The Stallion Volume XVIII Issue I

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Marriotts Ridge Gives Back to the Community

During the holiday season, Marriotts Ridge Mustangs gather their time and resources to donate to many drives for charity. The National Honor Society (NHS) and many other clubs throughout the school have had successful drives throughout this school year, especially the past month. They have sold a variety of different items and raised a great deal of money and materials.

Toys for Tots sponsored by the NHS is a charity drive in which people from different classes donate toys to help children in need who may not be getting a present for Christmas. All the toys were donated through students’ third period classes.

“Toys for Tots was a tradition started in the 40’s. We have continued it all the way to now, and we’ve turned it into more of a competition with a prize to get more people to donate toys,” senior and NHS member Annie Wang said. Donations were collected throughout the week of December 2nd through the 9th, and the class that brings in the highest amount of toys will win a Chick-Fil-A breakfast, further encouraging people to donate. At the end of the drive, the school collected 2,352 toys in total. Ms. LeChevet’s third period came in first with a total of 378 toys. This year, Marriotts Ridge beat their record by having the biggest toy drive in history. Marriott Ridge made it onto Fox 45 News as well as they presented the toys to the marines. Another charity that happened this month

is the Relay for Life club’s Holiday Teddy Bear sale. Relay for Life is a club at Marriotts Ridge that raises money by hosting various fundraisers and activities to donate to the American Cancer Society. This fundraiser took place December 12th through the 16th. Relay for Life sold a variety of stuffed animals as a way to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

“We spread awareness through our Instagram posts. We talk about the drives and describe how the fundraisers will help cancer researchers and cancer patients. We also spread awareness by making posters. In the common area there is a big poster hanging where it talks about our bear sale and the purpose of it,” Riya Koshy, Relay For Life Vice President said. Another one of the many drives is the feminine product drive, run by the Equality Now Period club.

“The main thing is, period products are necessities, not luxuries, so our club goal is to help spread awareness for this global issue, and aid in preventing period poverty in our community and in our greater community,” Allie Bonier, sophomore president of Equality Now Period informed.

The feminine product drive is helping donate to the Sarah’s Hope Good Shelter, and it has also helped to stock up products in Marriotts Ridge’s own bathrooms as well. This drive took place December 12th through the 16th. People donated to any of the red boxes.

“Our goal is to not only provide for

the Sarah’s Hope Shelter, but also to stock the bathrooms in our own school.

“We will need a lot of products and we plan to do as many fundraisers and drives as we can,” sophomore Aleena Jayan of the Equality Now Period club said.

Yet another one of the many drives taking place from November 28th to December 9th was the school and health supply drive run by Educators Rising.

“Currently, we are doing a school supply and health supplies drive and all of the donations that are donated will be going to Howard County elementary school,” junior and logistics manager of Educators Rising Sarah Hill said.

The goal of the Educator’s Charity drive is to supply elementary schools around Howard County with both health and school supplies, preventing teachers from needing to buy items for their students using their own money. The Toys for Tots donation drive helps provide toys to children in need for the holidays, the Teddy Bear sale helps raise money for the American Cancer Society, and the feminine product drive collects products for Sarah’s Hope Good Shelter and Marriotts Ridge. Thanks to these drives, the Mustangs have plenty of opportunities to give back to people in need around the holidays. The charity drives around the school were a great success and the school hopes to see more in the future.

December 2022 Marriotts Ridge High School Newspaper Volume XVIII Issue I

Mustangs Debate Their Way to Victory at George Mason

On the weekend of December 3-4, Marriotts Ridge Mustangs competed at the annual George Mason University Patriot Games Classic, a national speech and debate tournament. Senior speech member Therese Kim broke to (a common term for “progressed to” in speech and debate) finals, public forum debate team seniors Jonathan Lin and Vedant Patel broke to double-octofinals and public forum debate team senior Sai Matukumalli and junior Vardaan Srivastava advanced to octofinals. The team and club sponsor, Mrs. Jennifer Goldszmidt, reflect on the competition experience and share their thoughts on how it went.

For students who were competing for the first time, it was a pretty positive experience overall, though they look to improve in the future.

“I feel like if we would’ve prepped more, we would’ve done better,” freshman public forum debate competitor Soha Mahapatra said. “But I think for our first time, I’m happy that we at least kind of did well in some rounds.”

enthusiasm, but each of them feel differently now that they’ve had some

broken last year and had gotten to about the same spot. It’s still an accomplishment, but I feel like our surprise was a little bit overdone in the moment.”

Sophomore and public forum debate competitor Prakruth Aachar discussed the differences between competing in-person and virtually, as speech and debate competitions for the past two years have been held through online platforms.

“Online tournaments… no one takes anything seriously,” Aachar said. “This is basically the same thing with online school right? Everyone just turns off their cameras and goes to bed.”

time to reflect on their experiences.

“It was a very pleasant surprise,” public forum debate competitor Jonathan Lin said. “Both of us [he and senior Vedant Patel] hadn’t done debate in a few months, so it was pretty nice to break. It was a national tournament, so we knew that the caliber of people there was definitely going to be higher than BCFLs [local tournaments]… it was just really exciting to find out that we broke.”

Similarly to Lin and Patel, breaking was a happy surprise for speech competitor Therese Kim.

Debating online was especially difficult because evidence, most commonly referred to as cards in public forum debate, were hard to exchange. There was also a very stark disconnect between the two opposing teams that made the rounds awkward and clunky.

“It was just much more different because asking for cards is kind of a more complicated process, just because you weren’t in the same room as them, right?” Aachar said. “And it was also just so removed that you didn’t really feel like you were arguing, you know. It was kind of just like yelling at a computer screen.”

Sophomore and first-time speech competitor Kelly Liu discusses her first tournament experience and shares what she hopes to improve on next.

“I thought I did well because I was scared I was going to get up there and just freeze,” Liu said. “But I feel like the presentation could’ve been more because to a certain extent, I was still thinking about just getting the speech out… I feel like it could’ve been more engaging with the audience.”

Students who progressed to later rounds received the news with great

“I was very surprised, especially about the final round,” Kim said. “I think the biggest thing was that I had fun and even though I was really nervous, as soon as I started my speech, I knew that I knew the words and just wanted to share my ideas with all the judges and other contestants.”

Public forum debate competitor Sai Matukumalli had a slightly different take on the breaking experience and gave his thoughts on it as someone who has broken before at this tournament.

“In the moment, it was so, so exciting,” Matukumalli said. “We [Sai and his partner, Vardaan Srivastava] were really surprised that we had broken, but we had

Although the competition was fun for students and all they had to do to compete was sign up and pay the fee, planning the event was a strenuous process that fell onto the shoulders of the team captains, as well as their club sponsor, Mrs. Jennifer Goldszmidt.

“It was my first time doing it, so I actually relied a lot on the students,” Mrs. Goldszmidt said. “I just had to sort of run around after them and make sure everything got approved appropriately.”

Overall, students had a great time, and the tournament was a huge success—the team not only did a stellar job competition-wise, but also had the opportunity to finally meet one another and bond. Because the team is separated by event with each event meeting on a different day, opportunities to interact with one another are scarce. This tournament provided the rare opportunity for everyone to connect, allowing the team to become a singular unit.

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‘Wednesday’ Spooks Excitement In Students

A new month brings many new movies and shows. Recently, Wednesday, a new installment of the Addams Family franchise, was released on Netflix and has been a massive hit around the world and within the Marriotts Ridge student community.

Wednesday came out on November 23rd, and students who watched it couldn’t take their eyes off their screens, and many finished the entire show within the first few days of its release. Many students found Jenna Ortega to be the perfect person to play the show’s title role. Jenna Ortega studied her role vigorously, trying to perfect the part by learning German, learning how to play the cello, and choreographing the show’s now famous dance scene after watching numerous videos of goth dancing clubs from the 1980s. Students enjoyed watching the show Wednesday for many different reasons. Something that was appealing to all was seeing many students’ classic beloved childhood movies remade into a new show, a show that specifically zoned in and incorporated widely favored characters, Wednesday Addams and Thing, a hand who has human-like traits and serves as Wednesday’s sidekick.

“I loved the hand, Thing. I think he was my favorite character in both the Addams Family

and Wednesday,” said junior Sana Sanwal. Seeing their favorite characters in the show was the selling point for many students to start watching the show, as they were familiar with the main character. Her unique, dark demeanor separated Wednesday from other teen shows.

In the spirit of teen dramas, the show featured a love triangle between the characters Wednesday, Xavier, and Tyler, and students had varying opinions on the protagonist’s love interests.

“I personally didn’t like Xavier much. At first, I wanted Wednesday with Tyler, but then I didn’t like them together either,” senior Abigail Dunchak shared.

Other students disagreed, which shows the added fun of the show as it allows students to be able to formulate their own stances on many parts of the show.

Students at MRHS had many different favorite scenes:from the first episode where Wednesday was dropped off at boarding school to finding out that those closest to Wednesday may not be who she thought they were.

“My favorite scene was when Wednesday broke into Xavier’s shed,” said junior Aleena Mirza.

“The main character, [Wednesday]… without her, it would be like another teen drama,” said sophomore Spencer Hess.

In addition to bringing back the popular character, Wednesday, the show has brought its spin on the original Wednesday from the Addams Family.

“I liked that they added Latinx representation which added diversity to the show,” said sophomore Shrisha Dhakhwa.

The Marriotts Ridge Community celebrates the December holidays through a variety of unique traditions. December marks a few of the most favorable annual holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. Within this holiday season, there’s a sudden peak in all sorts of family traditions, sparking holiday joy.

“December is the time of the year where it just feels right because of all the holiday cheer and the excitement and preparation done for everyone’s holiday,” junior Angelina Spellen says.

Marriotts Ridge students know this holiday well, from the tales of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Christmas. Through the passionate decorations of the evergreen tree doused in red and green and its sacred ornaments to the blinding LED lights, and blowups of snowmen outside everyone’s home; this wellknown holiday is celebrated on December 25th.

Spellen continued on, saying, “Immediately after Thanksgiving ends, my mom brings out all of her Christmas decorations from hiding, but it’s honestly so crazy because it’s like Thanksgiving just ended and it’s still November!”

Decorating for Christmas is an advent activity of its own, starting even weeks prior to December.

As Christmas Day approaches, the days before Christmas (especially Christmas Eve) aren’t ones to be left in the shadows, as they too, are celebrated in their entirety.

Students at MRHS had many different opinions on the show, mostly being good with different feelings on things such as the love triangles, her parents, and her school. Many students loved the new show and all the plot twists in the show that surprised the viewers. Students were excited to see Wednesday live up to The Addams Family name. The new show has students at Marriotts Ridge eager and anticipating the following seasons

Marriotts Ridge Celebrates December Holidays

“On Christmas Eve, my family and I compete in a competitive sport of ‘who can make the best looking gingerbread house,’ and whoever loses…well, it doesn’t end up well for them,” Spellen said.

Along with the fun tradition of Spellen’s competitive gingerbread house creations, people often take this opportunity to travel to more winter-esque places, or to other family members for Christmas, taking the advantage of the week-long winter break.

Sophomore, Ariana Calin said, “Usually, [my family and I] go skiing for Christmas, but this year we’re actually planning to go to Austria, where it’s warmer.”

On December 25th, presents are ripped open, and the sounds of gasps and joyful screams fill the air, but presents aren’t the only thing celebrated on Christmas, as there’s many family traditions that are fulfilled on this joyous day. Calin spoke of her own culture’s Christmas traditions.

“My family and I have this Romanian tradition, where we just make a lot of Romanian food for this big Chrimas feast, like cognac where it’s identical to a swiss roll.”

The eight days of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is another important holiday celebrated in december. Starting on Sunday, December 18th and ending Monday, December 26th, Hanukkah is

celebrated with the nightly lighting of the menorah, games and activities such as spinning the Dreidel, traditional foods (mainly oil-based) to feast on and gift exchanging.

Many traditions include family and friends, “Some of our traditions are eating donuts, every person lighting their own menorah, and spending at least one night with our family and friends…I decorate by putting the Star of David around the House and blowing up a dreidel outside,” junior Rachel Harper said.

Traditional Hanukkah decorations are laced with colors of white and blue, belonging to the Israel flag. Decorations for Hanukkah can vary from string lights to even putting out blown up dreidel outside like Harper.

The celebration doesn’t just end with Christmas and Hanukkah, as the holiday cheer can be attributed to Kwanzaa, an annual African American holiday through December 26th to January 1st. The week-long period of Kwanzza is dedicated to spend time in reflection and connection as it involves joyous singing and dancing, African music, honoring ancestors and eating traditional African food.

Through December, we celebrate everyday with holiday joy, and spend that time with family and friends.The memories created on holidays with engraving traditions are like nothing else as the holidays always bring out the best in everyone.


Winter Wishes Wash Away as New Policy is Introduced

As we embark on the winter season, a new inclement weather virtual asynchronous work policy was put into place in Howard County. The policy will require teachers to submit assignments for students into Canvas by 9 a.m. during the snow day, and students fear their favorite snow day activities, such as sledding down hills, making hot chocolate. As junior Gracie Taylor said, her favorite snow day activities of“ eating snow and building things,” may not occur.

The Inclement Weather Asynchronous Instruction Plan will consist of repurposing up to three inclement weather days as asynchronous work days. Elementary school students will receive their instruction on the HCPSS website, and middle and high school students will access their work through Canvas. Students will have ten days to complete all work assigned on these days.

Superintendent Dr. Martirano explains that this policy will be initiated on November 4 and he detailed when these asynchronous work days will take place.

“It is my intention to utilize this option as the first three inclement weather days, barring extreme circumstances, such as a countywide internet outage and major blizzard. Once all three inclement weather asynchronous instruction days have been used, we will notify staff, students and families, and all remaining weath-

er-related incidents will be used as traditional inclement weather days,” Dr. Martirano said.

When students heard of the new asynchronous work policy for snow days, they had mixed feelings. Although the policy seems reasonable to some, many students argue that there shouldn't be any change to inclement weather days at all.

“I don't like it. I think we should have the day off… No one’s actually [doing the work] because the work is due a week after. It’s like why don't we get the assignment the day we go back to school after it?” freshman Grayson Nelias said.

However, some students don't necessarily mind the new policy.

“I like it because we won't have a longer school year like last year and will have a longer summer,” junior Zarmeen Javed commented.

Students were not the only ones who were feeling divided about this new change; teachers also shared their thoughts about the policy and the work they will assign.

“I don't love it, but I don't hate it. I like that we don't have to do the face-to-face [Google Meet] but, you know, I don't think it would be horrible to give review activities, stuff that students need extra practice on so that I can use those snow days to do it,” math teacher Ms. Hawkins stated.

As for AP students, many wonder what their assignments will look like on these days since


Midnights by Taylor Swift:

they follow a tight schedule for the AP test that will take place in the beginning of May. Mr. Khouri gives an example on how his AP asynchronous assignments will be structured.

“I will try to keep it as similar to what we were going to do in class as possible, but I think most of the assignments will be short, pretty straightforward, that we’ll either review or prepare for what we did in class or what we’re doing in class the next time I see the students,” he shared.

Although snow days may not look the same this year with the new asynchronous assignments, there will still be regular snow days after three inclement weather days are used. So as we dive deeper into winter, students and teachers alike hope that they can fully enjoy their three traditional snow days before they become accustomed to some potential asynchronous learning.

Albums: a 2022 Review

One of the most talked about albums of 2022 is Taylor Swift's new album, Midnights. Swift has become a “Mastermind” of catering to her fans, dropping hints and clues about the album’s song titles and collaborations that built up to the album’s release on October 21st. In recent years, Swift has shown her incredible versatility as a musician. Through her music’s transition from country to pop to folk, her albums have consistently received critical acclaim. Midnights continued this trend, achieving instant success and introducing previously unheard elements from the artist, including the heavy incorporation of R&B. Seeing Swift explore a new genre of music was interesting even if the electronic pop elements it employs may not be my usual taste. There is no question that Swift is an incredibly talented singer and songwriter, and I enjoyed hearing new music from her. To me, the album’s biggest standout was Swift’s signature poetic lyrics, especially those of “Mastermind” and “Anti-Hero.” If you are a fan of sad songs, slow pop music, or are somehow a Taylor Swift fan who hasn’t heard this album yet, definitely give it a listen.

Fear of the Dawn by Jack White:

Jack White, best known as the guitarist and vocalist of the band The White Stripes, released his fourth solo album, Fear of The Dawn, on April 8th. With each of his solo albums, White gets seemingly more and more experimental, and it is interesting to see the great departure from his indie rock roots and blues influences. Jack White has been one of my favorite guitarists since I was a little kid, so I always look forward to hearing new work from him. While I do not always care for his most experimental tracks, they always grow on me after hearing them a few times because of Jack White’s immense talent and the complexity of the effects he uses. My personal recommendation from this album would be its first track, “Taking Me Back,” that features one of White’s amazing guitar solos and vocal stylings consistent with those of his previous work. Overall, the record was very well done and I would recommend giving it a listen if you are a fan of Jack White, rock, and experimental music.

All You Need Is Time by Daisy the Great:

On October 28th, Indie band Daisy The Great released their second album, All You Need Is Time. As a long time fan of the band, I was highly looking forward to hearing this album and it did not disappoint. Like the rest of their discography, the album features the amazing and complicated harmonies sung by the band’s leading duo of Kelley Nicole Duncan and Mina Walker. The incredible harmonies are matched by the incredible instrumentals and it is clear that all of the band’s members are talented and well-versed musicians. While the band typically receives the “indie-pop” classification, one of the most interesting things about this record is the variety of genres it includes. It includes elements of funk, surf-rock, and acoustic singer/songwriter. All You Need is Time showcases Daisy The Great’s distinct talent for writing both fun songs full of wit and more emotional, melancholy songs. Some of my personal favorite songs on the album were “I’m Just Another Person Oh God” for its amazing bass groove, “Tell Me Have You Been Dancing'' for its gorgeous, wistful harmonies, and “Liar” for its clever lyrics and elements of rock. This release is my personal favorite of 2022, and I highly recommend listening to this album exploring the rest of Daisy The Great’s discography.


Take 73: Taking Marriotts Ridge Community by Storm

Marriotts Ridge is full of up and coming talent, including local student band, Take 73, which has garnered recent attention from the student body. Take 73 was formed by seniors Joseph Zoller, Kyle Stavrou, Noah Felber, and sophomore Charlotte Zoller.

Those who have heard their music agree that the band has a unique and interesting sound.

“We play more of a 60’s rock kind of feel, but we are inspired a lot by reggae, so we really like some reggae beats. It’s a weird combination because it’s not hard rock, and it’s not 80’s rock; it’s 60’s rock with a touch of reggae,” drummer Charlotte Zoller explained.

In addition to their distinct sound, Take 73’s unusual name left many listeners curious.

“On one of the first songs we recorded that we thought was actually decent, we were going through so many takes; it felt like it was the seventy-third take, so in the beginning of our video for it, I just said ‘Alright, take seventy-three,’ before it started. And we thought it would be cool if that was our name,” guitarist Kyle Stavrou clarified.

One of the band’s performances that gained them attention recently was their Great Pumpkin concert. On October 29, Take 73 set up a stage and, of course, many pumpkins at the Zoller

“I loved the Great Pumpkin concert. It was super fun to be able to spend time with friends from Mamma Mia, [the school musical], and watch our fellow cast member, Charlotte Zoller, perform. All of us dressed up in fun Halloween costumes which added to the fun

He’s still the main songwriter… but we definitely work together to come up with the feel of the songs,” Charlotte Zoller said.

Along with writing the songs that they will perform at Battle of the Bands, Take 73 will prepare for the competition through rehearsals. The band’s rehearsal process looks much like their writing process, in that it involves Joseph’s leadership and the bandmates’ teamwork.

“[Our rehearsals] are every Friday night most of the time; sometimes we meet over the weekends too. We meet together, and Joseph tells us what songs [to play] and gives us all our stuff, and we kind of just play through it. It’s not very structured because we understand each other—it’s very fluid—but we come up with setlists together and have a Google folder where we keep our music, so we’re organized, but we’re fluid at the same time,” Charlotte Zoller shared.

of the night,” senior Jadyn Kelly enthused.

The Great Pumpkin concert was one of the band’s biggest shows, but they have had other live performances this year.

“We did [a performance] in July at Little Market Cafe in Ellicott City— that’s an open mic we play at sometimes,” keyboardist Noah Felber shared.

From home concerts to open mics, Take 73 is looking for ways to share their music with the community. Their next event will be a Battle of the Bands competition that will be hosted at Liberty High School.

“In January, we’re doing something called Battle of the Bands where we get up on stage— we have eighteen minutes to play through as many songs as we can, and we get graded on them. We get more points for original songs than covers, so we’re probably going to focus on that, and we’ll basically just compete against other small bands,” Stavrou said.

For their competition, the band is planning on writing three to four original songs to perform. Lead singer, bassist, and main songwriter, Joseph Zoller, shares his unique writing process.

Although the band has been playing together for some time now, not all of the band members were well-versed in their respective instruments when they first started. Drummer Charlotte Zoller had an interesting origin to her instrument; her background in dance helped her learn to play the drums.

“My tap [dance] teacher was like, ‘You should learn how to drum, it would be helpful because tap and drumming grew up in the same era of jazz,’ so I thought that would be fun, and I did it. It’s helped me a lot,” Zoller said.

The members of Take 73 are just some of many music lovers here at Marriotts Ridge. Guitarist Kyle Stavrou shares his advice to students who may be interested in starting their own band.

“Find other people who share that same passion,” Stavrou advised. “You don’t have to be good at your instrument—I started my band literally within the first couple weeks of playing guitar, so if you start just messing around with people who also play instruments and have a passion for music, you’ll be able to create something pretty cool.”

family’s farm for a Halloween-themed concert.

“We had a pretty good turnout for [the Great Pumpkin concert]. It was really cool, it was like an hour and half of us just on stage playing— it was really cold, we were all in Halloween costumes. There was a pretty big crowd, and all of the theatre kids came,” Stavrou said.

Many students from Marriotts Ridge, including the aforementioned theatre kids came to support the band; many even dressed in costumes, as well.

“I just get a mood and pull out my journal, and start writing some lyrics. I have a melody in my head, and then I go to my cello to learn the melody. I know [how to play] the notes then, and can build up chords… the cello is so much like the human voice, it helps me, since I sing the same notes I play,” Zoller explained. While Joseph is the primary songwriter of the band, their writing process often involves teamwork.

“I help [Joseph] with songwriting. He’ll give me a song and say, ‘How can I fix this?’

Whether it’s their future career path or just a fun hobby, Take 73 certainly exemplifies how music can bring community together and reveal hidden talents. Be sure to check them out on Instagram @take_seventy_three.

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Performance on a Winter Night

The Marriotts Ridge band, choir, and orchestra are full of musically talented students who are ready to present their skills. After months of preparation, these students are set to perform on December 14th and 15th. With the astounding talent they show in each concert they perform in, the Stallion takes a look at the music department’s preparations for the big event. Concerts require a certain standard of skill and preparation to please the audience. The advanced Wind Ensemble has some of the most challenging pieces out of the three levels in the band. Their complicated pieces require a great deal of practice.

“We need time to get everything in order by the time of the concert and ensure everything is in near-perfect detail,” senior oboist Dominic Duncan said.

The students must put in considerable effort and practice to reach their desired results. Therefore, a significant amount of time is needed to refine their playing.

“My expectation is that we can take a piece from zero to performance in about six weeks,” said band director Mr. Ellis.

Mr. Ellis chooses the music the band will perform throughout the year, guides the rehearsals and creates the practice schedule for the band. He

Thursday, November 17: Chaos. Ticket-selling giant Ticketmaster announced the cancellation of general sale for Taylor Swift tickets, leaving hundreds of thousands of fans without a way to purchase tickets. Students share their experiences purchasing tickets, and what they are going to do now that they can’t.

There were multiple ways to purchase tickets through the website, mainly through presale codes that fans were given once signing up. These presale codes were where many fans encountered their first issues. After waiting in virtual queues for hours just to sign up for the presale, many people didn’t even receive the code they had been anxiously awaiting.

“I ended up being waitlisted, I never even got a code,” junior Liv DeVito shared.

Many other fans shared the same experience of waiting in line for hours only to never receive a code. However, this process of ending up on a waitlist and subsequently receiving a presale code was not the only way to access the presale. Certain credit card holders, such as Capital One, also had the opportunity to purchase tickets before general sale. This opportunity led to many fans signing up for both the Capital One presale as well as the access code presale.

“[Ticketmaster] said that they were prepared to have that many people, and then they weren’t. I get that there were a lot of people, but don’t say that you were ready when

describes what the performers do once they receive their music sheets at the beginning of the six weeks.

“We sight read, which is playing the music for the first time at sight, and it helps determine whether we’re going to play the piece because if they can’t sight read it at a certain confidence level, then that can tell us a lot,” Ellis explained.

parts,” said sophomore violin player Grace Choe.

As students play more of their songs and pass the beginning stages of understanding a piece, the problems they face often become more specific, and therefore more difficult to solve.

According to Mr. Ellis, these problems faced by the band tend to be “tempo, timing, and intonation, especially for kids this age.”

Often times, these issues wear off the more students practice.

Despite having ample time to prepare, some students still feel the pressure come performance night.

“[I am] usually really nervous, but the nervous feeling goes away eventually, and it’s still fun even with the nervousness,” choir singer sophomore Amy Park said.

The students’ constant drive to improve their playing and will to continue playing emphasizes the joy music can bring to these students.

“It’s awesome in the end to hear everyone applaud for the work you’ve done,” Duncan said.

The organization of their preparation is essential for the ensembles to be ready on time. Every class is different in some way when it comes to rehearsing, and for orchestra, it works with trusting the students first.

“We get individual time to work on it, and as a class, we try to play it together. Then, [we] go by

This year’s Winter Wonderland will feature many skilled musical students and their talented directors who work hard to deliver a great show. After a great deal of preparation, the music ensembles present holiday jingles to the ears of many.

Ticketmaster Disaster is Something Taylor Swift Fans Know All Too Well

you aren’t,” senior Kate Ford expressed.

From the massive amount of people attempting to purchase tickets through the presales, Ticketmaster was unable to continue with general sale of the tour, announcing via their Twitter, “Due to extraordinary high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been canceled.”

This announcement sent shockwaves through fans, leaving many upset and completely unable to get tickets.

“It was heartbreaking. The fact that they sold all the tickets to only people with a presale code is so beyond frustrating because there are so many fans that didn’t even get the opportunity to try and get tickets,” senior Kelly McClean explained.

Being unable to get tickets was frustrating to many fans not only because they felt they had been unfairly robbed of the opportunity to get tickets but because Taylor Swift means a great deal to all of them. The chance to see one’s favorite artist can be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that most fans would do anything to experience.

“[Swift] means a lot to me, and ever since I first listened to Evermore her music has helped me through tough times. When it was first announced she was going on tour I was like ‘I will be there’,

but now I’m not so sure,” Ford shared. Fans begin to turn to resellers for their tickets. Due to the demand for them, resale prices began to skyrocket into the tens of thousands.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. There’s no reason for nosebleed seats to be thousands of dollars when the face value started at $49,” McClean said.

These hiked prices only continued to limit the fans that could purchase tickets, leaving many without any way to buy the tickets they had been waiting months to get. However, there were a few lucky fans that managed to purchase tickets.

“I was able to get tickets through one of my friends who got a presale code. I’m so grateful that she was able to get us tickets. We got ‘I Remember It All Too Well’ VIP tickets for the lower bowl and I’m super excited because it’s my first time as a concert VIP,” sophomore Natasha Frankie said.

Showing great resilience, Taylor Swift fans have stayed loyal to her and will continue to be fans even after their issues getting tickets. Despite the Ticketmaster disaster, they will find ways to attend the concert. Whether it be virtual or through purchasing the overpriced resale tickets, these Swifties will fight to have their once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Hockey Team Skates Into a New Season

As the Marriotts Ridge Hockey team progresses through their season, they look to improve upon their performances and make the most of their upcoming games.

The start of the season has been disappointing for the team, as they were hoping to get off to a stronger start than 1-3, their current record. But, with a considerable amount of the season left to play, the team hopes to find their rhythm and tip the scales in their favor. The players spirits remain high, and they continue to trust in the process in hopes of getting back on track.

“Everyone on the team is staying positive and continuing to focus on what we can control. There is no point in dwelling on what happened in the past when we still have so much of the season ahead of us,” said senior Mathew Park.

This year's team has players with vastly different levels of experience, which can make it difficult to mesh together and work as a team. However, the players are able to better understand

one another more with each game and are gradually learning the playing styles and skills of their teammates. The team is beginning to play as a unit, which is sure to bring them success in the future.

“This is my first year playing hockey, so I have learned and improved a lot. Everyone has been doing as much as they can to help each other improve. There is a wide variety of skill levels on the team this year, so once everyone gets used to playing together the outcomes will be more favorable,” said junior Christian Luke.

One thing every player can agree on is that the hockey season is something they anticipate every year. Many players partake in other sports during the offseason, but hockey provides something that no other sport is able to.

“The games give me something to look forward to throughout the day and the week. Being on the ice with my friends and teammates is something I will never forget. I have tried many other sports in

the past, but nothing else has given me the experiences and lessons I have learned playing hockey,” said junior Andrew Eaton.

The team has a great deal of talent on the roster, which leaves them with the opportunity to finish the season out strong. Regardless of how the first portion of the season went, the team has all the tools they need to improve. Several of the team's losses have been close games and could have been changed if one more play went their way.

“The team has a lot of potential and with every game the chemistry of the team is growing. As long as we continue to work hard we will have a memorable and enjoyable season,” said Luke.

The hockey season is far from over, and the team plans to stay focused and persistent to achieve the success that they have been looking for.

World Cup 2022: An Underdog Legacy

Every four years, sports fans around the globe drop what they are doing to watch the World Cup. The event is one of the most popular sporting events in the world, drawing billions of television viewers to each tournament. This year’s World Cup has had its fair share of great games, stories, and underdog wins. For many, their nation's team gives them a sense of pride and something to root for.

“I feel excited about the World Cup. I didn’t know the US was in the World Cup, so when I found that out, it piqued my interest in the World Cup,” sophomore Sarah McManus said.

When first looking at the tournament, it’s easy to get caught up in players’ rankings and status, but soccer's biggest stage requires a strong team and a great deal of spirit. Teams are made up of each country's best players, so precision is key and the margins are slim.

“There were some surprising losses in the World Cup so far, such as the one between Saudi Arabia and Argentina. The match was so unpredictable. I feel like Argentina should have won and not have lost their lead,” senior Raj Rao said.

The heavily favored Argentina team, featuring all-time great Lionel Messi, lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia. Argentina scored that first goal in that game, and ended up losing, something that hasn’t happened in over 60 years. This outcome shocked fans. The highly anticipated match between the U.S. and England also came with a surprising result. A young American team faced a well-rounded, experienced English lineup and held their own.

“I’d say the US vs. England match was surprising. I thought it would be a lot more goals, but I think what's surprising is that the USA played so well, despite them being the underdogs. [England was] definitely the better team, but they weren't able to score goals,” junior Yash Patil said.

Playing fantastic defense the whole game, England's powerful offense was shut. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, but for the

would like to see win in this year’s World Cup.

“I have high hopes for France this year. I have been supporting France since 2018. I speak French, and I am from a French speaking colony,” sophomore Emmanuel Kouadio said. People always have different opinions on sporting events. Some may feel enthusiastic about the sport, the players, or the team. The World Cup grabs the attention and piques the interest of many. Students watch the games in class and wake up early to see big games. Debating over predictions and enjoying the event.

Whenever viewers watch a sporting event on TV or in-person, they immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the event, cheering on their team to win.

“I like watching the players on the screen. It's interesting watching them play for their country, and the plays they make are the best part of watching the World Cup,” junior Emily Kim said.

U.S. team and its fans; it felt like a win.

“Honestly, I’m pretty happy. Teams like Argentina, France, Portugal are top dogs, so it’s nice to see teams that aren’t that well known, since people generally don’t consider them good, winning games,” junior Samarth Apte said.

Everyone has a favorite team they support. People try to scout the best team that will win. Others choose the team based on where they live. The World Cup certainly has many fans from different countries, with teams they

Billions of people worldwide watch the World Cup. Being one of the most popular sporting events in the world, it has garnered attention from fans since its debut in 1930. Since then, there have been many new teams added, working their way up the hierarchy of football greatness. The event has garnered worldwide attention, and has garnered the support of many fans.


Stallion Sleigh Important Announcements:

Senior Portraits:

Senior Makeup dates are now open! Prestige Portraits will be at Marriotts Ridge High School on January 25 & 26, 2023. Please use the link to schedule your session. Seniors may schedule their appointment on the website.

**Quick note on Senior Makeup Dates. Only the Seniors who have not yet had a photo taken will receive an appointment card and email notification. Any Seniors who previously had a photo taken will have their name removed from the data file. That way, we can prioritize the Seniors who have not yet had a photo taken to schedule an appointment. If any Senior wishes to have a retake, please call the Prestige Portraits help number at 1-(800) 736-4753 so you are not charged any sitting fees


Yearbooks are now on sale for the 2022 - 2023 school year. Please refer to the school’s homepage and follow the link.


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