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PTSA starts Amazon store School fundraising now possible online By Zoërose Waldrop This past holiday season, the Blair Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) launched a new way to raise money for Blair, using the popular online merchant Blazers can help the new PTSA store in several ways, either directly or indirectly.

The PTSA’s new partnership with Amazon allows for Blair to profit from community members’ purchases of items on the online “wish list”; which contains over 70 books that the Media Center specialists would like to add to the library’s collection. As another service for the Blair Community, the PTSA has created a list of test prep books and study cards for the SATs and APs, for students trying to find the best study books. The site also links to an MCPS recommended list of more than 30 “teen reads.” In addition, there is a collection of books and art created by Blair alumni, staff and parents on the site so that the community can

A magnetic host

see PTSA page 10

Four art electives to be offered at Blair next year teachers. According to Armstead, the number Four new fine arts of students taking art electives — Digital Phocourses determines tography, Digital Art 2, how many art teachers Fashion Drawing and Deare needed. “In a high sign, and World Drumschool, the amount ming — will be offered of students signed at Blair in the 2012-2013 up [for classes] deschool year. New fine termines the amount arts teacher Jacqueline of teachers working Armstead will teach two there,” she said. of the new classes. If there are more The new electives are art teachers than art being added to the course classes, the teachers list to appeal to students may be transferred to who would not normally other schools. The art take an art class, said department’s hope is Armstead. “I hope [the that with these new classes] will bring people electives, enrollment CLARE LEFEBURE into our hallway that will rise and all the would never have walked Junior Jennifer Beech fine arts teachers will down it otherwise,” she advertises art electives. be able to remain at said. Blair. The prospective students for these elecArmstead will teach Digital Art 2 which tives will allow fine arts teachers to remain see ELECTIVES page 11 at Blair by creating a greater demand for

By Katie Pohlman

Metro proposes summer fare increase By Sarah Wilson


Junior Elizabeth Billings auditions to be Master of Ceremonies for the upcoming Magnet Arts Night, a talent show that showcases the artistic abilities of magnet students.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) may raise both rail and bus fares beginning in July to support its $116 million budget increase for the next fiscal year. If approved by the WMATA board, the increases will simplify fare charges and increase funds for improving the transit system and decreasing delays. The increased rates would most directly affect those using paper

fare cards. They would pay a $6 flat fare during peak hours and $4 during nonpeak hours, as opposed to the current fares which vary based on the number of stops a customer travels. SmarTrip users would see an average five percent increase in costs to ride Metro trains, and a ten cent increase for buses. Bus riders paying in cash will see their fares increased to $2 for local buses and $4 for express buses. The peak-of-the-peak system, which increased rail rates in 2010

Creating a stylish skip in their step

for busy morning and evening hours of operation, will be eliminated altogether. Riders during high-traffic periods will pay fares consistent with the regular weekday price. According to a Jan. 12 WMATA press release, the increased rates are part of the $1.6 billion budget and plan to improve WMATA infrastructure and equipment. This will be done by replacing old

see FARES page 8

Cheer champions

Shoe fans show individuality with sneakers By Sarah Wilson Senior Christian Peña, shoe size 8.5, is waiting for the release of the Yeezy 2s, not that he ever wore out the first edition. “I never actually wore my Yeezy 1s, I just need the Yeezy 2s to go with the Yeezy 1s,” he laughs. Meanwhile, freshmen Randy Layza and Victor Molina and juniors Inmar Escobar and Jeffy Martinez await new Air Jordans, Cement 4s and Lebron 9 Galaxies all to be released in the coming months. Despite having 181 pairs of shoes between them, they will still spend months anxiously anticipating new releases. Nikes, Adidas and Jordans walk the halls of Blair in kelly greens, purples and meticulously maintained whites, but there is more to the sneaker trend than “icy soles” and the

$180 it usually takes to buy a new limited release. Coverage of the national sneaker trend has at times been funny, like when lines outside a Staten Island Foot Locker this past December became violent, necessitating police intervention and the arrest of a customer who was taken into custody while yelling, “[Expletive] you! I’m getting my shoes,” according to the New York Daily News. And in other instances, such as the January 7 murder of a Washington, D.C. teen that the Washington Post reports was targeted for his $200 shoes, the severity of the trend has come under criticism. At Blair, a school of 6000 feet, the popularity of sneakers is noticeable. Peña says the sneaker trend at Blair is not a fad based around keeping up with what’s popular or


The cheerleaders placed first in Division II at the Panther Cheer Competition on Jan. 28. They also won the captain’s award and the spirit award at the Paint Branch High School-sponsored event.

see KICKS page 15

insideCHIPS Principal or parent: Columnist Claire Koenig makes the case for students’ rights. see page 4




‘Intel’ligence: Blazers dominate national science competition. see page 11


Holding pattern: Disproportionate number of minority students face in-school suspension. see page 13

Moustache mania: Blazers share their beards, moustaches and facial hair fables. see page 27




February 2, 2012

The high cost of lower tuition With the national average in student loan debt quickly outpacing the national average in credit card debt, it is clear that the high cost of college is not a problem that the country can afford to ignore. President Barack Obama brought up the high cost of higher education at the State of the Union, and proposed a more detailed plan for bringing down the cost of college nationwide at a Jan. 27 speech at the University of Michigan. At face value, Mr. Obama’s new plan to reign in excessive tuition hikes is hard to argue against: expanding low-interest loans, supplemental grants and work study programs could vastly increase college opportunities for millions of students. However, the plan’s flaws lie not in the fundamental ideas, but in their proposed execution. Although Mr. Obama’s focus on increased federal funding for colleges is a step in the right direction, it is still far from making higher education an affordable option for everyone. The president’s prospective methods of university cost control are ambitious — not to mention expensive to implement. Even if the proposal does not require billions of federal dollars to implement, the possibility of our stagnant Congress approving such spending in the current economic climate seems dubious at best. What makes the plan so costly is that the core of the plan lies in providing financial rewards to colleges who limit tuition increases to limits set by the Obama administration. As such, it’s Race to the Top 2.0: to receive federal grant money, universities would have to meet the administration’s goals, much like how individual states had to meet one-size-fits-all national education goals to receive additional funding in Race to the Top. Like Race to the Top, which denied additional funding to states with inadequate proposals, the colleges that fail to reach the administration’s definition of low tuition rates will lose federal funding, which could ultimately hurt students. A college that is punished with reduced federal funding could quickly turn into an institution that shuts out needy prospective students. Tuition rates at these schools would rise more quickly and student debt would grow, exacerbating the very problem that Mr. Obama is rightly trying to prevent. The plan also fails to account for the current economic climate and its effect on public universities’ state subsidies. Public schools rely on taxpayer money to keep tuition rates low for in-state students, but recent budget deficits have created cashed-strapped states that are quick to trim their education funding. Reduced funding at the state level often forces colleges to raise tuition rates in order to pay their bills, as was the case in 2011 when public universities in Maryland were forced to initiate tuition hikes of three to six percent following a reduction in subsidies. Tuition hikes are an unfortunate solution to closing universities’ budget gaps, but for states that cannot avoid these natural tuition increases, withholding federal funds only aggravates the problem of expensive tuition. The vicious cycle of tuition hikes, decreased federal funding and then more tuition hikes could inflate the current crisis beyond repair, and essentially accomplish none of the administration’s tuition reduction goals. The government is responsible for making every effort to expand access to higher education, but the current proposal has too many problems to be effective, because it has the potential to harm state universities financially and even shut out the very low-income students it is most designed to help.

silverCHIPS Montgomery Blair High School 51 University Boulevard East Silver Spring, MD 20901 Phone: (301) 649-2864 Winner of the 2009 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Silver Chips is a public forum for student expression. Student editors make all content decisions. Unsigned editorials represent the views of the editorial board and are not necessarily those of the school. Signed letters to the editor are encouraged. Submit your letter to Joseph Fanning’s mailbox in the main office, to room 158 or to Concerns about Silver Chips’ content should be directed to the Ombudsman, the public’s representative to the paper, at Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Editors-in-Chief....................................................................................... Claire Boston , Sebastian Medina-Tayac Managing News Editors...........................................................................................Maureen Lei, Srividya Murthy Managing Features Editors...................................................Stella Bartholet, NoahGrace Bauman, Eliza Wapner Managing Opinions and Editorials Editors................................................................Claire Koenig, Maggie Shi Managing Entertainment Editors.............................................................................Helen Bowers, Simrin Gupta Managing Sports Editor........................................................................................................................Claire Sleigh Production Manager............................................................................................................NoahGrace Bauman Managing Design Editor....................................................................................................................Stella Bartholet Design Team.................................NoahGrace Bauman, Maureen Lei, Maggie Shi, Claire Sleigh, Eliza Wapner Public Relations Director............................................................................................................ Simrin Gupta Outreach Coordinator...........................................................................................................................Eliza Wapner Distribution Supervisor.......................................................................................................................Claire Koenig Newsbriefs Editor..................................................................................................................................Josh Schmidt Fact-Check Supervisor....................................................................................................................Srividya Murthy Extras Editor.............................................................................................................................Katelin Montgomery Executive Business Director.................................................................................................Ann Marie Huisentruit Executive Communications Director...........................................................................................................Jane Lee Executive Advertising Director.......................................................................................................Sarah Marsteler Executive Fundraising Manager......................................................................................................Chunwoo Baik Business Staff............................................................................................................Adrian Craig, Nicholas Seidell Page Editors...........................................................Ruth Aitken, Emma Bergman, Puck Bregstone, Peter McNally, ...........................................................................................Katelin Montgomery, Katie Pohlman,Josh Schmidt, ..............................................................................................Zoërose Waldrop, Hannah Weintraub, Sarah Wilson Copy Editor...............................................................................................................................................Paul B. Ellis Spanish Page Adviser....................................................................................................Dora N. Santiago-González Spanish Page Editor.........................................................................................................Kelly Ventura Spanish Page Writers...........................................Hector Barrera, Janett Encinas, Diana Ferreira, Anilu Martinez, ...................................................................................................Yessica Somoza, Claudia Quinonez, Heydi Urbina Editorial Board......................Claire Boston, Claire Koenig, Sebastian Medina-Tayac, Maggie Shi, Claire Sleigh Editorial Cartoonist...................................................................................................................................Julia Bates Managing Photo Editor...........................................................................................................Tolu Omokehinde Photographers............................................................................. Leah Hammond, Enoch Hsiao, Clare Lefebure ..................................................................................................................Ellie Musgrave, Leah Muskin-Pierret Managing Art Editors..............................................................................................Nathan Gamson, Doyung Lee Artists.............................................................................................................Julia Bates, Xixi Chen, Tatyana Gubin Sports Writers................Katelin Montgomery, Josh Schmidt, Claire Sleigh, Langston Taylor, Hannah Weintraub Professional Technical Adviser....................................................................................................Peter Hammond Adviser.............................................................................................................................................Joseph Fanning

At Blair, print media stays strong Silver Chips must work to recruit writers By Claire Sleigh Is print media dying? It’s a question that professional publications have struggled with over the past decade. In 2009, the Baltimore Examiner went all-online, and newspapers like the New York Times continue to debate how much of their content should be made free to the public online. This question has not escaped high school journalists, who look up to national publications as role models. This year, the decorated newspaper of Newton North High School in Massachusetts, the Newtonite, announced that after 90 years of serving the school in print they would be transitioning to allonline content. Their transition marks a change in high school journalism, but in many respects their situation does not apply to ours here at Silver Chips Print. One major difference between Silver Chips and professional publications is that we have been able to hold our advertisers, which keeps the paper self-sustainable and independent. Advertisers can continue relying on Silver Chips for a medium because it is a free publication that is distributed to everyone in the school. We aren’t as susceptible to the economic pains of a decrease in print readership because Silver Chips is free and reaches the same number of people regardless of the economy. Our business staff works tirelessly to sell eight pages of ads each issue, and as long as we still have a business staff and companies in the area, Silver Chips Print can stay in business. In fact,

our advertisements actually help support the online publication. Up until this year, Silver Chips

Ombudsman Claire Sleigh Print provided funds for Online’s expenses based on advertising revenue. Although we are in some part immune to the advertising slump that major print publications have dealt with, it is still important for us as an institution to take into account our relevance as a print media publication. Silver Chips comes out every six weeks. These six weeks are spent developing in-depth stories, editing extensively and laying out pages. Print and Online play off each other’s strengths, which allows Blazers to be well-informed in a variety of ways. Silver Chips Online is the perfect place for Blazers to

look to for breaking news, because they have the ability to update the site 24/7. Our partnership works well, and Silver Chips Print will continue producing a 32-page newspaper because we serve the community in a way that is different than Online. However, the main issue that Silver Chips is facing right now is not specific to either paper. Silver Chips does not struggle with its relevance as a print paper, but relevance as a paper that represents the diversity of the Blair community. This year, the future of journalism at Blair is at risk. In 2002, there were eight Journalism 1 sections, the pre-requisite for being admitted to the staff of either Online or Print. This year, other than the three permanent Communication Arts Program (CAP) journalism classes, there is only one other section of journalism — with an alarmingly low enrollment of nine students. If more underclassmen do not enroll in the Journalism 1 class, the Silver Chips staff faces the possibility of being made up exclusively of CAP students. Not only will this affect the quality of the publication, but it will also make it more difficult for the staff to reach a broad base. The future of Silver Chips Print rests not in our status as a print publication, but in our ability to attract strong writers on to the staff who represent the diversity of Blair — not just CAP. If you are interested in signing up for Journalism 1 next year, contact your counselor before schedules are due.

Web Exclusives Check Silver Chips Online ( for constantly updated news, features and entertainment — and make sure to be on the lookout for these upcoming stories: s

A “Green”-er side of life — Blair’s Nerdfighter community


Old promises or new beginnings — State of the Union 2012


Chill tunes for a chilly day — new music reviewed

Corrections Page Editor Emma Bergman’s name was not included in the staff box. Josh Schmidt was not named Newsbriefs Editor in the staff box.



February 2, 2012

Should clubs at Blair receive additional funding from the school?

Katie Pohlman One by one, Blazers showcase their different talents in hopes of winning a trophy at the end of the night. As the audience watches the performers, food is brought in and arranged neatly on a table next to a donation jar. People walk by, grabbing food and dropping an occasional dollar in the jar. But the money raised that night at Blair’s Next Star by the African American Culture Club will not go into savings for future events. It will be spent paying for the security guards hired, the food ordered, and the trophies bought. After all the bills are paid, the African American Culture Club will remain in debt, leaving no money to pay for future speakers and events. Like all clubs at Blair, the African American Culture Club is not funded by the school. It must find ways to raise money by itself, which is never enough to reach their goals for raising cultural awareness and promoting diversity at Blair by holding events for students to participate in and hosting speakers to discuss important issues in society. Many clubs attempt to do the same, but few have the funds necessary to follow their agendas. In order to promote these clubs as vital aspects of the our school community, the school should actively fund them, rather than allow them to rely solely on the fundraisers they organize or the insufficient “mini-grants” available from the PTSA. Clubs allow groups within the diverse student body to express themselves within the Blair community — something the school should encourage and promote as much as possible. Clubs unify students through shared interests, allowing them to express themselves by helping the community or discussing issues that they feel are important, as in the Women’s Advocacy Club or Students for Global Responsibility, to name a couple. Students may not have the opportunity to reach such a level of engagement in classrooms or at home. Sponsoring clubs will allow the school to become more than just a place for taking tests and receiving grades for students; it will create a multicultural community. The most a club can receive from the PTSA is $100 a year. The African American Culture Club’s sponsor, paraeducator Renee Newman, said that her group did receive a mini-grant one a couple years ago, but it was not enough to help significantly and discouraged her organization from applying in later years. There are also expiration dates on the funds of one year, which limit



The school should fund clubs to enrich the community of Blair.

School support for clubs is unnecessary and will cause more problems than it will solve.

what a club could do with the money. If the money will not be there next year, clubs will not be able to plan long-term events because their funding will disappear with the school year. Because the PTSA only has a limited amount of funding set aside to help both clubs and teachers at Blair, the school should take greater responsibility for the majority of club funding. The school should collect part of the funds from payments they get such as the payments they receive from students who apply for parking spots to start a club fund. It may take a while to build up this fund but it would still be a way to help out the clubs that need it. With little or no funding, clubs are not able to reach out to prospective members through enticing and thoughtprovoking events. The African American Culture Club finds that speakers are always out of their price range, which would not be an issue if they received funding from the school. “With more funding, we would be able to have more speakers come to Blair and hold more seminars for the students,” Newman said. By opening up new opportunities for self-expression and action, clubs will benefit the greater Blair community. Education does not stop in the classroom, and clubs are a way for students to continue their learning and focus on something they are passionate about. The change that funded clubs could create in the community would be well worth the school’s extra effort to fund them. Blazers would be able to experience an enriched community.

Our world seems to revolve around money. From monetary policy and budget deficits to Cash 4 Gold and “Mo Money Mo Problems,” it’s on everyone’s mind and one of the most common solutions to the world’s problems is to throw money at them. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If someone is paying, that means the money is being taken from somewhere In addition, the benefactor will always, on some level, expect something in return. There is no need for Blair to support clubs because it will burden the school, clubs may have to give up their autonomy and, most importantly, clubs are doing fine without school funding. School funding is simply unnecessary; there is already a robust NOAHGRACE BAUMAN fund dedicated to such expenses. Every year, Blair’s PTSA puts $10,000 into the mini-grant fund. According to Judith Arbacher, a co-chair of the mini-grant committee, some of this money goes unclaimed. If an untapped source of funds already exists, there is no reason to ask for even more money. In recent years, the number of clubs applying for mini-grants has decreased so much that the PTSA hasn’t been able to give out all its money. Therefore, there is no argument for clubs receiving more funding if most of them don’t even take advantage of the PTSA mini-grant program. Instead of having the school just indiscriminately handing money over to every club, the mini-grant program provides a buffer between the clubs who are willing

Maggie Shi

to put in the effort to raise funds, and the ones who are waiting for money to fall into their laps. This money is given out in small grants, meaning the PTSA’s influence on how the money is spent will be minimal. Granted, the $100 limit is often not enough for bigger initiatives. Clubs often would like to get support over longer periods of time or for bigger projects. But because the mini-grant fund isn’t even used up by the end of each year and each proposal is considered by a committee of PTSA members, it isn’t unreasonable for a club to try to negotiate for a bigger grant. This would certainly be easier than trying to negotiate a system-wide change the school’s support of clubs. Beyond budgetary matters, there’s the issue of what clubs would “owe” the school. Right now, clubs operate fairly freely. With the exception of a volunteer sponsor, clubs are completely student-run. That makes clubs safe havens for student expression, unadulterated by the meddling of school staff. When they raise their own funds, clubs are effectively free to do whatever they want. This independence means that they won’t be functioning under the fear of stepping on the toes of an administrator and losing funding. Many clubs at Blair advocate for sensitive issues, such as the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Women’s Advocacy Club. If the school sponsored clubs, then dissenting staff and administration could influence their activity. An upset official would hypothetically have enough leverage to silence a club’s members. It completely defeats the purpose of having student-run organizations if they can be pressured by the administration into action or inaction. In addition to clubs’ autonomy, there’s the obvious issue of where to get the money to sponsor clubs. Montgomery County is cash-strapped already, so finding money to support clubs with would mean taking money out of somewhere else in the budget. The county would then have to implement a new system for weeding out fraudulent requests, thus sapping even more resources from a strained budget. The system-wide change of having schools sponsor clubs would impose an unnecessary burden on everyone. Clubs would be burdened with the possibility of losing their autonomy and scrimpy school budgets would be spread even thinner. In the game of money, losses are never good, and Blair sponsoring clubs is lose-lose.

voiceBOX “Yes, because funding leads to successful clubs, and helping fund a successful club looks good on college apps.” -junior Ian Ozeroff

-junior Conlan Mayer-Marks

“Schools should fund clubs because not every student can pay for club expenses.”

“No, we need to have more funding for better classes. We need more structure during school, not after school.”

“It depends on whether it’s practical for schools to do that based on how much money they have.” -senior Harrison Reed

-freshman Jade Liu

“No. Since it’s a student’s initiative to found a club, they should continue to be self-sufficient and take care of the resources.” -sophomore Langston Cotman



February 2, 2012

The place of a parent Admin.’s power ends at campus’ edge

By Claire Koenig An opinion The Latin expression in loco parentis gives schools and institutions the right to speak for their students’ best interests in dire instances. Administrations in schools have saved lives in crises and protected students when their parents could not. But although our schools can shoulder that legal burden while we are behind their gates, does it hold that they should keep it with them at all times? Our parents cannot follow us to school — what gives our administrators the right to follow us home? After a Bethesda house party on Dec. 12, the police cited 36 students from Walt Whitman High School for alcohol use. Thirty-six students were assigned community service and a date to appear in front of a teen court. Thirty-six students returned home with new stains to scrub from their permanent records. Thirty-six students arrived at school the next week to find that if consequences for their actions distributed by the police and their parents were not enough. Their principal Alan Goodwin had tracked down their names via social media and word-of-

mouth, and suspended them from extra curricular activities for the activity’s equivalent of two sports games. Principals are responsible for their students’ actions. Within school walls they retain the right to judiciously discipline, censor and search the minors under their charge for the integrity and safety of the school community. But beyond the campus, after the final bell, that power must stop. Goodwin’s policy is a violation of student privacy rights, and it puts unnecessary pressure on the school and its administrative staff to be constantly held responsible for the actions of thousands of young people. In the same way that adult freedom of speech can be restricted by time, place and manner, school officials can limit student rights if they come into conflict with the community’s interests. This rule is logical in that it helps keep schools safe and all-inclusive; but when administrators extend this power to students’ lives outside of class, ‘protective’ becomes suppressive. Our parents have power over us, and the police have power over everyone. By punishing students already subjected to the


penalty Maryland state law has deemed sufficient, Goodwin is unnecessarily undermining parents’ rights to discipline their children and stepping on the toes of our police department. The students have been punished, and additional penalties from the school accomplish nothing more than a disruption of student rights. To Goodwin’s credit, Whitman has had more than its fair share of

tragic deaths associated with drunk driving in the past. In 1994, two students died in drunk driving accidents, and another was killed in 1989. Goodwin’s concern for his students is commendable, but his effort to fix the situation was misguided, and his methods down right unethical. According to Whitman’s school paper, The Black and White,

Goodwin ferreted out students with citations by scanning Facebook and Twitter pages, listening in on hallway conversations and interviewing students involved. He relied on rumor to determine which students to reprimand, and even so he admitted that he did not discover everyone cited at the party. This infringement upon the rights of the MCPS student body cannot go unnoticed. In the same way that our school should have no say in what we believe, in our freedom of expression or in our right to protest, they have no right to involve themselves in what we do outside of their care. It would be wrong to support the decisions of the students at the party — they behaved irresponsibly and should face the consequences of their actions. But we must support the fact that their principal invaded their privacy and degraded their liberty — because if we don’t support the rights of our own age group, we cannot expect to retain them.

Dietary restrictions, limited options Students with allergies are neglected by the cafeteria By Katelin Montgomery An opinion in first person

allergies are not as big a part of the menu development process as they should be. The Montgomery County Division of Food For most Blazers, the lunch line is safe, and Nutrition Services needs to create more inviting and full of options. However for menu items safe for students with allerme, that line is perilous and fraught with gies and intolerances and make it easier to danger. obtain accommodations. For students with I am gluten intolerant and have been food allergies or intolerances, this could on a gluten-free diet for five years. Dealmean that they would be able to eat a lunch ing with my intolerance at school, I have purchased at school—which is normally a noticed that very little attention is paid to right taken for granted—without the worry kids like me in the school lunch program. that their meal may send them reeling into Currently, there are no gluten-free items on an allergic reaction. the school menu that fit the UDSA nutriThere is plenty of information availtional guidelines meaning that MCPS is able on the MCPS website to help students failing to provide lunch options that foster with allergies understand what they can the wellbeing of the entire population. do, but it does not translate in substantial Accessibility to school lunch is a probaccommodations. Although MCPS does lem for students with serious allergies in offer information on the foods containing Montgomery County. Most of the menu certain allergens on their website, the availitems are tailored to those without allerable information only sends the clear and gies and consequently, there aren’t many disheartening message that there is close to allergen-free options. The procedure for ob- nothing on the menu that is allergen-free taining accommodations for food allergies and safe to eat. Knowing which foods not is a complicated process and students with to eat is not the same as having allergenfree options. The website also explains the process that students and parents must go through to get special accommodations. But the procedure involves meeting with the cafeteria manager, who has limited availability, and bringing in doctor’s note for something as simple as substituting juice or water for milk in ENOCH HSIAO a standard For Blazers with certain intolerances, even a small bite of meal. Maddalena pizza can have disastrous consequences.

Bianchini, Blair’s cafeteria manager, explained that the cafeteria staff could prepare anything on the menu, even if the dish was not available to everyone else on that day. “We can always scrounge up something,” she said. However, these not so ENOCH HSIAO comforting With few school lunch options, Blazers with intolerances and accommodaallergies are forced to bring their own lunches from home. tions lack nutritional balance and do not address the root of the school lunches for those with allergies and problem: there are still very few menu intolerances to consider them in the meal items free of common allergens. This leaves planning process. This would include those with allergies with the same options creating menu items that are designed as before — close to none. without some of the top eight allergens, According to the MCPS website, there similar to the inclusion of vegetarian are a variety of vegetarian meal options that options that are denoted on the printed are available on the menu which is great for menus in the cafeteria. Also, offering more those avoiding meat but the same courtesy à la carte items like salads that aren’t preis not shown to Blazers with allergies and made would benefit students with allergies intolerances. and also others who prefer a lighter lunch A 2008 study, “Vegetarianism in Ameroption. ica” by the Vegetarian Times revealed that Although I can get around the prob3.2 percent of Americans follow a vegetarlems by bringing my lunch, there are ian diet while an estimated 3.3 percent of students with allergies who prefer not to Americans live with an allergy to gluten, bring lunch or are not able to for economic peanuts, cow’s milk or shrimp. This reasons. There is a substantial number of leads to the question of why Montgomery students in MCPS who rely on the Free County is so insensitive to the issue of aland Reduced Meals (FARMS) program lergens when there are more people with for lunch and if one of those students has these possibly life-threatening conditions an allergy, they must face limited food than people who voluntarily choose not choices, since FARMS only covers a stanto include meat in their diets. It is absurd dard lunch. that the Montgomery County caters more Dietary restrictions are a substantial to people with chosen diets than to those problem in America, and MCPS has the who must avoid certain ingredients due to responsibility to provide school lunch genetics. options for everyone, even students with One way that MCPS can start to improve dietary restrictions and allergies.



February 2, 2012

Pearson partnership is a slippery slope for MCPS A recent MCPS curriculum deal with Pearson Education raises ethical questions By Simrin Gupta An opinion Look at the publisher of most of your textbooks and you’ll see the blue and white Pearson Education, Inc. company logo. Take a look at the recent curriculum board members have implemented and you’ll see the same logo. Largely thanks to Montgomery County board members’ efforts, Pearson has rocketed to the top of the educational publishing and technology industry in a way that has raised more than a few ethical questions. In August 2010, former superintendent Jerry Weast went on an all-expenses paid trip to Australia to attend an international educators conference along with other high-ranking school officials from across the nation. Just two months prior to his trip, Weast spearheaded a deal that requires school officials to co-write and pilot Pearson’s curriculum (“Curriculum 2.0”), in return MCPS received $4.5 million in development funds plus a federal grant of $5 million from the U.S. Department of Education. The development funds are for MCPS to finance the team of experts who will co-write the curriculum with Pearson representatives. The MCPS-sponsored website for Curriculum 2.0 states that Pearson reserves the right to market the curriculum after the pilot period and when it does, MCPS will receive 2.5 percent royalties from the sales. It seemed as though MCPS would collect a substantial profit from the deal but, when Weast returned from Australia, he drafted a new deal with Pearson reducing MCPS’s development fund allocation to $1.25 million — a significant change found in an

overlooked amendment Weast made to the deal (without board approval) in November 2010. This covert deal occurred without public disclosure leading some to speculate that Weast felt pressured to create a reciprocal agreement with Pearson post-trip. The main ethical dilemma raised here is

bias-free curriculum. Pearson Education has dominated the curriculum selection process by being one of the few companies to craft a curriculum that is written to the new Common Core state standards. These standards have been developed in part by the Council of Chief


whether or not the international trips are a direct effort by Pearson’s nonprofit foundation to influence government officials, thereby allowing Pearson’s for-profit arm to obtain more lucrative state contracts. Though a multi-million dollar company like Pearson cannot be blamed for using its assets to get ahead, Montgomery County officials should be held responsible for accepting trips sponsored by the company — doing so jeopardizes the sanctity of a

State School Officers (CCSSO) and according to Pearson’s website, both Pearson Education and the CCSSO co-sponsor the conferences meaning that Pearson has crafted a direct, though unofficial, partnership with the CCSSO calling into question the nature of the CCSSO’s role in curriculum decisions. This blatant favoritism has the capacity to corrupt the system which could lead to lowered education standards and poor quality curriculum overall.

Though some legislators see the ethical transgressions as ambiguous territory, others are suspicious about the trips being a kind of quid pro quo agreement. According to the PCMC, Representatives Michael A. Durso (D-5) and Laura Berthiaume (D-2) voted against the partnership with Pearson due to the fact that both board members claimed that the deal might blur the line between public and private interests. Both Durso and Berthiaume opposed the deal because of the speed at which it was approved and the possibility of conflict of interest. When it comes time for school superintendents to choose the curriculums to implement in schools, they’re reminded of the “strictly professional” business conferences they were so generously invited to attend. It’s unethical for Pearson to be sending any kind of school officials on expensive trips; it qualifies as ingratiating and could mean that education policy makers later feel pressured to choose Pearson’s curriculum packages over those of its equally-qualified competitors. MCPS’s ethics panel has failed to examine the fact that the Pearson-sponsored trips clearly create a conflict of interest among policy makers. Though no direct business agreements or negotiations take place during the conferences, the fact that Pearson finances the trips at all is enough to have a significant influence when it comes time for school officials to make curriculum decisions. It is up to county officials to assert distinct and specific boundaries between educational companies and school officials in order to make sure our school system will not let companies buy the loyalty and support of our education policy makers.

Contraception coverage lets all people plan parenthood

Obama’s decision will prevent thousands of unplanned pregnancies By Leah Muskin-Pierret An opinion America is in love with the gargantuan, from big cars to big box stores, but we have something else giant that deserves less than a lot of love: a sky high teen pregnancy rate, the highest in the developed world. Breaking from our often backwards family planning policies, the Obama administration took a positive step last week. Rejecting a broad exemption put forth by the Catholic Church, the Obama administration reaffirmed a new measure that classifies birth control as preventative care, requiring insurance companies to cover the cost. The move has the potential to prevent thousands of unplanned pregnancies, especially among young people, and save billions of taxpayer dollars. Still, it is only one small step towards making parenthood a choice. For the good of our generation, it is time for Washington to ignore religious outcries of small minorities and use the policies proven to work. The greatest stakeholders in Obama’s recent decision are young people, as they are the most likely to struggle with the once high cost of birth control. Copays ranging, on average, from $15 to $50 a month render it unaffordable for many on an entry-

level salary. NARAL Pro-Choice America estimates that one in three women will struggle to pay for birth control in her lifetime. The move to eliminate co-pays, coupled with the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s provision that puts 19 to 25-year-olds on their parents’ health plans, means the neediest

is cheap relative to the costs of unplanned pregnancies that fall on taxpayers. According to the Brookings Institution, Obama’s new ruling will save around $5.6 billion per year. Still the United States Conference on Catholic Bishops is outraged, calling the move, “an unprecedented attack on religious liberty.” Unfortunately for them, theocracy is not an American principle. Freedom is self-determination, a decision to use or not use contraception based on one’s own beliefs. Religiously affiliated universities and hospitals often employ workers regardless of religion; this move simply prevents institutions from intruding on their employee’s health care decisions. Those opposed were vocal enough to buy religious institutions an extra year to comply with the law, and yet they represent an extreme viewpoint even NATHAN GAMSON AND CLAIRE SLEIGH within their religion. group can now afford to prevent According to a survey by the unplanned pregnancy. Guttmacher Institute, a leader in Liberals and women’s groups the study of reproductive health, commended the decision as only two percent of sexually acsound public policy, but religious tive Catholic women rely on the extremists opposed to contracepnatural family planning methods tion loom in the shadows. Young sanctioned by the Catholic hierwomen will see the positive efarchy. “Artificial” birth control fects in their own lives, no longer methods are a staple of women’s struggling to pay for birth control health, even within the religions coverage. Contraceptive coverage that traditionally oppose it. grants young women protection But beyond the issue of birth from unplanned pregnancy, which control, there’s the elephant in could obstruct their education the room: abortion. A Guttmacher and career goals. The far-reaching Institute study found that one in benefits of the decision save ten women will have an abortion public funds for all. Prevention by age 20, and one in four by age

30. Much of this could be averted by public policy that keeps the welfare of our country’s young women at the forefront of the debate. However, staunchly anti-contraception lawmakers must realize that law does not equate to reality. Laws that attempt to ban abortion or contraception just force multitudes of desperate women, unable to support another child, to seek unsafe and illegal abortions. Before Roe v. Wade, approximately one fifth of maternal deaths were

a result of complications from unsafe abortions. The right to a safe and legal abortion is what keeps the bent coat hanger a sad artifact of the past. Legal abortion, in tandem with aggressive promotion of contraception, is the best policy for the health and welfare of young people. Family planning is an issue fraught with uncompromising critics. Practicality and personal choice must outweigh conventional morality and logic. The future of our generation depends on it.

Art Corner Welcome to the Art Corner — a space where Silver Chips artists share their perspective on the issues of the day, or simply entertain with a little bit of good-natured humor.



February 2, 2012




February 2, 2012

Blazers speak out What is your favorite cold remedy? Why?

What is your favorite app on a smartphone? Why? see story, page 25

see story, page 25 “Chicken soup and watching TV because it makes me focus on things besides my cold.” -sophomore Urvi Banerjee

“My favorite app is the one that lets me prank call people. I do it to my mom all the time.” -freshman Ruben DeLeon

“The wait-and-see method.” -sophomore Zachary Moreno

“My favorite smartphone app is the GPS because it’s useful and now I never get lost.” -senior Julia Lewando

“Vitamin C and Zicam because Zicam doesn’t taste bad and get gets your immune system working.” -junior Pilar Ocampo

“Temple run. I like it because you can get really into the story and characters. Like when you get past that half-million distance mark, you’re really rooting for your guy.” -freshman Conor James

“Sushi with wasabi because wasabi is so spicy that it clears your sinuses. -sophomore Erica Adarkwa ART BY XIXI CHEN

“Hot water in a bucket, then put Vick’s vapor rub in a tub, stir it up, and bend over it, and put a towel over your head and just sit there. It clears out everything and puts me in a zen mode.” - senior Darwin Akwo-Mboe

“Netflix because I love watching all those TV shows and movies.” -sophomore Clarisse Callahan “Solitaire because it keeps me busy and is fun as heck.” -junior Chuck Onwuzuruike

What’s your favorite nap spot at Blair?

Do you think students should be punished in school for things they do outside of school? Why or why not?

see story, page 27 “My favorite place to nap is at my desk or, the ideal conditions, the bean bag chairs in the library. The bean bags are extremely comfortable, it’s quiet and no one bothers you.” -freshman Molly Beckett

see story, page 4

“The library because it’s always quiet and easy to fall asleep and the wrestling room because it’s quiet and there are mats to sleep on.” -freshman Sam Merrill

“I think that students should be punished when they do something bad because punishment teaches students how to be respectful.” -senior Margueritte Hond

“The team room because no one ever goes in there; it’s the perfect spot.” -sophomore Maggie McClain

“Students should not be punished for things they do outside of school because it is not the school’s responsibility to get into student’s personal lives outside of school.” -sophomore Ihtesham Chowdhury

“A desk in class, that is the place that I get the most bored at. It’s just easier and I’m really tired so I just sleep there.” - sophomore Ismael Oates

“No they shouldn’t because they should have a school life and a private life.” -freshman Amear Eakins

What new electives would you like to see at Blair? Why? see story, page 11 “Yoga, it would give students a moment of complete relaxation during a busy day.” -sophomore Sophia Doescher “Family and consumer science because it teaches life lessons like cooking and sewing and you’re going to need to know that.” -junior Martina Atabong

“No, because school should be separated from your outside behavior. It’s not fair for our behavior outside of school to affect our education— which could happen if they take you out of class or homework.” -senior Laurel Brown “Yes because it’s better than punishment outside of school.” -freshman Abdul Kamal

“Cooking class because it would be fun.” -junior Legend Salamanca

chipsINDEX 3.5 12 26 62


million: the average cost of a Super Bowl ad

Number of days that it took science teacher Christopher Brown to grow his beard Number of sports played in the summer Olympics Percentage of students who own a smartphone

54.9 1224 52.4 26.9

Percentage of students who say they have ever napped at school Number of points that the varsity basketball teams have scored so far this season Percentage of Blazers who say they have had a cold this winter Percentage of Blazers who say they are saving themselves for marriage.

Chips Index was compiled by Katelin Montgomery with additional reporting by Sabrina Bradford, Caroline Gabriel, Carina Hernandez, Isaac Jiffar, Aanchal Johri and Emanuel Ceron Rohena.

Quote of the Issue

“ ” [It] has made me very conscious of my own voice and the power that it holds. senior Hannah Jo Mounty-Weinstock

see TRANSLATORS, page 19

silverCHIPS 8 Metro plans to raise fares Youth organization closes NEWS

from FARES page 1 tracks and switches, in response to recent technical problems and construction needs. About half of the $116 million increase will go toward improvement projects. “The proposed operating and capital budgets allow us to further enhance safety, continue the rebuilding effort, and advance important service enhancements, such as increased preventive maintenance of escalators,” said the Metro General Manager Richard Sarles in the press release. The remaining $61 million of the budget increase will go to supporting the company’s expansion and regular operation, including hiring the 1,000 new WMATA employees that are included in the 2013 budget, according to the Washington Post. The cost of the increase would be shared between Metro users and the eight jurisdictions, including INFORMATION COURTESY OF WMATA the state of Maryland, that fund transportation projects. “Better is not free. And as we are playing catch up and building a better Metro that benefits all our stakeholders, we are asking everyone to contribute,” said Sarles in the release. Public hearings on the budget will be

February 2, 2012

held in February and March and the proposal will be voted on by the board by the beginning of their new Fiscal Year in 2013. For Blair students who use the Metro for weekend trips, the changes may be more significant than for those using it for daily transportation. Most students use their student IDs for daily bus rides, and sophomore Senaie Halle believes the change will not affect him considerably. Senior James Syverson and Fen Kemp agree that the increase to $2 in bus fares for students without SmarTrip cards wouldn’t affect them despite their regular use of the bus. “A lot of people just pay $2 anyway,” said Syverson. Junior Sam Blattner and sophomore Liam Lewter agree MAUREEN LEI that the hikes would be worth it if they can reduce delays and improve the system’s infrastructure. “I don’t mind. It’s an organization and they need the money, plus it would be awesome because the Red Line sucks and if they’re making it better, I wouldn’t mind paying the extra ten cents,” said Blattner.

Finances force City at Peace shut down By Emma Bergman Washington, D.C. youth development organization City at Peace closed last month as a result of long-term financial difficulties. The organization was forced to cut short what would have been its seventeenth year. City at Peace is a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural understanding and social awareness. Artistic Director Sandra Holloway said that the organization teaches fundamental principles so that students can spread them throughout the community. Senior Alice Mukora, a former cast member, said that in the first few months of every year-long session, City at Peace consisted of a series of seminars where students shared their experiences with oppression. In the second half of the year, members worked on producing a play based on their personal stories. Junior Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg, who was a board member as well as a member of the City at Peace production team, said that despite its popularity, the organization lost major grants due to technicalities. “Because we began as a grassroots organization, we didn’t have a history of surveys and testing of our participants. A lot of grants require those because they want to make sure that they’re putting their money into something that’s effective,” she said. Rubenstein-Edberg said another contributing factor was the loss of returning cast members. For many years, the majority of the group was made up of returning cast members. Rubenstein-Edberg explained that when City at Peace began to include primarily new members, consistent attendance dwindled, which further lowered the possibility of

gaining grant money. As a representative of the board and the production team, Rubenstein-Edberg was faced with informing the cast that City at Peace was closing. “It’s just hard because in a program like City at Peace I get to know people and I get to know their issues and a lot of people have trust issues. I felt like finally some people were just starting to give their trust to this organization and then we had to let them down, which really just hurt because that’s exactly what we work against,” she said. Reactions to the news were varied. Holloway said that many people were angry with City at Peace leadership for concealing the financial problems from the cast. She said several cast members and alumni felt that more could have been done to keep the organization from closing. City at Peace alumnus Jozie Zwerdling was a part of the large group of alumni from across the country that gathered in D.C. on the organization’s final day. Zwerdling said that the City at Peace members will continue to promote the organization’s values long after it’s gone. “There is still a lot of spirit for continuing the work in youth development, social justice and performing arts,” she said. Holloway expressed her belief that City at Peace is irreplaceable. “There are organizations out there definitely that are doing work on racism or adultism or sexism or heterosexism or conflict resolution or the performing arts. We were the only organization that was really bringing it all together successfully,” she said. The City at Peace production team continues to meet weekly to plan events and work towards the organization’s goals.


Capital plan threatens school construction On Jan. 17, Montgomery County released County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended Capital Improvement Program (CIP), a budget designated for construction and maintenance projects. Leggett recommended a $1.36 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 20132 0 1 8 CIP for MCPS, a $134 million reduction from the budget that the Board of Education (BOE) requested. T h e County Executive’s p r o posed CIP will delay all future high school modernization projects — construction that involves tearing down and rebuilding deteriorating school buildings. According to Montgomery County Spokesperson Patrick Lacefield, Leggett recommended a reduced CIP because of the current economic situation. “When you build stuff, you’ve got to staff it, so it puts more pressure on the budget, where we continue to experience challenges because of the economic climate,” he said. By tightening MCPS’ spending capabilities, however, Montgomery County is setting the school district up for financial failure. Though funds are scarce, today is the ideal time to fund construction projects. Building costs have plunged and will rise as the economy improves, according to BOE Vice President Chris Barclay. “The opportunities


Suspension to be cut back



February 2, 2012

that exist now — building with construction costs lower than they have been — that opportunity is not always going to be here,” he said. Furthermore, school construction and repair are inevitable, and they are responsibilities the county and school district must take care of. MCPS saw an increase of 2500 students this past school year and projects an enrollment of 156,000 students by 2017, according to B a r c l a y. As enrollment in MCPS continues to shoot up, the ELIZA WAPNER amount of space needed to educate students will increase accordingly. “That’s a lot of change in the system, and we’ve got to have someplace for those students to go,” said Barclay. Though finances are universally tight — the County Council is slashing budgets across the board, according to Lacefield — population growth and price demand that MCPS fund construction projects now. If the Council fails to allocate the necessary money, the school district will be forced to waste a valuable opportunity, burdening students and educators in future years. The County Council will hold a public hearing regarding the MCPS CIP on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, in Rockville. The County Council will review and pass the final CIP in mid-June.

MSBE plans to reduce suspension rates if the reform passes, Montgomery County will work closely with the community to The Maryland State Board of Education create a specific plan for the school district. (MSBE) announced a disciplinary reform “MCPS is very collaborative with parents, on Jan. 24 that will reduce the use of sus- teachers and students,” she said. pension as a punishment for nonviolent Johnson added, however, that MCPS crimes. policies will not have to change drastically, The reform is part of the MSBE’s plan to since they are already similar to the state’s narrow the achievement gap between mi- new reform. “I believe I’m in compliance nority and special education students, and with their expectations,” she said. other students. Out-of-school suspension Blair already tries to use out-of-school rates among suspension minority for only viand special olence and education drug-relatstudents in ed transMCPS have g re s s i o n s . been histori“We really cally disprotry hard to portionately keep stuhigh. Acdents in cording to school,” the Open Johnson Society Instisaid. tute’s (OSI) Accordstudy, “Outing to the o f - S c h o o l INFORMATION COURTESY OF MCPS AND OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE OSI report, STELLA BARTHOLET Suspension MontgomMaryland and Baltimore City, 2009-2010,” ery County has one of the lowest suspenblack students are suspended at higher sion rates in the state. During the 2009-2010 rates in every county in Maryland. school year, MCPS had a suspension rate of The MSBE believes that taking students 2.5%, whereas the entire state of Maryland out of the classroom for petty violations had a rate of 7%. harms their academic achievement. The Even though MCPS has lower suspenMSBE will give each of the school districts sion rates, Blair still has a minority achievein Maryland the freedom to create its own ment gap that needs to be addressed, said three-year plan to reduce suspension and Johnson. MCPS’s “Schools at a Glance” narrow the gaps in suspension rates. shows that at Blair, black students had a According to the Montgomery County suspension rate of 9.9% in 2011 and Latino Director of Appeals and Transfers Wayne students had a rate of 7.9%, whereas the enWhigham, the state’s plan is not yet formal. tire student body had a rate of 5.4%. The MSBE will release a finalized proposal However, Johnson said that when dealthis month. ing with behavioral issues, teachers and adMeetings will also be held with the pub- ministrators are not focused on race but on lic for advice and input. “They are going to the well-being of students. “We never look give the general public a chance respond,” at the ethnicity of the child,” she said. he said. Principal Renay Johnson believes that Additional reporting done by Maureen Lei.

By Stella Bartholet

Silver Quill hosts bi-annual arts fair Blazers raise money for Blair’s literary magazine bands to perform during the event and setting up a date for the event Silver Quill hosted its fourth with Jose Dominguez, the studio’s biannual arts fair, which featured lo- executive director. According to Rodwin, the event cal band performances, a silent auction and art activities at the Pyramid turnout surpassed expectations. Atlantic Art Center in Downtown “I’m actually surprised because after the first 12 minutes, the room Silver Spring on Jan. 21. was full of people,” she said. Dominguez, who moved the studio from Baltimore to Silver Spring in 2003, was also impressed with the p u b l i c i t y. “They do a good job with getting the word out. The audience was LEAH MUSKIN-PIERRET a mix of Freshmen Ben Miller (front) and Zeke Wapner adults and high school (rear) performed with their band, Ladle Fight, students,” at Silver Quill’s bi-annual arts fair on Jan. 21. he said. This year, however, the increased Juniors Danny Rosenberg and Talia Rodwin, editors-in-chief of number of performances shifted the the literary magazine, along with audience from the art to the persenior Leah Muskin-Pierret, Pub- formers, according to Rosenberg. lic Relations director, organized “Unfortunately, we had a huge the event to raise money for the turnout for all of the performers, magazine. Since September, plan- but our art auction got bypassed a ning for the arts fair consisted of bit. This was partially due to the fact finding people to donate art for the that it was in the basement away auction, coordinating with Blair from the music, but there were also

By Michelle Chavez

very few adults around who were interested in buying art,” he said. With funds raised from the auction and donations collected at the door, Silver Quill raised over $1000. The community also benefited from the event, according to the band Red Line Quintet. “I feel like being in this band has immediately made me part of the Blair community,” said the band’s guitarist, Conor Hearn, who attends a DC private school. “A giant group hug; that’s what it feels like,” added the band’s tenor saxophone player, junior Adam Maisto, in describing the community benefits. Blair bands were not the only ones who contributed to the funding and sense of community, according to The Flying Mighty’s guitarist and singer sophomore Brendan Casey. “I think it gives everybody a lot of exposure which really brings the community together,” he said.


Junior Sophia Hill sings a solo during a performance of “Silver Lining” by Blair’s a cappella group, InToneNation.

Other student performers in the arts fair included Alex & Emma, InToneNation, Ladle Fight, Chuck and Andrei, Ginger Chimes and Diamonds Aren’t Forever. Silver Quill plans on hosting another similar event in the spring, according to Silver Quill advisor Miriam Plotinsky. The LEAH MUSKIN-PIERRET magazine has not Junior Alayna Abel models a newly printed yet set a date for Silver Quill T-shirt at the Pyramid Atlantic. the next event.

UPCOMING The Flying Mighty and Diamonds Aren’t Forever will be performing at the 9:30 Club on Feb. 19 with other local bands. There is a cash prize for best performance, but Casey said the Flying Mighty are more excited about the progression of their band. “It will be the biggest venue we have played so far, and we are really working to give the best performance that we can,” he said.


February 2, 2012


Blair to hold Sankofa show PTSA raises funds online Show pays tribute to black history By Peter McNally On Feb. 17, a cast of Blair students will stage a traditional Sankofa show in commemoration of Black History month. The show will take place at 7:30 in the Blair auditorium. English Department Resource Teacher Vickie Adamson will direct the show. Sankofa shows blend dance, music and spoken word from black writers including


Maya Angelou, Carter G. Woodson and Tupac Shakur. Blair’s Sankofa show will feature a cast of students of various races and ages. Through the performance, the cast and crew hope to raise awareness about Black History Month. “It’s through that vehicle of entertainment that we hope to remind people not only of the importance of black history, but of the beauty and resolve of black history,” said Adamson. Freshman Cherie Carter feels that the

show will also draw more attention to important figures of black history. “It will raise awareness about certain people who are not always talked about in black history,” she said. Junior Osee Obaonrin, who is in the show, felt the show to be especially significant because of general unfamiliarity with black history. Adamson expressed the belief that recognition of black history is important in a time when some individuals consider our society to be postracist. “For some people, since the election, people have asked ‘Have we arrived at the mountain top; have we succeeded?’ I think the answer is no,” she said. Adamson also hoped to introduce more minority Blazers to theater, which she is concerned many regard as a “white activity”. Obaonrin also pointed out that many students do not take part in theater because of a lack of exposure to theatrical productions. “A lot of people have never been on stage and have never experienced a full production,” she said. Adamson added that involvement in theater can help students improve in their overELIZA WAPNER all academic performance. Despite her focus on getting black students involved, Adamson urged for diverse participation. “It’s for everyone. All students should be celebrating black history,” she said. “Sankofa: A celebration of black history” will take place on Feb. 17 at 7:30 in the Blair auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. See Ms. Adamson in the English Department for ticketing information.

through Amazon store from PTSA page 1 find and support fellow Blazers. Items in this collection greatly vary, consisting of famous authors, including Nora Roberts and Carl Bernstein, and celebrities such as Ben Stein and Goldie Hawn. Though the collection displays all of the infamous alums, the collection also includes music by Alicia Deeny, Blair’s current Assistant Principal. Parents and relatives can use Blair’s wish list to donate to the school from afar. Including as a self-benefitting measure to earn Amazon benefits for reaching a certain cost. Sheri Verdonk, president of the PTSA said, “Now if someone needs to spend just a bit more to earn the free shipping [for their personal purchases] they can send a book to the Media Center and help out the school.” If a purchase is made through the Blair store, the site will earn a referral fee of 4 to 6 percent for every purchase that will go to the PTSA, part of the effort of “painless fundraising,” as described by Blair’s PTSA website. Sheri Verdonk said she was pleased with the new partnership. “It will be an easy way to encourage the

Blair community, if you use Amazon, why not help out the school while you do it?” she said. According to Verdonk, she and the PTSA designed their website to be an accessible and convenient way to raise funds for the Blair community and believe that it will be an effective way to do so. Blair Principal Renay Johnson is also pleased with the new site and sees no problems with it. “Since many people shop on Amazon, including me, I think it a great way to fundraise for the school,” she said. To shop in the Blair PTSA Amazon store and raise funds for Blair, go to http://astore. or find the site through the Blair PTSA’s webpage. Four to six percent of all proceeds will go to the PTSA.




February 2, 2012

Eight Blazers place in Intel Science Talent Search

Students recognized for research projects in national science competition By Srividya Murthy Seven Blair seniors were named semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), a national science research competition for high school seniors. Senior Frederic Koehler was named a finalist and was the only finalist selected from Maryland. The Blair semifinalists include seniors Lorenzo Choudhary-Smith, Lori Kaufman, Arec Jamgochian, Maureen Lei, Sherman Leung, James Shepherdson and Andrew Zhang. These students completed research projects last summer as part of Senior Research Project (SRP), a magnet elective class in which students are guided through the research process in their junior and senior years. In their senior years, students present their research and have the option of entering their work in competitions, said SRP teacher Elizabeth Duval. On Jan. 11, Intel STS announced 300 semifinalists nationwide from 1,839 submitted applications in Nov e m b e r. The Intel Foundation awarded



each semifinalist with $1,000. Additionally, schools received $1,000 for every semifinalist from their school; this year, Blair received $8,000 in award money. On Jan. 25, Intel STS released a list of 40 finalists chosen from the pool of semifinalists. In March, these finalists will gather in Washington D.C., to meet with notable scientists and national leaders, display their work to the public and participate in the final judging process to compete for $630,000 in awards. The final winner chosen from the competition will receive $100,000. Duval said that around 35 students from her SRP classes applied to Intel STS. Although Blair has produced several semifinalists over the years, she usually expects the number of winning students to be higher. “So many kids do such cool research and do such phenomenal projects,” she said. According to Intel STS, the competition aims to recognize the next generation of scientists and researchers. “From alternative energy solutions and land mine detection technology, to diabetic research and photodynamic cancer therapy, these 40 high school seniors are poised to be the next scientific leaders and to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said a press release announcing the finalists. Last summer, Koehler completed a computer science project entitled, “Quick and Efficient: Fast Algorithms for Completion Time and Batch Minimization on Multiple Machines.” Koehler described that his view of research changed through his internship experience as he found it to be something achievable by normal people. “Doing research is not that different from homework. It’s not that hard to understand and is not shrouded in big words.” Koehler applied to the competition on the

New art electives offered from ELECTIVES page 1 will serve as an extension of Digital Art 1 for students who want to master PhotoShop and create art from scratch. Fashion Drawing and Design students will learn to draw human figures and gestures, sketch outfits and develop patterns. The Fashion Drawing and Design course is an MCPS pilot course, which Blair and two other high schools, Thomas S. Wootton and James Hubert Blake, will be testing next year. MCPS will also introduce Digital Photography as an introductory photography course. Franklin Stallings will teach this class along with Photography 1, 2, and 3, which are already offered. The current courses in photography will become the higher-level classes for students who want to continue their

studies. Their curricula will not change. Blair music teacher Adam Stephens will teach World Drumming. In this class students will explore a variety of drumming techniques from different parts of the U.S. and around the world. They will learn the role drumming plays in different societies and perform the styles of Asian, Jamaican, and Indonesian drumming, along with others. No musical experience will be necessary to take this course. These additional classes will not cause any existing classes to be canceled. The only way a course will be dropped, Armstead said, is if the minimum number of students do not sign up to take it. “These [classes] are just additions. Some courses will get dropped off [the list] because of enrollment, but not because of these classes,” she said.


Senior Elizabeth Torres visits the art table at the Jan. 25 elective fair, which advertised Blair’s new classes.


Intel honorees, left to right: Andrew Zhang, Maureen Lei, Lorenzo Choudhary-Smith, Frederic Koehler (Maryland’s only finalist), Arec Jamgochian, James Shepherdson. Not pictured: Lori Kaufman, Sherman Leung. suggestion of his summer research mentor at University of Maryland and continues to do research with his mentor now. Looking forward, he is excited to move on to the final stage of the competition. Choudhary-Smith, who entered a neurology project he completed at the University of Maryland, said that he didn’t expect to become a semifinalist. “I was in SRP class and everyone was clapping and looking at me. Supposedly, I had a very confused look on my face.” ChoudharySmith said that his research internship allowed him to explore a new field of science. “I was never interested in neuroscience. It sparked my interest,” he said. “The brain is so amazing. There are just so many things that the brain is able to do.”

In his research, Shepherdson found a way to blend his existing interests. “My two favorite subjects in school are computer science and biology, which often don’t go together. I always thought I had to choose one,” he said. In his research in computational biology at the National Institutes of Health, Shepherdson enjoyed being able to apply computer science techniques to biology research. Duval was proud that Blair improved its performance at the competition from last year, when Blair had seven semifinalists and no finalists. “We’re better than last year, so we’re right on par,” she said. Editors’ note: Maureen Lei is a Managing News Editor for Silver Chips Print.

Blair works to improve SAT performance Administration encourages all students to take SAT By Mimi Verdonk Blair is joining the larger MCPS initiative to increase both the percentage of students taking the SAT, as well as the mean SAT combined score of all students. The target score for MCPS students, based on the 2011-2012 County standards, is a 1650 or above. According to the MCPS website, the class of 2011 had an average score of 1637, 137 points above the national average and 145 points above the average scores of Maryland’s other counties. Though MCPS students performed above average in 2011, 1637 is a 10 point decrease from the class of 2010’s performance, a trend evidenced not only in Maryland but throughout the nation. The county’s “Seven Keys to College Readiness” suggests that students should aim to score 13 points higher than last year’s average. Though county-wide scores showed a downward trend, Blair as a whole is outperforming MCPS standards. In 2011, 79.7 percent of seniors took the SAT, compared to the 76.1 percent who took it in 2010. Blair’s overall test scores exceeded the county’s goal by 75 points. According to the MCPS website, the average score for the class of 2012 is 1725. Blair assistant principal Dirk Cauley is a leading member in the school’s individual initiative to increase participation in the SAT. “All students aiming to attend a four year college need to be taking the test. That’s why there are so many preparations available,” he said. Though a 1637 is the second

highest class score on MCPS record, Blair administration hopes to increase scores for the class of 2012. The school-wide plan to boost scores includes a free SAT boot camp run by the Blair Sports Academy and additional afterschool classes offered by Kaplan and Catalyst that will take place at Blair. Cauley is particularly focused

prep courses offered by outside organizations, Blair’s National Honor Society (NHS) has initiated a tutoring program, where students with higher scores can tutor those who need extra assistance. NHS sponsor Jacob Scott believes that student-run tutoring allows students to grasp concepts and contribute to the academic success of the school.


Blair recently joined a larger, countywide effort to increase student participation in the SAT and improve test scores. on helping struggling SAT test takers to ensure that they are given the same opportunities as their higher scoring peers. “I’m targeting students scoring below 1650 to make sure that they are better prepared to get scholarships and other college opportunities,” he said. “If you’re not scoring at that level, you aren’t positioning yourself to be competitive.” In addition to various SAT

Scott said that professional SAT tutors sometimes explain advanced material in a way that can be difficult for teenagers to understand and believes that having another teen as a tutor can put challenging subjects in language that is simpler and easier to follow. “Students don’t mind using more down to earth language when talking about a topic,” Scott said.

12 ADS

February 2, 2012



February 2, 2012


Suspended reality


By Hannah Weintraub


very day, the in-school suspension (ISS) room stays the same. The bright, handwritten posters exclaiming motivational pieces of encouragement hang on the walls. Silence is constant. The desks never move from their perfectly aligned rows. ISS ad-

county. County director of appeals and transfers, Wayne Whigham sees a disproportionate amount of minority and special ed students being suspended in county schools. The county’s 2010 “Annual Report on Our Call to Action” reported that almost all 25 MCPS high schools were reducing suspension to target levels for Asian and white students and 19 of the schools met the suspension goal for Latino students. However, only six schools met the target for black students. According to the NEPC report, in classrooms across the country one in seven black students have been suspended in their time at school while only one in 20 white students have been suspended.

says that the level of learning and student engagement in his classroom was abysmally low. “We had a sub, so no one was doing anything,” Yohannes recalls. Stuck in a classroom for an hour and a half with little to do, students began busying themselves with their own projects, like “nuggetting” backpacks. Ngbea also attributes the lack of high-level students in ISS to the strong relationships they form with teachers. “Most CAP students tend to be amicable with teachers and hardly have direct confrontation,” he says. Since on-level students are more frequently suspended, the higher rates of minority suspension can be traced to the lack of diversity in Blair’s classrooms, says Chenoweth.

dents in ISS. “We create an environment that is conducive to learning. It’s like you miss nothing,” he says. While some teachers were skeptical as to whether removing students from instruction was beneficial, most agreed that students returning from ISS were fairly prepared to rejoin the class. “Students are doing nothing all day, so at ISS they can do their work and get back on track,” says English teacher Jeremy Stelzner. Jenkins has spent up to ten days at a time sitting in the ISS room, doing work and listening to Ngbea’s many lessons. He has had ISS more times than he can remember yet he maintains that ISS is a positive experience.

‘Trivial’ pursuits The high rates of minority suspension has its origins in many facets of history, culture and society. Karin Chenoweth, education author and MAGGIE SHI former Washington Post education columnist, says ministrator David Ngbea sits at the front of that schools will more quickly punish the classroom orchestrating the unending black students than white students monotony that drones on in the room. for minor misbehavior. “In general, The only break in the uniformity of ISS when you look at trends across the is the appearance of walkie-talkie wielding country, black students are suspendadministrators bringing in parades of stued for trivial reasons,” she says. dents. Unlike the room itself, the students Senior Jon Jenkins believes he coming into ISS and their reasons for being received an undue punishment for here vary. Some students come in for excesa transgression he sees as petty. sive talking, others for skipping class. But During a fire drill this year, Jenkins one thing is consistent: most of the incoming stood apart from his class, casually students are black or Latino. balancing on his skateboard, biding TOLU OMOKEHINDE The high level of minority students in ISS his time until he would be let back According to data and reports, at Blair and throughout the country, white and reflects a racial gap in suspension at Blair and into the school. Suddenly, a teacher Asian students are less likely to be suspended than their black and Latino peers. schools around the country. This disparity approached Jenkins, telling Jenkins to illustrates a long term trend that has deep report to his administrator for using roots, according to experts and educators his skateboard during a fire drill. Jenkins According to Blair data, significantly fewer “I got a lot out of ISS from Ngbea. He gave both within and outside of Blair. In Ocobeyed the teacher and spent the rest of the minority students enroll in honors classes a lot of insight on school, life and his own tober 2011 the than white students. At Blair, 57.3 percent experiences,” Jenkins says. day at home, suspended. Smiling graduation photos of past National EduSophomore Yikalo Yo- of black students and 45.5 percent of Latino cation Policy hannes found himself in a students take honors, AP or college level ISS recipients hang around Ngbea’s desk. Center (NEPC) similar position. A small classes while 95.1 percent of white students Sketches and cards taped next to Ngbea’s moreleased a reprank, known as “nug- and 87.3 percent of Asian students take hon- tivational posters exclaim the likes of “Ngbea port, “DiscigeTting,” involving flip- ors classes. “Assignment to honors courses is the coolest!” and “We love Ngbea!” These pline Policies, ping a classmate’s backpack or top tier of academic courses doesn’t ap- pictures and drawings are testaments to the Successful inside-out and zipping its pear to be random,” says Linda Moghadam, close relationships that Ngbea forms with his Schools, and contents inside, landed him the undergraduate director for sociology at students. As Jenkins explained, Ngbea gets to Racial Justice,” the University of Maryland. “It tends to be know each of his ISS recipients for who they in ISS. are, looking past whatever brought them to which found MCPS has acknowl- disproportionately white and affluent.” ISS, and seeing them as individuals. Amidst that the racial edged the issue of handing the abounding generalizations surrounding gap in suspenout suspension and ISS Inside ISS Education writer the demographic statistics on ISS, Ngbea sion has been for minor offenses. “The Karin Chenoweth g ro w i n g n a system has helped schools When senior Ben Abor received ISS believes that learning about different cultures tionally since look at what kids get in freshman year for talking in class, he waded and looking beyond each other’s differences the 1970s. Now, trouble for and ask, is this through the work there is a ten percent difference between the really what we should suspend for?” says his teachers had numbers of white and minority students Whigham. assigned. When being suspended as compared to a three Principal Renay Johnson, like most prin- the worksheets percent difference in the ‘70s. cipals, is not supportive of excessive suspen- were finished, he This incongruity has turned heads in the sion. In order to reduce the disproportionate spent the remaincounty and at Blair. The Maryland State amount of suspension amongst minority stu- ing hours surfDepartment of Education found that 43 black dents, Johnson and MCPS requires all teach- ing the web and students and 73 Latino students received iners to take classes on cultural sensitivity. “It’s catching up on school suspension at Blair while only seven in your approach of being culturally sensitive, sleep. “I did the white students and five Asian students rehow a teacher asks a student to take off his work my teacher ceived the same punishment. According to a hat even,” explains Johnson. “It’s important to handed me and recent Washington Post article, in Montgomunderstand how different cultures deal with slept. They don’t ery County, black students are suspended certain requests.” tell you much at a rate of six for every 100 students while other than don’t white students are suspended at a rate of talk and do your Separated by class almost one for every 100 students. work,” he says. On-level students fill the seats of Ngbea’s “ISS is a waste of classroom at a higher rate than honors stu- time. Why come The race card dents. “One group that hardly ever gets ISS is to school if you’re suspended?” the kids in magnet and CAP,” Ngbea says. Most Blair teachers have also noticed a Ye t , N g b e a Teachers notice this disparity as well. “I higher rate of suspension among minorhave not had a single student suspended insists that ISS ity students. “I teach mostly minority ELLIE MUSGRAVE this year,” says social studies teacher Marc promotes prostudents, but it seems like when we look at Grossman, who teaches CAP US history and ductivity. “There Students can spend up to ten days in ISS, keeping up with the achievement gap and suspension, it’s two honors NSL classes this year. “But when are two reasons classes with ISS adminstrator David Ngbea’s guidance. all minority students,” says English teacher I taught on-level, I had three or four students why people come Lauren Nestuk. here: to provide consequences for infractions is a focal point of school. “We have many suspended.” Blair’s data supports Nestuk’s observaAccording to Chenoweth, in many in- and to provide a meaningful place to learn,” different people at Blair and students have to tion. According to Blair’s 2011 data on outlearn that coming to school is about learning stances, on-level classes are less stimulating, he says. of-school suspension (OSS), black students In order to keep students busy, Ngbea to get along with people,” says Ngbea. Getleading to boredom and subsequent disrupwere 12 times more likely to be suspended tion. “The idea that you exclude students sends a student aid to get work from the ting to know his students as individuals is than their white and Asian peers, and Latino from serious intellectual work is an invitation student’s teachers. The students follow their perhaps the reason Ngbea is the only teacher students were ten times more likely. schedules and do classwork for that period. that maintains, “there is no particular group for trouble,” Chenoweth says. High suspension rates for minority stuOn the day Yohannes received ISS, he He also offers one-on-one tutoring for stu- that comes in. It varies.” dents have been an ongoing problem for the

When you look at trends across the country, black students are suspended for trivial reasons.




February 2, 2012

Halftime is game time

Toy store to remain in Silver Spring 4OY STORE 3MART 4OYS WILL REMAIN IN THE SPACE PREVIOUSLY OC CUPIED BY BOOKSTORE "ORDERS IN $OWNTOWN 3ILVER 3PRING 4HE store will stay in the spot while Peterson Cos., the developer of THE$OWNTOWN3ILVER3PRINGAREA SEEKSACOMPANYTOlLLTHESPOT permanently. The toy store replaced a halloween costume store THATREPLACED"ORDERSAFTERTHEIRCLOSINGIN3EPTEMBER4HE"ORDERS store closed after the franchise filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed a third of its stores. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is when large corporations propose a plan for profitability after going bankrupt and after they pay off their debt. The Peterson Cos. has the right to replace the toy store at any point if they find a suitable tenant, but the toy store and developer may sign a one year lease to see whether the store can succeed in this location. The location is considered prime due to the amount of foot traffic accessible in the area caused by the younger population and the nearby restaurants.

Silver Spring Transit Center delayed 4HE3ILVER3PRING4RANSIT#ENTEROPENINGWILLBEDELAYEDBYAN OTHERSIXMONTHS4HEINITIALOPENINGWASSCHEDULEDFOR*ANUARY 2011, but delays dealing with the movement of utility lines and problems with concrete thickness have caused significant delays. The transit center is now slated to open this coming summer. The concrete protecting the metal bars was an inch below the requeiement to protect the bars from rusting, yet no one is currently sure what caused the error. The $95 million center will connect Metrorail and Marc trains with buses, pedestrians and bikers in order to make transportation more accessible and more attractive to the public. The transit center will be located at the corner of Wayne !VENUEAND#OLESVILLE2OAD NEARTHECURRENT3ILVER3PRING-ETRO rail station.


The Blair poms team performs at halftime during Blair’s game against Sherwood on Jan. 27. They also placed first in their competition at Northwest on Jan. 28.

Takoma Park discusses sustainability The Takoma Park City Council is debating the responsibilities of a sustainability coordinator. The council approved the creation of the job last May. The debate is between the Task Force on Environmental Action, City Manager Barbara Burns Matthews and Public Works Department Director Daryl Braithwaite. The Task Force believes the coordinator should lead the city’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote clean energy. Matthews and Barithwaite believe the coordinator should simply oversee and manage the city engineer and city arborist who handle environmental jobs. The council plans on bringing in an outside analyst to brainstorm possible programs for the coordinator to oversee. The debate in the council is happening across the country as the jobs of coordinators range from saving internal costs to directing complex environmental initiatives.

Montgomery County leaders discuss budget 0REISDENT OF THE "OARD OF %DUCATION 3HIRLEY "RANDMAN IS AT TEMPTINGTOGET-#03TOINCREASETHEAMOUNTOFSPENDINGPERSTU DENT/VERTHEPASTTHREElSCALYEARS THEAMOUNTOFMONEY-#03 spends per students has declined by $1,500. Brandman is focusing mainly on the state’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) law that requires counties to spend as much per students as they did the previous year. This past year the gap between MOE funding and the actual county funding was approximately $127 million. The state senate agrees with Brandman and supports her mission to get more funding for the counties schools. County officials are fighting for a change of law that would inflict punishment if it wasn’t followed instead of the promises that they have been receiving thus far. At this point, counties are barely punished if they do not follow the law, meaning that they have little reason to follow it.

Overcrowding worries remain after openings $ESPITEMODERNIZINGANDEXPANDINGTHREEELEMENTARYSCHOOLS WITH TWO MORE ON THE WAY CONCERNS OVER CLASS SIZE STILL REMAIN FORMANYIN-#03-#03SPENTOVERMILLIONRENOVATING'AR RET0ARK%LEMENTARY3CHOOL #ANNON2OAD%LEMENTARYAND3EVEN ,OCKS %LEMENTARY 3CHOOL AND "RADLEY (ILLS AND 'LENALLEN AND 7ELLER 2OAD HAVE JUST BEGUN RENOVATION -#03 3UPERINTENDENT *OSHUA 3TARR RECOMMENDED THESE RENOVATIONS AS HE EXPECTS A  percent increase next year over the current 146,000 student populaTION'ARRETT0ARKSSTUDENTCAPACITYWILLINCREASEFROMTO INTHE SCHOOLYEAR WHILE#ANNON2OADAND3EVEN,OCKS are predicted be full again by 2017. Despite these changes, some worry that they won’t be large enough; significant population increases are expected in the Kensington and Bethesda-Chevy Chase area. Between 2010 and 2015, Kensington’s population is expected TOINCREASEBYNEARLY PEOPLEWHILETHEPOPULATIONIN"ETHESDA is expected to increase by 7,770. These increases can be attributed to the growing average household in America and also the wave of students moving from private schools to public ones.

Newsbriefs compiled by Josh Schmidt with additional reporting by 4HE'AZETTE 4HE7ASHINGTON0OSTand4HE3ILVER3PRING0ATCH



s 3ENIOR !UDREY 4CHOUKOUA WON A FULL SCHOLAR SHIPTO3EWANEE4HE5NIVERSITYOFTHE3OUTHFROM The Posse Foundation. s *UNIORS 3AM :BARSKY AND #HARLIE 0ASTERNAK PLACED lRST AND THIRD RESPECTIVELY AT THE 5NIVER sity of Maryland Math Competition. The award for both is a full four-year scholarship to the univerSITY :BARSKY PREVIOUSLY PLACED THIRD IN THE SAME competition while in eighth grade.


from KICKS page 1 following consumer trends — it’s about individuality, the quest to be the only one with Tiffany SBs — a pair of $700 shoes that Peña has. It’s about being a part of the kicks community, and not just wearing, but obtaining that specific pair of Nike OGs, which are the first generation of the classic Air Jordan shoes.

Selective sneakers Peña, who owns 78 pairs of shoes, buys OGs and other retro and rare pairs online from other collectors that are not commonly found in stores. “Sneakers started out more unique, but now everyone has them, so I stay away


February 2, 2012


no one has, and when I’ll buy them based on how limited they are and how many they made,” says Escobar. Martinez has a similar strategy. “I try to get ones that are limited, and once they stop making them you can make a profit off of it,” he says.

Flipping kicks For serious sneaker enthusiasts, purchasing new shoes is a personal mission. In finding limited and unusual shoes, connections within the sneaker exchange world are as important as owning a new pair of $800 South Beach Lebrons (which yes, Peña also has). Like investment bankers, Escobar, Martinez and Peña now buy and flip sneakers, using their profits to buy their next pair. They profit by buying limited editions like the Air Yeezy 1, which retail for about $215, and later selling them for up to twice as much. Martinez uses eBay or shoe-specific websites like Sole Collector to buy or sell a new pair once every two weeks. Sole Collector allows sneaker connoisseurs to buy everything from discontinued shoes like 1990s Air Jordans to the newest releases, and offering a more distinc-

tive collection than the nearby Foot Locker. While Escobar uses income from his jobs from regular releases. I get some releases that are more exclusive or retro ones that were to expand his collection, Martinez is able to released a long time ago,” explains Peña as support his shoe buys solely by flipping. Sole Collector, the site used by Peña, friends approach him showing him pictures of new releases on their iPhones and to ask Martinez, and Escobar among thousands of other daily users, is one of the leading the size of his coveted Tiffany SBs. 156 shoes ago, Peña began collecting in websites and magazines for selling shoes, middle school and wearing a different pair of getting pictures and dates for new releases, shoes every day. Escobar’s collection began and studying something called “kicksology,” with Air Jordans. “I had a pair of Jordans but which appears to be the study of how fresh I never took care of them. They have numbers new kicks are. A representative from Sole Collector has on them though and I decided I wanted to noticed that popularity of the website increascollect them all,” he recalls. When picking out his 37 pairs of sneakers, ing over time and attributes the site’s sucEscobar tried to find the shoes that others cess to its access to insider shoe knowledge. weren’t wearing. “I get different ones that “Our website is so popular because we are a known legit brand and are always on top of the latest and greatest news and information in the sneaker world… and exclusive content you cannot find anywhere else,” he explains. The website has also seen an increase in younger membership and involvement in the site. The representative explains that young people are not just interested in the shoes for sports or fashion. “[They] treat them like collectibles where they can buy, sell and trade. Much like collecting cards,” he says. At Sole Collector, typically there are around 2,000 members signed in, rating shoes (deciding “cop” or “not”) and describing new releases as “dope” or announcing that they are going to “pass on these wack LEAH HAMMOND joints” in the comFreshman Graham Lindsley roles up his jeans to show off ments section. Using Sole Colhis green and purple Nikes at lunch in the SAC. DOYUNG LEE


Freshmen Julia Audet and Shannon McCaw kick it in their colorful Vans and Air Jordans. Blair sneaker enthusiasts own and trade dozens of pairs of shoes. lector over the last three years, Peña has invested close to $4,000 in his collection but made a return of close to $8,000. Along the way he has developed contacts that profit his business and get him new kicks. “I had friends with Nike accounts or who do shipping for Foot Action, and they could get shoes for me two months before they came out and I would just give them like $20 extra,” says Peña. The kicks community also includes Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia shoe trading Facebook groups and other massive online collectives, which Peña says help

should save your money,’ but she realized that I was making money from selling my shoes,” Peña says. Though when Peña began his sneaker collection he would constantly rotate through new pairs of SBs and pristine Jordans to match every outfit, the motivation for his collecting has changed over the years. “I’m a senior and honestly, now I don’t have to impress anyone,” he says, removing today’s choice, 2004 Jedi SBs and indicating the label inside, “everyone wears the same [expletive], so I just wear what I like.”



collectors still form close relationships that personalize the hobby. “You can get a good reputation for having a collection, and that means that you meet people and later you can get discounts,” he says. Layza has procured his 26 pairs of shoes partially through trades with friends of hats and shoes.

Fresh out of the box Blazers’ shoes are stored in their original boxes and stacked high in closets and bedrooms to be perfectly preserved between wears. Molina has built his own shelf for sneaker storage and display, and Peña likewise displays one shoe from each of his favorite pairs in his room. Originally skeptical parents like Peña’s mother have come to accept the shoe compulsion after initial objections to the price of the hobby. “When I quit my job my mom said, ‘you’re dumb you

CLEAN KICKS According to Molina, the key to having high value sneakers is all in their appearance. “You look at the quality of the bottom and top, if the paint is chipping or if they’re creased. Some shoes have a sole that is called icy if it’s clear, and if it turns yellow the value goes down,” he explains. Pena believes the best way to keep sneakers clean is to just buy more sneakers. “If you have more you can wear them less often,” he says. He also recommends using Sea-Glow to clean clear soles, by scrubbing them with the liquid and then leaving them in the sun, which will return them to their formerly “icy” glory.



CENTERSPREAD February 2, 2012

Going for the gold By Ruth Aitken OC






While junior Jenny Barnhard dozes off in her sev- swimmers on the Blair Swim and Dive Team, which enth period class, her competition partner is in South has a losing record. While the team struggles, howCarolina, training rigorously for this weekend’s ever, Tsau trains vigorously in preparation for natournament. Barnhard’s partner is a horse, Winsome Maverick, and both he and Barnhard need to be in top shape for competition. Winsome Maverick, after all, is the region’s Horse of the Year, and the pair regularly competes in the Junior Olympics. Barnhard competes in “eventing,” which is a triathlon of equestrian sports that includes dressage (which evaluates a horse’s precision and obePHOTO COURTESY OF JENNY BARNHARD dience), show Junior Jenny Barnhard competes nationally in eventing, which includes jumping and cross-country riding. She is one of a number of Blair students who have taken their sports achieve- tional competition. ments to the national level, and hope to one day be Tsau holds the Potomac Valley Swimming reOlympic-bound. cord for 500 yard freestyle in the 14 and under age As the 2012 summer Olympics approach, sports category. He says that he aims to make finals at aficionados and pundits alike are predicting which the Junior National meet in the 500 this upcoming up-and-coming athletes will perform at the London spring. Whether at Junior Nationals or at another games. Some sports experts say that since the new meet, Tsau says that his ultimate goal is to break millennium, athletes have begun to train for the the national record for his age group in the event. Olympics at an increasingly young age. Jazz Per- Tsau’s 4:34.69 time is a mere eight seconds away azic, two-time Olympic medalist and head of the from the current national record, and just over sevnonprofit Maryland Sports Organization, says that en seconds away from Michael Phelps’ time at age she has noticed a trend toward younger Olympians 14 in 2000. in recent years. “In the early 1980s, when I was still Tsau says that training towards the goal of a training for the Olympics with the national [basket- national record time motivates him. “Training is ball] team, most of the players were in their twen- very demanding, so I have to keep myself going,” ties. Now I work with a lot of kids who are training he says. “Setting ambitious goals encourages me to on a national scale who are as young as fourteen, strive harder.” fifteen,” she says. At the age of seventeen, Barnhard has already achieved national recognition for her achievements A national scale in eventing. Last year, her horse was selected as Horse of the Year for the capital region. The award Freshman Brian Tsau counts himself among the is the most prestigious that a show horse can win.

visit her prize horse and show him in competitions. Sophomore Lily Durkee’s athletic success has also allowed her to travel. Her accomplishments in kayaking and whitewater slalom have advanced her to the National Junior Olympics for the past three years. Every sport has their own Junior Olympics, which is a competition not affiliated with the world Olympics but representing that sport’s best young athletes. Durkee competes at the Junior Olympics as a member of the Valley Mill Racing Team, which has placed first for the past two years. Durkee has visited Canada, North Carolina and Colorado for competitions. Durkee says that she is passionate about kayaking because it allows her to travel by nature. “I want to do kayaking for the rest of my life, and see the world doing PHOTO COURTESY OF LE CHEVAL PHOTOGRAPHY LLC it,” she says.

Barnhard also won the title of national 4’3” show jumping champion, titled after the height of the jumps on the course.

show jumping (left), cross country (right) and dressage.

In addition to eventing, Barnhard competes in the tetrathlon, which is the precursor to the Olympic pentathlon but does not include fencing. Instead, the tetrathlon consists of horseback riding, swimming, running and shooting. She has qualified for Junior National Championships in the tetrathlon. Her training, both for eventing and the tetrathlon, has allowed her to travel across the nation. “I love that what I do allows me to travel,” Barnhard says. Aside from traveling for competitions, she also routinely flies to and from South Carolina to

Head start to hard work Barnhard cannot remember a time when she did not ride horses. Since the start of Barnhard’s riding career at age seven,

she has had access to premiere training opportunities, which she says has aided her performance. “I credit my success to my mom for starting me in riding earlier. The first horse I ever had was trained to be an Olympic contender. I credit him too because the chance to work with him at age seven allowed me to get to the point that I’m at now,” Barnhard says. Chance, however, was not the only factor that drove Barnhard’s success; a rigorous training schedule also elevated her to the level at which she currently competes. Her own horse lives in South Carolina with her trainer, in order to train while Barnhard is in school. Barnhard, meanwhile, trains with horses at a local barn after school for several hours six days a week. Barnhard’s schedule is not unlike Tsau’s, who also practices almost daily. Tsau has been training competitively since the age of eight, when he joined the Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC). In seventh grade, Tsau left RMSC for the Curl-Burke swim club and has been training as a member of Curl-Burke since. He practices with the Curl-Burke team seven to eight times a week for approximately two and a half hours per practice. Although Durkee’s training is more seasonal, she says that starting kayaking from the age of eight contributed to her confidence in navigating rivers. “Starting early really helped me get a sense of the river,” she says. Tsau, however, says that some swimmers who are pushed from a young age to excel can lose enthusiasm for their sport. For the seven years Tsau has been swimming, he says has striven to show continuous improvement. “It’s important to stay consistent rather than shine once and then fade. I want to keep improving and dropping time,” he says.

Olympic Ambition Durkee says that in order to

compete at an Olympic level, athletes have to make years older than himself. “It feels frightening when sacrifices. “Olympic athletes basically have to be I’m up on the [starting] blocks, but once I’m in the number one on the national team,” she says. “You water I forget about that, and it feels normal,” he have to dedicate your whole life to training for the Olympics.” Although she is reluctant to miss school or give up other sports in the interest of an Olympic future in whitewater slalom, Durkee says that she will likely pursue a position on the Junior National team following the 2012 Junior Olympics in Wisconsin. Barnhard says that young athletes often face challenges managing their schedules, but that she prioritizes in order to keep training. “I do most of my homework in school,” she says. “I have to balance my schedule in order to train as often as I do.” PHOTO COURTESY OF LILY DURKEE Tsau and Barnhard, both magSophomore Lily Durkee trains in kayaking, and hopes to make the net students, exJunior National team after the 2012 Junior Olympics are held. perience pressure to excel in school as well as in their respective sports. Tsau says that his academic ca- says. reer is his priority, but that he aims to qualify for Although she faces pressure competing at a naOlympic Trials. If Tsau qualifies, he could swim be- tional level, Barnhard says that her close contact side the Olympian swimmers like Michael Phelps with Olympians motivates her to persevere. “At evand Ryan Lochte. ery competition, the Olympians are there with us,” Tsau, however, says he does not always she says. “They compete at their level and we comfeel intimidated at the prospect of pete at ours, but it’s amazing to see that projection of competing against swimmers what I hope to become someday.”




CENTERSPREAD February 2, 2012

Going for the gold By Ruth Aitken OC






While junior Jenny Barnhard dozes off in her sev- swimmers on the Blair Swim and Dive Team, which enth period class, her competition partner is in South has a losing record. While the team struggles, howCarolina, training rigorously for this weekend’s ever, Tsau trains vigorously in preparation for natournament. Barnhard’s partner is a horse, Winsome Maverick, and both he and Barnhard need to be in top shape for competition. Winsome Maverick, after all, is the region’s Horse of the Year, and the pair regularly competes in the Junior Olympics. Barnhard competes in “eventing,” which is a triathlon of equestrian sports that includes dressage (which evaluates a horse’s precision and obePHOTO COURTESY OF JENNY BARNHARD dience), show Junior Jenny Barnhard competes nationally in eventing, which includes jumping and cross-country riding. She is one of a number of Blair students who have taken their sports achieve- tional competition. ments to the national level, and hope to one day be Tsau holds the Potomac Valley Swimming reOlympic-bound. cord for 500 yard freestyle in the 14 and under age As the 2012 summer Olympics approach, sports category. He says that he aims to make finals at aficionados and pundits alike are predicting which the Junior National meet in the 500 this upcoming up-and-coming athletes will perform at the London spring. Whether at Junior Nationals or at another games. Some sports experts say that since the new meet, Tsau says that his ultimate goal is to break millennium, athletes have begun to train for the the national record for his age group in the event. Olympics at an increasingly young age. Jazz Per- Tsau’s 4:34.69 time is a mere eight seconds away azic, two-time Olympic medalist and head of the from the current national record, and just over sevnonprofit Maryland Sports Organization, says that en seconds away from Michael Phelps’ time at age she has noticed a trend toward younger Olympians 14 in 2000. in recent years. “In the early 1980s, when I was still Tsau says that training towards the goal of a training for the Olympics with the national [basket- national record time motivates him. “Training is ball] team, most of the players were in their twen- very demanding, so I have to keep myself going,” ties. Now I work with a lot of kids who are training he says. “Setting ambitious goals encourages me to on a national scale who are as young as fourteen, strive harder.” fifteen,” she says. At the age of seventeen, Barnhard has already achieved national recognition for her achievements A national scale in eventing. Last year, her horse was selected as Horse of the Year for the capital region. The award Freshman Brian Tsau counts himself among the is the most prestigious that a show horse can win.

visit her prize horse and show him in competitions. Sophomore Lily Durkee’s athletic success has also allowed her to travel. Her accomplishments in kayaking and whitewater slalom have advanced her to the National Junior Olympics for the past three years. Every sport has their own Junior Olympics, which is a competition not affiliated with the world Olympics but representing that sport’s best young athletes. Durkee competes at the Junior Olympics as a member of the Valley Mill Racing Team, which has placed first for the past two years. Durkee has visited Canada, North Carolina and Colorado for competitions. Durkee says that she is passionate about kayaking because it allows her to travel by nature. “I want to do kayaking for the rest of my life, and see the world doing PHOTO COURTESY OF LE CHEVAL PHOTOGRAPHY LLC it,” she says.

Barnhard also won the title of national 4’3” show jumping champion, titled after the height of the jumps on the course.

show jumping (left), cross country (right) and dressage.

In addition to eventing, Barnhard competes in the tetrathlon, which is the precursor to the Olympic pentathlon but does not include fencing. Instead, the tetrathlon consists of horseback riding, swimming, running and shooting. She has qualified for Junior National Championships in the tetrathlon. Her training, both for eventing and the tetrathlon, has allowed her to travel across the nation. “I love that what I do allows me to travel,” Barnhard says. Aside from traveling for competitions, she also routinely flies to and from South Carolina to

Head start to hard work Barnhard cannot remember a time when she did not ride horses. Since the start of Barnhard’s riding career at age seven,

she has had access to premiere training opportunities, which she says has aided her performance. “I credit my success to my mom for starting me in riding earlier. The first horse I ever had was trained to be an Olympic contender. I credit him too because the chance to work with him at age seven allowed me to get to the point that I’m at now,” Barnhard says. Chance, however, was not the only factor that drove Barnhard’s success; a rigorous training schedule also elevated her to the level at which she currently competes. Her own horse lives in South Carolina with her trainer, in order to train while Barnhard is in school. Barnhard, meanwhile, trains with horses at a local barn after school for several hours six days a week. Barnhard’s schedule is not unlike Tsau’s, who also practices almost daily. Tsau has been training competitively since the age of eight, when he joined the Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC). In seventh grade, Tsau left RMSC for the Curl-Burke swim club and has been training as a member of Curl-Burke since. He practices with the Curl-Burke team seven to eight times a week for approximately two and a half hours per practice. Although Durkee’s training is more seasonal, she says that starting kayaking from the age of eight contributed to her confidence in navigating rivers. “Starting early really helped me get a sense of the river,” she says. Tsau, however, says that some swimmers who are pushed from a young age to excel can lose enthusiasm for their sport. For the seven years Tsau has been swimming, he says has striven to show continuous improvement. “It’s important to stay consistent rather than shine once and then fade. I want to keep improving and dropping time,” he says.

Olympic Ambition Durkee says that in order to

compete at an Olympic level, athletes have to make years older than himself. “It feels frightening when sacrifices. “Olympic athletes basically have to be I’m up on the [starting] blocks, but once I’m in the number one on the national team,” she says. “You water I forget about that, and it feels normal,” he have to dedicate your whole life to training for the Olympics.” Although she is reluctant to miss school or give up other sports in the interest of an Olympic future in whitewater slalom, Durkee says that she will likely pursue a position on the Junior National team following the 2012 Junior Olympics in Wisconsin. Barnhard says that young athletes often face challenges managing their schedules, but that she prioritizes in order to keep training. “I do most of my homework in school,” she says. “I have to balance my schedule in order to train as often as I do.” PHOTO COURTESY OF LILY DURKEE Tsau and Barnhard, both magSophomore Lily Durkee trains in kayaking, and hopes to make the net students, exJunior National team after the 2012 Junior Olympics are held. perience pressure to excel in school as well as in their respective sports. Tsau says that his academic ca- says. reer is his priority, but that he aims to qualify for Although she faces pressure competing at a naOlympic Trials. If Tsau qualifies, he could swim be- tional level, Barnhard says that her close contact side the Olympian swimmers like Michael Phelps with Olympians motivates her to persevere. “At evand Ryan Lochte. ery competition, the Olympians are there with us,” Tsau, however, says he does not always she says. “They compete at their level and we comfeel intimidated at the prospect of pete at ours, but it’s amazing to see that projection of competing against swimmers what I hope to become someday.”




February 2, 2012



February 2, 2012


Found in translation By NoahGrace Bauman

res. Though translating presents an additional task for these already busy Blair students, Interpreters earn a salary of around they say their role has helped them become $38,000, but senior Hannah Jo Mounty- more mature and prepared for the future. Torres estimates that of children with imWeinstock doesn’t expect a check from her parents for doing the same job. She often migrant parents, 70 percent have to transhas to interpret for her parents, who are late for their parents. Among these is senior both deaf, to those who do not know sign Andrea Canales. Her parents moved from Peru before she was born, and though her language. She is not the only Blazer who serves as a mother has worked to become proficient in translator for her parents, and as the immi- English by taking classes, her father, busy grant community in Montgomery County managing his landscaping business, never grows, rising to 30 percent of the total popu- had the time to do so. As a result, Canales answers her father’s lation, there will be more students in Blair’s telephone, accompanies her father to meet hallways with this responsibility. Children and teens’ experiences serving clients and organizes business orders, fulas an interpreter for one’s parents vary as filling tasks many of her peers will not take widely as the languages they have to trans- on until they enter the workforce. “It’s allate, says immigration psychologist Jill Tor- most as if I have my position at his job, but I don’t get paid,” she jokes. Torres says that along with the added burdens associated with translating for one’s parents come positive developments, like mastery of both languages and a sense of family pride. Though Canales is at times frustrated by her demanding commitment, she has received some of these intrinsic rewards. English is still a second language to her, and she benefits from the practice. “I learned Spanish first, so talking to clients has bettered my English because when I speak to clients, I have to be professional,” she says. Mounty-Weinstock, however, has seen a more profound change as a result of interpreting for her parents. Her parents raised her with American Sign Language, but she can hear and picked up spoken English soon after she began preschool. Since the age of five, she has helped her deaf parents navigate a hearCLARE LEFEBURE ing world. She believes that this experience has made her grow up and quickly Canales says that translating for her mature. father, a native Spanish speaker, has Furthermore, having grown up seehelped her improve her business skills. ing societal misconceptions of the deaf

community, Mounty-Weinstock has learned to become a vocal advocate for her parents and the deaf community. “Having to serve as a physical voice for my parents and sister has made me very conscious of my own voice and the power that it holds,” she says. However, Mounty-Weinstock believes that with this power comes a responsibility to make sure her parents aren’t disrespected. She recalls countless servers who brought her the bill after she had translated an order for one or both of her parents. “It was as if they thought my interpreting skills made me the breadwinner and responsible adult in my family,” she says. “It’s an advocacy issue to fill in the blanks for your parents and help them out without making them look incompetent.” But her job is not always as easy as reading menu items to a waitress. Mounty-Weinstock came to understand how strongly translating could impact her when, at age 11, she had to translate to her parents that her grandma had just died. “The memory that I have of looking into my mother’s eyes and telling her that her mother had just died is someCOURTESY OF THE MOUNTY-WEINSTOCK FAMILY thing that will travel with me for the Mounty-Weinstock, pictured at far right, rest of my life,” Mounty-Weinstock says. “There are plenty of situations translates for her deaf parents and sister. in which it is entirely appropriate for a child to interpret for their parents. There It’s difficult to go back and forth from being are even more situations in which it is en- a part of a conversation and interpreting, tirely inappropriate. It is crucial that society and it’s hard for people to understand that,” learns the difference.” she says. As Mounty-Weinstock understands that Despite the difficulties, these Blazers say a child may be too young to interpret in cer- they are grateful for the sense of maturity tain situations, she also recognizes the dif- translating has given them. Mounty-Weinficulties that come up when she has to act as stock has gained resolve and security from the voice for her parents and herself. “I think her experience, while Canales has developed the biggest struggle is that people expect me important career skills, as she too plans to go to interpret when I am not a third party… into business someday.

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February 2, 2011




February 2, 2012

Waiting for true love, Blazers choose abstinence

Teens, wary of physical and emotional risks, choose to take relationships slowly By Eliza Wapner Everyone talks about sex. It comes up in health class, in casual gossip and in our favorite TV shows. It can be hard to avoid. But while the media may portray teenagers as promiscuous and impulsive, some Blazers defy the

tian websites come up. They promote purity as a devotion to God and disparage sex as a sin. But for many Blazers who are abstaining until marriage, religion factors little into their choices. Instead, they abstain because they are waiting to find true love or are trying to avoid risks of pregnancy



stereotype by choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Despite the fact that the United States’ teen pregnancy rate remains the highest in the developed world, the number of 15-17 year olds who claim they are virgins rose from 56 percent in 1991 to 69 percent in 2002. Google search “purity until marriage” and dozens of Chris-

or STDs.

Not worth the risk Freshman Jessica Grover says that her choice to abstain was a precautionary measure. “I’ve seen a lot of my sisters’ friends get pregnant in high school and I didn’t want to be a mom at a young age,” says Grover. In addi-

tion to abstaining to avoid risks, other Blazers say they choose abstinence to ensure that sex is about love and not just physical gratification. Senior Caryn Chavarria says that she decided to abstain until marriage to ensure that she has found the right person. She believes that if someone really loves her, they will understand and respect her choice to wait. “If you find someone who is really going to love you for you without all the physical part, they should be able to wait for that,” she says. Grover says that by abstaining from sex, she has been able to weed out potential partners who are only interested in hooking up. “I’ve learned the difference between boys that care about you and boys that just think about [sex],” she says. Sophomore Trevor Joyce chose to avoid sex for many reasons, but one major influence was because he did not want to risk becoming a teenage parent. “It’s kind of a relief, I don’t need to worry about that kind of stuff,” he says. According to health teacher John MacDonald, a decision like Joyce’s can offer peace of mind. “They don’t want to worry about pregnancy or STDs,” he explains.

Peer pressure While so far these Blazers have stayed true to their vow, they say it hasn’t always been comfortable. Chavarria says she has sometimes been unfairly judged for her decision. She is the only one of her

friends that has decided to abstain until marriage, which she says can make talking about sex awkward. “I feel like everyone thinks I’m a prude,” she says. “I don’t want to be thought of as a prude because of my beliefs.”

‘My decision’ Neither Joyce nor Grover have felt that they are treated any differently because of their decisions. In fact, both say that their friends all respect their choices. While these Blazers don’t yet know what the future will hold from them, one thing that they are sure about is that they are steadfast in their beliefs. Chavarria says that she will have no trouble committing to abstinence and Joyce says that he has no doubt in his choice. In terms of what others think about her decision, Grover does not care. “I don’t care about them. I just care about my decision to save myself until marriage.”


Country in Profile: Kenya Better educational opportunities brought freshman and her family to America By Zoërose Waldrop

says. “However, it will take considerable effort for Kenya to rebuild the education and At her boarding school in the Central health systems that declined over the last Province of Kenya, Eunice Muchemi’s two decades.” English teacher often moved the lesson to Though Muchemi was born in Kenya’s a field in the wildlife reserve just outside capitol, Nairobi, she spent most of her life in campus where monkeys, giraffes and ante- Kenya at a Christian girls’ boarding school lopes mingled. in the diverse Central Province, seeing her Though Blair’s campus supports noth- family in the city only three months out of ing more exotic than squirthe year. This was a sacrifice with rels and sparrows, Muchemore than a few rewards, as she mi is happy to stay inside had access to one of the better for her English class, as primary schools in the country she knows that her famwhere cooperative study was ily’s move to the savannah highly encouraged. of Silver Spring offers her Because of her family’s ecogreater educational oppornomic resources, Muchemi’s tunities. high level of education was atypPublic and university ical. The long history of political education in Kenya is yet unrest in Kenya continues to hurt to reach the level at which Kenya’s students, says Mikell. the U.S. is. The frequent “This [political unrest] also afCLARE LEFEBURE instability and illegitimacy fected the quality of schools, and in the government led to Eunice Muchemi heightened competition to get the underdevelopment of into government colleges and the Kenyan public educational system that universities. Girls, more than boys, sufpersists to this day. The government’s in- fered as they were kept out of school to do ability to provide a sufficient public edu- farm work, or to help families make money. cation for its children has only worsened Thus, many Kenyans went abroad seeking recently with the questionable actions of opportunities in the 1990s, especially to the the incumbent president. USA,” she says. Following the highly contested 2007 Along with her daily homework, Mucheelections, violence broke out, causing po- mi had several chores to do each day, “There litical instability and leaving 1,500 Kenyans were no laundry machines so I had to wash dead. Though the conflict was resolved, my clothes by hand. We were all responsithe Muchemi family, like thousands of oth- ble for our own things,” says Muchemi. ers, left the country seeking stability and Adapting to the features of American brighter futures for their children. public schools we take for granted was a Gwendolyn Mikell, professor of An- challenge for Muchemi, coming from such thropology and Foreign Service at George- a different school structure. “Moving from town University, says that until this time one class to another was strange,” she says. comes, the government cannot ensure Ke- “I was not used to catching a bus and that nyans a high quality of life. “Kenya has be- was a hard thing to learn.” gun to return to stability, and to regain the Though Muchemi reflects on times at mid-1990s economic growth levels,” she her old school with a smile, she had bad

experiences as well. Teachers in Kenya are because I already spoke English. That was allowed to punish students as they see fit, a big help,” says Muchemi. Though she is often using rulers or sticks. Though a hit doing well at Blair, involved in theater proon the hand was customary when a student ductions, joining the forensics team and acts up, Muchemi remembers teachers who managing her classes, she still feels noswere harsher than others, “I used to take talgia for her home and its natural beauty. German, but my teacher was really mean; “Here the birds go away in the winter, there he would hit us in the lips with a ruler the birds were always there to provide a nice background noise,” she says. when we mispronounced words.” On another occasion, punishment intensified, “Our teacher was very angry and had a bamboo stick. He hit me three times on both hands. On the last hit, he missed my palms and hit me in the wrist, and it CLARE LEFEBURE became swollen,” says Muchemi. She left her school with more than a sore wrist, though, and believes that the bilingual Swahili-English language education at her school eased her transition to the US. “I didn’t have that hard of a time ass i m i l a t i n g INFORMATION COURTESY OF HSK.ORG MAGGIE SHI

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February 2, 2012

Blair slam poets move to their own beats Blair students create and perform original works of poetry By Emma Bergman “Beautiful black women mother of the earth/A skin who’s been embraced by the sun but led by a curse.” These words begin se-

the thousands that roam hallways, fifteen or so students meet each week to watch, talk and perform. This is Blair’s Poetry Slam Club. The meeting starts with an episode of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam.”

wordplay. “Most people think it’s just rhyming but it’s not really that. It’s really what’s inside and how you’re feeling,” he says. English teacher and club sponsor Michelle Edwards started the club earlier this year. When she attended the National Poetry Slam Festival over the summer, she was surprised that Blair was not among the high schools represented there. This inspired her to start the club in the hopes it would eventually develop into a team.

Poetry with purpose Edwards believes that poetry can serve as an outlet for expression, helping young people to handle their problems. “Slam poetry has a therapy feel to it because you’re speaking from your heart about anything,” says Edwards. Like many of the Blair poets, freshman Naomi Weintraub LEAH HAMMOND joined the club because Sophomores Ismael Oates (left) and Josh Briggs (right) performed she likes the freedom of at the Silver Quill open mic before joining Blair’s Poetry Slam Club. slam poetry. “There are no real rules or guidenior Andy Mbala’s poem entitled Students watch as professional lines. You can express yourself “Black Women.” poets on the show rattle off lines however you want and really say Words trip off the tongue, about war, gender roles and cat- your opinions,” she says. Club members cover a wide thought after thought with no calls. Mbala says that this kind of breaks —and they rhyme. Among slam poetry goes a lot deeper than variety of topics in their original

poems, but all focus on issues that have impacted their lives deeply. While sophomore Josh Briggs writes about his personal ambitions, Northwood sophomore Andre Taylor prefers to write about his generation, and Mbala says he likes to write about race and societal issues.

Writing to a rhythm Mbala’s poem continues to say, “Beautiful black women I’ve compared you to female dogs and garden tools/We live in a corrupted society lead by lying fools.” A beat plays as club members start to write. They’ve watched the professionals, and now many want to share their own work. Taylor says that the club’s supportive environment makes sharing easy. Senior Alison Kronstadt says that when writing poetry, she first develops a central idea and a clear opening. From there the poem comes naturally to Kronstadt. “Once you get started it’s just about letting the words come out,” she says. This club also attracts many different types of people. Briggs appreciates the diversity of the Poetry Slam Club. “It shows that everybody can come together and not really worry about race or personality, but just worry about poetry and the expression of it,” he says.

Blair at ‘Busboys’ Poetry Slam Club hopes to

reach out to the larger student body at Blair. Edwards thinks that by going to local competitions, the club could get the word out about Blair’s poets. “There are a lot of talented people here at Blair and we don’t always get to know each other’s talents,” she says. Edwards suggests that increased slam poetry performances in the community could help improve communication between adults and students. “I think it’s important for the adults in our community to hear the voices of young people and when it’s done in a way that’s constructive people will be receptive to it,” she says. Briggs agrees that the club needs to be bigger to generate the kind of response the poets are hoping for. “If more people learned about poetry club, they could start writing more,” he says. “They could start performing more and that would bring communities together and people together.” This expansion is underway, with the club planning to perform in an open mic in the next few months at Busboys and Poets, a restaurant and bookstore that frequently hosts performances. For now, being involved in the Poetry Slam Club and being able to give and receive feedback is enough for these Blair poets. “I love the fact that you can write your own stuff and the fact that you can listen to other people’s work and give your own impression,” Briggs says. “Slam poetry can bring communities together and people together.”

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February 2, 2012


Go beyond the counter with new cold remedies A brave entertainment staffer turns to the unorthodox to cure his cold By Peter McNally

and the juice of three lemons. Boil again and drink hot. After a prolonged search for rock As we enter the icy heart of the winter candy (Smithsonian museum gift shops carmonths, Blazers continue to succumb to the ry a whole line of flavors), I began to brew. perilous symptoms of the common cold. The finishing product was a yellowish green Although many head to the pharmacies to light syrup with a piercing lemon-honey stock up on Ricola and NyQuil, there is a smell. I poured myself a stiff cup of the pipwhole universe of alternative remedies that ing hot concoction, plugged my nose, and in you won’t find at CVS. a few reluctant gulps, drank it down. The The first place my quest for an alterna- nice thing about the taste was that it made the smell seem not so bad. It bangs into your mouth with a pungent twang, with an aftertaste reminiscent of a liquefied citrus scented candle. After I drank my dosage, I felt moderately nauseous for about 12 hours. The mixture, however, is not without its merits. Flax seeds have long been used to address a wide variety of sicknesses, including some cancers, and have properties that give your immune system a boost. However, the four times daily TOLU OMOKEHINDE recommended dosage According to health blogs, the cold sock treatment aids is a lot for one’s stomach to handle, and it colds by improving blood circulation and congestion. may not be practical to tive cure brought me was to a 110-year-old brew up a batch every time you sniffle. cookbook that belonged to my great-great Although my first experience with the great Aunt. The book offers a wide variety ancient cookbook was unsuccessful, I reof vintage cures. For a cold, the text offers fused to give up on the familial artifact, so the following solution: boil two ounces of I picked out another remedy. This time, the flax seeds in four quarts of water, strain, add book instructed me to dip a piece of flannel two ounces of rock candy, a cup of honey, in boiling water, sprinkle it with kerosene,

and lay it on my chest. Once I had destroyed and froze myself a fresh pair of socks. After a perfectly good flannel shirt, I gave the sufficiently scalding my feet, I slid on my cloth a dunk in the boiling water and gave frigid socks and went to bed. While tucked it a healthy splash of kerosene. I plastered the steaming sheet onto my chest and waited. The steam did provide some sinus relief, but the most noticeable feature of this treatment was the menthollike fumes thrown off by the kerosene. Although the fumes were sort of soothing, I was, essentially huffing fuel, and determined that this was not the remedy for me. I found my final TOLU OMOKEHINDE remedy while peA family cookbook led Peter to try to make his own cold rusing the expanmedicine using rock candy and lemons. sive world of health blogs. My next experiment is commonly referred to as the into bed, I started to feel a distinct pulsing “cold sock treatment.” This consists of soak- in my feet. I than started to feel waves of ing my feet in hot water for a while, drying heat wash over me, and assumed that I was them off, quickly putting on a pair of cold witnessing the miracle remedy promised to socks that have been soaked in ice water and me. Visions of my blood coursing through then wearing them to bed. Although I do my veins and vanquishing my cold filled my not usually take medical advice from people head. Eventually though, the heat was too named “herbmonk,” the treatment had some much, the dampness got uncomfortable and credible backing. According to many health I went to bed sockless and cureless. care professionals, this treatment causes the Fighting off a cold can be incredibly frusblood to rush to your feet in order to warm trating and sometimes the usual remedies them. The increase in circulation is sup- just don’t cut it. Although unconventional posed to improve congestion in your chest, remedies may seem necessary in these times while also warming you up and aiding your of desperation, it may be best to stick with immune system. So before I went to bed, I a warm blanket, a box of tissues and a hot poured my self a large bowl of boiling water bowl of soup.

There’s an App for that: iPhone favorites A look at some of today’s best and most popular smartphone apps on the market By Puck Bregstone Words with Friends W o r d s With Friends, the social mobile adaptation of Scrabble is everywhere. Blazers are playing under their desks during math. Large rivalries spawn at Silver Spring ART BY XIXI CHEN bus stops. If you are Alec Baldwin you play as you get kicked off a plane for refusing to stop. Everyone from celebrities to newlyweds is mashing away at their smart phones in an earnest attempt to outwit and outplay friends and strangers alike. The game plays like Scrabble, with players taking turns creating words from seven randomly selected tiles. The innovative part of Words With Friends and what sets it apart from board versions of the game lies in the social and mobile aspects. Not only do you have up to 11 days to take your turn, thus eliminating the need to play the entire game in one sitting, you can also invite any of your Facebook friends to play. The game is entirely mobile with an app available for both Android and iOS devices. Magnet math teacher David Stein has a very different opinion of the wildly popular game. “Words With Friends is an abomination,” says Stein, “Words With Friends is like saying, ‘lets play baseball on a pentagon’”. Much of Stein’s gripe concerns the way Words With Friends lays out the board. In Scrabble the triple letter score tiles are on the outer reaches of the board and it is a common strategy to build out from the center of the board to reach these tiles. In Words With Friends the triple letter scores are found much closer in. Stein complains that there is a reason these tiles are placed so far from the center and Words With Friends ignores this, “Scrabble is a carefully thought out system and there is a real point to the board” says Stein.


Tilt to Live

Instagram, the social based photo app has skyrocketed to 15 million users since its release in October 2010. This led to the announcement from Apple naming Instagram the app of the year for 2011. The instant success is based on the idea that people love easy photo sharing with simple preset filters that transform dull cell phone pictures into inspirational retro art pieces. When you launch the Instagram app, it opens up your phone camera and provides the user with a simple interface from which to start snapping shots. Having taken a picture the app saves the photo and offers the user a series of filters and effects to apply to the photo. Like many other trends in the past year, Instagram leans heavily on retro sensibilities. All of the filters are imitations of nostalgic photo-taking styles but don’t require a professional-quality camera or fancy photo developing studio. Many of the filters have suspiciously hipster-like names such as Walden, Inkwell and 1977, and the app has the potential to make all of your photos ten times more artsy. Along with these filters, photos taken in Instagram are constrained to a square shape for that old school photography feel. Instagram’s founders were fascinated by Polaroid cameras as kids and wanted to recreate the magic of “instant” images by combining retro-like photo filters with easy sharing ability. Their dream has been successful. Not only do they have a fast growing membership, but celebrities and politicians have warmed up to Instagram. Even President Barack Obama uses the app. Instagram has become so popular that London’s East Gallery at Brick Lane plans to open an exhibit filled with only Instagram photos.

This mobile tilt-based shooter game is not nearly as widelyknown as other two apps, but it is a cult classic and has its fair share of devoted fans. The game has a religious following that will binge-play the game until their eyes cant stay open anymore… but even then they still feel like they are being followed by little red dots. The game is set up as an inverted view of a green arena in which you tilt an iPhone back and forth to control a small silver cursor. The objective of the game is to destroy as many red dots as possible before the red dots touch you and force an automatic restart. You destroy red dots by moving your cursor into floating powerups. These powerups can have multiple effects, giving you advantages ranging from dot seeking missiles to a shield for your cursor. Magnet physics teacher James Schafer (High Score: 11 million) explains that part of the appeal and addictive quality of the game lies in the need to improve on one’s high score. “Like many of these silly, games you are constantly trying to improve your score. You think you can always do better than the last time,” says Schafer. One of the best parts of the game for Schafer is how the iPhone or iPod Touch’s controls are used to completely immerse the player in the game, “One of the neat aspects of the game is it takes advantage of the internal gyroscope. You are actually interacting with the game,” he says Juniors Ian Ozeroff (High Score: 6 million) and Thomas Gaddy (High Score: 19 million) are both avid Tilt to Live fans. But they agree that too much of a good thing can be taxing on their minds and bodies. “After a hard core binge the dots start to follow your irises even when you are not playing the game,” says Ozeroff.



February 2, 2012

Candyland Fever by Emma Bergman


ACROSS 1) A gang member living in the twenties 7) A type of candy: _____ scotch 11) Meat is to a sandwich as _____ is to an Oreo cookie 12) A substitute of beer for kids, ginger_____ 13) Peanut butter based candy bar: Avenue _____ 17) Two, too, _____ 19) “How many _____s does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?” 21) Candy name, also a great surprise 26) A time period 27) Candy can cause a tooth _____ 28) Alcoholics Anonymous, abbr. 29) Beatles song: “_____ all my loving to you” 30) Mr. _____bar 31) Children like candy more than _____ (singular) 32) Final Rice Crispie character’s name 33) Type of milk chocolate or a lip lock

Last month’s solutions

36) TV show: Say _____ to the Dress 37) Candy name: citrus fanatic 42) There are king sizes, regular, and _____ candy bars available 45) Candy name also, synonym for a klutz 47) British people like to eat _____ and crumpets 49) Only female M&M color 50) Type of candy: Mike&_____ 51) San Francisco based candy company, esp. chocolate, also, views.

DOWN 2) TV show set in Orange County: The _____ 3) Kit Kat: “Give me a _____” 4) “Know” in Spanish 5) Pop song: “Shake that laffy _______” 8) Feel the rainbow, _____ the rainbow 9) _____ Golfo 10) M&M color: stop 14) Old fashioned DVD 15) Another word for a king or prince


16) “What’s up, _____?” 18) The best (and only) way to eat: _____ly 19) Grateful Dead bass player last name 20) Sweets that help old men walk: candy _____ 22) Used to have 23) _____ ensues when a piñata breaks 24) Las Vegas radio station 25) Slogan: “Snickers _____” 30) _____ers: gummy candy with liquid inside 33) Boxing move when opponent can’t keep fighting, abbr. 34) Peanut butter is _____ Recess 38) Candy: Jr. _____ 37) On TV, M&Ms have _____ 39) Dentists are _____-candy 40) Graham crackers + marshmallows + chocolate 41)Type of white chocolate: affection 43) Indana University 44) The Adam’s Family: Cousin _____ 46) Popular movie’s title: “_____, phone home” 48) American Eagle, abbr.



Unpopular Valentine’s Day Gifts

The Network

by Tatyana Gubin

by Doyung Lee


February 2, 2012

turn into the best beards. At least, this is the case for junior Arpan Ghosh, who decided his moustache needed something more. He Chuck Norris. Abraham Lincoln. Zeus. remembers that he had a moustache at the Science teacher Christopher Brown. These beginning of tenth grade, but his look was four great, manly men all have something missing an element. in common: they And thus Ghosh all have amazing embodied the most beards. Beards honorable pursuits are indicators of for a man: full-on true males, victors bearddom. in the struggle for Ghosh let his recognition. beard follow its natBlazer stuural path of growth. dents and teach“First, it started ers alike, often like with whiskers to grow beards or around my chin. mustaches. They My sideburns were do it for different expanding. Now I reasons: respect, don’t even want to fashion, face itchihave a moustache,” ness. Sometimes, he recalls. the hair fits their But Ghosh’s thin faces, sometimes yet complete beard it does not. But fits him; it is a part some beards stand of him. His beard above the rest. makes him stand How do their TOLU OMOKEHINDE out among his bawearers do it? What’s their key to Senior Gabriel Koempel continues his by-faced peers. It shows the world manliness? father’s teenage beard tradition. that he took the iniThe young men with facial hair follicles filled from stubble tiative to become a man. Ghosh’s beard looks like a less developed to several inches walk the halls of Blair. Faint traces of whiskers can be seen on the version of what is, according to recent data, hippest of students. Those thin wisps of the most famous beard at Blair. Thick in the dark hair can complete a look for some, so middle and consistent around the edges, long as they are well-cropped and super- science teacher Christopher Brown’s beard vised; a moustache gone astray can quickly should be considered the eighth wonder of turn into a rodent-like growth. Moustaches the modern world. are make-or-break ordeals. There is a fine, hairy line between a virile moustache and An A-List Beard an unruly mop. Surprisingly enough, Brown’s celebrated beard has its origins in laziness. When he Origin of Manliness was a 19-year-old college student, he forgot Some of these insane ‘dos, however, can to shave, and it exploded. Then he tried to

By Adam Kadir



trim it, but the beard knew that it would one day be famous. It grew to a solid beard in a week and a half. Brown says that his beard can now grow from scratch in only two weeks. Brown’s stint in the Peace Corps allowed his beard to realize its true potential and grow the longest it’s ever been. Brown, like other bearded men, takes pride in his beard. He says it makes him look older and more sophisticated. Beards definitely command respect. They take dedication and bravery. The first weeks are painfully itchy. For the wedding of Brown’s own brother, his brother forced Brown to shave his beard. Naïve observers like Brown’s brother do not understand the power of the beard. The growing of beards is a fine art, and connoisseurs are few and very far between.

among men: No Shave November, or Movember (Moustache plus November). Started by college students too wrapped up in end-of-semester studying to shave, it has become an exercise in willpower and manliness. Participants test their determination by going the whole month without ever touching a razor. Some say that Movember misses the whole point of the honorable art of beard-growing, but in the end, the more beards the better. Koempel decided to participate a week into the month after noticing he hadn’t shaved in several days. And, like Brown’s legendary lazy beard, Koempel became a star. Other students stop him in the hallways and tell him, “Dude, your beard is awesome.” Koempel’s beard has even caused some funny comical situations. On the first Divisive Hair day of school this year, his teachers Even the bearded thought he was a students get doubtparent visitor. ers. Senior Gabriel Koempel is keepKoempel says there ing up a family is about a 60-40 split tradition. His faamong his friends in ther maintained favor of his beard. fierce facial hair Wisely, he prefers LEAH HAMMOND as a teen in the to “shut out the 1970s. haters.” There are Brown regrew his beard after having The reasons to some that simply shaved it for his brother’s wedding. grow a beard outcannot handle his number the reasons not to. After one deals thick, dirty blonde beard. Koempel’s is maybe the fullest beard with the itchiness, eternal glory awaits. Evof any student’s at Blair. Koempel’s beard eryone looks manlier with a well-kept beard. came about because of a tradition famous So stop shaving and start growing!

Let sleeping Blazers lie: Blair’s best nap spots reviewed Ideal spots for the sleep deprived to catch up on their beauty rest at Blair understanding of responsible adults, Blazers are using a quick fix to fight a loosing battle: naps. By junior year, most Blazers A quick 15-minute doze might be will admit to having, at least once, enough to take the edge off of the broken out in fits of outrageous suffering addicts, and until the adsobs at three o’clock the morning ministration can provide an effecthat a big essay is due. tive treatment program for these Sleep deprivation is sweeping lost souls, the best that we can ofthrough the Blair hallways like an fer is a few select spots where Blair incurable epidemic, that plagues students can nap, hopefully undisBlazers who were up way too late turbed and uninteruupted. last night. Some Blazers delude The most tranquil is the nurses’ themselves by rationalizing their office, but is only to be used in sleepless habits, “I only do it duremergencies. Two dark rooms in ing finals,” and “I can sleep anythe back of the office contain four time I want,” are classic excuses beds and a potential for 30 minutes for sleep neglecting Blazers. of sleep. But keep in mind that if Battling an addiction to insomyour situation is not severe; you nia is a serious disorder, though in may be taking a bed away from the current political climate, sleep someone more deserving, and guilt keeps you up at night… or even during the day time. The most comfortable spot is located in the back corner of the library. If you can snag the beanbag chair before anyone else gets it, then you’re set for a nap that can last you an entire lunch period, and as we all know, libraries are notoriLEAH MUSKIN-PIERRET ous for their Senior Howard Huang says his jacket serves as a perfect pillow, making his silence. In warmer mid-day naps at a computer comfortable.

By Helen Bowers

deprivation is not accepted as a serious affliction, making the risk of addiction much more severe. Teachers choose to ignore the potentially lethal complications of sleepiness. Most will simply wake you up from your much-needed rest, but some go so far as too drop textbooks right next to your ear. Most aggravating is that they deny that they too are addicted to staying up late. Social Studies teacher Lansing Freeman blatantly denies any mutterings that he himself is suffering from the affliction, “These are nasty and… (hopefully?) unfounded rumors!” says Freeman, a guilty look sweeping across his face. Without the support and the

weather the nap locations are limitless. Leaning against a tree or propped up against a solid brick wall, many nappers retreat from the hustle and bustle of the lunch period. Some Blazers even venture out in cold weather, using coats as blankets while enjoying the solitude and silence that surrounds them. But for those who are too meek to suffer through harsh weather conditions, it might be best to curl up in an abandoned classroom somewhere in the forties’ hallway, where the heat always seems to be set at least eighty degrees, an ideal temperature for snoozing. You might also be able to find some hidden gems around Blair for prime nap spots. The LEAH MUSKIN-PIERRET alcove behind the eleJunior Richard Stratton naps on a vators can prove to be a relatively secluded library bean-bag chair. area where night owls can catch up on their forty winks. computer lab during lunch, as long But if the lunch crowd around you as you don’t pull out the cords. is too noisy, there’s only one thing Maybe someday there will be left to do: hide under a table. real help for these sleepless BlazTables have been a source of ers; entire classrooms filled with fascination for most people for a beds just for napping, the reinlong time. As early as three years statement of nap-time, which Blazold, many children will think that ers everywhere have sorely missed if they hide under the table and since kindergarten, or a soda maclose their eyes, they have the chine filled with energy drinks (for perfect hide and seek hiding spot. recommendations see the DecemWhile that may not be accurate, ber issue!). it is true that no one will disturb But until that day comes, nap anyone who is under the table in a on Blazers, nap on.




2 de Febrero del 2012

Disminución en los roles definidos por género La integración a la cultura anglosajona crea mas oportunidades Por Yessica Somoza Una Opinión Viviendo en un país que no es de origen hispano y nosotros siendo latinos nuestra mezcla de cultura americana y latina puede ser muy cambiante. Por ejemplo, cuando estamos con nuestra familia hablamos español, en la escuela hablamos inglés y con nuestros amigos hablamos Spanglish. Con mucho esfuerzo nuestra generación ha logrado con éxito combinar las culturas americana y latina. Esto es lo que hace al grupo hispano, único, pero también es algo que hace que estemos a punto de perder nuestra cultura. Por lo menos es algo que nuestros parientes siempre nos dicen. Otros ejemplos ocurren cuando a muchos de nosotros nos gusta la bachata pero al mismo tiempo nos gusta un poquito más el hip hop. Nos gustan los tacos, burritos, y pupusas pero no podemos vivir sin una hamburguesa con papas fritas. Otra muestra muy grande de asimilación en este país, es que nuestra generación actualmente aprovecha de la ausencia de roles definidos para hombres y mujeres. En otras palabras, esta nación no categoriza roles o actividades específicamente definidas para hombres o específicamente dirigidas hacia las mujeres. En vez de continuar la práctica del machismo como acostumbran muchos países latinoamericanos, este país no discrimina entre lo que el hombre haga o deje de hacer. Si un hombre quiere ser un cocinero en vez de un trabajador de construcción o alguien que sepa utilizar instrumentos de carpintería, no tiene que temer a ningún tipo de discriminación. Y aunque no es visto muy a menudo también hay muchas mujeres que trabajan en construcción y lo hacen bien.

Tratando de obtener opiniones al respecto, entrevistamos a Kathryn Klett, una estudiante en el doceavo grado. Kathryn es parte boliviana y parte americana. El ser criada en un hogar un poco diferente la ha dejado ver las diferencias entre pensamientos y culturas americanas y latinas. Dice Klett, “Aquí en los Estados Unidos, los niños tienen la oportunidad de ser quienes ellos quieren ser, y sus papeles no son decididos por sus géneros.” Parte de esto son la igualdad de oportunidades que tienen los dos géneros, como la educación. En vez de estar rodeados por una cultura que tiene expectativas diferentes para cada género, todos los niños son expuestos a una sociedad que ha avanzado en la igualdad entre géneros más rápido que en Latinoamérica.” Esto no quiere decir que Latinoa-mérica no haya tenido un progreso inmenso. En Latinoamérica como en los Estados Unidos, se están viendo más o-portunidades para las mujeres. Un reportaje de las Naciones Unidas indica que el porcentaje de mujeres trabajando en Latinoamérica y el Caribe incrementó de 32 por ciento en 1990 a 53 porciento en 2008. Las recientes presidencias en Latinoamérica muestran a ese tipo de mujeres poderosas y luchadoras como Laura Chinchilla, una vez presidenta de Costa Rica, Michelle Bachelet, ex presidenta de Chile, Dilma Rouseff actual presidenta de

Las cosas que pasan Por Heydi Mora Urbina y Anilu Martínez Este era un día normal como otro cualquiera en Blair, esperando por la reunión que tenemos cada lunes después de la entrega del periódico. Decidimos esperar en el programa que tiene la escuela después de clases llamado Academia de Deportes de Blair. Para poder asistir al programa, tuvimos que registrarnos con los supervisores. Después de habernos registrado, nos dieron una pequeña merienda que inlcuía una botella de agua, unas galletas de queso y un yogurt. Una vez sentadas en el SAC y antes de comer, verificamos la fecha de vencimiento del yogurt y cual fue la sorpresa al encontrarla pasada de la fecha de vencimiento por cinco días. La fecha de vencimiento del yogurt era la del 14 de diciembre del 2011 y estábamos a al 19 de diciembre del 2011. Al mirar a nuestros alrededores nos dimos cuenta de que muchos estudiantes que estaban en el programa ya se habían comido el yogurt. Para aclarar lo sucedido hablamos con un miembro del personal encargado del programa llamado José Segura. Se mostró sorprendido y nos notificó que no sabía que el yogurt estaba vencido. En ese momento dejaron de distribuir el yogurt vencido. El comer comida vencida puede traer consecuencias desagradables en relación a nuestra salud, la cual puede estar en peligro si consumimos productos caducados.

Esto pudiera tener bacterias y crear una intoxicación alimenticia que puede dañar el sistema digestivo. En este caso la merienda era un producto lácteo, en otras palabaras hecho de leche de vaca el cual tiene un fecha limitada. Debido a la distribución de un produco vencido, los estudiantes estuvieron a riesgo de desarrollar listeria, una bacteria que les daña el sistema digestivo. Al esto dañar el sistema digestivo puede causar inflamación e irritación a los intestinos resultando en vomitos y cólicos. Tales consecuencias son la razón por la cual sucesos como estos no deberían pasar en ningún momento en las escuelas. Aunque las personas que organizan este programa solo siguen las órdenes de distribuir la comida, también deberían revisar siempre los productos que se les dan a los estudiantes. Si no, estas faltas de revisar las fechas de vencimiento de las meriendas podrían taer consecuencia fatales si son dadas después de 4 o más días de vencimiento. Por ser este un ambiente educativo, se considera un entorno seguro, y como tal, hay que hacer lo que esté en nuestras manos para disminuir cualquier falla por más mínima que sea. Para cerciorarse que esto no ocurrra, los estudiantes al igual que los trabajadores deben revisar los alimentos que son entregados. Es cierto que en las escuelas de Montgomery hay reglamentos de seguridad establecidos para revisar losalimentos que con-

Brasil y la presidenta de Argentina, Cristina Fernández. El que mujeres hayan logrado ser presidentas de un país es un hecho que los Estados Unidos todavía no ha podido lograr. Desafortunadamente, estos logros no pueden esconder la realidad que Latinoamérica aun no es un lugar libre de los roles definidos por género. Los resultados de un estudio realizado por la revista Newsweek categorizó países en las áreas de justicia, salud, educación, económia, y política de los mejores países con oportunidades para mujeres. En esta lista, los Estados Unidos ocupa el octavo lugar mientras el primer país Latinoamericano que aparece es Costa Rica, en el número treinta y seis. Las dificultades que las mujeres enfrentan en Latinoamérica y la falta de oportunidad son reflejadas en esta lista. Estos números bajos para Latinoamérica son evidencia que nuestra cultura latina está teniendo dificultad sobrepasando el machismo y el rol marcado de roles de acuerdo al genero en nuestra cultura, lo cual disminuye las oportunidades para las mujeres. Pero el machismo no solo afecta a las mujeres. En realidad, los hombres también sufren de expectativas específicas que pueden reducir sus oportunidades. De acuerdo a Klett, “El machismo está profundamente arraigado, pero el progreso que las mujeres han tenido hace que los papeles de los hombres sean más fuertes.” La cultura hispana presenta dos estereotipos, uno en el cual las mujeres son percibidas como amas de casa y otro que categoriza a

los hombres como seres fuertes que representan la masculinidad a través de hechos como ser los únicos proveedores económicos para sus familias. Como las mujeres deben ser las amas de casa, el hombre debe ser el cuidador de todos en su familia y nunca ser débil. Pero como podemos ver en nuestra generación, estos estereotipos no se están viendo tan extremos. Dado el hecho que nuestra generación ha logrado llegar hasta este punto más evolucionado sobre el machismo y el estereotipo, las mujeres deben aprovechar esta oportunidad. Se ha trabajado mucho para lograr tener cierta igualdad de derechos. El ser una profesional o una mujer que trabaja fuera de casa no las hace malas madres o esposas ni siquiera menos capacitadas o viceversa. Se debe aprovechar el hecho de tener la oportunidad de estudiar y preparse al mismo tiempo. Es de esta manera que la mujer podrá educar a sus hijos y transmitir la idea de la anulación de los papeles definidos por el género. Por ejemplo Klett dice, “la importancia de los papeles de géneros en tu familia depende en cómo tus padres te crían. Yo personalmente, con una mamá latina con un trabajo inusual para mujeres y un papá americano, yo crecí con lo mejor de los dos mundos.” Reconocer que las oportunidades presentes ayudarán al debilitamiento de los papeles de género que la sociedad nos ha impuesto. La definición de cuan exitosos podamos ser no depende de nuestro género ni de nuestra cultura. Depende de cómo aprovechamos las oportunidades que nos ofrecen nuestros dos mundos, el que heredamos de nuestra familia y el hecho de vivir en este país que intenta eliminar los estereotipos.

sumen los estudiantes. En la página de MCPS, está escrito que los trabajadores siguen procedimientos adecuados de seguridad ali- El yogurt fue consumido el 19 de menticia diciembre 2011 y como podemos en t dos ver ya se había vencido. por él los aspectos del manejo de los alimentos y el uso a s í de Riesgos Críticos de Control (HACCP). c o m o Pero debido al evento ocurrido se pone en por quienes proveen los alimentos. Terminó duda que los alimentos proporcionados no diciendo que también le enviaría una carta a son tan seguros como se dice. El señor Se- MCPS informando lo sucedido. No somos perfectos. El éxito de este gura sostiene que esto no es algo que ocurre siempre. Asevera que algo tuvo que haber progama no se verá empañado por un insucedido para que esto ocurriera, ya que los cidente que tiene remedio. Esa es la razón alimentos son provistos por MCPS. Nos con- más importante por la cual tenemos que acfirmó que él junto con su equipo de trabajo tuar inmediatamente. Como parte de esta solamente siguen las órdenes de proveer es- comunidad estudiantil es nuestro deber atos alimentos. También nos aclaró que este yudarnos los unos a otros para que este proincidente no volverá a pasar. De ahora en a grama siga cosechando logros. delante, todos los productos serán revisados

Nota informativa: El programa “InDesign” utilizado para realizar el periódico de la escuela, está diseñado para la lengua inglesa. Con tal propósito, Silver Chips ofrece disculpas por cualquier error gramatical que tengan las páginas de La Esquina Latina después de haber sido intensamente editadas. Gracias.





2 de Febrero del 2012

Escuela Tecnológica Thomas A. Edison


Estudiantes se preparan para un futuro en el area de trabajo completarlos. Una vez graduados, los es-

Por Claudia Quiñonez y Janett Encinas

En el Estado de Maryland, el Condado de Montgomery se destaca de los otros condados, por la excelencia académica de las escuelas, desde la elemental hasta la secundaria. En este condado existe una escuela secundaria única y sobresaliente, la Escuela Secundaria de Tecnología Thomas A. Edison. Esta escuela pública está ubicada en el área de Wheaton y comparte el establecimiento con la escuela secundaria del mismo nombre, Wheaton. La escuela Edison cuenta con 19 programas educativos, aplicados a la ciencia y tecnología, arte, humanidades, ciencias biológicas, liderazgo, turismo, logística y Clase de Medicina aprendiendo construcción. Los estudiantes de acuerdo a primeros auxilos. su vocación y habilidades pueden seleccionar el área de estudio. tudiantes Esta escuela es única porque de Thomas ofrece a los estudiantes que cursan A. Edison la secundaria la oportunidad de habrán obseguir estudios paralelos e ir catenido tres pacitándose en diferentes áreas en créditos las cuales pueden tener mayores que serán opciones de trabajo al concluir reconocila secundaria. Esto les brinda la dos por oportunidad de descubrir la vocualquier cación que los guiará a seleccionar colegio o una carrera universitaria. Clase de administracion de resuniversidad Todos los estudiantes de las taurantes. a la que adiferentes escuelas secundarias del sistan. Más Condado de Montgomery, pueden solicitar. El único requisito es que dichos del setenta por ciento de estos estudiantes estudiantes deben estar en el décimo, on- continúan sus estudios en las diferentes universidades y utilizan las habilidades adceavo o doceavo grado. Dependiendo de la carrera escogida, los quiridas para desenvolverse en el trabajo y cursos toman uno, dos o hasta tres años para en la manera de pagar sus estudios.


Una vez concluidos los estudios los estudiantes obtienen valiosos certificados y licencias profesionales que les permitirá desenvolverse en el mercado competitivo de trabajo. Un día típico para los estudiantes de Blair que asisten al programa de Edison, es pasar la mitad de su día acá en Blair, y la otra en la escuela Thomas A Edison. La escuela Thomas A. Edisono ofrece dos sesiones: la sesión de la mañana de 7:45 AM a 10:30 AM, y la sesión de tarde de 11:00 AM a 1:30 PM. La mayoría de los estudiantes en Edison son latinos con sueños y metas que quieren llegar a cumplir. Un ejemplo de tal lucha y

La escuela Thomas Edison es una opción maravillosa


liderazgo es la estudiante del onceavo grado, Marisela García. Esta estudiante salvadoreña llegó al país hace siete años con la meta de llegar a ser alguien exitosa. Ella nos comenta que “estar en Edison me ha dado la oportunidad de descubrir lo que de verdad quisiera ser en el futuro, una chef profesional”. Maricel tiene planes de ir a la universidad para completar su sueño con el apoyo de su ma-

dre y hermanas. Ella está en el programa de Administración de Restaurantes que le da la oportunidad de ser una chef o una gerente en el área de restaurantes. Otro ejemplo es Christian Martínez, también en el onceavo grado, e hijo de padres colombianos y ecuatorianos. También tiene el apoyo de ellos para cumplir sus metas. El está en el programa de dos años de tecnología automotriz y tiene planes futuros de ir a la universidad para seguir avanzando en esta carrera. Nos comentó, “lo que me gusta más de Edison es el horario de clases y que podemos contar con los maestros en todo momento”. Thomas A. Edison también da la oportunidad a todos sus estudiantes de participar en el concurso nacional conocido como Skills USA, donde los estudiantes del país y Puerto Rico pueden mostrar sus habilidades en el área de trabajo y liderazgo. La competencia se inicia con concursos regionales, seguidos por los del estado y después el ganador de cada área va a representar al estado en el concurso nacional, donde los ganadores obtienen medallas de oro y plata por su excelencia. Estos concursos son experiencias muy interesantes para todos los estudiantes que participan, ayudando a fortalecer sus conocimientos y experiencias. La escuela Thomas Edison es una opción disponible para todos los estudiantes que desean aprender nuevos oficios y habilidades que les serán útiles. Los programas los capacitan en distintas áreas tecnológicas que son aceptados como créditos para la universidad y generalmente consiguen un trabajo después de terminar la escuela secundaria.

Descrubiendo los sabores latinos: restaurante boliviano Kantutas Por Kelly Ventura y Héctor Barrera Localizado en Wheaton, Maryland, cerca del centro comercial Wheaton, se encuentra uno de los pocos restaurantes bolivianos, Kantutas. No está localizado en uno de los lugares más transitados, lo cual p u e d e dar la impresión negativa, Sin embargo la atención al cliente Restaurante Kantutas una vez dentro del restaurante es de todo lo contrario. El restaurante Kantutas es un restaurante de familia que vende platos tradicionales de Bolivia. Es por eso que los dueños escogieron el nombre Kantutas por el significado tan estrecho a su país. La kantuta es una flor patriótica de Bolivia ya que tiene los mismos

colores que los de la bandera boliviana, rojo, amarillo y verde. Al entrar verás cinco mesas pequeñas, lo suficiente para notar que aunque el lu-

desde las 8a.m. hasta las 7p.m. Sin duda, lo


Sopa de maní



Apí con pastel boliviano

gar sea un poco pequeño, tiene el potencial de crear un ambiente parecido al comedor de tu casa. Eso mismo es lo que nos enfatizó Marcela Peredo, una de las amables dueñas del restaurante,. La Sra. Peredo junto a su mamá y hermano, trabajan de lunes a jueves desde las 8a.m. hasta las 6p.m. y viernes a domingo

cierto es que como la comida boliviana es muy elaborada se requiere muchas horas de preparación para así lograr algunos de los platos más exquisitos. “Uno de los platos más populares,” dice la Sra. Peredo, “es el silpancho”. Este plato boliviano está compuesto de arroz, papas, una lonja circular de carne empanizada y frita que cubre la mayor parte del plato, además de uno o dos huevos encima de la carne. Otros platos de comida como el picante de lengua, o la sopa de maní tarda de 5 a 7 horas de preparación.

Nosotros tuvimos el privilegio de probar pasteles bolivianos con una bebida llamada api. Este plata es reconocido mayormente como un desayuno tradicional del país. Para empezar, los pasteles relleno con queso son una delicia por su textura suave y delgada. Como el pastel está hecho de pura masa, encima del pastel le exparcen azúcar en polvo para añadir un sabor dulce. El api es una bebida calientita y espesa hecha de maíz morado o maíz blanco. No es un restaurante lujoso, pero logra conquistar los corazones y los estómagos de los que desean saborear un pedacito del riquísimo sazón boliviano. Marcela Peredo dice “Es muy importante conservar nuestra cultura, y por eso mismo estamos tratando de abrir otro local muy pronto”. En fin, este restaurante tiene un ambiente cómodo, un servicio agradable y amistoso con comida muy variada que se ajusta a las expectativas de una comunidad que extraña su querida “pachamama”, madre tierra en el lenguaje quechuá. Si alguna vez se siente con la necesidad de disfrutar y deleitar su palador con algo diferente con un buen toque de sabor, le recomendamos tratar la comida boliviana en el restaurante Kantutas.

¿Y tú, qué PIENSAS?

¿Ha influenciado en tu vida los roles definidos por género? ¿De qué manera?

“No, porque mis padres exigen una vida en la cual yo asuma responsabilidades de los dos géneros” Alex Sorto, Onceavo grado

“Sí, pienso que yo asumiré el rol de ama de casa tal como mi mamá siempre lo ha hecho de adulta .” Cassie Flores Onceavo grado

“No, porque la mujer puede trabajar y aportar a la casa como el hombre.” Tania Castillo, Doceavo grado

“No, porque todos debemos ser tratados por igual” Manuel Huinil, Doceavo grado



SUPER BOWL XLVI February 2, 2012

Blazers’ Predictions By Katelin Montgomery Blazers’ Super Bowl poll

38% Patriots “Patriots — no brainer. They have experience, they have coaching and they have talent top to bottom. Even though the Giants are hitting their stride at the right time, I just don’t think they’ll be able to stop Belichick, Brady and the rest of the Patriots.” –English teacher Michael Horne

“I think the Patriots are going to win because they have the receivers and tight ends that can cause problems with the Giant’s defense.” –-junior Jaime Mejia

62% Giants

The lead up to this year’s Super Bowl was nothing short of eventful. The Ravens emerged as a Blazer favorite in the playoffs in part because of the geographic connection, but they suffered a close defeat to the Patriots in the playoff game. Both the Giants and the Patriots won their respective games by only three points and now they are up for a rematch that promises to be fraught with revenge. In their last super bowl match-up, the Giants narrowly won the game with a score of 17-14. This year the Giants must defend their honor while the Patriots fight to win the title of Super Bowl Champion XLVI. With the playoffs having the most views of any television show since the last super bowl, it is no question that millions will tune in to watch in this historic rematch. Blazers have a chance to share who they think will win and why.

“The Patriots are going to win because Tom Brady is not going to have two straight bad days and the Giant’s defense is mainly a pass rush so Brady will be able to get the ball off quickly to Welker, Gronkowski or Hernandez.” –junior Samir Durvasula

“The Giants will win because they have the momentum and nothing is more important than momentum in sports…The Patriots won only because the Ravens made mistakes so the Giants are the hotter team right now.” –junior Lowell Ensel

“The Patriots have been looking really shaky as of late and the Giants are on a roll so I predict that the Giants will win.” -senior Alex Demouy

“I think the Giants will win because the Patriots have no defense and Eli Manning is playing at a high level right now.” –sophomore Allie Fascione

jvJOURNAL JV Boys’ Basketball

By Josh Schmidt

It’s the second half, and the boys’ JV basThe team has managed late-game rallies ketball team (3-7) is just starting to get in in the games they have won, which Charles rhythm. But only getting energized towards accredits to their camaraderie. the end of the game is normal for the team, Most of the team played together duras they have three buzzer beating wins so ing both the summer and the fall, creating far this season, and have made a name for a chemistry where the players play well on themselves as a comeback team when they the court and are friends off of it. have won. The connections on the court have inCoach Emanuel Charles worries that spired Canary to lift his teammates up when the team doesn’t they have needed play consistently him the most. Cawhich has resultnary has loved the ed in their poor feeling of carryplay. According the team with ing to Charles, his two last-second the team goes shots which have through periods helped the team win of time where games. they don’t have “It’s an exhilaratthe energy necing feeling, probably essary to play at one of the best in my a high level conlife. Getting jumped sistently. “The on by teammates boys have to foand everything. And cus on coming it’s always good to out hard, they get a good win,” Caonly get on in nary says. the second half,” While the team Charles says. has struggled to Freshman cowin games this seacaptain Danny son, they are confiCanary agrees dent that they have with his coach the skills to turn it ENOCH HSIAO and believes around. “We defithat more com- Freshman Danny Canary nailed two of nitely have a chance mitment in prac- Blair’s three wins at the buzzer. of winning these tice will lead to final three games,” better play in the first half. Charles says. “In practice we’ve been simuTurnovers have also killed the team so lating pressure situations so we can learn far this season. The inability to keep a lead how to close a game.” Canary believes that or not turn over the ball is a result of the the team has potential. “We’re only getting inexperience on the team. better as time goes by,” Canary says.

JV Girls’ Basketball

The girls’ JV basketball team (8-2) has sharpen these skills so rapidly. “They are had a strong year so far that has been led by starting to improve, but they’re still in the their strong defensive mentality. The girls developmental stage. Still learning funda‘team’s defense is their strength according mentals,” Simms says. to Coach Kirk Simms. The team has a tenaYet this weakness hasn’t affected the team cious defense that Simms stresses is the key as much as one would expect. The majority to success. of the team’s wins have been blowouts thus Simms has emphasized defense all seafar with winning margins of 44 points, 39 son and is a firm believer that defense is points and even a whopping 53 point win the key to winning. “Defense wins chamagainst Paint Branch on January 20. While pionships. If the defense is you have a good without doubt defense, you the teams win games. If strength, their you get a lot of offense has turnovers, the gotten strondefense leads to ger as the seaoffense,” Simms son has prosays. gressed. Simms, in his Due to the first year at Blair fact that the after coaching girls are still for ten years at getting down Argyle Middle the basics, School, has alSimms balready instilled a ances his fogreat defensive cus between mindset in the winning and players, explains preparing the sophomore cogirls for the ELLIE MUSGRAVE captain Annie varsity level Sophomore Annie Pietanza says that the Pietanza. of competiThe team team’s focus this year is their defense skills. tion. Simms does many deexpects his fensive drills in practice as they work on whole starting lineup, which consists of responsibilities for defense and how to four sophomores and one freshman, to be communicate effectively to prevent defenon varsity by next year and possibly by the sive holes, informs Pietanza. But the team’s end of this year. outside shooting isn’t up to par yet, Simms With three games left the girls expect to believes. The team has been working on close out the season strong and then contheir shooting in practice regularly, says Pitinue this defensive mentality when they etanza, but Simms believes it isn’t easy to are promoted to the varsity team.



February 2, 2012

ATHLETES OF THE MONTH Boys’ Ice Hockey: Michel Devynck Devynck’s strengths have evolved to fit his position as goalie. “I think one of my If he doesn’t stop this shot, his team has strengths is patience. You need to be relittle chance of winning. All the pressure ally patient,” Devynck says. Devynck has falls on him. Junior Michel Devynck, the also developed over the years and became starting goalie for Blair’s ice hockey team skilled at stopping the puck with the glove. (5-2) is in the spotlight when he’s on the ice. “I’ve been told that I have a good glove Devynck is an excelent goalie with a strong hand,” Devynck says. Devynck also brings leadership to the track record of making the key stops. team. “Goalie is Devynck a leader on the began his team. I have to hockey career use that to the around the age best of my abiliof six, inspired ty. I’m a big talkby profeser in the locker sional hockey room,” Devynck players. “I says. saw the [NaLopez agrees tional Hockey and believes League’s] StanDevynck helps ley Cup finals the team when and got really he speaks to excited and them. “He’s wanted to play motivating and like them,” really vocal,” he Devynck says. says. As Devynck COURTESY OF PETER BANWELL Devynck played more and more Goalie junior Michel Devynck is key to Blair hopes that these skills will carry hockey he ice hockey’s defensive game. him to a sucmoved around to play different positions. But then he vol- cessful college athletic career. He currently unteered to play goalie one day, fell in love plays on the Metro Maple Leafs, but is also with the position and has played it ever looking at teams that will help him better prepare for a future in hockey. Devynck since. By starting so early, he has a leg up his knows that there is more work to be done in teammates, many of whom only recently order to prepare for the next level. Devynck hopes that all of the work he started playing. He brings his extensive hockey knowledge to the Blair team, where has put in since he first started playing ten teammates such as freshman Javier Lopez years ago will finally pay off when he suits learn from him. “He definitely knows what up in college. “I’d really like to play in college, to play for a good program,” he says. he’s doing,” Lopez says.

By Josh Schmidt

Girls’ Varsity Basketball: Olivia Nono By Katelin Montgomery

knows how to bring out the best in each player,” she says. Nono describes her strengths as passing Wearing jersey number 43, senior Olivia Nono’s presence captivates on the court and defensive stops, and scores an average as she selflessly leads her team. Stand- of 4 to 6 points per game. Schroeder enjoys ing poised and at the ready, she calls out playing with Nono. She says, “[Olivia] is a to teammates, giving direction, and then good teammate. She’s very aggressive and sprints, blasting ahead of the crowd, as she hustles a lot.” Nono says that one of her favorite parts rushes to defend the basket. of the sport is Nono began the competition. playing basket“Over time [my ball when her passion] has parents signed gotten stronger her up to play as the competion an Amateur tion got bigger,” Athletic Union she says. And (AAU) team as for her team, during the the competition summer after helped them eighth grade succeed this and has been season, where on the team they have made since her freshsome major men year. “I improvements started playing from last year. because it was “We were the a good way to TOLU OMOKEHINDE underdog and get in shape and be athletic. Senior co-captain Olivia Nono is a leader on this year we proved that we I just fell in and off the court for girls’ basketball. were really a love with it,” team to beat. All the hard work we put in is she explains. She is one of the captains on the team, really being shown.” Basketball is a demanding sport and and leads with her positivity and her volume. “On the court it’s important to com- has one of the longest seasons. Nono has municate so everyone knows what’s going learned to divide her time among all her on,” she says. Erin Conley, the head coach responsibilities. “You have to learn how to describes her as strong captain. “She leads balance outside activities, basketball and school,” she says. However she thinks the them on and off the floor,” she says. Junior Jordyn Schroeder, one of Nono’s loaded schedule is worth it because she beteammates, cherishes Nono’s leadership. “I lieves that playing helps her to become bettrust that she wants us to succeed and she ter at everything else she does.

For UMD, cutting their sports can only lead to losses Cutting varsity sports teams is an unfair solution to Maryland’s budget shortfall By Claire Sleigh An opinion Imagine: You are a freshman at the University of Maryland. Senior year of high school, you applied to a range of colleges, scouring state schools and private universities for a competitive, top-ranked swim team. You chose your state school, and, with a sizeable amount of scholarship money under your belt, you suit up for your first practice of the season. But within weeks of your first go on the starting block, you are met with some disturbing news: the University’s athletic program is out of money and your team is being cut, along with seven other varsity sports teams. These are tough financial times and everyone recognizes that some belt tightening is in order. However, the University of Maryland went to drastic measures when it cut eight athletic programs —as it simultaneously invested $7.2 million into revamping the president’s mansion. This incident is an astounding confusion of priorities that will hurt not only the athletes attending the University of Maryland now, but strips past athlete’s of their legacies and future athletes as well. These teams were cut in an effort to balance the athletic budget, a program which has been dysfunctional for multiple years. Mismanagement of outgoing funds, and lower turn out rates at games put the UMD athletic

department in the red; the backup funds have all been used, and these eight teams are going to take the hit. It is absolutely catastrophic that a school as big and prestigious as Maryland must resort to such extreme measures. The root problem is that the University of Maryland athletic budget is simply not sustainable. One of the biggest causes of this disparity is the income the University receives for athletics from outside donors is much lower than the money received by its peers in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). This puts all of Maryland’s sports teams at a disadvantage, which the president is trying to correct by discontinuing programs. College sports are traditionally centered around football and men’s basketball, and Maryland is no exception — despite the fact that Maryland football was 2-10 this past season and decreased ticket return rates are a huge reason for the budget failure. The men’s and women’s swim teams and the men’s track and cross country, on the other hand, are high performing Division I teams

with a long history of athletic excellence. All three teams have consistently performed well in the ACC and in fact are some of the best performing teams at Maryland. The men’s cross-country coach is an Olympic Gold medalist who will be coaching this year’s U.S. Olympic team in London, and yet these are the teams that are being handed the short end of the stick. UMD spends on swimming a small fraction of what it dispenses for other sports like football and basketball. Football has a huge roster of over 60 student-athletes, who receive all kinds of benefits from the school. Swim and Dive is a small expense for Maryland and even some of those expenses could be easily cut. Two years ago, the swimming facility was updated with a major grant. This new facility is green and environmentally friendly, but the swim team is forced to pay increased rates to use their own pool. Rather than looking for a comprehensive solution to the problem and taking small austerity measures across the board, the University decided to make drastic cuts that will deprive some 100 students of the sports they love. Such an action not only does a disservice to the University and those students who participate in the cut sports, it also sets a dangerous precedent for other colleges at a time when competitive

swimming is just starting to gain traction in the world of sports. The sporting world has reached

out to these teams that are on the chopping block through donations and vocal support. Former Olympians such as swimmer Michael Phelps have tweeted about Maryland’s plight. Yet despite the media buzz, the Swim and Dive team has only raised $1 million of the necessary $11 million. Each of the eight teams has the opportunity to

save themselves — all they have to do is raise eight years worth of their team’s expenses in the space of seven short months. This number is so outrageously high that it begs the question as to whether or not the University seriously wants these teams. UMD should care about teams like these because their priority should be to work in the best interest of students. Athletics can be an incredibly important part of a person’s college experience, and by cutting these eight programs, the University is souring its name and ART BY TATYANA GUBIN limiting the confidence observers place in its status as a top university that looks out for everyone and mantains strong programs for athletes. If you are interested in helping to save the Maryland Swim and Dive (or any of the other six cut teams), visit save_our_sports.hmtl.


February 2, 2012

Blake buries varsity basketball Bengals win 69-47 as Blair falls to 4-12 on the season controlling much of the tempo. Blake had the clear size advantage, and as a result, the NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL Blazers used their speed and athleticism to GYMNASIUM, Jan. 30 — force turnovers and push the ball in transition, leading to easy buckets. Blair’s solid Damon Pigrom spent six years coach- play had them clinging to a two point lead ing varsity basketball at Blake, leading the after a first quarter in which senior forward Bengals to several winning seasons and a Rick Narcisse scored seven of his team’s 13 trip to the Class 4A state final in 2005, effec- points. tively turning around the program. After Blair lost focus to start the second quarthree years coaching at Catholic University ter, allowing the Bengals to go on a 9-0 run and two at Bethesas the Blazers strugda-Chevy Chase, gled to find any type Pigrom is now tryof offensive rhythm. ing to make basketThanks to their deball relevant again fensive effort late at Blair. However, in the quarter, Blair Monday night’s 69hung around and, 47 loss to Blake reafter a close, lowvealed that there rescoring 16 minutes mains much work to of basketball, the be done for the boys’ halftime buzzer basketball team. sounded with the A near mirror imBengals leading by a age of Blair’s previslight margin, 25-22. ous loss to Blake When the Blaz(12-4) on Jan. 10, the ers start out strong Blazers (4-12) started in games, they tend out strong – playing to come out slughard on both ends gish and fall apart in of the floor – only the third quarter. It to have things unhappened in losses ravel in the second to Quince Orchard, half. Blake’s height Paint Branch, Blake, posed problems for and Kennedy earlier the Blazers, as 6’7” this season. Monday senior Avery Ugba night was no ex(16.6 ppg) and 6’6” ception. “The thing ENOCH HSIAO junior Magnus Richabout Blake is they ards (12.1 ppg) dis- Junior Julian Smith-Jones shoots a come out vanilla rupted Blair’s ability free throw against Blake. The Blazin the first half,” to get to the rim. Ju- ers fell behind in the second quarter. Pigrom said. “Then, nior guard AJ Butts in the second half, hit seven of eight from the charity stripe and they really pull away.” led the Bengals in scoring with 13 points. After playing man defense in the first The first quarter lent itself to Blair’s fast- half, Blair gave the zone a try to start the paced style of play, with the home team second, but that tactic was short-lived as

By Eli Schwadron

the Bengals scored 11 straight points to start the third quarter. Meanwhile, Blair’s offense was dismal as the Blazers went scoreless until 3:30 remaining in the period. Narcisse, who finished with a game-high 19 points, finally broke Blair’s drought with a trio of baskets. However, the Blazers could never recapture the same defensive effort they employed so well in the first half. Pigrom attributed the second half breakdown to a loss of intensity. “The same thing happened the first time we played them,” he said. The fourth quarter was more of the same, with the Bengals denying anything that entered the paint, dominating the boards and using their size adENOCH HSIAO vantage to capitalize offensively. “We started to Senior Rick Narcisse scored seven of Blair’s first stall in our offense,” Nar- thirteen points in the Jan. 30 game against Blake. cisse said. “They got out on the break and we couldn’t stop the ball.” loss, Pigrom acknowledged the Bengals After giving up 25 points in an entire half, for their strong play. “Blake is good. Credit Blair gave up 22 points in each of the third where credit is due,” he said. The Blazers will face the Kennedy Cavaliers (8-9) on the and fourth quarters. Senior guards Tucker Canary and Theo road on Friday night. Kennedy features one Remy, Blair’s second and third leading of the toughest covers in the area, Marcus scorers, respectively, struggled to find their Murray, a 5’7” point guard who averages grooves against Blake’s stingy defense. 19 ppg. “We’re going to do our best to limit Remy, a transfer from Blake, chipped in with him,” Pigrom said. Narcisse was optimistic eight points against his former teammates, about Blair’s chances on Friday. “We need to while Canary added five. Blair’s co-captain look to attack, just be in attack mode on evexplained that the team needs to get men- ery possession,” he said. “Kennedy doesn’t tally stronger. “We don’t have the winning have nearly as much size, so we’re going to mindset. When we’re close, we can’t put two look to run and get easy buckets.” and two together,” Canary said. “We need to The boys’ varsity basketball team will play its work on putting together two good halves.” Though he was disappointed about the next home game on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5:15 p.m.

Coyotes tear apart Blair wrestling, 47-22


Blazers lose their last home match of the season, look to post-season

Preparing for the Olympics

By Hannah Weintraub

See centerspread

the Clarksburg wrestler into a half-nelson, pinning him and winning the match. After these two wins, Clarksburg won all but one other match. Despite the losses, the Blazers fought hard, utilizing what they had worked on in practice. “We have really good conditioning,” senior Captain Rickey Combs said. “Usually it’s the other guys who are running out of gas by the end.” During the last match of the night, senior David Chow whipped out a risky and technical move, which ultimately played to his advantage. Within about 40 seconds, Chow had pinned his opponent and won

the match. Chow’s win was a strong end to a somewhat disappointing night. Only a few days after senior co-captain NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL Billy Saturno’s alarming head injury on GYMNASIUM, Jan. 28 — Wednesday, the team was still shaken by the loss of their team leader. At the team’s preThe varsity wrestling team failed to come vious match, Saturno was rushed to the hosup with a win on Friday night, falling to the pital after a Paint Branch wrestler slammed Clarksburg Coyotes (7-4) 47-22. After winhim to the mat during the first minute of his ning their first two matches of the day, the match. Saturno returned home that night Blazers (2-9) were unable to keep up their with a concussion and a sprained neck. Losdrive. ing Billy’s presence on the mat could have Coach Jacob Scott said the team was still been a factor in the team’s lack of execution reeling from senior co-captain Billy Saton Saturday. “Billy’s a huge part of getting urno’s Wednesday night injury. “The guys momentum,” Chow explained. did a great job, “Without him, we don’t have we went against that.” Clarksburg which After missing the past two is a tough team,” days of school due to his injury, said Scott. “But Saturno was able to attend the we were missing match, though he could not wresour captain. After tle. Saturno said he will most likeloosing him, we ly be able to wrestle by the time were still emotionCounties roll around. For Saturally damaged.” no, the hardest part of his injury is Blair started off not being able to actively help his strong with pins team rack up points. “I hate being from sophomores involved through the bench,” SatM i n u - Ts h y e t o urno said. “I like to be able to help Bidzimou and Yothe team on the mat.” hanes Admasu. With the season coming to a Both pinned their close, and with Counties not too competitors with far off, senior co-captain Chris expert skill and Wells is proud of the team’s acstrength. Adcomplishments thus far and bemasu maintained lieves the team will keep up its his dominance success. “The team’s been getting throughout the better every match,” said Welles, match, and, finalCLARE LEFEBURE “We have a bright post season afly, he mustered up the energy to twist Varsity wrestling won their first two matches, but fell to Clarksburg. ter this.”

Blair athletes work toward a future on the Olympic track.

Super Bowl picks See page 30 Staff and students give a forecast for the Sunday night Patriots-Giants face-off.

February 2012 - Silver Chips Print  

Feburary 2012 edition of Silver Chips Print.

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