or glow poi routine. Interested by the performance, Gonzalez researched poi and learned the technique behind it. It was not long, however, before Gonzalez discovered a different form, fire poi. “My mom and dad were like everyone else, saying I shouldn’t play with fire and how it’s dangerous,” Gonzalez said. “But ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve loved fire; so I ignored them and said I’d do it [fire poi] any ways.” For his first time, Gonzalez and his

father practiced fire poi in a secluded area with a poi they made themselves. “We went to a secluded little place and we got some rubbing alcohol which is useless for poi,” Gonzalez said. “We lit the poi wicks and I was really scared of what would happen.” Although his instructors are the Internet and trial-and-error, Gonzalez now uses tiki oil as a safer accelerant for his poi. With the additional safety, Gonzalez can practices and put on performances in front of audiences. “Poi is really fun and everyone who sees it really likes it and wants to learn,” Gonzalez said. “It takes a lot of practice, dedication and black eyes to get good.” Since Gonzalez has no true instructor, there are no classes or groups in his area to meet others who perform poi. The only people he knows who perform poi are his friends whom he has taught. “My cousin is learning right now,” Gonzalez said. “And I have a friend in

South Florida that I have done a few shows with.” Friends and acquaintances hire Gonzalez to provide entertainment at their parties. For paid performances, Gonzalez sets up routines to songs with his fire poi. “The poi performance is so mesmerizing,” senior Gaby Gerritsen said. “But I’m scared he will burn his hair off because he always almost does.” Of course, with a hobby that uses fire, hazards are involved. The chains on which the balls are suspended can reach temperatures hotter than the flame itself. If they happen to wrap around Gonzalez’s arms or hand, he can easily receive severe burns. “If you know what you’re doing and don’t try any crazy tricks, it’s pretty

safe,” Gonzalez said. “But it is no fun if you don’t try any fun, dangerous tricks.” Despite the hazards and rigorous practice, Gonzalez continues to perform poi with the original enthusiasm he expressed four years ago. “It’s like how some people do yoga, some people go to the gym, or some people do martial arts,” Gonzalez said. “Poi is relaxing. I like it, and it’s a fun way to express myself.”

Nico Gonzalez performs his fire poi at a friend’s birthday party. The fire poi wicks are connected to chains and covered in tiki oil to ignite.

all photos provided by nico gonzalez

It’s like how some people do yoga, some people go to the gym, or some people do martial arts. Poi is relaxing. I like it, and it’s a fun way to express myself. -Nico Gonzalez

Contact Nico Gonzalez to set up party entertainment plans.

Phone: (407) 687-0409 E-mail: