Montgomery Blair High School SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND
A public forum for student expression since 1937
April 18, 2018 VOL 80 NO 6
A DANCE OF PENZANCE
MCPS parent arrested for child pornography By Gilda Geist
A PEAK OF THE PIRATES The cast their production showing from April 20
“Pirates of Penzance” 22 and April 26 to
rehearse a 28 in the
scene for auditorium.
MCPS parent Jonathan Oldale was arrested on federal charges of producing child pornography, according to a letter sent to the community by Superintendent Jack Smith on Friday, April 13. According to the letter, the material “involved dozens of school-aged children, many of whom attend MCPS schools.” The letter and said that Oldale recorded minors during parties he hosted at his house. At least 30 children have been identiﬁed in the videos so far, according to WJLA. He is currently detained, according to police report. Oldale was also arrested in Oct. 2017 for conducting nonconsensual surveillance of an individual at a gym, according to Bethesda Magazine. At the time, he was also accused of hiding a camera in a bathroom at Silver Stars Gymnastics. “I am outraged by this behavior and I know that our community ﬁnds the allegations in the charging documents as disturbing and upsetting as I do,” Smith said in the letter.
see ARREST page A3
Body image in athletics
A different approach to education
By Arshiya Dutta
By Leila Jackson
Sarah, a junior, has been a swimmer for as long as she can remember, and for the past couple of years, it has been a core component of her life. Practicing 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day, she often jokes that she spends more time in the water than she does on land. Her hard work has paid oﬀ, as Sarah has climbed up to becoming one of the top female swimmers in the region. What most people do not know about her swimming, however, is that it has triggered her dangerous relationship with food, which aﬀects all aspects of her life.
An internal battle
The “student-athlete grind” is not a secret to most people— students juggle strenuous sports schedules and intense academic
COURTESY OF ANANYA TADIKONDA
workloads. But for some people, like Sarah, this lifestyle had dangerous physical and mental effects. “In freshman year, I was borderline anorexic,” she says. “I was absolutely crazy about it. I would wake up early and work out extra before school, and then I’d go to practice after school and I barely ate anything all day.” Since the eighth grade, Sarah has suﬀered from body dysmorphia, a condition in which people have a distorted perception of their body image as severely ﬂawed. Even before her life revolved around swimming, Sarah felt like her body was abnormal. “I recently have noticed how body dysmorphic I used to be before swimming, too. I just thought I was fat when I clearly was not. It was unbelievable,” she says.
see ATHLETES page F2
A PATH TO COLLEGE Br yn Mawr College is a women’s liberal ar ts college in Br yn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Finding more about the ﬁnal two SMOB election candidates.
Sulema Salazar, la ancla de Telemundo 44, relata en exclusiva cómo ha logrado
see HBCU page D3
When junior Adelaide Harris ﬁrst stepped onto Agnes Scott College’s Georgia campus on a warm February day, she immediately knew that it was the school for her—the classes sparked her interest, the people were friendly, and the campus felt like a second home. The classrooms were ﬁlled with attentive students and engaging professors, but unlike her classes at Blair, the students were all women. Like Harris, senior Alix Swann quickly felt welcome when she visited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country. Swann liked that she shared similar experiences with the large number of students at HBCUs, such as having previously
LA ESQUINA LATINA C1
A recap of the Blair vs. Northwood baseball game.
Delve into the world of Silver Spring’s volunteer ﬁreﬁghters
Fires After Hours
CHIPS CLIPS E5
A2 News silverchips Montgomery Blair High School 51 University Boulevard East Silver Spring, MD 20901 Phone: (301) 649-2864 Winner of the 2015 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Winner of the 2018 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Editors-in-Chief: Alexander Dacy and Olivia Gonzalez Managing News Editors: Gilda Geist and Leila Jackson Managing Op/Ed Editors: Serena Debesai and Erin Namovicz Managing Features Editors: Cole Greenberg and Isabella Tilley Managing Entertainment Editors: Emma Cross and Hermela Mengesha Managing Sports Editor: Henry Wiebe Ombudsman: Laura Espinoza Newsbriefs Editors: Gilda Geist and Leila Jackson Page Editors: Anson Berns Mindy Burton Elise Cauton Noah Chopra-Khan Miranda Rose Daly William Donaldson Arshiya Dutta Adenike Falade Lucy Gavin Hannah Lee Elias Monastersky Camden Roberts Marlena Tyldesley La Esquina Latina Editors-in-Chief: Michael Hernández and Sofía Muñoz La Esquina Latina Writers: Amanda Hernández Jasmine Méndez-Paredes Lourdes Reyes Yesenia Sorto Executive Business Directors: Karen Depenyou and Ariel Zhang Business Staff: Siena Butters Julia Henderson Honor Kalala Alyssa Ma Ray Mizui Matt Morris Olena Zelinsky Managing Photo Editors: Chaminda Hangilipola and Sami Mallon Photographers: Avery Brooks Jedediah Grady Elia Griffin Amarins Laanstra-Corn Hannah Schwartz Maggie Lin Managing Media Coordinators: Ben Miller Aidan Lambiotte Managing Art Editors: Carly Tagen-Dye and Marissa He Artists: Elaine Cheng Jenny Cueva-Diaz Niamh Ducey Seoyoung Joo Amy Krimm Kelley Li Avery Liou Meng Ming Luo Tiffany Mao Aritra Roy Sally Zhao Ivvone Zhou Managing Design Editors: Hermela Mengesha and Isabella Tilley Puzzle Editor: Bennett Coukos-Wiley Copy Editors: Ben Abramson Ben Auslin Will Ederer Divya John Brennan Winer La Esquina Latina Advisor: Dianette Coombs Advisor: Jeremy Stelzner 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 Jeremy Stelzner’s mailbox in the main office or to silver.chips. firstname.lastname@example.org. Concerns about Silver Chips’ content should be directed to the Ombudsman, the public’s representative to the paper, at ombudsman.silverchips@ gmail.com. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.
April 18, 2018
Hogan proposes plan to improve school safety By Mindy Burton Governor Larry Hogan proposed a $125 million plan to increase school security through reinforced doors and windows, panic buttons, security cameras, and metal detectors in a Feb. 28 press release. He also proposed an additional $50 million in operating funds for “new school safety grants,” which can be used to hire additional security personnel and purchase security technology. Using the same funds, Hogan also plans to create emergency legislation that will impose statewide standards in support of “red flag” legislation and implement a universal background check system. “Red flag” legislation would allow people to “petition the court … [to] prohibit an individual from possessing firearms or ammunition if they were deemed … to be a danger to themselves or others,” according to the press release. Hogan emphasized that he supports putting an end to gun violence and sympathizes with affected families. “There is no more important job than keeping our citizens safe—especially our children. In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, citizens here in our state and all across America want to know what government at all levels is doing to keep our children safe, and what we are collectively doing to stop gun violence and violent crime,” he said in the press release. “Classrooms should never be a place of fear for our children. No mom or dad should ever have to worry
when they send their kids off to school whether their son or daughter is going to come home safely.” Hogan also plans to submit emergency legislation that would mandate training and certification for all state school security officers and require school systems to conduct an annual school safety assessment, such as specific trainings and briefings for staff. A supplemental budget was submitted on March 2 to provide $5 million for the Maryland Center for School Safety, whose goal is “to provide a coordinated and comprehensive policy for school safety,” according to the Maryland Government Manual. This funding, an increase of 600 percent from prior years, is aimed at allowing the center to “hire analysts and social media trackers, allocate staff in more regions of the state, and assist schools with conducting the mandated safety assessments,” according to the press release. Because this is only a proposal, it is unclear how money would be divided between school districts and how it will be allocated within the districts for implemented technology and personnel. The bill is “currently in the hands of the Maryland General Assembly,” according to the Office of the Governor’s press secretary Shareese Churchill. MCPS spokesperson Derek Turner said that the county cannot currently plan how they would spend any money because the bill is only a proposal. “Since the proposal hasn’t been approved, we won’t know how much MCPS would receive,” he said in an email.
“Without knowing the amount, we can’t speculate on what we would or could do with it.” Principal Renay Johnson was pleased with Hogan’s attention to school security and would like to see more security personnel hired. “I’m very thrilled. I think all too often safety and security is at the bottom of the budget, so I’m happy to see that he’s really elevated the seriousness of what’s been happening in schools,” she said. “I’d hope to see [the money] spent on more security assistants … When I first came to Blair seven years ago, I had the same number of security personnel. Now I have 3,100 students, [but] back then I only had 2,700 students.” Johnson also noted that elementary schools lack both security personnel and cameras. “There’s no security personnel and no cameras. So, if you’re an elementary principal and you don’t have an AP [as-
sistant principal], you’re by yourself with your secretarial staff if something happens in the main office,” she said. “I think elementary schools would really benefit from security cameras and security personnel in their buildings.” Following the school shooting at Great Mills in St. Mary’s County on March 20, Hogan released a statement mourning with the community and claiming that action is necessary. “The First Lady and I are praying for those who were injured, their families and loved ones, and for the entire Great Mills community as they come together to heal in the wake of this horrific situation,” Hogan wrote. “But prayers are not enough. Although our pain remains fresh and the facts remain uncertain, today’s horrible events should not be an excuse to pause our conversation about school safety. Instead, it must serve as a call to action.”
Do you feel safe in school? Why or why not? “Maryland has decent gun laws, and I place my full faith in the experienced security officers at this school.” — Steven Qu, junior “I do not feel safe in school … there have been so many school shootings lately.” — Carina Amaya, sophomore
March for Our Lives rally brings hundreds of thousands to Washington By Adenike Falade
Hundreds of thousands of students and adults from across the country lined Pennsylvania Ave. on March 24 in the March for Our Lives, a demonstration calling for improved gun legislation. The route concluded in front of the Capitol building, where dozens of speakers and performers presented speeches, traumatic stories, and
versal background checks; funding gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; creating a digital public database for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and banning high-capacity magazines and assault rifles, according to their mission statement. Local student leaders also participated in the march. Sophomore Nate Tinbite of John F. Kennedy,
YOUNG ACTIVISTS A four-year-old boy from New Jersey sat on his sister’s shoulders while shouting during the rally. songs. As many as 800,000 protesters are estimated to have marched in Washington, D.C. alone, according to the march organizers, making it one of the largest demonstrations in city history. Sophomore Luke Johnson enjoyed seeing so many people at the march. “It was just inspiring to see how many people were able to turn up,” Johnson said. Members of Never Again MSD, a group started by the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkdale, Fla., organized the March for Our Lives. Their primary goals are to save lives by demanding uni-
sophomore Michael Solomon of Springbrook, and senior Brenna Levitan of Blair—members of the group MoCo Students for Gun Control—all stood with senior Matthew Post, Montgomery County’s Student Member of the Board, as he spoke. Post’s speech urged the audience to maintain their enthusiasm for gun control through the 2018 midterm elections in Nov. in order to create drastic change. “If we march today, canvass tomorrow, and vote 227 days from now, we will make this a turning point for our country,” Post said. Artists Andra Day, Common, and the Cardinal Shehan School
Choir opened the event with a performance of their award-winning songs “Rise Up” and “Stand Up for Something.” Senior Cameron Kasky, one of the founding members of Never Again MSD, followed their songs by addressing those that oppose their agenda and said, “Welcome to the revolution.” All speakers were children and teenagers from cities around the nation who had been affected by gun violence. Trevon Bosley, a 19-year-old from Chicago, Ill., spoke in honor of his older brother, who was shot and killed after leaving church. He criticized Chicago leaders for spending money on tourist attractions rather than on resources to help the city’s poor population. “When you have a city that feels it’s more important to help pay for a college’s sports complex rather than fund schools and impoverished communities, you have gun violence,” Bosley said. Edna Chavez, a senior from south Los Angeles, spoke to the crowd about how gun violence in her community is so severe that she “learned to duck from bullets before [she] learned how to read.” Chavez stated that she has been deeply affected by the loss of her loved ones to gun violence, including her older brother, Ricardo. “I lost more than my brother that day,” she said. “I lost my hero … I also lost myself to that trauma and that anxiety.” Zion Kelly, a 16-year-old D.C. student, spoke about his twin brother, Zaheer, who was gunned down in an attempted robbery on his way home. Kelly emphasized Zaheer’s extracurricular activities inside and outside of school. “[Zaheer] was our team captain on the track team, he was running for student government president, and he was a youth council member,” Kelly said. “He was a person, a leader, an aspirer, not just another statistic.”
Students from across the country, including from Blair, came out to support their fellow students as they spoke about the issue of gun violence. Junior Victoria Husain came from Garnet Valley, Penn. to promote legislation that will prevent more school shootings. “I came here to join all these students and make some change,” Husain said. “[I hope to see] lots of gun reform and more regulations on guns … I don’t want to have to march again.” One of the highlights of the march came towards the end when Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland survivor, gave a short, but poignant speech. Gonzalez spent just over six minutes and twenty seconds on stage, the majority of which she spent in silence, to demonstrate the exact amount of time it took the shooter at her school to kill 17 students and staff. She closed by saying, “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.” Sophomore Olivia Hardwick was particularly moved by Gonzalez’s powerful words when she attended the march. “That brought the most tears for me,” Hardwick said. “It was just really incredible, and every time she opens her mouth, something comes out that is so beautiful.”
Check out the March for Our Lives for yourself with this video. Scan the QR code or visit https://tinyurl. com/ycsyoze2 to watch.
April 18, 2018
Students nominate SMOB candidates
Nominees prepare for April election
By Lucy Gavin Ananya Tadikonda and Nimah Nayel, both juniors at Richard Montgomery, were nominated for this year’s Student Member of the Board (SMOB). The SMOB functions as a student voice on the Board of Education. Tadikonda said her platform centers on equitable resource access, specifically mentioning technology access at home. One way to increase access “would be through a Chromebook rental program for students so that they have wifi access and the physical technological device so that they can study the same way their peers with those resources can,” Tadikonda said. She has also looked into a plan in which the county would pay for AP and IB exams for students who cannot afford them. “I think that will really ensure that cost isn’t a barrier in taking the number of APs that you want,” she said. “This is something that exists in Prince George’s County, so I want to replicate that in ours.” Tadikonda said these efforts are meant to help diminish the achievement gap in Montgomery County. “I believe that in order to really close the gap between our students of color and our white students, what we need to do is ensure that students of color see that we have role models like us,” she said. “That can only be done if we have more text and more history lessons from the perspective of a person of color, and also if we continue working towards hiring a more diverse teacher workforce.” Her claim that students of color are lacking role models throughout the county is supported by the breakdown of ethnicity among teachers and students. “Montgomery County is 70 percent minority and 30 percent white,” she said. “But our teachers are 70 percent white and 30 percent of color.” Nayel also said she plans to focus on equity in Montgomery County. “My primary
issues are based on providing equity in the county, equity in the curriculum and equity in the resources that are given to each and every student,” she said. Nayel said she was committed to giving a
flected in their schools, but that’s not available to every school,” she said. “That’s partly based on the fee that schools need to pay [to be a member of MCR], which I would really like to work … to make lower or at least pro-
PROUD POSSE From left to right, nominee chael Yin, fellow nominee Ananya Tadikonda, and voice to the less wealthy parts of the county that are often underrepresented in Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR). “The people that are really showing up to countywide events, those are people from upcounty, and that’s not because the students in downcounty don’t want to be heard, but because the options aren’t made as available or clear to them,” she said. Nayel plans to encourage involvement from these parts of the county through better access to MCR. “I think that the Montgomery County Regional SGA is a great way to be discussing what [students] want to be re-
website. For the first time in about 20 years, both SMOB finalists are women of color. Tadikonda said she views this as a big step for Montgomery County. “I think when more and
COURTESY OF ANANYA TADIKONDA
Nayel stands with MCR President MiStudent Member of the Board Matt Post.
vide grants for.” In addition to her focus on racial equity, Tadikonda also emphasized mental health. “Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from students at 23 of our 25 high schools, I want to work on implementing a one day seminar and mental health day in every school where students could get workshopped on mental health resources available to them and how to deal with mental health issues,” Tadikonda said. Nayel’s platform has a similar emphasis on mental health. “I’m advocating for expanding early education to openly discuss and remove stigmas surrounding mental health and body positivity,” she said on her
more women of color see both of us in the ‘Meet the Candidates’ video and in the posters in the schools, it will be reinforced that they can do this too,” she said. “I think this will completely change the culture of MCPS SMOB elections for years and years to come.” Nayel said she was inspired to take part in the SMOB elections because of the lack of women and lack of people of color in SMOB elections. “The reason I ran for SMOB was because I felt that there was a lack of diversity in the choices that I had,” she said. “To have both of the nominees be people of color that are women is something that is really exciting for me.”
Johns Hopkins researchers release evaluation of Curriculum 2.0
MoCo to offer free trainings to combat opioid epidemic
A statement released by Montgomery County on March 30 announced that they would be sponsoring three opioid overdose response training sessions. The last of these free sessions will take place on April 24 at the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Participants in the training will learn about how to reduce and respond to opioid overdoses, which can be fatal. “Tips on overdose prevention and resources detailing local and national resources will be provided,” according to the press release. All who complete the two-hour long training will receive a free Naloxone kit. Naloxone kits are small pouches that carry latex gloves; the drug Naloxone, which combats opioid overdose, needles; and other medical equipment. Naloxone must be injected into the muscle of someone who is overdosing, and takes around three minutes to work against the opioids in the system. Hagerstown, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Montgomery County are only a few examples of Maryland localities that have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.
School board sends $2.59 billion budget to county council
The MCPS school board approved Superintendent Jack Smith’s budget for fiscal year 2019, which rose 2.9 percent from the 2018 budget, according to Bethesda Magazine. The plans include adding eighth grade to Silver Creek Middle School and building a new elementary school near Rockville. The budget, which was originally proposed by Smith in December, comes after a Montgomery County budget shortfall of around $120 million. County Executive Ike Leggett had told all county departments, including the schools, to cut their budgets by 2 percent due to the projected shortfall. Despite the directive to cut all budgets, Smith stated that the deficit will not put a stop to improving MCPS education. “We’re not going to save [money] by freezing classrooms and not hiring teachers,” he said according to WTOP. The next step for the budget is approval from the county council. The council will likely approve or amend the budget in June.
April 18, 2018
MCPS to transition to exter nally de veloped syllabus By Anson Berns
Curriculum 2.0, the revised Montgomery County curriculum designed to comply with State Common Core standards, was audited in March by a research team from Johns Hopkins University. The team found that under Curriculum 2.0, which was developed by MCPS from 2010 to 2013, “student work samples did not consistently show mastery of the [math] learning standard” and that “[English and language arts] lessons did not consistently show alignment to the targeted standard.” In response to the recommendations, Superintendent Jack Smith sent a letter to the Board of Education (BOE) suggesting that the in-house route that MCPS has previously used, which includes the now five-year-old Curriculum 2.0, would be replaced by a curriculum purchased by a third party, such as Pearson. “The time is right for MCPS to move … to a model based on adopting external curriculum developed by curriculum and assessment experts,” Smith said in the letter. The Hopkins findings were based on focus group analysis, classroom observation, a teacher survey, and PARCC test results.
The study found that 90 percent of teachers used personally developed instructional materials daily or almost daily and that the curriculum “must be better aligned to central features of the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards.” According to the Maryland Public Schools website, the goals of these standards are to “prepare all students for college and today’s workforce,” “focus on 21st century skills,” and “create consistent learning goals across the state.”
Student performance also suffered under the curriculum. The report said that students who were exposed to Curriculum 2.0–currently in grades three through six– showed lower scores on standardized tests, like the PARCC exams, than students in other grade levels. They also displayed more of a racial gap in achievement when compared to other grades.Teachers criticized the curriculum for being insufficient for special needs or English Language Learner
students, according to the Johns Hopkins study. Also, according to the audit, “student work samples show that fewer than a third of students master their assignments in either ELA [English and language arts] or math…,” and “students are not consistently exposed to grade-level texts across 3rd through 8th grade. Only approximately half of the texts observed are at or above grade-level, and half are below grade-level.” Additionally, the study showed that there were issues with how the material was delivered to students. The audit reported that “teachers across all elementaryand middle- school grades make mathematical errors; significant errors occurred in 18 percent of the classrooms, and minor mathematical errors in 23 percent of the classrooms.”Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Programs Erick Lang said “school system staff in coming weeks will be sifting through the curricula that are on the market,” in an article in Bethesda Magazine. The article also said that MCPS staff will be sending a new curriculum recommendation to the BOE in June so that training can begin in the summer.
MCPS spends over $1 million to settle five sexual abuse lawsuits
Report reveals county spendings since 2009 By Hannah Lee MCPS disbursed a total of $1,022,500 over the last eight years to settle five civil cases for students who were sexually assaulted by teachers since 2009, according to a Jan. 24 memorandum from Superintendent Jack R. Smith. The settlements covered the cases involving defendants Richard Shemer, Benjamin Cano, and Lawrence Joynes. Danila S. Sheveiko, a concerned Kensington resident, requested all
cilitate access to public information, such as the Public Access Ombudsman, the Public Information Act Compliance Board, and the office of the Attorney General. They work together to handle disputes involving fees and reproducing documents, according to the Baltimore Sun. The records included reports that detailed the settlements MCPS reached with victims and lawsuits in which the county is currently involved. The cases concern al-
baseball coach at Albert Einstein. The second case, with a payout cost of $37,500, concerned Benjamin Cano, who was arrested in June 2013 for allegedly touching three female students during his time as a science teacher at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School. The last three individual cases, which were consolidated into one payment totaling $975,000, involved Lawrence Joynes, who was accused of creating video recordings of at least 14 young girls in
Jan. 1, 2009 “and the creation of such additional records is beyond the scope of the Maryland Public Information Act.” Turner explained the point at which data requested from an MPIA request is deemed unable to be accessed. “It is beyond the scope … because it is not within the reasonable date range for the data to be readily accessible,” he said. “If someone requested data prior to 2009, it would be nearly impossible to get that ready quickly.”
D.C. teachers and students walk out to protest Anacostia High conditions The MCPS school board approved Superintendent Jack Smith’s budget for fiscal year 2019, which rose 2.9 percent from the 2018 budget, according to Bethesda Magazine. The plans include adding eighth grade to Silver Creek Middle School and building a new elementary school near Rockville. The budget, which was originally proposed by Smith in December, comes after a Montgomery County budget shortfall of around $120 million. County Executive Ike Leggett had told all county departments, including the schools, to cut their budgets by 2 percent due to the projected shortfall. Despite the directive to cut all budgets, Smith stated that the deficit will not put a stop to improving MCPS education. “We’re not going to save [money] by freezing classrooms and not hiring teachers,” he said according to WTOP. The next step for the budget is approval from the county council. The council will likely approve or amend the budget in June. Newsbriefs compiled by William Donaldson
records of legal action connected to sexual assault of MCPS students by teachers, staff, contractors, and volunteers through the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA), according to ABC7 reporter Kevin Lewis. The information was previously released on Aug. 28, 2017 in response to another MPIA request. Sheveiko declined to comment on the situation. The MPIA, enacted in 1970, gave Maryland residents the right to access public records held by the state government. Public records can consist of documentary material in any form. Anyone can submit a MPIA request, but several members fa-
leged and proven sexual abuse by MCPS teachers and staff on students, according to the MPIA request response from Derek G. Turner, director of MCPS Office of Communications. Based on the legal department files obtained by Sheveiko and shared to the public through Twitter by Lewis, the monetary payments of individual cases on behalf of the Montgomery County BOE ranged from $10,000 to $975,000. With a payout cost of $10,000, the first case regarded Richard Shemer, who engaged in sexual e-mail exchanges with a teenage female student in Sept. 2013 when he was a social studies teacher and
sexually suggestive poses at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School. Joynes later turned the video clips to pornographic videos with sexually explicit captions. Two additional pending lawsuits involving child sexual abuse regarded MCPS teacher John Vigna, who inappropriately touched minors at multiple schools throughout the county, and an unnamed teacher, whose case is confidential at the request of the alleged victim. Although all the civil cases after Jan. 1, 2009 were disclosed through the MPIA, MCPS was unable to readily access data prior to that date. According to Turner’s MPIA response, any data prior to
MPIA request responses, although public, are not necessarily free, as custodians may charge requesters a fee for searching and preparing records for inspection and copying, and may take longer than a month to process. “It would have to take over 30 days and would require specific fees, but if someone did request that and paid all of the fees, it would be possible to access that data,” Turner said. Turner also emphasized other means to access public information regarding all type of cases. “If you go on Maryland Case Search, you can look at the cases before 2009,” he said. “All of that is public information that can be shown online.”
April 18, 2018
By Miranda Rose Daly
Maryland consent education bill to be signed into law
Lawmakers in the Maryland Senate voted unanimously to “provide age-appropriate instruction on the meaning of ‘consent’” beginning the 2018-2019 school year, according to the legislation. The bill was introduced in the House of Delegates by Congresswoman Ariana Kelly (D-District 16) and passed 46-0 in the March 28 legislative session. In the Senate, the bill passed 45-0 on April 9 with no amendments to the original House bill, which will be sent to Governor Hogan’s oﬃce. The legislation, Senate Bill 402, will require the Board of Education to include the concept of sexual consent as part of the Family Life and Human Sexuality curriculum, and will apply to any grade where the current sex education curriculum is taught. The bill deﬁnes consent as “the unambiguous and voluntary agreement between all participants in each physical act within the course of interpersonal relationships, including respect for personal boundaries.” Senator Will Smith (D-District 20) explained
that although the bill includes a deﬁnition, it gives leeway for the school system to develop its own curriculum around the concept. “It does give some leniency for the school system to develop the right curriculum … So the school systems will have to look toward national models and best practices to develop that curriculum, but the legislation is not as prescriptive in that sense,” he said. Smith explained that the bill comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which helped push the bill forward. “This is one of those cases where national politics and national movements like the #MeToo move-
ment was deﬁnitely more prominent this year than it was the year before … [The #MeToo movement] kind of helped usher this bill forward,” he added. Last year, a similar bill died in the Maryland Senate. Bill sponsor Senator Craig Zucker (DDistrict 14) said the bill will help prevent sexual harassment on college campuses. “It’s obviously important to teach students age-appropriate consent because from what I’ve heard from leading advocates, when it comes to preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault, consent is one of the tools that can be used for preven-
tion, especially sexual harassment or sexual assault on college campuses,” he said. Smith noted that a personal connection helped him understand the importance of the bill. “We were about to have our baby girl, so I’ve been thinking just more personally about what these issues mean for me as a new father,” he said. In 2014, California was the ﬁrst state to pass legislation related to consent education, and if this bill is signed into law, Maryland will become the second in the nation to do so. Zucker added that the bill will pave the way for other similar legislation across the country. “I think this is going to be an important step in the future to possibly preventing sexual harassment or sexual assaults,” he said. Zucker and Delegate Kriselda Valderrama (D-District 27) are proposing legislation to disclose sexual harassment in the workplace called the “‘Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018.” The act will prevent businesses with 50 employees or more from requiring their workers to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that prevent employees from discussing experiences of sexual harassment.
Up and Coming April 20 Spring Pep Rally
April 20-21, 27-28, 7:00 p.m. Pirates of Penzance
May 7-18 AP Testing
May 12 Prom
May Testing Schedule
Student and Teacher Awards & Honors
Senior David Wu won ﬁfth place and $90,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Seniors Ryan Holland, Bryan Huynh, and Rudy Ngougni made the All-Sentinel wrestling teams.
Ivy Liang, Shwetha Kunnam, Katherine Lei, Eilliot Kienzle, and Noah Singer were semiﬁnalists in the US Biology Olympiad.
Junior Sam Rose Davidoﬀ earned a new school record in the 3200m run.
Wendy Shi, Shreeya Khurana, Nobline Yoo, and Alice Zhang were recognized by the National Center for Women and Information Technology.
Junior Daniel Schaﬀer and senior Mengming Luo were selected as ﬁnalists to represent Montgomery County at the International Science and Engineering Fair and Seniors Emma Schillerstrom and Mikaela Moore were runners up.
Kennedy Salamat, Maggie Wang, Mirian Fuentes, Sally Zhao, Avery Liou, Enya Wang, Tiﬀany Mao, Grace Cai, Marissa He, Gillian Lee, Tram Vo, Maggie Gray, Laura Lill, Soﬁa Gasparoli, Ariel Zhang, Caitlin Lee, Julia Bliss, Mengming Luo, Laura Cui, and Nyrene Monforte will have their art showcased with Youth Art for Healing.
Senior Laura Espinoza was selected as a Bethesda Magazine Extraordinary Teen. MoCo Students For Gun Control was presented with the Education Justice Movement Builders of the Year award from the US Student Association
April 18, 2018
Maryland general assembly adjourns, signing new legislation
New bills regarding conversion therapy and gun control have been passed
By Arshiya Dutta
The Youth Mental Health Protection Act, signed by the Maryland House on April 4, prohibits the use of conversion therapy by healthcare practitioners on patients who are minors. The act mandated that all health practitioners who implement conversion therapy will be unable to apply for state funding and will be subject to scrutiny by a licensing or certifying board. Also known as “reparative therapy,” conversion therapy is a medical practice that attempts to switch a patient’s sexual orientation from gay or bisexual to straight. This practice includes methods such as shock
therapy, hypnosis, induced vomiting, public shaming, and violent role play. According to the Mental Health Services Administration, these conversion tactics are ineffective. “Variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal and … conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices,” the website stated. Additionally, the American Psychology Association (APA) declared that conversion therapy is extremely dangerous for the physical and mental health of patients. According to the APA website, “The potential
risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.” With the passage of this bill, this psychologically damaging practice will be banned in the state of Maryland. Additionally, two gun laws were signed on April 4 in response to the mass shooting in Parkland, each addressing different aspects of mass shooting prevention. One of these bills called for a ban on bump stocks, a gadget that can modify a semi-automatic gun into a rapid-fire gun. These devices were used in the Las Vegas concert massacre in 2017. The other gun bill passed was the Red Flag Law, which authorizes judges to mandate that gun owners surrender their firearms if they are found to be an “extreme
risk” to themselves or others, according to CNN. These two gun control bills were met with backlash from members of gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association. Mark Pennak, president of the gun rights group Maryland Shall Issue, said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that the Red Flag Law oversteps boundaries. “Right now it’s just seizure of private property without any just compensation,” he said. Supporters of the bill said it takes necessary measures in preventing gun violence. In an interview with The Washington Post, the bill sponsor Delegate David Moon said that bump stocks allow people to bypass assault rifle bans. “The Las Vegas mass shooting exposed a pretty glaring loophole in Maryland gun laws,” he said. “We found you can circumvent the purpose of the assault weapons ban by putting [bump stocks] on your gun.”
April 18, 2018
Should colleges review social media as part of a student’s application?
Online activity reﬂects inner values Each day, social media users share almost 700 million tweets, one million Snapchats, 95 million Instagram posts, and 4.75 billion pieces of content on Facebook. The result? A multifaceted digital world in which each post, retweet, and photo is archived to craft each individual’s virtual presence. With social media use at an unprecedented high, especially among young people, colleges should not only be allowed, but also encouraged, to evaluate prospective students’ social media presence as part of the admissions process. The content posted by students online is a valuable window into how they would participate in campus life. CHAMINDA HANGILIPOLA Social media is an extension of the William Donaldson self, and the content users share reveals core values, personality traits, and extracurricular passions, all of which colleges have an obligation to assess. College admissions oﬃcers certainly want a glimpse at a student’s personality in their application, but is social media truly a barometer of an individual’s personality? Research published in 2014 in the scientiﬁc journal Machine Learning suggests that personality plays the same role in how individuals use and express themselves online as oﬄine. According to the study, “there are psychologically meaningful links between users’ personalities, their website preferences and Facebook proﬁle features.” The authors concluded that “individual diﬀerences in personality aﬀect users as much as they do in the oﬄine world.” Therefore, a student’s social media presence is necessarily a barometer of their personality and a window into their everyday world. If social media and personality are so closely linked, most college admissions ofﬁcers should be evaluating accounts during application reviews. A 2017 survey of 350 college admissions oﬃcers by Kaplan Test Prep, however, found that only 35 percent of the oﬃcers reviewed prospective students’ online presence. Without reviewing applicants’ social media, colleges miss an opportunity to discover certain students’ interests, talents, and passions, as well as red ﬂags. Each year, stories cycle through national publications about students who were rejected from colleges and universities based on social media content. A 2017 annual survey of admissions oﬃcers, conducted by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, found that 18 percent of colleges had rejected at least one applicant in the previous two years based on social media posts. Students have the opportunity to edit, revise, and rethink—though they usually do not—before posting or sending anything on social media websites. This prior review allows individuals to reﬂect on whether the thoughts they post are appropriate and suitable for online forums.
Anna Fisher Lopez freshman
Cases of rejection based on online activity, though rare, demonstrate the need for colleges to balance the talents of prospective students with the threats they pose to an educational environment that should remain unhindered by bigotry. If students choose to use social media as part of the admissions process, colleges must be fair to applicants and make clear their admissions policy regarding online activity. College admissions oﬃcers have just as much a right to view publicly posted content as peers and parents, however, students should expect transparency from the institutions holding their academic future. Online activity also oﬀers colleges the opportunity to know more about students than the grades and test scores they received throughout high school, which are not the only barometer of what they can bring to a college campus. Colleges are much more than learning institutions; they house a blend of social and academic activity that require not only good students but good communicators, leaders, and friends. Political activism, community organizing, and outstanding character are not always present within a students’ application. Social media can reveal the breadth of a student’s engagement with their community and allows admissions oﬃcers to examine what roles the applicant might ﬁll on campus. In the midst of this digital age, college
Students have a right to privacy High school students have a life outside of school that has been separated from their academics and college applications in previous generations. Due to the widespread use of social media, however, college admissions oﬃcers now have unprecedented access to students’ personal lives. A survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that 35 percent of admissions oﬃcers used social media to look at applicants during the admissions process. This relatively new practice of considering students’ social media rather than strictly relying on the grades, test, scores, essays, and extracurriculars they have worked to perfect, in admissions decisions CHAMINDA HANGILIPOLA is unfair to students. Students should have a Camden Roberts right to keep their personal lives separate from their admissions materials if they so choose. A survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that 42 percent of admissions oﬃcers who used social media in their decision said that ap-
admissions oﬃcers have a wealth of information with which to evaluate applicants. The information shared each day on social media platforms should be a part of that evaluation, as it can prove beneﬁcial to students and oﬀer a well-rounded portrait of a student’s academic and extracurricular life. It can also reveal any red ﬂags indicating that a student will not be a positive addition to a college’s academic mission. Social media oﬀers an enlightening supplement to the admissions process and provides students with the opportunity to showcase what makes them the perfect ﬁt for college.
plicants’ social media had a negative impact on their choice. To take something as personal as a student’s social media and use it against them is unfair to the student. Social media gives students a place to share their thoughts and feelings about current events and to connect with their friends. A student’s proﬁle can show them at their most relaxed or vulnerable, meaning it is not the best, most polished version of themselves, and it should not have to be. Some social media platforms, such as Twitter, have character limits that can hinder communication. When students apply to colleges, their ex-
tensive application provides enough information about them that admissions oﬃcers should not need to use social media. High school students should be free to express their opinions on social media. However, the threat of admissions oﬃcers scouring applicants’ social media proﬁles would certainly force some students to selfcensor. Admissions oﬃcers have personal biases; there is no way to ensure that they evaluate students objectively when they are presented with a student’s stance on controversial issues. While this bias may also carry over to personal essays, the student has chosen to present their beliefs in the essay in a way that they feel comfortable sharing with an admissions oﬃcer. They are asking to be judged on their opinions put into a context of their choosing, not taken out of context from their proﬁles. When checking a student’s proﬁle, admissions oﬃcers may not only learn about a student’s take on a controversial topic, but also that the applicant uses illicit substances, such as alcohol and marijuana. While posting about illegal behavior like drug consumption on social media is unwise for legal reasons, it is still information that should not be available to college admissions oﬃcers. Today, 55.7 percent of high school seniors reported consuming alcohol at least once in the past year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, this generation of teens is not the ﬁrst to drink or smoke pot; what separates them from previous generations is that it is easier for admissions oﬃcers to see if an applicant partakes in this activity. If engaging in such behavior has not impacted a student’s academic performance, there is no reason for it to impact their college admissions. Laws against use of alcohol and marijuana were put into place to protect young people. If a student uses drugs without harming others, it does not make a student an immoral person. Activities like underage drinking should not be viewed on the same plane as online activities or comments that place others at risk; these should only be considered if they are brought to the attention of the admissions oﬃcers by a third party. For example, Harvard University revoked oﬀers of admission to 10 students accepted last year after administrators learned that they were sharing hateful memes in a group chat. This was brought to the administration’s attention by a student who was also in the group, meaning the content of the conversation was so harmful that a student felt it was in the school’s best interest to know what was being said. Behavior that targets minority groups is more than a contrary opinion; it is indicative of a possible threat to others and should be a factor that admissions oﬃcer consider. When students apply to college, they provide the college with materials, such as their GPA, SAT scores, personal essays, and extracurriculars, that they want to be judged on. Colleges should make decisions based on the picture an applicant has painted of themselves, not the information posted online for their friends’ eyes.
Natalie Daly senior
Christopher Watkins sophomore
Jonah Nan junior
Maggie McCarthy senior
“Yes, you can say some racist stuﬀ on your twitter and get accepted into a school and that’s not okay.”
“No, I use more slang on social media and all that stuﬀ, and it makes me look less intelligent than I actually am.”
“Yes, I think that when you make the choice to post something, you make the choice that anyone should be able to see it.”
“No, social media reﬂects an aspect of our lives that doesn’t really inﬂuence our school life.”
“No, I think colleges should respect the privacy of students when they’re considering them for application.”
April 18, 2018
Why choosing to attend community college can be beneﬁcial
By Lucy Gavin Americans tend to view the country’s higher education system in one way: the more prestigious the school, the more successful the student. Yet, many students, even those attending elite colleges, are graduating with few job prospects and an average of $37,172 in debt, according to Forbes. The four-year university route is viewed as the only option to success, but there is an overlooked alternative: community college.
soapbox Do you plan to attend community college? “I plan on attending community college if I don’t get into my dream school. ... [It] can help you graduate with a higher cumulative GPA.” — Rafeal Girma, junior “I am not. I am planning on pursuing a career in scientiﬁc research and ... there are not as many options [for research] at a community college.” — Daniel Schaffer, junior
While there is a stigma surrounding attending community college, doing so has proved to be a sound investment that is more adaptive to diﬀerent lifestyles and can lay the groundwork for success. The ﬁrst beneﬁt of community college is the reduced cost. According to College Board, the average tuition and fees for a public four-year in-state university this school year is $9,970 and $25,620 for out-of-state students. Attending a private four-year university for one year totals to $34,740, on average. For the average public in-district community college, on the other hand, tuition and fees amount to only $3,570 this school year. Students who transfer to a four-year university after community college spend thousands of dollars less on their higher education. Many enter community college with the goal of obtaining an associate’s degree and then transferring to a four-year institution where they only have to spend two years. Students in Maryland are fortunate because they can make use of University of Maryland College Park’s (UMD) Transfer Advantage Program. This program, which is available to students attending various community colleges across the state, oﬀers many beneﬁts to its participants. To be eligible for the program, students must have graduated community college with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Maryland community college students do not even have to wait to transfer before they can take advantage of the resources of a fouryear institution. Students are allowed to take advantage of opportunities at UMD while still enrolled at Montgomery College (MC), transfer support systems at both MC and UMD, and a 25 percent course-tuition scholarship for one UMD course per term. In addition to lower tuition and transfer opportunities, the community college route
A SENSIBLE OPTION Montgomery College has many beneﬁts that are often overlooked. oﬀers ﬂexibility that the rigid schedule of a traditional university cannot. Community college allows students to attend part time, meaning they can take fewer classes to accommodate their schedules. Most community college students also commute to campus. For someone who needs to spend most of their time at home helping family, has to work long hours to afford college and living expenses, or just does not feel that they are emotionally mature enough to live independently, community college is a great option. Community colleges allow students to take care of personal obligations while not putting their education on hold. Community college is also good for “kids with special needs that need a small environment where they can get more special
attention,” says Phalia West, Blair’s Career/ College Information Coordinator. “Community colleges just foster a little bit more purposeful help to a student, so if you have a 504, if you have an IEP, or any other kinds of special needs, community college does a really good job of getting those kids four-year college ready.” Electing to go to community college for two years does not limit a student’s future aspirations. They still have the opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree after transferring. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 71 percent of students who transferred from a community college earned a bachelor degree within four years of transferring. The stigma of community college should not stop anyone from taking advantage of this opportunity.
April 18, 2018
Child marriage is a first world problem
This human rights abuse is overlooked in the United States
By Isabella Tilley An opinion
#Time’sUp for consent education Lessons on affirmative consent should be implemented in U.S. public schools By Olivia Gonzalez An opinion The #MeToo movement has brought national attention to issues of consent and sexuality. Although it seems like yet another public figure is being outed for sexual misconduct every day, little is being done to prevent future generations from facing the same issues. States nationwide must work to prevent sexual assault by requiring the teaching of affirmative consent in public schools. In 2015, California became the first state to bring sexual consent lessons to school health curriculums. California defines consent as “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity,” and adds that consent cannot come from lack of resistance, silence, or someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This year, Maryland legislators followed suit as both houses unanimously passed a similar bill. While affirmative consent is important to implement in college orientations and student handbooks—as is often done in attempt to reduce campus sexual assault— students have to be introduced to the concept much earlier, as many victims are raped in the “red zone,” or the first semester of freshman year, according to a study conducted by researchers at Brown University’s School for Public Health. As such, other state legislatures must follow Maryland and California’s leads and implement similar policies. In order to effectively prevent sexual assault, consent education should begin as early as elementary school. While the subject of sexual relationships may not be appropriate for elementary school audiences, lessons on consent can be taught in other ways. For instance, SexInfo Online—the University of California, Santa Barbara’s sex education website—suggests that “teaching students to ask for permission before touch-
ing or hugging any classmates integrates the rule of consent into simple, everyday considerations … they must ask for permission from their classmate to play with that classmate’s toy or to share some of that classmate’s lunch.” Implementing lessons like these in primary education enables students to learn from a young age that they are in control of their own bodies and possessions, while still being age appropriate. There is no doubt that consent is confusing for most people. According to the New York Times, 61 percent of men say they get consent from their partner’s body language, while only 10 percent of women say they give consent via body language—which can often lead to miscommunication in heterosexual relationships. As such, it is important to provide students with a clear understanding of consent through affirmative consent education before they go off into the adult world. Though teaching consent in itself may not end the sexual assault epidemic, such an education is effective in reducing people’s likelihood of committing sexual assault. A 2017 study of male freshmen at 30 different colleges and universities in Georgia found that “young men who have a greater understanding of the elements of effective consent for sex (e.g., must be fully conscious and must feel free to act) are less likely to commit [sexual violence],” and recommends that schools target this preventative factor. It can be reasonably inferred that the same would be applicable in other states. Sexual assault is an epidemic that will not solve itself, and one that affects people of all backgrounds, genders, and political affiliations. As such, elected officials must do their part to protect and serve their constituents by passing bills to implement lessons on sexual consent in health curriculums. The time is up for the United States to say yes to affirmative consent education in public schools.
The idea of minors marrying adults is atrocious to most Americans—when the marriage occurs in another country, like India or Mexico. The U.S. State Department has made a point of supporting efforts to combat this global problem, calling child marriage “a human rights abuse,” and yet, for the third year in a row, the Maryland General Assembly failed to pass a law that would the minimum marriage age to 18. Currently, Maryland law allows minors as young as 15 to be married if they have consent from a parent or guardian, and if the “woman to be married” is pregnant or has a child. Children aged 16 and 17 can marry if they fulfill at least one of those conditions. The Tahirih Justice Center reported that, with these loopholes, 3200 children were wed in Maryland between 2000 and 2015, according to the Baltimore Sun. By failing to pass a law raising the minimum age of marriage to 18, the Maryland General Assembly is allowing children to make decisions that may harm their health, educations, and livelihoods, and even potentially trap them in abusive relationships. Like in most other countries where child marriage is an issue, the majority of the minors affected by these laws in the U.S. are girls. PBS Frontline found that 87 percent of the estimated 200,000 American minors married between 2000 and 2015 were girls, and that 86 percent of said minors married adults, not other minors. In some cases, these laws allow adults who have committed statutory rape to marry their victims in order to avoid prosecution. Marriages between young girls and adult men can have devastating consequences
their own,” Smoot says. If a minor wishes to divorce their husband, they must have an adult file a divorce on their behalf. This law gives the adult the power to control whether and when a married minor can leave the marriage. The lack of affirmative rights for married minors in Maryland also makes it difficult for them to enter into legal contracts. Contracts with minors are voidable, which makes it difficult for a married girl to lease her own apartment, buy her own car, or even buy her own cell phone. This leaves her almost entirely dependent on her husband, and essentially prevents her from leaving the marriage on her own. Maryland’s policy of “partial emancipation” for married minors takes away the parental support most minors receive without granting them the full rights and privileges that legal adults have. Even if the girl’s husband is not abusive, marrying at such a young age can still harm her health. According to a 2011 study by Yann Le Strat, Caroline Dubertret, and Bernard Le Foll, women who married as children experienced higher rates of psychiatric disorders than women who married as adults. Research has also linked child marriage with higher risks of contracting an STD, cervical cancer, maternal death during childbirth, unintended pregnancy, and malnutrition among offspring, according to The JAMA Forum, a medical news media outlet. Early marriage hurts minors’ educations and livelihoods. According to a study by Daniel Keplinger, women who marry before age 19 are half as likely to complete high school, and four times less likely to complete college than women who do not marry before age 19. Meanwhile, according to research from UC San Diego and the National
Between 2000 and 2015, over 200,000 American minors got married. Nearly 90% of those married minors were girls. Over 85% of all married minors married adults, not other minors.
for married girls, especially if the husband becomes abusive. The possibility of being legally trapped in an abusive marriage is not a hypothetical problem for married girls. According to the Tahirih Justice Center, girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. Married girls are more likely to be victims of abuse, and they are almost guaranteed to be stuck in that abuse. In any abusive relationship, victims face obstacles that make it difficult to leave their abuser, but when that victim is a minor, legal constraints can make it even harder. Under Maryland law, the rights of a married minor are unclear. Generally, according to Jeanne Smoot, a policy expert at the Tahirih Justice Center, married minors in Maryland are considered “partially emancipated.” Partial emancipation absolves parents of their obligation to support their child, but does not affirmatively grant any new rights to the married minor. “[Maryland law] doesn’t make clear at all what rights a minor has, so then you default to the general rule, which is minors can’t file legal actions on
Bureau of Economic Research, women who marry as teens are 30 percent more likely to end up in poverty as adults. Before a person turns 18, they cannot vote, smoke cigarettes, sign their own school field trip permission slip, or receive a full driver’s license. All of these age restrictions exist because our society has recognized that minors are not always able to make the best decisions for themselves. An unfortunate irony in this issue is that minors can become stuck in marriages because they lack some of the legal privileges afforded only to adults, like leasing apartments or filing for divorce. There is no reason for a minor to be allowed to enter into a lifelong relationship that may harm their health, interrupt their education, increase their chances of ending up in poverty, or even trap them in an abusive relationship before they can give themselves permission to attend a school field trip. Maryland and the rest of America must raise the minimum marriage age to 18, with no exceptions.
April 18, 2018
Asking for change to panhandling policies
Montgomery County needs to adopt new regulations to protect the homeless By Adenike Falade An opinion While campaigning for the 2008 Presidential election, then-Senator Barack Obama said in a speech, “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.” Since protecting the public should be the government’s top priority, the County Council must pass Bill 39-17, “Streets and Roads – Roadway Solicitation and Distribution – Prohibition.” If passed, Bill 39-17 will deter panhandling in dangerous locations by imposing a $50 to $75 fine on individuals who solicit money near red lights and on roadways. The numerous accidents involving roadside panhandlers are more than justifiable cause for Councilmember Craig Rice’s proposed bill. A car trying to make a left turn in Germantown struck and killed a homeless man standing on the median in June 2017, just a few years after a car jumped a curb and killed a woman in May 2012. Medians are put in place to stop cars from swerving out of control and into other lanes of traffic. People do not belong on these medians or anywhere near the lanes of traffic because it is highly dangerous. If a panhandler solicits money from a car stopped at a red light, they would have to cross multiple lanes of traffic, which puts both the solicitors and the drivers at risk. Rice’s bill intends to limit these pedestrian casualties by preventing people from standing near traffic light intersections. In Omaha and Colorado Springs where similar legislation is in place, the number of accidents has decreased, according to a Wichita City councilmember. Opponents of the bill and similar bills around the country argue that banning individuals from medians is a violation of the First Amendment because they inhibit a panhandler’s right to free speech.
While Rice’s bill does include a fine for begging at intersections or medians, it in no way aims to criminalize the poor by fining them for needing money. It specifically accommodates asking for money on unpaved shoulder lanes and nearby sidewalks. The goal of the bill is simply “to protect the public at traffic light controlled intersections,” according to the proposal. The bill is meant to deter individuals from soliciting money in dangerous locations for their own safety but still allows for solicitation in certain, non-dangerous locations. Rice’s bill respects panhandlers’ necessity to solicit money just as much as it respects their safety. Others oppose the bill because it does little to address the actual issue of homelessness and poverty that compels people to ask for money on dangerous roads. Bill 39-17 does not directly help and prevent people living in poverty, but it is definitely a strong beginning for further protections on behalf of homeless people. Frederick County has a bill in place similar to Rice’s bill that carries a $70 fine, but officers first give a verbal warning before handing out fines. According to Lieutenant Jeff Eyler, assistant patrol operations commander of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, their police officers typically direct panhandlers towards services provided by the county rather than writing a ticket. Captain Thomas Didone of the Montgomery County Police Department promises that if Montgomery County implemented a similar bill, officers would also speak with individuals before citing them as well. If enforced well, Rice’s bill can introduce panhandlers to safer methods for finding assistance. Rice’s proposal provides a solid step in the right direction for protecting the lives of the homeless. Though people experiencing extreme poverty are too often neglected and ignored by society until they line the roadways searching for
money, Bill 39-17 can offer hope to the many individuals affected by poverty. Any responsible governing body should realize
that protecting its citizens needs to be a top priority. Passing Bill 39-17 is just a part of this mission.
April 18, 2018
My Blair: Personal Column Gun control and school security Editor’s Note: Erika Rao’s eleventh grade English class submitted personal columns commenting on the recent push for gun control and school safety improvements in America. The following column is a selection from a student explaining their stance on the issue and how the issue affects them personally. If you or your class wants to submit a personal column, email email@example.com! The Editorial Board will read through all submissions and determine a selection.
By Leul Abate In first person
By Corey Lanham Guest writer Eighteen school shootings since January 1. That totals to approximately two shootings per week. Among shootings of schools between kindergarten and twelfth grade, 53 percent of the shooters were under 21 years old. With over half of school shooters being under 21, the legal age of purchasing a weapon is evidently too low and the type of weapons allowed to be owned by the public is too dangerous. Gun control laws need to ban semiautomatic weapons and raise the age to purchase a gun. Raising the minimum purchasing age of a gun to 21 would be the first step to prevent further school shootings from occurring. Currently, people can buy shotguns and semi-automatic weapons from unlicensed sales due to the looser restrictions. This can be averted by passing a bill to raise the minimum purchasing age for a gun. With a bill like this in place, people can’t purchase firearms at gun shows or through another type of unlicensed sale. Like the state of Oklahoma, there should be a Handgun Carry Military Exemption Act, allowing residents who currently serve in the military, Guard, Reserves, or honorably discharged from the military to be allowed get a license for a handgun between the age of 18 to 21. Applicants for the license will be required to take a safety class with the acquired pistol. Some may say that in the Constitution, the Second Amendment allows the right to
bear arms and shouldn’t be infringed. As an American citizen, changing the law so people cannot obtain a firearm is unconstitutional. Although the right to bear arms is a part of the Constitution, this right won’t be taken away. The purpose of changing the legal age limit is to make sure that more mature people are in possession of a gun, as opposed to people that still attend high school. With 53 percent of school shootings being done by people under the age of 21, this change in age is a necessity in order to keep innocent lives out of jeopardy. Semi-automatic weapons aren’t imperative in today’s society. Whether for hunting, protecting oneself, or just for a collection, semi-automatic weapons don’t have a place in the hands of the common resident. The amount of ammunition that is fired out of the weapon within a certain time frame is too dangerous to be allowed. More restrictions should be placed to completely ban these types of weapons. Some people may still believe that this contravenes with their right to keep and bear arms, but it is just a restriction on a certain type of weapon that causes more harm than good. Firearms will still be allowed, making this a constitutional change to the way citizens of the United States are protected. With over half of school shootings being by people under the age of 21, it is evident that there needs to be a raise in the legal purchasing age for a firearm. The type of firearms allowed to be owned by citizens also needs more restrictions in order to keep residents safe.
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Corrections: March 2017 The article on A1, “Politicize Parkland,” was incorrectly jumped to page A4. That article continues on page B2. The article on A1, “MCPS students protest for gun control at U.S. Capitol,” was incorrectly jumped to page D3. That article continues on page A4.
April 18, 2018
Citizen or not, everyone counts
Asking for citizenship status on the census will lead to undercounts Every ten years, the United States attempts a Herculean effort—counting every single person in the country and recording their basic demographic data. This information is then used to determine congressional, state, and local representation, and is the basis for appropriating funds to programs. So if it is already hard enough to make sure everybody is represented, why would the Trump administration add a question to the census asking about citizenship status, something that could deter many people from answering at all? The simple answer: racism and party politics. By asking respondents for their immigration status, the administration sends the message to non-citizens that their presence in America does not count. Though some members of the administration may not welcome immigrants, they are still living here, and it is still the Census Bureau’s job to keep track of them. Adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census will likely undercount immigrant-dense areas, which may result in devastating consequences to the funding and congressional representation of already underrepresented urban, predominantly Democratic areas. Although Secretary of State Wilbur Ross claimed that obtaining citizenship data will not impact the census response rate, empirical evidence and expert testimony contradict his view. According to a rough estimate by the Census Bureau, up to 630,000 households would require a nonresponse follow-up if the question were added, meaning at least 630,000 families are not expected
to submit their census responses if they must reveal their citizenship status. As former US Census Bureau director Charles Louis Kincannon testified, inquiring into immigration status or citizenship “could seriously jeopardize the accuracy of the census [because] people who are undocumented immigrants may either avoid the census altogether or deliberately misreport themselves as legal residents.” Legal residents may also “misunderstand or mistrust the census and fail or refuse to respond.” In an age fraught with ICE raids, calls for mass deportation, and general mistrust of the Trump administration, it is understandable that undocumented, and even documented, immigrants would not want to call undue attention to their status. When faced with a survey from the government that asks about just that, the safest option for many is to simply not respond. The reassurance that all information is confidential and each survey participant will not be identified individually is meaningless if a lack of trust in the Trump administration and fears of deportation are widespread. Asking about citizenship is not only counterproductive to the mission of the Census, but it also potentially discriminates against the representation of immigrants behind an unjustified front of enforcing anti-discrimination policies in the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The Trump administration has claimed that the question is necessary to properly enforce Section 2 of the VRA, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate
on the basis of race, color, or membership in certain language minorities, but this makes little sense. Collecting data on immigration status will do nothing to further this goal because the information does not influence discriminatory voting practices. There is no need to determine the number of voting age citizens residing in the country through the census because voter registration and the American Community Survey use more in-depth methods of obtaining this same demographic data. This is a much better way to go about enforcing
the VRA without potentially underrepresenting key populations in the country and potentially compromising key census data. The accuracy of the entire census in not worth the Trumpean goal of silencing thousands of non-citizens who are already fearing for their safety under a constant state of immigration pressure. This question, which seems innocent enough, could find its way onto the 2020 census. However, for certain populations, asking about citizenship status would deter them from submitting a census entirely and gives them another
legitimate reason to fear for their safety in this country. The goal of the census is to provide non-partisan, accurate demographic data on the United States, and adding this question would clearly add partisan bias to the survey.
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Handing it off to the next generation of outreach
2018-19 Ombudsman Hannah Lee 2017-18 Ombudsman Laura Espinoza By Laura Espinoza and Hannah Lee
Laura From its beginnings as a fourpage paper in the 1940s to its full 32-page wonder in the 2010s, Silver Chips has had great interactions with the community. Letters to the editor, yes, more than one letter, could be found across the pages of the paper. Community members, not just students or teachers, submitted comments, suggestions, and criticisms of our content. Not only does hearing from you assure us that people actually read the stories we write, but it helps us know what our readers
want to see. Every once in a while we will receive a note pointing out a mistake, and we really do make these changes. The students on staff are a tiny proportion of the school who do not represent all of Blair. If our opinions are the only ones that impact how the newspaper evolves over time, we cannot call ourselves “a public forum for student expression,” as is printed at the top of our masthead in every cycle. Without reader feedback, both formal and informal, we would have never created or expanded the size of La Esquina Latina, changed how we write about the LGBTQ+ students at Blair, or learned how to provide constructive criticism through our opinion
articles. This year, Silver Chips made it a priority to do our part in reaching out. We constantly ask for your feedback and are working hard to improve the ways you can interact with the paper. With our new reader feedback survey, distributed each cycle through English classes, we have heard over 1,000 student voices. We saw that you loved stories like the poorly rated restaurant review and the opinion article on menstrual product availability, and we know that you want a larger diversity of opinions and sources. Using your suggestions, our writers have worked to reach out to different groups in the school, and we are working much harder on our copyediting. This time last year, I asked for the community to reach out to us, and you delivered. For that, Silver Chips and I are thankful. We hope that you will continue sharing your thoughts in the years to come. Maybe you heard me talk about Silver Chips in your classroom or just read my column, but I hope I have helped you critically think about journalism and news in your life. Being your Ombudsman has been a wonderful experience, but it is now time to pass on the torch. I cannot think of anyone more qualified than Hannah Lee. Having known her since her first year of middle school, I am confident that she will carry on the wonderful tradition of representing the voice of the students. For all the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who will be at Blair next year, you still have a chance to impact the paper. If you
do not take Journalism and join the Chips staff, make sure you are keeping in touch with Hannah. She wants to hear your ideas and advocate for you. Silver Chips is by the people for the people. One-hundred percent of the time. We strive to live by our motto “Nullaes Rationales,” no excuses.
Hannah From being a staff writer for Silver Chips throughout the past school year, the most enjoyable yet anxiety-inducing part of the experience has been hearing the responses from all of our readers following each cycle. To increase reader interaction, publications have made it an essential aspect to have as many outlets as possible available for the readers to show harsh criticism or strong support based on the staff’s general performance. Silver Chips follows that same perspective by encouraging you to communicate with us as much as possible, whether it is through emails, Letter to the Editor columns, Ben’s surveys, or even directly expressing their opinion to a writer. After reading Laura’s columns over the course of the past six cycles, my awareness for the importance of outreach to our readers grew tremendously, and I am so excited to expand the partnership between the paper and our community even more next year. Silver Chips will always have more room to grow as a paper, a community, and a family, and we cannot do it without you. I cannot emphasize enough how
essential you are in piecing the paper together as a whole. That being said, one of my main goals for next year is to not only make reaching out to us as easy and efficient as possible, but also reaching out to those who may not have had the chance to express their opinions. If it means holding discussions in different English classes after each cycle, or asking people I have never talked to in the hallways, then I will do so by all means. The point is, you will see me around a lot. Any suggestion you provide, which can range from covering stories that better represent Blair’s student population to fixing a typo on one our pages, is there to not only help us improve the quality of our paper, but also ensure a highly satisfactory experience for the people most important to us: the readers. Please understand that even the slightest sign of appreciation toward our business, art, and writing staff drives us to work even harder and aspire to improve for you and our community. As I try my best to fulfill this crucial role in the realm of journalism, I ask that you guide me through this journey as well. Pull me over in the hallway for a short conversation. Talk to the staff writers. Email me. Most importantly, express yourself. As I take on this new role, my biggest hope is for your passion and appreciation for the paper to grow as much as I improved as a writer while serving you. Let us make the next year the best as possible, and I look forward to hearing from you.
18 de abril, 2018
La Esquina Latina
Silver Chips el 18 de abril 2018
Sulema Salazar: parte del renovado noticiero Telemundo 44 En exclusiva relata la trayectoria de su carrera periodistica Por Jasmine Méndez-Paredes “No hay días normales en el periodismo,” dice Sulema Salazar, presentadora de noticias para Telemundo 44 en Washington D.C. Su día comienza asistiendo a los estudios de Telemundo para tener reuniones con el equipo de producción. Luego hace unos retoques a su maquillaje y ﬁnalmente lee las primeras palabras en la pantalla antes de salir al aire y entrar a cientos de hogares en el área metropolitana de Washington. Esta mujer latina, quien en su niñez aspiró en ser agente secreto de FBI, es actualmente una periodista muy reconocida en la industria de los medios comunicativos latinos. Además, es una ganadora de dos premios Emmy. En Zacatecas, México, Salazar dejó atrás sus hermosos recuerdos infantiles para estudiar en la Universidad de West Texas A&M. Salazar menciona lo que ella enfrentó al ser una estudiante, “Yo trabajaba tiempo completo… Nunca fui una estudiante regular sin dejar de trabajar.” Sin embargo, el trabajo no le impidió a Salazar en ser la primera persona de su familia en graduarse de la universidad. Ella añade, “Eso me tardó más años, pero logré terminar mi carrera. Así es que fue un obstáculo que me ayuda valorar lo que he logrado.” Después de obtener su licenciatura en ciencias de comunicación, Salazar descubrió su pasión por el periodismo. Salazar comenta, “Trabajé en una [emisora de] radio y tuve ese contacto con la comunidad
inmigrante y me di cuenta de que podía informar [a la comunidad latina].” Después de muchos años trabajando para una estación
más su carrera profesional. “En esta carrera [de periodismo] si de verdad quieres crecer, te tienes que mudar… [y] cuando sientes
ENFOCADA Sulema Salazar se sienta con una periodista de La Esquina Latina. de radio en Amarillo, Texas, Salazar tuvo la oportunidad de reportar el tiempo con la estación noticiera local de Telemundo Amarillo. En el 2011, Salazar se mudó a Washington D.C. para ser presentadora en la estación local de Telemundo. Según ella, mudarse a otro estado puede ser un desafío para algunos, pero ella mira el hecho de mudarse como una oportunidad para desarrollar aún
que logras tus metas te sientes bien... [por eso] no lo veo tanto como obstáculo,” dice Salazar. Periodistas mexicanos como María Elena Salinas y Jorge Ramos inspiran a Salazar, especialmente porque abogan por los inmigrantes. Ella dice, “Lo que más me apasiona de este trabajo es conocer gente y sus historias…. historias de inmigrantes que se superan, y que a la vez te enseñan cuando
los entrevistas. Eso es lo que más me gusta a mí.” Salazar comparte una experiencia en una entrevista poderosa e interesante, “Tuve la oportunidad de entrevistar una señora guatemalteca… ella sale a trabajar en su bicicleta vendiendo cosas, así se gana la vida decentemente. Sobre todo, cuando mira que [la señora guatemalteca] está pasando cosas difíciles… [podemos entender que] nada nos detiene.” El espíritu de superación continúa creciendo en la vida profesional de Salazar. En el 2016, ella fue otorgada 2 premios Emmy por un reportaje sobre un grupo de estudiantes que cruzaron la frontera sin sus padres y otro reportaje acerca de una familia que visitó al Papa Francisco en Washington D.C. Salazar explica la razón por la cual ella decide escoger estas historias, “Las mejores historias tienen corazón, tienen mente y la gente las percibe.” Acerca de los reportajes ganadores ella comenta, “Nunca los hice pensando en eso [ganar un premio Emmy].” Para ser periodista, Salazar demuestra que uno tiene que estar dispuesto a esforzarse y mudarse a diferentes lugares, pero ella también enseña claramente que el trabajo no va a ser una carga o desafío si es que verdaderamente uno ama lo que hace. Esta periodista mexicana termina dando consejos para los jóvenes que desean trabajar en el campo de periodismo. Ella dice, “Que todo lo que hagas, lo hagas con pasión y de verdad lo hagas porque te gusta. Tienes que sentirlo porque de verdad te apasiona, y porque a la vez es un servicio a la comunidad.”
Torneo de fútbol en Blair deja una marca positiva en los latinos Los participantes se unieron en equipo y gozaron de los partidos hasta la ﬁnal Por Lourdes Reyes-Valenzuela ¡La voz de los latinos en Blair ha sido escuchada! Al principio del mes de marzo, se inició un torneo de fútbol para todos los estudiantes latinos. La mayoría de los participantes fueron estudiantes de ESOL porque ellos lo pidieron y se lo gozaron. Estas actividades fueron de mucho agrado para toda la comunidad latina de Blair ya que debido a esta actividad y a los gustos en común, los alumnos hispanos se unieron grandemente. Para llevar a cabo los torneos, se necesitó la ayuda de maestros, entrenadores, y administradores de la escuela, quienes se juntaron para poder hacer este evento posible. Lo mejor que dejó esta actividad en la escuela fue la unión y la audiencia de los estudiantes les brindó a los jugadores. La señora Lavina Carrillo, administradora de los estudiantes de ESOL en Blair, tuvo mucho que ver en esta actividad porque ayudó a los estudiantes a lograrlo. “Los estudiantes me comunicaron que no había nada que hacer durante el almuerzo y como a ellos les interesa el fútbol, decidimos hacer el torneo,” mencionó Carrillo. La decisión de los estudiantes tuvo mucho que ver en estos juegos porque al ﬁnal, fueron hechos para el disfrute estudiantil. No solamente Carrillo se involucró en esto, sino que también otros entrenadores y maestros de la escuela. La directora de atletismo en Blair, Rita Boule, también tuvo un papel importante para lograr esta actividad para la comunidad ESOL de Blair. Carrillo contó que, “La señora Boule habló con los coordinadores del PTSA y consiguió el dinero para los uniformes de los equipos. Además, ella y los otros entrenadores apoyaron a los estudiantes.” La marca que esta actividad deja en los estudiantes es grande, por lo que se espera que haya otro
torneo en el futuro cercano. Hay que mencionar que los torneos se llevaron a cabo durante ambos almuerzos en el gimnasio Nelson H. Kobren memorial, donde los equipos de cada almuerzo eran diferentes. En el penúltimo y último juego, se hicieron partidos con la asistencia de ambos equipos para así denominar cual sería el campeón. Un estudiante de noveno grado, Edgar Herrera, quien jugó durante el periodo cinco dijo que, “El torneo fue muy divertido y entretenido. También, al jugar con mis amigos sentí unión entre nosotros y una gran representación hispana en Blair.” El compañerismo entre los estudiantes era una de las metas que se logró al formar el equipo. Estos juegos también marcaron un gran punto en la vida de la población hispanohablante en Blair porque se sienten que su voz está siendo escuchada. Se llenaron de alegría los estudiantes de ESOL porque pudieron participar en una actividad en Blair en la que pueden hablar español y no se sintieron marginados. Valeria Cabrera, una estudiante hispana del grado doce quien ayudó en los torneos, se dio cuenta de la felicidad que daban esas actividades a los latinos. “El torneo de fútbol tuvo inﬂuencia en los estudiantes latinos, pero más en los que toman inglés como segundo idioma en la escuela porque la mayoría de los jugadores son estudiantes de ESOL que la señora Carrillo buscó,” dijo Cabrera. Desde este torneo en adelante, se notará más la voz hispana porque la idea principal de poder tener un torneo fue de los estudiantes latinos en ESOL que se lo comentaron a Carrillo. En la semiﬁnal, los cuatro equipos que lo hicieron mejor estaban jugando para ir a la ﬁnal. Uno de los jugadores, Jonathan Gómez del doceavo grado, quien también es
FÚTBOL Los jugadores dan lo mejor de ellos en capitán del equipo de fútbol del Rec-Zone, dijo, “Este juego es importante para mí porque puedo representar a los latinos en Blair jugando fútbol y también pasando tiempo con mis amigos.” Él, al igual que otros jugadores, participaron en el torneo para representar envolver más a los latinos en la vida extracurricular de la escuela. El equipo de Gómez fue el que ganó para ir a la ﬁnal, donde anotaron 6-0 gracias a la unión que había entre los jugadores. Isaí William Castillo anotó los últimos goles y menciona que, “Fue una alegría haber podido anotar los goles y hacer ganar a mi equipo porque es la primera vez que lo hacemos en Blair.” Al momento de anotar un gol en el último minuto se sintió la alegría de la audiencia. Para otros jugadores, el simple hecho de estar en un equipo fue de gran importancia. “Para mí fue un gran orgullo porque me permitió
los partidos amistosos.
estar con ellos y aportar un poco para poder llegar a la ﬁnal juntos.”, dije José Arévalo, un estudiante del doceavo grado. En el partido ﬁnal, los ganadores fueron “Los desconocidos”, el equipo de Castillo, Arévalo y Gómez. Este último torneo fue muy decisivo porque en el primer tiempo quedaron empatados, pero ya al ﬁnal ganaron 9-7. Arévalo fue uno de los estudiantes que se destacó en anotando cuatro goles, lo que, con la ayuda de sus compañeros, los llevó a ganar. El impacto que tuvo este torneo para los hispanos de Blair fue impresionante porque los unió más. La marca que dejan estos juegos en la escuela hará que los estudiantes y maestros sean capaces de pedir otro torneo para el futuro. Ha habido interés para otro torneo y la primera reunión se realizó el 16 de abril. Antes de que este periódico saliera.
silverchips 18 de abril, 2018 C2 español Armar a profesores contra tiroteos en EE.UU. ¿Cura o agravante? La función de los maestros es enseñar, no andar armados Por Amanda Hernández Una opinión El violento suceso en la escuela Marjory Stoneman Douglas en Florida ha resultado que los estudiantes del condado de Montgomery se unan para promover una reforma de leyes relacionadas al acceso de armas de fuego. Grupos de estudiantes de diferentes colegios han realizado demostraciones masivas protestando en contra de la falta de control de armas en los Estados Unidos. En respuesta a las protestas públicas, el Presidente Trump propuso armar a los maestros como una medida preventiva contra los tiroteos escolares. A la luz del tiroteo en la escuela superior Marjory Stoneman Douglas, una realización preocupante ha cautivado las mentes de estudiantes; no nos sentimos seguros en la escuela. ¿Cuándo será nuestro turno? ¿Alguien convertirá nuestra escuela en una galería de tiro? Para muchos estas preguntas han persistido en sus mentes. Más estudiantes se mantienen unidos en oponer a la falta de control de armas y se ha hecho evidente que este problema ha afectado signiﬁcativamente a nuestra generación. El 13 de marzo, un día antes de las demostraciones estudiantiles, un maestro de la escuela secundaria Seaside en California disparó una pistola en una sala llena de estudiantes. De acuerdo al periódico Monterey Herald, un estudiante resultó herido cuando un fragmento de la bala rebotó del techo. El próximo día, miles de estudiantes de todo el país abandonaron sus clases para abogar por una regulación más estricta de las armas de fuego y poder evitar situaciones similares. Aunque es el principio de este movimiento, los estudiantes deben continuar fortaleciendo sus esfuerzos para lograr sus objetivos. En respuesta a las protestas en todo el país por el control de armas, el presidente Trump lanzó un plan de legislación donde propuso armar a los maestros. De acuerdo
con el noticiero New York Times, para obtener apoyo para su propuesta, Trump lo incentivó diciendo que, “Los maestros armados deberían recibir un pago extra.” Aunque su propuesta puede parecer adecuada teniendo en cuenta que algunos distritos escolares ya han implementado el armar a profesores, esto puede causar varios problemas. Si la legislación propuesta fuera implementada en los distritos escolares de todo el país, el entrenamiento tendría que ser exhaustivo. Si el entrenamiento no es adecuado, podría haber consecuencias fatales con el mal uso de las armas que podrían poner en riesgo las vidas de los estudiantes. Además de eso, los distritos escolares diversos verán un aumento en los prejuicios raciales, y la tensión entre los educadores y los estudiantes. Desde el tiroteo en la escuela securdaria Marjory Stoneman Douglas en el condado Broward, se han impulsado extensas legislaciones y reformas para promover la seguridad en escuelas de Florida. De acuerdo con un reportaje de CNN, la estatua conocida como Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, “Entre las disposiciones se encuentran más fondos para oﬁciales armados de recursos escolares y servicios de salud mental.” Estudiantes de todo el país continúan protestando por legislación en sus estados para promover escuelas mejores y más seguras. Para medir verdaderamente la efectividad de esta legislación propuesta, también se debe considerar como afectará las vidas de los estudiantes. El condado de Montgomery es conocido por su diversidad; una vez que se agregan armas a los plantles escolares, las minorías serán marginadas y victimizadas por la violencia con armas de fuego. Nuestra sociedad continúa aferrándose a prejuicios y estigmas raciales arraigados. No hace falta ser un genio para ver que el armar a maestros racistas o los que tienen prejuicios subconscientes podría llevar a las muertes
“accidentales” de estudiantes de minorías. La ironía dentro de esto es el hecho de que se supone que estos maestros con pistolas protegen a todos los estudiantes, pero de hecho están poniendo a estudiantes en peligro e impartiendo miedo entre la facultad no armada y los estudiantes. De acuerdo con el periódico Wa s h i n g ton Post, “Entre 2000 y 2010, la tasa de mortal i d a d por falta de armas fue más de 18.5 por ciento por cada 100,000 afroamericanos, nueve por ciento por cada 100,000 americanos caucásicos y un poco más de siete por cada 100,000 hispanos.” Cristian Murcia, un estudiante en el grado once, expresó su opinión sobre profesores con armas. “Armar a los profesores no sería la solución al problema, solo le agregaría ... Si una situación se sale de control y un profesor apunta con un arma, ¿Cuál sería la solución?” dijo Murcia. Otra estudiante, Jennifer Martínez del noveno grado quien participó en las demostraciones lideradas por estudiantes, compartió su perspectiva sobre el tema, “Es una cuestión de segundos para que una situación en un aula provoque que alguien reciba una bala en el
pecho”. De las soluciones propuestas por el gobierno, es importante darse cuenta de que no se puede luchar contra las armas con más armas. A medida que avanzamos en un debate políticamente polarizado sobre el control de armas, es crucial que los estudiantes se mantengan ﬁrmes y se unan a sus compañeros. Lo más importante es mantenerse a salvo y vigilante de cualquier comportamiento sospechoso en los espacios más transitados. De acuerdo con las directivas dadas por E Y -D EN nuestra directora, AG YT L R la Sra. Johnson, a todo CA estudiante se le prohibe abrir puertas del plantel escolar. Aquellos que no cumplan con estas reglas serán suspendidos. Lo más importante es que si uno observa un comportamiento sospechoso debe informar a un maestro, la administración o seguridad. También se puede optar por enviar mensajes de texto de manera anónima o llamar a la línea directa de emergencia de Blair al 240-688-7940. Los tiroteos en las escuelas no solo afectan a las víctimas, sino que también afectan a estudiantes que todos los días temen ir a la escuela. Como estudiantes de Blair y del condado de Montgomery, es imperativo que entendamos los efectos del control de armas en nuestra escuela. Al igual que otras escuelas en el país, todos debemos colaborar para evitar tiroteos en el futuro.
Redactado por Sofía Muñoz y Michael Hernández Para este ciclo, hemos escogido ciertos artículos de los primeros ciclos de La Esquina Latina. Estos artículos muestran como era la vida en Blair y como ha cambiado nuestra sección a través de los años.
de las gangas, sus padres, los administradores, la policía y oﬁciales de seguridad, según Gainous. Después de la reunión, las peleas entre gangas dentro de Blair han reducido. Gainous acredita la baja de incidentes entre gangas a la presencia y pronta intervención de la administración y de los oﬁciales de la policía.
EL HURACÁN Y EL DAÑO QUE CAUSÓ 2 de octubre, 2003
FALLECE UN EX-ESTUDIANTE DE BLAIR 22 de abril, 2004
El 18, 22 y 23 de septiembre, Blair fue cerrada debido a la pérdida de electricidad que el huracán Isabel causó. La electricidad se fue a las 4:45 de la mañana, pero MCPS permitió que los buses trajeran a los estudiantes porque PEPCO creyó que la electricidad iba a regresar pronto. A las 8 de la mañana, MCPS oﬁcialmente anunció que Blair iba a cerrar pero hubo estudiantes que se fueron más temprano. Bezawit Bayou, una estudiante del grado once, quien salió temprano, fue atropellada y llevada al hospital donde fue considerada en estado estable. La tormenta ha causado millones de dólares en daños. BAILE POPULAR ENTRE LOS JÓVENES PROHIBIDO 2 de octubre, 2003 Las organizaciones de Blair perdieron más de 4, 200 dólares el año pasado porque los estudiantes no tienen interés en los bailes escolares. El año anterior 20 padres se quejaron que sus hijas se sentían incomodas en los bailes escolares debido a un baile popular entre los jóvenes que simula los movimientos sexuales. La escuela prohibió estos bailes en los bailes escolares y la señora Linda Wanner explicó de que solo se les está pidiendo a los estudiantes que bailen apropiadamente. El Señor Phillip Gainous dijo que planiﬁca continuar con la prohibición con la ayuda de la administración.
LAS GANGAS Y LOS ESFUERZOS DE LOS ADMINISTRADORES 20 de febrero, 2004 Partiendo de numerosos incidentes que ocurrieron antes de las vacaciones de invierno y que fueron relacionados con las gangas en la escuela, los administradores se han esforzado en trabajar con este problema. Esto incluye programas y estrecha comunicación con los padres, los profesores y la comunidad de Blair. La administración se dio cuenta del aumento en incidentes relacionados con las gangas al principio de octubre del año pasado. Los conﬂictos continuaron aumentando y terminaron en una confrontación antes de las vacaciones de invierno. Según el director
de Blair, Phillip Gainous, los eventos que ocurrieron en diciembre resultaron en 16 suspensiones y cuatro expulsiones. Hubo dos incidentes principales el pasado diciembre, dijo Gainous. El primer incidente ocurrió cuando una ganga hizo graﬃti sobre la marca o ﬁrma de otra ganga, según ellos, violando su terreno. El resultado fue una confrontación entre una ganga de africano americanos y otra de latinos que tuvo lugar en Blair. Otro incidente ocurrió afuera de la oﬁcina del director de Blair pero fue detenido antes de que hubiera serias consecuencias. Los eventos de diciembre culminaron en una reunión que fue organizada por la administración de Blair. La reunión fue entre los miembros
En la madrugada, del sábado 20 de marzo, un ex-estudiante de Blair fue baleado en la comunidad de McKinney Hills de Silver Spring. Antonio Morel-Ruiz de 20 anos murió a causa del balazo. La policía detuvo y acusó a Ángel Toledo, de 18 años de edad, por la muerte de Morel-Ruiz el mismo día del incidente. La policía recibió una llamada de una persona quejándose de que había oído balazos. Cuando la policía llegó a la escena encontraron a Morel-Ruiz y a tres otros heridos en los apartamentos de Forest Glen. Dos de los tres envueltos fueron heridos por los balazos y uno tenía un vidrio partido sobre su cabeza. Según Lucille Baur del Departamento policiaco del condado de Montgomery, no hay evidencia de que este acto fuera el resultado de problemas dentro de una pandilla. Se especula que la pelea fue el resultado de la tensión existente entre unos estudiantes de Blair y la pandilla Mara Salvatrucha que también es conocida como MS-13. Los amigos de Morel-Ruiz dijeron que la muerte de él es una tragedia. Su funeral fue el 23 y 24 de marzo en Collins Funeral Home y había más de 200 personas. Por Jennifer Occean y Ria Richardson
18 de abril de 2018
¿Es una buena idea que los estudiantes se vayan de vacaciones durante el año escolar?
Las vacaciones son una forma de liberarse del estrés Algunos alumnos en Blair se toman vacaciones durante el año escolar por diversas razones. Los estudiantes pueden sentirse estresados en las clases y esto afecta sus notas. Debido a esto, algunos deciden tomarse un descanso en tiempo de clases. En otras ocasiones, ellos tienen que viajar a los países de origen de sus padres ya ELIA GRIFFIN sea por algún asunto persoYesenia Sorto nal. Esto es beneficioso para la salud mental tanto como para la salud emocional. Por estas razones muchos estudiantes deciden tomar vacaciones, aunque no son excusadas por el colegio. Cuando los estudiantes vuelven de estas vacaciones, regresan con más energía y ganas de aprender porque se encuentran mucho más relajados. El que los estudiantes visiten otros lugares les beneficia, según la página web del noticiero ABC. Esta informa que, “Cuando uno descansa y se desconecta, su cerebro se reinicia y la capacidad para prestar atención a algo aumenta.” Esto quiere decir que los estudiantes pueden prestar más atención en su salón de clase, obtener mejores resultados en sus notas y mantenerse enfocados en sus estudios. Las vacaciones dan la oportunidad de descansar de la rutina diaria y de dar más vigor a la mente. Al estar más relajados, los estudiantes pueden prestarle más atención a su salud. Los estudiantes se sienten más positivos en hacer sus tareas u otras actividades de la escuela después de tener un descanso. El hecho de haber faltado a clases y encontrarse más relajados resulta que al regreso los estudiantes ponen más esfuerzo en las clases y en las tareas. La página web del periódico español ABC también comenta que estas vacaciones pueden ser, “beneficiosas para el aprendizaje y el retenimiento de los conocimientos.” De igual manera, esto aumenta la capacidad de recordar algunas de las cosas que uno ha aprendido en las clases. Estos aspectos positivos ayudan en los exámenes porque los estudiantes tienen la mente más fresca y relajada. Similarmente, hay estudiantes que se toman un año sabático después de graduarse del colegio secundario. Esta alternativa es muy beneficiosa para los estudios o para experiencias profesionales. La página web de Univisión comenta que, “Hay estudios que han concluido que los estudiantes que tomaron un año sabático tienen un mejor promedio académico.” Un año sabático ayuda a tantos estudiantes, entonces también se puede concluir que el tomar unas vacaciones durante periodos de clases hace lo mismo. Si uno toma las vacaciones para relajarse no hay que olvidar que aún hay que hacer
las tareas y entregarlas al regresar a clases. Por eso alugnos dicen que no es una buena idea tomar muchas de estas vacaciones porque los estudiantes tienen que esforzarse más por haber faltado a clases. Sin embargo esto no significa que ellos se estresen más ya que hay muchas alternativas que uno tiene para que los trabajos asignados en clases no sean mucho cuando uno regresa a dichas clases. Es rutinario que los maestros pongan trabajos en Google Classroom o en Canvas y uno también puede pedir que le den el trabajo de antemano. Esto alivia la preocupación de que el trabajo se acumule. Además, es una buena idea crear una red de contactos de compañeros de clase antes de tomar estas vacaciones para que ellos manden sus notas de las clases perdidas a raíz de la ausencia. Como mencionado, la desmotivación por el cansancio puede causar que calificaciones se vean afectadas. Las vacaciones pueden ayudar a despejar la mente. Otro artículo de Univisión comenta que, “La educación no se adquiere solo en las aulas ni en los libros.” El ambiente en que uno se rodea durante las vacaciones también ayuda en los estu-
Faltar al colegio atrasa a los estudiantes Cada año escolar en Blair hay casos en los cuales estudiantes faltan a la escuela debido a que los padres planifican vacaciones durante días e s c o la r es. Lo que los padres no entienden es que le están haciendo un mal a sus hijos porque los atrasan en sus clases y los aíslan de su ambiente. Esto causa que cuando los estudianELIA GRIFFIN tes regresen a Lourdes Reyes-Valenzuela la escuela esten desconcertados por lo que asignen en ese momento más lo que han perdido por estar ausente. Es de mucha importancia evaluar las consecuencias antes de tomar la decisión de faltar a la escuela por irse de viaje. Igualmente es importante considerar el estrés que viene a raíz del proceso de ponerse al día en cada clase o de posiblemente aplazar una
dios. Muchos dicen que no es beneficioso tomar estas vacaciones durante periodos de clases, porque uno se falta a la escuela y cuando vuelve tiene que hacer muchas tareas. En realidad, si uno toma las vacaciones uno puede organizar su tiempo y hacer las tareas para que estas no se acumulen. Adicionalmente, las vacaciones crean buenas experiencias que tienen mucho valor para adolescentes porque su conocimiento del mundo real crece. En fin, las cosas más importantes con respecto a las vacaciones son que uno puede re-enfocarse, tener más energía, librarse del estrés y sacar mejores notas al regresar.
clase. Las vacaciones que se toman dentro del año escolar atrasan a los estudiantes y no ayuda a su productividad. El faltar a la escuela para tomar unas pequeñas vacaciones o extenderlas cuando se viaja al extranjero puede bloquear la oportunidad para sobresalir académicamente. En un artículo hecho por Univisión se menciona que, “El índice de asistencia escolar es importante porque tienen más posibilidades de tener éxito académico cuando van a la escuela de manera consistente.” Esto es parte de los beneficios de tener una asistencia intacta. Esto indica que cuando los alumnos faltan a la escuela por un periodo extendido estos
no tendrán mucho éxito. José Jacinto, un estudiante de doceavo grado, cree que, “Faltar a clase prolongadamente nos afecta porque además de perdernos las explicaciones, tenemos que entenderlas, se desarrollarán muchas dudas y será difícil ponerse al día.” No hace falta mencionar que tener dudas en las clases dificulta los exámenes de unidad. Estar ausente en clase por irse de vacaciones no es una buena opción porque en verdad no se disfrutan las vacaciones cómo se deberían. La preocupación de las tareas y deberes que se esperan son un obstáculo que impide estar relajado. De acuerdo con lo planteado, al regresar de las vacaciones, el estudiante desarrolla un nivel de estrés debido a las tareas que no hizo, más las que le asignan al regresar y no tendrá tiempo suficiente para hacer su trabajo correctamente. Las consecuencias que tendrán los estudiantes que toman vacaciones durante el año escolar serán mayores de las cosas buenas que le dejará. “La única consecuencia que tendrán los estudiantes al faltar a escuela por mucho tiempo es que sus notas estarán bajas,” es lo indica que la estudiante de décimo grado, Jenny Granados. La oportunidad de ir a una buena universidad puede ser afectada si uno tiene un promedio bajo. El tener calificaciones muy bajas también puede afectar el recibir crédito y dependiendo la materia, puede hacer que el estudiante no sea promovido al próximo grado. Si es una clase de nivel universitario, como las clases de AP, el estudiante puede tener más problemas para ponerse al nivel de sus compañeros porque estas clases son enseñadas a un ritmo rápido y requieren mucho más esfuerzo fuera de clases. El atrasarse en cualquier clase es un problema que se debe evadir. Al igual el estudiante también corre el riesgo de no estar preparado para el examen de AP y de no pasarlo con un 3, 4 ó 5. Cuando un estudiante se va de vacaciones durante clases, hay una posibilidad de que los padres tengan que enfrentar a la ley. Según los estatutos de los requisitos y derechos de los padres de los estudiantes del condado de Montgomery, un padre no puede hacer que su hijo falte a la escuela por más de cinco días y además mentir a la escuela para cubrir la ausencia extendida. El faltar a clases por un tiempo prolongado afecta a los estudiantes y a los padres por igual. “Los estudiantes que no van a la escuela regularmente tienen más posibilidades de meterse en problemas con la ley y causar problemas en sus comunidades,” es lo que menciona un artículo de Univisión. Estas cuestiones con la ley pueden afectar a las personas a su alrededor como sus vecinos porque es posible que la policía vaya a interrogarlos. Los padres se pueden ver propensos a mentir, diciendo que el estudiante estaba enfermo. Por esto también pueden enfrentar problemas con la ley del estado de Maryland y con la escuela, quien tiene derecho de pedir una excusa médica o evidencia que justifique tal ausencia. El reglamento de Blair solo acepta que un estudiante tenga cinco ausencias y si se llega a pasar de ahí, es un problema que tendrá que ser discutido con la administración escolar.
La voz latina José Medrano décimo grado
“Sí porque descansan más y no tienen que preocuparse por los estudios.”
Iria Hauffen noveno grado
“No, porque se pierde mucho
trabajo y cuando regresas estas confudido con lo que tienes que hacer.”
José Jacinto doceavo grado
“No, porque puede afectar sus créditos.”
Ronaldino Huinil décimo grado
“Estoy de acuerdo en que las
clases pueden ser estresantes y es bueno tomar vacaciones para relajarse.”
Jessica Blanco noveno grado
“No, esto te causa mucho estrés con tanto trabajo que tienes que reponer.”
April 18, 2018
Rising City Rising Costs Affordable housing in Downtown Silver Spring When Dan Reed’s family first moved to the Georgian Towers apartment complex in Downtown Silver Spring in 1991, it was mostly boarded up buildings. Now, almost 30 years later, Reed—an urban planner, real estate agent, and founder of the blog Just Up the Pike—has witnessed a surprising transition from a quiet, empty area to an active gathering place for the community. “It’s been amazing to see how much more of a community it feels like … Today this is a really thriving, desirable place to live, and there’s a lot of great shops and the metro that you can walk to,” he says. But to him, the development is bittersweet. Reed has seen friends come and go in search of affordable housing. “I worry that the people who make this place interesting aren’t gonna be able to stick around,” he says. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of people who are rent-burdened in Silver Spring— meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent—has increased more than five percent over the past seven years. “If there are still lower income people living here, they are grappling with higher housing costs,” Reed says. “That’s a real issue be-
cause in the long term, that will lead to displacement.”
The Urban Appeal In the spring of 2017, Montgomery County completed a rental housing study that found that the county is currently in a rental housing crisis, due to a deficiency in affordable housing. Ilana Branda works as the Director of Policy and Neighborhood Development at the Montgomery Housing Partnership, which aims to create affordable housing in the county. According to Branda, the need for affordable housing will not be met at the current rate of development. “We are definitely not on track to close [the] gap,” she says. Reed finds that this issue is heightened in the downtown area. “A lot of people want to live in places like Downtown Silver Spring: walkable urban, lively places, where you don’t have to sit in a car all day to get anything,” Reed says. A walkable urban place is defined as a high density metropolitan area that can be accessed with various
modes of transportation and keeps daily needs within walking distance— allowing families to save money on cars. “Silver Spring is one of the most important walkable urban areas in the region because it’s so beautifully integrated,” Christopher Leinberger, a professor and chair
“Silver Spring is one of the most important walkable urban areas in the region because it’s so beautifully integrated,“ -Christopher Leinberger
at the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis of the George Washington University School of Business, says. According to Leinberger, the source of any displacement is the high cost of land. Under the county’s land zoning policy, only two percent of county land is allocated toward walkable urban areas, while the other 98 percent is driveable suburban, an area where the main mode of transportation is a car. While there is large demand for walkable areas, there is limited available land. “The price of land has artificially been spiked up,” he says. Senior Heldana Yared’s family lives in a condominium in Downtown Silver Spring. She enjoys the convenience of free public transportation and the walkability of the area. “The only issue with living in downtown is prices do rise,” Yared says. “The more popular Downtown Silver Spring becomes ... [the cost] goes up.”
and a home for seniors in White Oak. “[This] meant that we would not build a high rise building and change the landscape of the current location nor would the county have to spend any money on the childcare center,” Leggett says. “Then [we would] build the affordable housing right down the street at White Oak ... in a town center.” Leggett thinks that the amount of child care provided in Victor Housing’s proposal was not enough. Pete Tomao is the Montgomery County Advocacy Manager at the Coalition for Smarter Growth, which works to creates walkable, transit-oriented communities within this region. Tomao thinks that it is crucial to prioritize building affordable housing within downtown cores. “Access to transportation is the number one indicator of someone’s odds of escaping poverty … The greater the commute time, the lower the social mobility,” he says.
One long-standing county policy for affordable housing is the requirement for Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs). MPDUs are in high demand not only within Silver Spring, but throughout the county, with thousands of people stuck on the waitlist. “Even though these are considered housing for low income people, the price structure and the income restrictions for MPDUs are set as a percentage of the county’s median income, and the county is a very wealthy place,” Reed says. “This is actually becoming a thing that lots of people are dependent on.” According to Leinberger, a major challenge to building affordable housing in walkable urban areas is opposition from existing residents. “These are neighbors that say ‘we don’t want those people living close to us, so we’re not gonna allow it,’” he says. While this is not an issue unique to this area, Reed sees this as a challenge specifically within Silver Spring. Recently, at a county council meeting on March 26, community members raised objections to a possible affordable housing development on Sligo Avenue. “Many of the neighbors who lived next to where they wanted to build this building were very angry about it,” Reed says. “They didn’t want their views blocked. They were worried about people in the new building parking their cars in the street. They made mentions about crime.” Similar opposition occurred for a proposal introduced by Victor Housing to build a senior living home and a child care center at the old location of the Silver Spring Library. While County Executive Ike Leggett initially wanted both downtown, he eventually made the decision to build only the child care facility in Silver Spring
One of the recommendations of the Rental Housing Study done by the county was to prioritize public land, such as parking complexes, for building affordable housing. In the spring of 2011, the county conducted a study into its parking policy. “At any given time, during the peak hours of the day, whenever, 40 percent of the public parking spaces in Downtown Silver Spring aren’t being used,” Tomao says. “There are these
“The only issue with living in downtown is prices do rise,“ - Heldana Yared huge structures that the county owns, some of them empty, that could be redeveloped, and they are not.” Tomao also thinks it is crucial to increase spending toward developing affordable housing. “The county has a pot of money, called the county initiatives fund, which is a fund that helps build affordable housing, and it’s currently half of what DC spends,” he says. While Leinberger believes that an aggressive affordable housing program is necessary in walkable urban places, he sees this as only a short term solution, especially when it comes
to building on private land. “It would be impossible for Montgomery County to come up with the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to pay the land owners for their land to build affordable housing,” he says. Leinberger feels that a change in the county’s zoning policy is the best option going forward. “The long term solution is to allow not two percent but three or four percent [of land], and it’s not much, to become walkable urban. That will take the price pressure off of Silver Spring tremendously, and it will start lowering prices,” he says.
The voice of the people Despite recent policy challenges, Tomao finds the lack of organized voice from low income residents to be the largest impediment to building affordable housing. Tomao, who has always paid at least 40 percent of his income toward housing, counts himself among the people who need this housing the most. “I think it’s the lack of political organization on the part of the people who really need the housing and then because of that, there’s no proactive, aggressive strategy. It’s very piecemeal,” he says. Reed encourages residents to express their interests at county meetings on affordable housing. “The best thing that people can do is to show up to things,” he says. “If they hear from a wide variety of community members who say we need homes that are more affordable, we want new neighbors … then this conversation could change.” Tomao fears that if the appropriate policies are not put in place now, Silver Spring could become an enclave for the rich. “If we want to have city centers where we see people of all backgrounds enjoying space together and shops that serve different types of people ... you’ve got to have policies that allow everyone to live there, and if you don’t, we could end up like some of the really exclusive enclaves, like Georgetown,” he says. Yared, who says that a significant amount of her family’s income goes toward housing now, can see the concern in her father and her neighbors. “If [the cost] rises a little more, everyone’s starting to worry ... It’s just too much,” she says.
Story by Design by Art by
Hermela Mengesha Hannah Lee Marissa He
April 18, 2018
The diminishing role of organized religion in America By Anson Berns Where only ﬁrst names appear, names have been changed to protect the identities of the sources
Finding a place to succeed
Why students are motivated to go to HBCUs and women’s colleges from HBCU page A1 attended majority-white schools. “I think just talking to [the students] and hearing that we had been in similar situations just made me want to apply [to HBCUs] even more,” Swann says.
For much of history, college was exclusively for white men, so HBCUs and women’s colleges were created to educate populations that were denied the privilege. HBCUs were ﬁrst established after the Civil War in order to educate black Americans. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the passage of the Second Morrill Act in 1890 required all “states with racially segregated public higher education systems to provide a land-grant institution for black students whenever a land-grant institution was established and restricted for white students.” In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education ruled racially segregated schools unconstitutional, but HBCUs “remained segregated with poorer facilities and budgets compared with traditionally white institutions,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some public HBCUs closed while others joined with white institutions to form one school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 102 HBCUs in the U.S. in 2016. Women’s colleges, on the other hand, were mostly established as seminaries (religious education institutions) during the nineteenth century but taught limited subjects according to Niche, a school and neighborhood data collection platform. In the early twentienth century, the “Four College Conference” was created by Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College to advocate for the equal education of women. In 1927, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, and Radcliﬀe joined them to form the “Seven Sisters.” There are currently more than 45 women’s colleges in the U.S.
Today, HBCUs and women’s colleges provide an experience of belonging that some students might have lacked during primary and secondary school. Swann, who has been in majority white magnet programs since middle school, is ready for a diﬀerent environment. “I’ve felt like I’ve had to work harder to prove myself to a lot of the kids in the program, and at an HBCU, I wouldn’t have to do that because of the color of my skin,” Swann says. “I would just be able to work hard to prove that I’m smart.” For Jasmine Scott, a CAP 2017 alumna, going to an HBCU had not crossed her mind until her counselor suggested applying. She
was accepted to Spelman University and has been content with her decision to attend, as she has found a more like-minded community. “It was kind of diﬃcult to relate to my peers [at Blair] in some instances, and I [tended] not to talk about issues that aﬀect black people when I was in CAP just because that wasn’t really something anyone else would have understood,” Scott says. “But I don’t feel that here, I feel like I’m having more genuine, open, and honest conversations.” Harris also shares the desire to attend a school where she can feel accepted. She plans on applying to women’s colleges next year because of their close-knit communities. “Especially after visiting women’s colleges and seeing the diﬀerence in the classroom environment between … my current high school experience … and a women’s college, you really see higher levels of engagement from women,” Harris says. Senior Vivian Tarbert applied to three women’s colleges after learning about their beneﬁts. “It sort of just opened a possibility for me that I hadn’t realized was there, like I can be in a space where I’m not going to have to ﬁght to be taken seriously,” Tarbert says. Tarbert and Harris were also motivated to look at women’s colleges because of the successful female graduates, such as Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem. “A lot of really important writers and politicians did go to women’s colleges … because [these schools are] so focused on the advancement of women and they know how to help women get to where they want to go,” Tarbert says.
There was a time in America when every Sunday, like clockwork, families across the nation would dress up in their fanciest clothes and proceed to their local church. Although the United States has no oﬃcial religion, 43 of 45 presidents have been Christian. 42 of those were Protestant. Despite a long history of nondiverse worship, however, the religious tradition of America has never been weaker than it is today. Twenty-six percent of millennials do not afﬁliate themselves with any organized religion at all, more than any other generation did at a similar age. Young people across America rejecting the religious traditions of their parents and grandparents mark the rise of the “Spiritual but not Religious” movement, and the decline of organized religion. This decline is reﬂected in church attendance, according to Daniel Gallaugher, a priest at St. Bernadette’s, a Catholic church in Silver Spring. “This is my third year [at St. Bernadette’s], and there has been a decrease in attendance in that time,” Gallaugher says. But Gallaugher, who over four years has also worked at three other parishes in the Washington area, says the pattern is not exclusive to Silver Spring or St. Bernadette’s. “Certainly, across the board, numbers are gradually going down,” he explains, referring to decreasing attendance at Catholic masses in the entire Washington area. “In Montgomery County, among teenagers, my impression is that there seems to be a strong tendency towards not identifying with a particular religion.” Gallaugher attributes this trend to a move away from organized religion and toward a loose set of beliefs called “moralistic therapeutic deism”—the belief in a God that wants us to feel good and do good things, but generally does not interfere in daily life. Unlike the long canons and rules of organized religions, these simple tenets are very basic. Moralistic therapeutic deists do not necessarily agree exactly about God, morality, the afterlife, or the details of any other spiritual matter.
Joel St. Clair, a pastor at Mosaic Silver Spring, a Presbyterian church, thinks that the decrease in religiosity does not mean a decrease in spirituality. “[Youth are] not as quick to identify with an organization,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t say something along the lines of ‘I’m spiritual, but unaﬃliated.’” St. Clair attributes this movement away from organized religion to a broader migration away from institutions by the younger generations. “There’s a larger institutional mistrust of all sorts of things. People don’t seem to like politicians anymore,” St. Clair explains. “I think people have lost a little bit of trust in the institutional heft of the church.” This pattern of secularization does not only apply to Christians. Angela, a junior, describes how her Hindu faith has waned considerably since her youth. “I grew up knowing the names of all sorts of Hindu gods and lots of Hindu mythology,” she says. “As I grew older, I realized that, although these are good stories and there are good lessons to be learned, I didn’t really believe in them as much as my grandparents and my mom did.” Angela still sees value in the cultural aspects of Hinduism, despite not embracing the religiosity. “You celebrate the holidays, you know the myths … you just don’t believe in the gods,” she explains. In fact, the whole country is seemingly experiencing this secularization movement—22.8 percent of Americans self-reported as religiously unaﬃliated in 2014, a 6.7 percent increase since 2007, according to the Pew Research Center. Maryland is even more secular than the country as a whole—28 percent fell into that unaﬃliated category in 2014, compared to, for example, only 13 percent in Louisiana. Angela credits this secularization, at least in Blair’s immediate vicinity, to openness with regard to religion. “If you’re living here in Silver Spring … you’re just exposed to so many diﬀerent things. Even places like English class, sometimes they’ll just challenge your beliefs,” she says. Although the pattern of secularization is clear, it remains to be seen exactly if and how it will aﬀect the mainstream public consciousness. The diminishment of religion, a large part of conservative American culture, could represent a larger social movement away from tradition, or it could be an isolated spiritual opinion.
The one worry Harris has about going to a women’s college is missing out on the advantages of a co-ed school. “When I think about all the ways I’ve beneﬁted in high school from talking to boys, from having close male friends and sharing my experiences and having them share theirs … I’m like ‘oh, I might not get that at a women’s college,’” she says. Swann is waiting to commit to Spelman because she did not receive as much ﬁnancial aid as she had hoped. Scott echoes this sentiment. “HBCUs aren’t nearly as wellfunded as PWIs [primarily white institutions], so there tends to be a lot of issues when it comes to money,” she says. “Their ﬁnancial aid normally isn’t as good just because they don’t have as much money to be giving out.” For these students though, the beneﬁts far outweigh the negatives. “I think it’s worth it … we complain about it, but then we’re also like we would never want to go anywhere else,” Scott says.
April 18, 2018
Not an ovary-action
The severe pain some experience every month as a result of periods By Marlena Tyldesley It was during her eighth grade French class that freshman Joy Stacy felt her period cramps hit for the first time. Unable to do anything because her teacher would not let her leave, Stacy sat through the rest of class in pain. It was an extended class period. By the end of class, she was in terrible pain and had completely bled through her shorts.
Every person who menstruates will at some point experience period cramping. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, period cramping is caused by a contraction of the uterus. “During your period, your uterus contracts — meaning it squeezes or cramps up,” the site reads. “This makes the lining come off the walls of your uterus and leave your body.” Most people who menstruate will experience cramps of some degree during their lifetimes. “They usually feel like throbbing pains in your lower belly,” according to Planned Parenthood. The Center for Young Women’s Health states
“The pain is
often excruciating, it will prevent me from wanting to go to school.” -Julia Smith, Senior
that some people experience worse than average pain on their periods. “The medical word for the discomfort is called: ‘dysmenorrhea’,” their site reads. “Cramps can be a big reason why girls are absent from school, why they miss sport
practices, and why they may avoid going out with their friends.” Period cramps are caused by uterine contraction, when the uterine lining releases a chemical called prostaglandin. If a woman has unusually high levels of prostaglandin, the chemical can cause stronger contractions, nausea and lightheadedness. In fact, according to an article in the Independent which quoted John Guillebaud, a professor of reproductive health at the University College London, research shows that period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack.” Senior Julia Smith’s pain is sometimes so debilitating that she has to stay home. “The pain … is often excruciating,” Smith says. “It will prevent me from wanting to go to school or getting up … I can’t really concentrate.” Her pain is not
first hour or so it’s really bad,” she says. Hutchins is on the softball team, and, like Kinyanjui, has to play through her pain. “You just kind of have to push through it and keep going because you can’t really do anything about it,” she says.
While this is a problem many people handle monthly, those who menstruate tend to find that people who don’t can have patronizing reactions.
determining when it’s coming, which is kind of cool,” she says. She values her own ability to understand her body and know the circumstances of her own period. Stacy expresses a similar frustration with men’s reactions to being on her period. “I have two brothers and a dad,” Stacy says. “It’s the worst because every time I get sensitive before my period they’re like ‘Are you on your period?’ and I’m like ‘No, but it’s about to start so can you shut up?’”
Since period pain is a monthly occurrence, there are a wide variety of home remedies that people use to treat aches. They can range all the way from taking pain killers to entirely wrapping one-
unique; m a n y people have to cope with a similar extreme pain. Freshman Elise Kinyanjui gets a stabbing pain in her stomach and an aching in her back every month for the first three days of her period. “It’s really painful … there’s no comfortable positions,” she says. Senior Maddie Hutchins’ pain, while not excruciating, is longlived. “I get a lot of cramps and back pain two or three days before my period starts and then it continues throughout my period which is … three or four days but that’s still a week [of pain],” she says. Despite the difficulty it can add to everyday activities, many have to push through the pain to meet their daily obligations. Kinyanjui is a four-sport athlete who competes in gymnastics, soccer, track, and swimming. When the pain hits, it complicates her sports, but she still has to finish out her practices. “It’s really rough … the
Smith says that she had a gym teacher who would frequently inform her that exercise was good for the pain she was experiencing, while she knew otherwise about her own body. “If a woman is in touch with [her] body [she] usually has ways of
“You just kind
of have to push through it and keep going because you can’t really do anything about it.” -Elise Kinyanjui, Freshman
self in a heated blanket. Stacy, whose pain is so bad that it sometimes confines her to her bed, finds that heat helps soothe her pain. “I take a lot of baths. I just sit there and soak … and I have a heating pad my mom got me and I use that,” she says. Smith uses similar tactics, finding relief in heating pads and hot tub soaks. Aside from heat, food cravings can be a strong symptom of periods, and eating can help the pain for some. “I usually get cravings for stuff, so I eat that and it can help sometimes,” Hutchins says. Stacy craves Panera as her period approaches. “Panera mac and cheese
“I take a lot
of baths. I just sit there and soak … and I have a heating pad my mom got me and I use that.” -Joy Stacy, Freshman
and caesar salad. Every time I’m about to get [my period] I’m like ‘I need that right now and if no one gets it for me I’m gonna cry,’” she says. Whether or not the foods take away all the pain, the craving for them can be fairly demanding, and every little thing helps. Smith also finds that helping herself relax can ease her pain. “I have to find songs [and] videos to watch that are calming to me,” she says. She combines those with tea and herbal remedies to try to calm down during the pain. For people who choose to see a doctor because their pain is so bad, physicians will often prescribe birth control as a remedy. Stacy and Kinyanjui are both considering birth control as a possible solution. Smith has already begun taking it to try to control her monthly pain, and says it works for her. “If I don’t take it on time, I can feel it,” she says. The Center for Young Women’s Health’s page on birth control suggests that it may help reduce menstrual cramps because the pill stops ovulation. “Because the combined birth control pills prevent ovulation, they also get rid of pain that [a person] may experience with ovulation in the middle of her menstrual cycle,” the site reads. Despite the irritance of period pain and the difficulty it adds to daily life, people push through it every month and find ways to make it manageable. Smith thinks the strength she puts in now to get through the pain might help her future children. “I have this belief … that because my period hurts so much my children will be strong people in the future,” she says.
April 18, 2018
The Smithsonian’s ‘CEO’ David Skorton
A Q&A session with the Secretary of the Institution
By Laura Espinoza and Ben Miller David Skorton serves as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, overseeing the organization’s 200 locations, thousands of employees, and collection of 154 million items. Silver Chips sat down with Skorton to learn more about what his job is like. Q: As the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, what role do you play in leading the organization and shaping its mission? The Secretary is what you might call the CEO, the Chief Executive Oﬃcer, of the Smithsonian. I’m responsible for the operation of the Institution, the budget, for maintaining the national collections, the 19 museums, the National Zoo, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and so on. And so that sounds like a really important executive job, but the truth is that as the head of a creative organization, my job is really to support the eﬀorts and the aspirations of the 6,500 people and 12,000 volunteers who work here. I’m leading the organization, but I’m doing that by serving the aspirations of the people who work here. Q: What would you say your driving personal goals and motivations have been across your career? I really started out in life hoping to be a musician. I took up the saxophone and later the ﬂute, and I really wanted to get a position as a studio musician, but I wasn’t
good enough. I was the ﬁrst person in my family to ﬁnish college, then I went to medical school to train as a cardiologist. I was practicing at the University of Iowa when they asked me if I could try an administrative job, and eventually they made me president of the University. I later became president of Cornell University and then I came here to the Smithsonian. Q: How would you say the lesser known aspects of the Smithsonian tie in with the Institution’s overall goals? When you think about the Smithsonian, you think about our museums. And certainly that’s a big part of what we do. Last year we had about 30 million visits to the museums. However, I think most people who come to the Smithsonian do not think of us as a major research operation. When one goes into the museum and looks at some beautiful inspiring exhibit, people may not think of all the research, scholarly work, that went into planning that exhibit. Then we have all the education work that we do at the Smithsonian, which is just massive. For instance, we have something called the Smithsonian Science Education Center, and it develops STEM curriculum that is used in K-12 school districts in every U.S. state and in over 20 other countries. Q: The Smithsonian recently opened the Museum of African
American History, and about 10 years ago, the Museum of the American Indian. In October, Silver Chips discussed the potential of opening the Museum of the American Latino. How do you see the Smithsonian as an agent for inclusive thought, understanding, and change in our country? There are many aspects of our society where people have lost their trust, but people trust museums. The Smithsonian is a wonderful institution and greeting those 30 million visitors a year, and we work hard to tell a complete story of America. We’re probably not going to have the funds to start a brand new museum in the very near future, but we’re working hard use the existing museums we have to present an inclusive vision of our country. Q: Out of the entire Smithsonian Collection, what is your favorite piece or object? My favorite object is a baseball mitt worn by Sandy Koufax. My dad was a big baseball fan and we moved to Los Angeles just a couple years after the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to LA, and we used to go and watch Sandy Koufax pitch. And my dad passed away a very long time ago, but when I saw the Sandy Koufax mitt, I got very emotional and I thought “Wow, my dad would have loved to have seen this.” This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
COURTESY OF DAVID SKORTON
BEHIND THE SCENES David Skorton, the Secretary of the Institution for the Smithsonian manages all the employees it employs.
April 18, 2018
Crafting a presence in the arts industry
How two former Blazers carry on their interest in the arts after high school By Hannah Lee From singing performances by Blair’s a cappella group “Intonation” and yearly painting showcases, to daily episodes of Infoflow produced by BNC and schoolsponsored theatrical performances, almost every Blazer contributes to the school’s avid arts scene at some point throughout their high school career. However, some Blazers decide to take those artistic passions and continue to pursue them past high school. Ian Donaldson, a 2016 Blair graduate and a sophomore at Grinnell College, and Sekou Sengare, a 2010 Blair graduate and Temple University alumnus, both allowed their passions for the arts to grow during their time as a Blazer, using groups such as the jazz ensemble or Blair’s Media Literacy program to cultivate their interests. Donaldson’s enthusiasm for music and Sengare’s career as a filmmaker both have one thing in common: the arts programs at Blair created a
six of his friends. During his time at Blair, Donaldson participated in a wide range of music ensembles and performances that are familiar to current Blazers, such as Magnet Arts Night, Open Mic, Jazz Ensemble, and Intonation. Donaldson’s music career thrived under Blair’s constant appreciation for aspiring artists and musicians. “Blair is one of the best environments I could possibly think of to become an artist,” he says. Donaldson’s personal experiences in high school, such as receiving a concussion from playing baseball and not being able to attend prom, created obstacles while trying to find his identity. His struggles in high school carried on to the start of college, as this endeavor still persisted. “After high school, my identity was so wrapped up around the things I did in high school,” he explains. “They all just came to a jarring stop for me.” Donaldson used his journey of self-discovery to improve
sists of songs that have been in the works for over a year. Outside of songwriting for Cool Baby, Donaldson makes sure to write songs that complement his personal music tastes, which mainly focuses on indie music. “I thought of [the EP] when I had a bunch of songs that I thought would not fit Cool Baby’s vibes but I still thought were good,” he explains. “It took a really long time since I did not have a specific thing in mind.” Going back to Cool Baby’s debut performance in the Blair parking lot, Donaldson remembers the moment all too well. “Our first show was before the Homecoming game,” he explains. “It rained so hard that year, but the turnout was pretty good. I would say that around 20 people came.” After their first performance at Blair, Cool Baby played at many local clubs, such as Black Cat and Electric Maid, often performing songs from their EP, Out the Crib, which was released in 2016. Cool Baby’s presence in the Blair and
COURTESY OF SEKOU SENGARE
FOCUSING ON FILM Blair alumni Sekou Sengare works behind the camera on his indie film “Olu and Daria.” bass, and two guitar players, spend up to four hours each day sharing their input to write and record songs. “For Cool Baby, we have so many different ways of making songs,” Donaldson explains. “One of our ways is jamming impromptu like synthesis, in the moment.” Cool Baby plans to work on another EP during the summer and is releasing a single soon, recording on their own in order to have more creative control. Although Donaldson prefers being in a band, he will continue to pursue a solo career during the time Cool Baby does not meet up. Whether it is by himself or with his band, he will never forget his appreciation for music and the experiences he gained. “It is one of the best experiences to have, playing music and connecting with other people you are playing music with,” he says.
Sekou Sengare COURTESY OF COOL BABY
THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS Blair alumni Ian Donaldson plays keyboard for his band “Cool Baby” solid path for their artistic passions past high school.
Ever since his first piano lessons at the age of five, Donaldson has dedicated a large part of his life to music. The musical knowledge he gained from learning the piano applies to his current songwriting passions for his solo and band career with Cool Baby, a music group created in the summer of 2013 with
his songwriting, and he uses music as an outlet to show his listeners his identity. “The main thing is being vulnerable in your songwriting, so that kind of expressing yourself and leaving yourself bare and doing that intimately at the same time is kind of rewarding,” he says. “I am still kind of guarded with my lyrics, but I have been relatively open and my lyrical style is very direct.” His solo EP, Lazy Idealist, con-
Takoma Park community still persists, evident through attendance at their performances. “There is always a substantial turnout,” Donaldson says. “I know we have been gone since three years ago and in Blair we are not as big, but the people who knew us when we were at Blair still show up.” During Cool Baby’s meetups throughout summer and winter break, the band, made up of a saxophone, trumpet, drum, piano,
soapbox By Hannah Lee Are you planning to pursue a career in the arts? If so, what are your plans and motivations? “While I do not plan on solely pursuing an art-based career, I would like to continue to do photography in a professional aspect later in life.” — Leo Blain, junior “I plan to double major in music or at least have music as a minor. I have been playing both piano and violin since the age of five,” — Justin Hung, junior
Although most people establish their career in high school, Sengare’s passion and interest in pursuing filmmaking began after his mom took him to a film festival when he was young. After being in the CAP and Media Literacy programs at Blair and majoring in Film and Media Arts at Temple University, Sengare now produces and directs short films. His career is shaped by influences from his childhood that range from family members to classic films. “My interest in filmmaking formed on my own, but when I express that I did have an interest in really taking on film, [my uncle] definitely encouraged it and showed me things that he liked as an aspiring actor,” he says. “I also really liked Disney classics, spanning from Aladdin to the show Recess.” Apart from his childhood influences, Sengare focuses his films on a few central themes: life, relationships, and the difficulties of communication – all inspired by experiences throughout his own life. Sengare feels that his own identity unconsciously comes through his own art and to his viewers. “I think there’s no way to get around it,” he says. “Parts of your life will definitely find its way into your craft [and] your art form without you even trying sometimes.” Despite the fact that he enjoys foreign and even thriller films, Sengare makes an effort to separate his personal preferences from his own work. His main goal as a filmmaker is to show who he truly is, even if he is not on-screen, and allow his audience to feel his own
emotions through his writing. “I actually try consciously to separate myself from things that I watch and just get into my own space of what I want to tell and how I want to tell it,” he explains. “My reflection of my identity hopefully just lives in my film without me actually having to try it … One of my main goals is to really feel what I’m showing them and feel what’s on the screen, whether it’s true happiness or a sense of warmth.” Through filming in London, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C., Sengare not only manages to piece together and show each city’s identity through his scriptwriting, but he also establishes a sense of pride in each of his films. “They’re all my babies,” he says. “I’m very proud of each one of them even if they might not turn out exactly as I would have imagined … I love them all.” Sengare’s films illustrate the harsh realities, fears, and uncertainties of life. Sengare has produced films such as “The Morning After,” which exposes the fear and beauty of developing a new romantic relationship and “Graduates,” which portrays the harsh realizations that come after one graduates from college, according to his 2018 Atlas Intersections Festival page. While Sengare has mainly created short films, he hopes to produce feature length films in the future and deepen his knowledge about filmmaking to expand his skills. “Right now, I’m very much so an artist more than a professional,” Sengare explains. “I want to get to the professional level.”
A path for success
Donaldson and Sengare’s passions that grew through Blair’s supportive art culture and abundance of opportunities go further their high school experiences. Although their time at Blair allowed them to set up the path for their career, their contributions to the art community reach past the community that they started with. The friendships Donaldson created in high school allow him to share and create music with his band, and the knowledge Sengare learned through film-enriching classes allow him to write and direct films on his own. Whether it is filmmaking, songwriting, or performing in a band, their love and appreciation for the arts will not only remain a high school memory–they will last as an everlasting passion.
April 18, 2018
If you can’t take the heat, get out of Fire Station One A night with the volunteers of the fire department
By Camden Roberts and Ben Miller In first person Laura Dickol spends her days working for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, helping America’s forgotten youth find their way to safety. Patrick Vongchan labors nine-to-five managing disaster response for the federal government, organizing relief efforts when hurricanes and tornadoes devastate communities nationwide. Along with Dickol and Vongchan’s intense day jobs, they donate their spare time to an even more demanding cause: volunteering as firefighters with the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department (SSVFD). Incorporated in 1915, the SSVFD consists of three dozen people who donate their spare time to responding to our area’s emergencies. The organization mans three stations: Station 16 next to Blair, Station 19 in Woodside, and their flagship Station 1 on Georgia Ave. in Downtown Silver Spring. On a rainy Monday evening, we visited Station 1 to find out what it is like to respond to Silver Spring’s routine crises. Despite the dreary night, Station 1 bristles with activity. Firefighters man the front desk, new recruits practice in an ambulance, and a unit coming off a 24-hour shift unwinds with “Station 19,” a TV show one volunteer described as “Grey’s Anatomy, but with fire and less incest.” We quickly met up with Vongchan and Dickol, our guides for the evening. Vongchan is a 10-year SSVFD veteran and the organization’s membership chair, while Dickol has four years under her belt and serves as one of the department’s trustees.
Vongchan began his career as a high school teacher, but was inspired by his colleagues to do more than that to help those around him. “I looked at the folks that I worked with, and one was a grassroots activist from the civil rights movement … another person was from the Navy … [and another] worked for NASA … [I wanted] to do something a little bit more,” he says. After a brief and unsuccessful stint as a Buddhist monk, Vongchan decided to try volunteer firefighting.
HANGING we wait
THE KINGDOM The sign that is painted on the wall of the station’s front room, welcoming all visitors and reminding them that they are in Station 1, the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department’s flagship station. Dickol also became a firefighter out of a desire to make a difference. Originally a criminal justice major in college, she realized she did not want to become a police officer, but still wanted to serve her community. “I still [had] that desire to help and be a public servant some way or another,” she says. “[I] found the website [for SSVFD], logged in, and kind of found my way here.” Dickol makes it sound easy. The transition from prospective volunteer to fullblown firefighter takes well over a year of training and practice. First, an individual must interview with the station and go on ride alongs to make sure that they understand what they are committing to. “People
like the fame and the glory of it, but when they see blood and guts, they just vomit,” Vongchan says. “It’s not for everyone.” After this process, the SSVFD chooses who they want to join the organization’s ranks. If selected, applicants must then complete months of training, learning EMT skills, emergency procedure, and for those up to the challenge, fire fighting.
Vongchan says. To stay active members, volunteers must work 24 hours a month, or two full night time shifts. However, SSVFD recommends that they put in more time if possible to stay sharp. “You can’t really build up your skills with those two 12-hour standbys a month,” Vongchan says. “I used to work 24 hours in a week.”
Right as we are discussing the process of joining the department, a piercing alarm sounds through the station. There is an emergency on Eastern Avenue, and Vongchan and Dickol need to respond. While waiting for our guides to return, we talked with Brian, a professional firefighter who is working just the third shift of his career. Unlike volunteers like Vongchan and Dickol, career firefighters like Brian do the job for a living. While volunteers and career firefighters receive identical training, professional employees carry a much heavier workload, including day-long shifts. The two groups maintain separate engines and ambulances and split incoming calls, working together to make sure the business of the stations is handled effectively. For Brian, professional firefighting represents his calling in life. A Good Counsel graduate, he was working at Santucci’s Deli when the idea of fire fighting first occurred to him. “There’s a fire station that’s right next to [Blair], so these guys would come in all the time, and I [thought], ‘I could do that!’” After a ride along, Brian found himself not liking the idea as much as he thought he would, but decided to pursue the career anyway. “The idea of being a firefighter stuck with me, so I was like alright, I got nothing else going on … I’m up for a little challenge,” he says. Before we could ask Brian to compare his experiences making sandwiches and fighting fires, or even what his last name was, yet another alarm echoes through the station. There is an accident on Colesville Rd. and it is Brian’s to handle, leaving us all alone. After 40 minutes of watching the Orioles lose on the station’s small TV, Vongchan and Dickol return and we resume our scheduled interview.
While both Vongchan and Dickol have spent years volunteering at SSVFD, they can still remember particularly memorable moments. The anecdotes range from heartbreaking to heartwarming, each in their own ways. “The first time I was doing chest compressions on a patient and I felt the ribs cracking, I saw his face and his eyes [were] rolled to the back of his head. I remember that like it was yesterday,” Vongchan tells us. “That first call when you [lose] a patient sticks with you … forever.” As tough as many calls can be, they are balanced out by the many small triumphs of the job. “The ultimate show of confidence is when [a parent] hands you their child,” Dickol says. “The fact that this parent trusts me enough to hand their child off when their child’s in crisis … I like that,” Dickol says. Vongchan points to a specific incident when he was off duty but used his training to save a life. During his time as a teacher, he had taken students skiing and, in a freak accident, a girl had fallen on the edge of her ski and sliced her femoral artery. Vongchan fashioned a tourniquet from a ski and his backpack, stopping the bleeding. “It saved her life. If I wasn’t there, she probably would have bled out in just a couple of minutes. That was a high point for me, being there for someone in their time of need,” he says. While the reactions they receive are emotional, they are not always positive, leading the firefighters to develop a thick skin. “People [are] eternally grateful,” Vongchan says, pausing. “Well, most of them. Not all of them.” Agreeing, Dickol adds, “Don’t do it expecting them to thank you.”
Subs to sirens
What it takes
OUT Camden sits in the front for our interviewees to return
office of from an
The call which Vongchan and Dickol returned from is the first in their 12-hour, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift at Station 1. On a typical night, they are able to go sleep around midnight and ideally sleep through the rest BEN MILLER of the shift, though their slumber is often interrupted with urgent calls. Even on a slow the station as night, the action-packed evenings can be emergency call. draining. “You’re a zombie the next day,”
Enroll to patrol
While the Silver Spring system does not have the resources to support a cadet program for high school students under the age of 18, some Local Fire and Rescue Departments do. Currently, the SSVFD is accepting applications from people 18 and older. Vongchan encourages interested students to apply, but says that fighting fires takes a specific kind of person. “You want to be the person that people lean on, that people depend on,” he says. “You’ve got to be a little bit crazy to want to run into a burning building when everyone else is running out.”
April 18, 2018
LGBTQ+ depiction in the media is straight up lousy
By Gilda Geist If you are aware of LGBTQ+ tropes in movies and television, you might be surprised to learn that in the newly released rom-com about a gay teen, “Love, Simon,” nobody dies. If you are not aware of LGBTQ+ tropes in visual media, you may be wondering, “Why would there be death in a lighthearted teen rom-com?” This can be explained by a phenomenon called “bury your gays,” in which straight writers kill off queer characters. Again and again, LGBTQ+ characters are denied happy endings by straight writers. Queer audiences are convinced for a moment that there is someone they can look up to in mainstream media, only to have it ripped away. “Bury your gays” has almost always been an issue in mainstream media. Finding positive LGBTQ+ role models in movies and TV shows is hard enough on its own, and even when there is one, they are too often killed off. Autostraddle, a feminist website targeted at queer women, has been keeping and updating a list of all of the lesbian and female bisexual characters who have died. Currently they are up to 194, which does not even include men. “These are basically disposable characters and … you know the queer person or the person of color or the assertive woman, that they’re going to be the first to be killed … and that suggests first of all that they’re disposable, and second of all that … these people are so immaterial and so peripheral that they suffer the worst forms of symbolic violence on television,” Carol Stabile, professor and chair of the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, said. “I think that sends a very negative message to people when the only people that survive and the people whose experiences get validated are white, heterosexual, middle class, cisgender, and so on.” When an LGBTQ+ character manages to actually survive in a show or movie, too often they are portrayed as stereotypes. One of the most common car-
icatures is the sassy gay sidekick: Titus from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kurt from Glee, Damien from Mean Girls, and others. These characters are flamboyant, quirky, and anything but the main character. If straight men were portrayed as stereotypically as gay men are on TV, they would all be wearing basketball shorts in the dead of winter while cradling a football in one hand and a beer in the other. Fortunately for straight men, this is not the case. Instead, their characters are complex, threedimensional, and usually do not perpetuate negative stereotypes about straight people. When it comes to the way lesbian characters are portrayed, it actually goes against the stereotype, but not in a good way. The stereotypical butch lesbian with short hair and heavy boots is not seen in mainstream media as often as the version of lesbians that men want to see. These characters often have feminine clothing, long hair, and no evidence of lesbian culture whatsoever. It is true that not all lesbians choose to dress traditionally masculine or exhibit lesbian culture, but straight writers and directors are not making lesbians look straight in order to break stereotypes; they are doing it to appeal to the male gaze. Emily Fields from Pretty Little Liars, Santana Lopez from Glee, and Maggie Sawyer from Supergirl are some examples. This contributes to the oversexualization of lesbians, a serious problem in how they are portrayed in mainstream media. “There’s still so much reluctance, I think, to represent lesbians on television and in film in ways that don’t kind of eroticize them for the straight [men],” Stabile said. “It’s like this constellation of misogyny and homophobia that still operates pretty powerfully.” There is also a severe lack of diversity when it comes to queer characters. They are often white, and almost always cisgender, while the “T” in LGBTQ+ does not really exist in mainstream media. According to GLAAD’s 2017 Responsibility Index, in 2016, only 20 percent of LGBTQ+ characters
were people of color, a five percent decrease from the previous year. GLAAD, formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is a media organization that advocates for a number LGBTQ+ issues, including representation in entertainment. LGBTQ+ audiences are constantly subject to disappointment as a result of “bury your gays,” and poor representation. They are tired of watching straight people laugh at the limp-wristed
gay man, and tired of watching straight men ogle at the young, alluring lesbian. Queer audiences need complex characters, positive role models, and accurate and diverse representation in the media. Although it is good that some straight writers and directors want to include LGBTQ+ characters in their films and TV shows, they need to be careful with how they portray such a marginalized and underrepresented group.
A unique experience, a unique perspective The most notable women of
color authors from this decade
to food as a coping mechanism. Her consequential weight gain and obesity caused her to be mistreated because she did not fit into societal beauty norms. Specifically, in Hunger, she recounts growing up with her peers citing her intelligence and acceptance to prestigious universities as an example of “the grace of financial aid” and “white benevolence.” Gay’s writing communicates an intimate and vulnerable recount of her life experience as a black and morbidly obese woman. Gay’s personal journey that allowed her to recognize the significance of perseverance, familial love, and self-love, allows readers to reflect on themselves and others.
By Elise Cauton Experiences are what defines a person. One person’s interpretation of events can be completely different from another’s. Just like how no two people see everything through the same perspective, authors use their own experiences and style to create books that distinctly reflects them. Arguably, the most important part of any book is the author, as their background shapes the story. Women of color use literature to convey the unique experiences, struggles, and hopes that reflect the reality of the world as they see it.
Yaa Gyasi is a Ghana-born novelist who was raised in Alabama, and her writing often revolves around the influence of these two cultures. This is best displayed in her most recent novel, Homegoing. The book begins with the point of view of two sisters, one who stays in Africa to be married off to an Englishman, and the other who is sold into slavery. After their separation, Gyasi writes from the viewpoint of each of the sisters’ descendents whose lives are transpiring on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Each chapter focuses on the life of one descendent as they face racial, tribal, and social conflict. The novel takes the reader through pivotal events in Black history, from the beginning of the slave trade in the Gold Coast to the crack epidemic in Harlem. There are many books that are an incomplete recount of black experiences under segregation, such as The Help, and stories of European colonialism. Gyasi’s background as a Ghanaian-American gives her the unique ability to explore the nuances of these issues. Gyasi’s firsthand experience, along with her understanding of different African cultures and ethnic groups, allows for an authentic and personal narrative about the suppression of African culture. Gyasi also explores the effects of colonialism and slavery on racial and ethnic identity.
RESONATING An author’s writing often reflects their and their readers’ experiences.
Roxane Gay is a Haitian-American author that has written multiple New York Times bestselling books—such as Bad Feminist and Hunger—all of which revolve around prominent issues such as race, sexuality, and feminism. Her most recent novel Hunger addresses these themes through her own experiences. It is not only a memoir about her
past and her foreseeable future, but also one of her most honest and raw books to date. As Gay describes in the novel, her writing and outlook on life are heavily influenced by her experiencing sexual assault when she was 12. Gay describes how that harrowing incident caused her life to change for the worse—she became fearful and distrusting of those around her, and turned
Who are some of your favorite female authors of color? “Yang Huang ... [she] delves deeply into Chinese calues that I could connect with and relate to with my Indian family.” — Arthi Thyagarajan, junior “Octavia E. Butler ... her books are very insightful.” — Amanda Habtom, junior
Cristina Henriquez is an American author of Hispanic descent. She wrote the fiction novel The Book of Unknown Americans which was a New York Times and Washington Post notable book for 2014. The story centers around two immigrant families from Mexico and Panama, who came to earn a living in the United States, a “land of opportunity.” Henriquez based the novel around her father’s own experience immigrating to the United States from Panama, and also integrated testimonials from other migrants. A central issue that Henriquez addresses in the book is the American Dream, or perhaps the futility of it. Many characters hope to take advantage of the opportunities that the United States has to offer. But rather than write about how hard work creates benefits, Henriquez decides to show how hard work might never be enough, and just how quickly the appeal of the Dream fades. Through her books, Henriquez is able to shine a light on immigration that is not altered by distant statistics or various motives. Instead, she depicts the stories of immigrants from a humanistic perspective that allows the reader to empathize with the characters and see them in a more personal light, which is something that is hard to achieve through daily news.
April 18, 2018
Fish, diamonds, and hyperloops, oh my!
Blazers of Note
A look into recent scientific advancements By Mindy Burton
Sarah Schiffgens Sophomore When sophomore Sarah Schiffgens became unsatisfied with merely performing at her own concerts and competitions, she decided to give back to her community by joining the non-profit organization Young Musicians Inspiring Change (YMIC). Founded by her piano teacher in 2010, YMIC is made-up of approximately 90 students from around the region who use their talents to spread their joy for music and raise money for charity. As its secretary, Schiffgens helps come up with fundraising ideas and decides which events to put on. Students perform at nursing homes weekly and host benefit concerts, food drives, and clothing drives. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, they hosted a concert to collect donations for the victims. Schiffgens says that she likes that YMIC offers a place for students to use their talents to make change. “[YMIC is] really great for young musicians who are passionate about music and passionate about their communities and giving back to channel their talents into something productive.”
Oftentimes, we find ourselves stuck in our cars, packed like sardines with horns blaring for others to move. Traffic is one of the most frustrating components of living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. A trip between the major cities and cultural centers of D.C. and Baltimore can take up to an hour and a half. But what if this length was reduced to just a few minutes? And what if we could travel at speeds of over 500 miles per hour, about the speed at which a commercial jet cruises? Luckily, scientists and engineers have discovered new ways to revolutionize the way we travel. At the same time, numerous researchers are exploring other issues that have a tangible impact on our day to day lives. From restoring our damaged skin faster to gaining a better understanding of the way the Earth works, it seems that science is exploding at a rate never seen before.
A quick trip
Engineer Elon Musk has developed a solution to our traffic woes with the introduction of a Hyperloop that would travel between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore and eventually New York and Philadelphia. The track would prioritize those without cars, such as passengers pedestrians and cyclists, but vehicles could also take advantage of the track. Pedestrians would travel in eight to sixteen person pods and cars would be transported using an “electric sled”. Funded by Musk’s The Boring Company, there are plans to build a 35-mile tunnel that would send travelers at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour for a short commute of only
15 minutes. Believing that other hyperloop companies were developing too slowly, Musk first suggested his ideas in Aug. 2017 and so far, 10.1 miles of the track have been approved by the Maryland government, according to the Baltimore Post-Examiner. Musk has chosen to stay mum on much of the situation, but the Hyperloop will be a step forward from bullet trains and require improved magnetic levitation to reach such high speeds, according to Musk.
Red fish, blue fish
Everyone gets injured. Whether it’s a simple scratch or a significant burn, the human body is constantly working to heal itself. But sometimes, that is not enough. For a painful scratch or burn, researchers Cleo Choong and Andrew Tan from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a new way to heal wounds faster by using fish scales. Collagen, the main structural protein found in skin, is necessary to heal a wound. It is commonly used to heal burns and deliver drugs that would help heal wounds, in addition to acting as a medium for skin replacement and bone substitutes. “Applying collagen dressings to a wound to stimulate tissue growth can provide relief for a wide variety of injuries,” Tan said in the article. “It can potentially treat wounds of all dimensions.” Prior to the completion of this research last November, collagen was harvested from mammals, including cows and pigs, using their cartilage, tendons, bones, and ligaments. “Currently the most common sourc-
es of collagen are of bovine and porcine origins, although the industrial use of collagen obtained from non-mammalian species is growing in importance, particularly since they have a lower risk of disease transmission and are not subjected to any cultural or religious constraints,” the authors wrote in the research paper. In the research, collagen was extracted from typical fish scales and modified to improve its structural stability. The researchers found that the fish collagen integrated itself into tissues with high numbers of cells and blood vessels, meaning that the wound would heal quickly.
Diamonds: more than a ring
Aspects of how our planet works still remain a mystery to scientists. Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas studied diamond inclusions, or the presence of minerals other than carbon, at sites in southern Africa and China to gain a greater understanding of minerals underneath the ground that are difficult to sample. The researchers discovered deformities caused by a form of crystallized water called ice-VII, which is created under high pressure situations up to 400 miles below the surface. These imperfections in the diamonds indicate water pockets deep below the Earth’s surface. This has a significant impact on rock formation. These water pockets control where and how important minerals are commonly created. Water pockets within Earth’s mantle play an important role in the entire water cycle and the way heat is generated, affecting the movement of tectonic plates, which would in turn impact earthquakes and volcanoes.
Combat the chaos of school through art CARLY TAGEN-DYE
Students share how creativity becomes an emotional outlet By William Donaldson AVERY BROOKS
Mitchell Townsend Junior As a diver on Blair’s Swim and Dive team, junior Mitchell Townsend has always been inclined to doing impressive flips, but when he discovered Tanner Braungardt’s trampoline videos on YouTube, his obsession elevated to a whole new level. In November 2016, Townsend started watching Braungardt’s Garden Trampoline (G-Tramp) videos. By January 2017, he had dedicated himself to the sport more seriously. G-Tramp is a new sport without coaches or teams where athletes perform remarkable jump and flip skills on an outdoor trampoline. Organizations like GT Games host competitions for top athletes around the world to demonstrate their talents. Townsend says he hopes to attend a competition in Sweden at some point in the future. Townsend normally practices by himself on his friend’s trampoline a few days a week after school and at Dynamite Gymnastics School in Bethesda on Fridays and Saturdays. He used to flip outside during lunch as well, but he prefers to spend time with his friends now. He also enjoys GTramp as a chance to “just hang out with your friends [and do] fun flips.”
By Adenike Falade
When junior Kat Mussenden opens up a fresh page in her sketchbook, she enters another world. This world is subject only to her whims and the pencil in her hand; it is entirely her own. With each pencil stroke, the characters slowly come into form. The comics and characters are sometimes funny, sometimes emotional—but always her own. Mussenden started drawing in elementary school, when she found that it afforded her the control she did not have in every life. “At a lot of times, I’m at the whims of other people … but when I’m drawing, it’s something that’s just for me and just something that I can dictate entirely,” she says. By creating her own characters, Mussenden is able to envision a world that defies the constraints of reality and allows her to vent negative emotions in favor of more positive ones. “If a day didn’t go the way that I wanted it to go, I could maybe, not necessarily change the narrative, but make up a new narrative of how it should’ve gone,” she says. “If I have a bad day, I can draw a character having a good day.” Drawing, and art in general, can provide an intricate and personal outlet for all emotions. Junior Sophia Johnson, who takes art classes at Blair and submits some of her art to an online magazine, notices that drawing helps her stay attentive. “If I’m feeling anxious … I’ll doodle or scribble on my paper in class sometimes to help me focus and get all of that energy out,” she says. At home, Johnson uses the paints, canvases, and other materials she receives as gifts to express how she is feeling. “It’s kind of meditative, because I don’t have to think about anything while I’m doing this, just the colors I like in this moment,” she says. Mussenden’s drawings have, over the
years, filled countless sketchbooks. She keeps one on her person almost all of the time in case she needs a quick outlet or is struck with inspiration. These sketchbooks provide the perfect history of her artistry and display how much her style and emotional outlook has changed over the years. “I was super into anime … and so I have pictures of just super stylized, super exaggerated features,” she says. “As time went on,
COURTESY OF KAT MUSSENDEN
CHARACTER CARICATURE Junior Kat Mussenden’s style has evolved over the years, moving to more semi-realistic depictions of the people in her stories. I drew away from the anime stuff but never really broached into realism. I developed my own cartoony, semi-realistic style.” Johnson’s definition of a sketchbook,
however, is a bit broader—she uses classwork and worksheets as the backdrops for her creations. “My sketchbook is the corners of my paper and homework,” she says. “I’m not organized enough for [a sketchbook].” After sketching characters for a few years, Mussenden began coupling her character sketches with written backstories. The more she writes, the more creativity and depth she adds to the characters she draws. “[Inspiration] definitely does come from my writing,” she says. “The stories that I write leads to other characters, and it’s a very symbiotic relationship.” Both Mussenden and Johnson use social media and the internet to follow the work of other artists digitally, drawing on their accounts for project ideas. “[On] my Instagram feed, I get a lot of suggested artists, and I automatically, if I like their art, click ‘Follow,’” Johnson says. Mussenden notes that the only reason she has stayed active on her Tumblr account is due to the access it gives her to other artistic content. “It’s such a good source for fan art and such a good source for finding new artists and new styles and inspiration,” she says. Johnson also emphasizes how easy it is for anyone to create something that is simple and emotionally healing. “The easiest thing to do is just … get colors, like acrylics, and just paint it onto a canvas,” says Johnson. “It also allows you to take a second and look into yourself.” Mussenden echoes Johnson’s sentiments. “Everybody has something that makes them feel better,” she says. “Find something that you can make with your own hands and you can interact with your own hands, because then you are the sole person that dictates the result of that thing. And then that result is something you can look on with pride.”
April 18, 2018
Wanted for crimes against fashion: men How boys can improve their closets
By Serena Debesai and Isabella Tilley In ﬁrst person
By Elias Monastersky I like movies. And like most people, I have opinions about those movies and the movie industry as a whole. Now that I have a forum to express my opinions, expect to hear me complain about every little thing that bothers me. Enjoy! Foreign ﬁlms are a window into the lives of people who have vastly diﬀerent experiences from our own. While the content of the movie might be entirely ﬁctional, the stories behind the making of these movies often imbue the ﬁnished product with greater depth and a whole lot of heart. “Who Killed Captain Alex” by Isaac Nabwana, proudly subtitled “Uganda’s First Action Movie” with the phrase, “Expect the Unexpectable” scrawled along the bottom of the poster, is not an average, run-of-the-mill action ﬁlm. In a way, “Who Killed Captain Alex” is proof that with enough eﬀort and heart put into a project, anyone can make any type of movie, regardless of background or budget. “Who Killed Captain Alex” tells the story of Captain Alex, a local military leader, and his group of commandos whose mission is to ﬁght and eliminate the evil tiger maﬁa, a dangerous group of drug dealers who control Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The ﬁlm displays numerous ﬁght scenes until the title character, Captain Alex, turns up dead and no one knows who killed him. The movie is entirely in Ganda, a language only spoken in Uganda, but the English subtitles make for an easy viewing experience. In addition to subtitles, the movie features a “Video Joker,” a concept unique to Ugandan cinema. A “Video Joker,” or VJ, acts as a translator, comedian, and commentator providing constant narration to the movie. If the over the top action scenes were not already convincing enough, the VJ makes it clear that this movie is not to be taken seriously. Think of it like a director’s commentary, but instead of imparting insights on the ﬁlm, he
cracks jokes during the slower segments and lets the audience know that “action is coming.” During the action scenes, he blurts out offbeat phrases like, “Movie, Movie, Movie” or “Everyone in Uganda knows kung fu.” While the movie was originally released in 2010, it was not until its 2015 release on YouTube that it really took oﬀ, racking up over two million views. This success also led to a profitable fundraiser on Kickstarter, raising around $13,000 more than the original $160 goal, to allow Nabwana to continue to make movies and provide him with the equipment that he needs. The ﬁlm is the epitome of low budget; made on around $200 in the Wakaliga slum in Kampala. A self-taught director, Nabwana also acts as the producer, cinematographer, script writer, and editor of the ﬁlm. Nabwana managed to accomplish this feat while dealing with constant ﬂooding, no running water, and rare access to electricity. He makes all of the props for his ﬁlms, with actors stepping in to provide their own costumes and putting the set together with what they have available. And it works. The hard work and love put into the ﬁlm is clear. This is a passion project, one not done for money or fame, but for the childhood dream of creating an action movie. Nabwana has done more with pure determination and $200 than many directors would hope to do with a bottomless budget and limitless resources. The plot is largely nonsensical, the action is wild and absurd, and the characters are odd and confusing, but it has to be one of the most enjoyable movies I have watched in a long time. It is not edited under a microscope by a production company and is given the freedom to have ﬂaws, allowing it to still be great despite this. It is the reason I watch movies. The joy of everyone on set, simply to take part in this movie, shines through. If this movie does anything, it acts as a reminder that anyone can make a movie. It is not about the money; if the passion is there, then so is the movie.
The ﬁlm discussed in this cycle’s Monastersky’s Movies is available to view on YouTube for free. To view the ﬁlm, scan the QR code or visit tinyurl.com/monasterskymovies
Men’s fashion is in dire straits. A quick look around Blair reveals that, among the male population, “athleisure” and Vineyard Vines are as fashionable as it gets. As a last philanthropic act before we graduate, we decided to write this article to hopefully give a few boys some fashion inspiration. Whether this is charitable towards the boys, or for everyone else who has to look at them is up for debate. It is important to note that this article is not a set of rules or guidelines, but rather encouragement to experiment with diﬀerent styles. Our goal is simply to inspire boys to think more creatively when they get dressed. To accomplish this goal, we recruited seniors Ari Roos, Kevin Peachey, and Chico Morales to go shopping with us at H&M in Wheaton Mall.
Denim on denim on denim
Everyone wears jeans. They are pretty basic. So, if you want to be less basic, the solution is more denim. That was the thought process that inspired this second look, an intensely denim take on the trendy “Canadian Tuxedo.” Our model is wearing a light-wash thin denim shirt, a medium-wash denim jacket, and, most importantly, dark-wash skinny jeans. In a world overﬂowing with dull, loose jeans, skinny jeans are a fresh alternative that oﬀer the opportunity to show oﬀ your calves.
pieces together. The ﬁnal piece was the red bomber jacket, which instantly made this preppy outﬁt way cooler.
sweatshirts and sweaters. We paired an orange sweater with the same pink shorts used in “Down in the trenches” to create a simple but ﬂattering look. The orange and pink are both a trendy color combination and reminiscent of a sunset, but either piece could go well with other colors like bright blue or lime green.
SHORT SHORTS Short Chino Shorts (Black) $20.00; Nylon Blend Bomber Jacket (Red) $49.99; Short Sleeve Shirt Regular Fit (Dark Blue/White Striped) $12.99
Down in the trenches
Long coats have hit the runway this season. For this look, we wanted a casual base so that we could highlight the statement piece: a trendy, navy blue trench coat. Wearing a t-shirt and shorts underneath a dressy coat makes the look more casual and easygoing, instead of uptight and formal. Since the coat is dark navy, both the t-shirt and shorts are colorful. The top is black with bright orange tigers, and the (above-the-knee) shorts are a soft pink.
BRIGHTEN UP Knee-length Cotton Shorts (Pink) $24.99; Relaxed Fit Sweatshirt PHP 599 (Orange) $14.99
While dressing casually and comfortably can be great, do not be afraid to dress it up! For this outﬁt, we tried to create a fun business casual look by mixing pieces that would not normally be paired together. We selected a ﬁtted black blazer and used a bright red Hawaiian shirt to spice it up. A traditional button down is not a bad look, but once again, it is not the only way to wear a suit. The juxtaposition of “Tacky Tourist” wear and a classy suit livens up the look.
DENIM ON DENIM Skinny Jeans $17.99; Denim Jacket $49.99; Denim Shirt Regular Fit $34.99; Washed Cotton Cap (Red) $9.99
Looking bomb in short shorts
Goodbye long, baggy, cargo shorts; hello knees (and a little bit of thigh)! Shorts that end several inches above the knee are common across Europe but, unfortunately, have not gained much popularity in the U.S. This is a shame because they look far less sloppy than the longer, more common American style of shorts. To complement these shorts, we gave our model a ﬁtted buttondown. Baggy ﬂannels can be a good look, but they are overdone. Form-ﬁtting tops are a cleaner-cut alternative and can be used to create a more formal look. Tucking the shirt into the shorts pulls the
DOWN IN THE TRENCHES Kneelength Cotton Shorts (Pink) $24.99; Patterned T-Shirt (Black/Tigers) $12.99; Nylon Coat (Dark Blue) $129
The men’s section in many stores is often a depressing sea of dark, muted colors, but we found hope in a rack of brightly colored
Check out this video to see what our models had to say about men’s fashion (and to see what the outﬁts look like in color). Scan the QR code or visit tinyurl.com/ yabgjh4m to watch.
SUIT UP Fitted Blazer (Black) $49.99; Short Sleeve Shirt Regular Fit (Red/Leaf Pattern) $12.99; Twill Pants Slim Fit (Tan) $17.99
April 18, 2018
Edited by Ben Miller and Laura Espinoza For the penultimate edition of our 80th anniversary retrospective, we examine Silver Chips in the 2000s. The ﬁrst decade of the 21st century was a trying one for Blair and the wider D.C. area, as September 11, the 2001 Anthrax attacks, and the DC Sniper left the community fearful. Blair students took the streets over the disputed 2000 presidential election and walked out of school to protest the Iraq War. But despite the tumult, Silver Chips reached even greater heights. The paper took on increasingly groundbreaking topics, including an inside look at the burgeoning MS13 gang, and was praised by the New York Times for a gripping feature of sex in schools.
and, by many accounts, it changed the lives of students forever. GAINOUS TO LEAVE AFTER 23 YEARS May 31, 2007 At a meeting on May 8, the Board of Education approved Principal Phillip Gainous to the new position of MCPS Liaison for Leadership Development. Gainous will oﬃcially start the new job on July 1, leaving Blair after a 23-year tenure that included the school’s relocation and the creation of the Magnet program. Gainous expressed ambivalence about accepting the position. “I never ever thought I would leave Blair, except when I retire,” he said. He said he decided to leave the school because he felt he was not performing as well as he had in the past. “My leadership wasn’t as eﬀective as it used to be,” he said. After completing an administrative exercise in team building, he said he realized that his leadership skills were lacking, and sent in a letter of interest for the new position in early April.
COUNTY STUDENTS UNITE TO OPPOSE WAR IN IRAQ March 13, 2003 Drumbeat. Students holding makeshift plastic drums walk across Four Corners, energizing the crowd of more than 100 people on February 14. Beat. Lined along University Blvd. and Colesville Rd., students hold colorful picket signs and shout. Beat. Enthusiastic honks from vehicles cheer on the students as they rally against war. Beat. Although protests against the war in Iraq broke out all over the world, this one was composed almost entirely of MCPS students. Three weeks later, on Mar 7, county students showed up during their lunch break to demonstrate alongside Blair students as Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Secretary of Education Rod Paige visited the school. The protests are the ﬁrst events held by the Montgomery County Students for Peace
Rat Hot Spots Feb. 1, 2007 Although many teachers and administrators maintain that they are “color blind” when searching the halls for students without IDs, Blazers allege that ID racial proﬁling exists at Blair. Vice Principal Richard Wilson believes most teachers stop anyone they see without an ID. “I’m not saying racial proﬁling doesn’t exists,” he says. “But I haven’t seen any at Blair.” However, junior Walker Davis, who is white, says Wilson discriminated against minority students. “I was walking down the hallway without my ID right next to minority students not wearing IDs,” he says. “And Dr. Wilson asked the other students to put on their IDs but not me.” According to a Silver Chips poll, 94 percent of White students say they have gone without an ID for an entire school day without being stopped, but only 67 percent of minority students can say the same.
miscalculation,” said Walch. “That day [the show was taped], we did not have checks in place. Now, we will make sure those checks are there every day.” Senior Chris Kelly, the male host for the Apr. 12 show, denied that the appearance he gave of urinating was intentional. “It wasn’t planned to look like I was urinating,” said Kelly. “I didn’t mean for that message to get across.”
SGA PRESIDENT LEAVES OFFICE Oct. 13, 2000 Blair Student Government Association president Anthony Muzzatti was suspended and asked to resign after he mooned the Damascus varsity ﬁeld hockey team. Senior Angelique Forrester, a former SGA vice president, was elected to ﬁll the oﬃce on Sept. 21 after a series of three votes. According to Damascus coach Jodie Warner, Muzzatti shouted “Hey baby, what’s happening?” to the Damascus ﬁeld hockey
INFO FLOW SUSPENDED April 25, 2002
Bursting at the seams Oct. 7, 2004 and Justice (MCSPJ), a new organization with more than 150 members that was created as a county voice for students against the Iraq War. MCSPJ is currently planning a countywide walkout to occur after war is formally declared. Assistant Principal Linda Wanner, who attended the Feb. 14 rally, supports the student’s actions and believes that school is a good place for students to express their opinions. “Our position is to encourage student activism,” she says. HALLWAY JUSTICE MAY NOT BE COLORBLIND Nov. 13, 2003 Junior Namerud Admasu walks into her homeroom class without wearing her ID. Her teacher immediately reprimands her and makes an example of her to the class. As Admasu puts on her ID and shamefully retreats to her seat, another girl walks into the classroom without an ID in sight. The teacher looks at her, talks with her, and never mentions the absence of an ID. Same teacher, same time, same situation. The only diﬀerence Admasu can see is the color of their skins - she is black and her classmate is white. According to many students at Blair, Admasu’s experience is not a unique one.
Info Flow, Blair’s student-produced morning announcements program, has been suspended for several weeks after problems prompted the sponsor of Blair Network Communications (BNC) to pull the plug. Media teacher and BNC general manager Christopher Lloyd objected to the “appropriateness and tone” of the show, especially in relation to an Apr. 12 segment that gave the impression of a male host urinating. Lloyd said that the show “needed to maintain a higher degree of professionalism” and said that BNC is working to develop procedures to ensure the suitability of the show’s content. According to senior Annie Welch, BNC’s coordinating executive, the decision to air the segment was a mistake made by the producer that was caused by a lack of direction from their executive staﬀ. “We made a
Sophomore Lily Fischer gained a new sense of identity when she dreadlocked her hair in October. Oct. 7, 2004
In the early 2000s, future Washington Post cartoonist Eric Shansby drew for Silver Chips, creating biting editorial cartoons like this piece attacking the Patriot Act. March 14, 2002 AFTER SEPT. 11, SCHOOL IN SHOCK Oct. 11, 2001 About ﬁve minutes after 9:38 a.m. on Sept. 11, students in room 312 gathered around the windows lining the wall of their classroom. In Arlington, Virginia, a Boeing 757 had just crashed into one of the world’s largest buildings. At Blair, students looked outside and saw a dark cloud of smoke rising beyond the Beltway. Montgomery Blair High School is 14 miles from the Pentagon and 219 miles from where the World Trade Center once stood. On Sept. 11, television screens brought images of these American monuments into classrooms across the school, leaving the building drowned in a quiet shock. “You go through the halls, you usually hear noise, [but this time]--silence,” describes senior Brian Drewry. The attack on America shut down school for over a day; it rendered a Blair senior fatherless; it left at least 113 MCPS students and staﬀ mourning dead or missing parents, spouses, cousins or other relatives;
team from the window of room 168 on Sept. 8. When some members of the team taunted him for the remark, he responded by exposing his behind with his boxers halfway down. The following Monday, Blair administrators suspended Muzzatti for ﬁve days, a penalty later increased to ten days. Muzzatti return to school on September 25. Principal Phillip Gainous removed Muzzatti from oﬃce shortly after the incident under section 13 of the SGA constitution, which empowers the principal to remove SGA executive board members for gross misconduct, in Mazzutti’s case sexual harassment. Seniors Adrian Spencer and Danielle Silber circulated a petition with approximately 300 signatures aiming to reinstate Muzzatti. According to a Silver Chips poll of 100 Blair students, 84 percent agree that Muzzatti’s conduct was inappropriate and 78 percent agree that he should have been suspended for his actions. However, 90 percent of students believe he should have been allowed to remain in oﬃce.
April 18, 2018
Flicks and Stones
Chips Clips E5
by Bennett Coukos-Wiley
Across 1. Invitation response 5. Mesopotamian city now known as Diyarbakir 10. Kid 13. Grapes, in Guatemala 17. WHO tool for estimating environmental health eﬀects 18. Danish bank notes 19. Internet acronym used as a qualiﬁer 20. Kurdish poet 21. Part of VIP (abbr.) 22. Being one might make this puzzle easier 23. “I did not need to know that” 24. 5-Down is part of this 25. 1982 movie whose writer went undercover at a school for research 29. Hawaiian feast 30. Orange primates, for short 31. Symbol on a dreidel 32. “_____ you a little short for a stormtrooper?” 33. “_____ verdad” 34. British airport (abbr.) 35. 2009 song that includes a shoutout to Mr. Mister 38. “______ back in a moment” 40. HP transliterated into Greek 41. “____ Girl!” 42. 1994 movie starring Winona Ryder 45. Tolkienian tree giant 47. Father, colloquially 51. Overeater 54. Flip out 56. See 100-Across 57. Star Trek’s Kobayashi ____ 60. “Wowzers!” 61. Preﬁx with -gma 62. Common domain names 63. 2018 ﬁlm that provides hints for the other clues beginning with years 68. Originate, as in a phrase
69. Manage 70. Insurance company with a duck mascot 71. Partner 72. Age 73. One of a ﬂower’s protecting leaves 75. Californian valley 77. Tongue 79. Get ahead by a large margin 81. 2014 song from 1989 83. Selects, with for 85. Period 88. The original title of “The Piña Colada Song” 92. 1985 song written for Back to the Future 94. Environmentallyfriendly refrigerant (abbr.) 96. Tel ____ 97. Blood of the gods 99. Larry and Curly’s pal 100. This and 56-Across are the factors of a prime number 102. Do as the Romans did to roads 103. 1961 ﬁlm later remade as Flubber 107. Oracle 108. Ed n Eddy’s buddy 109. Talented people can swallow these 110. Stock 111. Utterly defeats 112. Perfume word 113. Needle cases (var.) 114. Mattress company 115. Jekyll’s other personality 116. Tie ___ 117. Ink used in laser printers 118. Dweeb Down 1. Halt again 2. _____ That 3. Computer-simulated visual environment 4. Diversion 5. It removes a tan
6. Lament 7. Quarrel 8. The lowest location on land 9. Military force commanded by state governors (abbr.) 10. Type of test 11. NH3 12. “What’cha ____?” 13. Solve, as in a labyrinth 14. Inconsistent one 15. Straighten 16. Vision 18. Big box store whose largest location is in Guam 25. Took oﬀ 26. Cirque du ______ 27. Cherishing 28. Snitch 36. Suﬃx with monot37. “Knock it oﬀ!” 39. Ralphie’s want in A Christmas Story 40. “¿Como ______?”
43. Preventative maintenance 44. Everlasting 46. It may get painted 48. Aesop 49. “I’m always ______” 50. Certain 8-bit console, for short 52. USAID transition assistance program 53. Preﬁxes meaning “nine-” 55. Impermanence 57. A Polynesian people 58. Birdlike 59. Kylo ____ 62. Athena’s bird 64. A lot of responsibility comes with this 65. Early Square Enix game (abbr.) 66. “Gee whiz!” 67. Americans, to a Brit 68. Type of shading 73. Outstanding
74. Portable computer with a touchscreen and a keyboard 76. Guest appearance, e.g. 78. Shout too much, maybe 80. Vietnamese soup 82. Reentry craft 84. Eventually 86. ______ a Kill (Bond ﬁlm) 87. Place on a surface 89. Enthusiastic pirate, perhaps 90. Swiveled 91. Always 92. Last words of a fairytale 93. Swiss cheese? 94. “Why you stuck-up, halfwitted, scruﬀy-looking nerf _______!” 95. Hygiene device 97. “_____ So Quiet” 98. Like gummis 101. Splurge 104. Number used when making brackets 105. Mentality 106. Black
To see the answers to the crossword, scan this QR code or visit tinyurl. com/april18xword
COURTESY OF WEBSUDOKU
April 18, 2018
April 18, 2018
Swingin’ into the season: A 2018 MLB preview Team-by-team overviews for the current baseball season
By Alexander Dacy After an oﬀseason punctuated by a slow free agent market, the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is underway. As usual, this season will be full of intrigue, as teams position themselves to either make a run or gear up for next oﬀseason’s vaunted free agent class. For now, the Boston Red Sox look fearsome, the Cincinnati Reds continue to ﬂounder, and the Washington Nationals are still looking for that elusive playoﬀ series victory. Here are complete predictions for the remainder of the season.
In the East, the Nationals return nearly everyone from last year’s 97-win team and should ﬁnish near that mark again, despite a middling start. They should rebound thanks to a lineup led by outﬁelders Adam Eaton and Bryce Harper. Eaton, back from a torn ACL, has an OPS of 1.079 as of April 15, while Harper currently leads the majors with seven homers. The Nationals’ prime challengers last year, the Miami Marlins, tore their team down during the oﬀseason, shipping out stars Giancarlo Stanton (who mashed 59 home runs en route to NL MVP honors), Marcell Ozuna (.312 batting average, 37 home runs), Christian Yelich (former Gold Glove winner), and Dee Gordon (three-time MLB steals leader) in exchange for prospects. Miami has limped to a dismal yet predictable 4-11 start as of April 15. Joining them at the bottom are the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves, who lack the depth and ﬁrepower to contend this year, despite making some interesting
moves over the oﬀseason. Most notably, the Phillies signed 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta to a three-year contract, potentially solidifying a young pitching corps with huge potential. Meanwhile, the Braves are waiting for MLB Pipeline-rated #2 prospect Ronald Acuña to break into the Majors. He had an excellent Spring Training in which he reached base in over half of his plate appearances and showed oﬀ elite defense. His pending arrival will mark a massive step forward in their rebuilding process. Finally, the New York Mets have a deep rotation led by the two-headed monster of Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard,
and this strength has shown with their league-best 12-2 start as of April 15. With injuries and questions abound at most other positions, however, it does not seem likely that they will continue to win at such a torrid pace.
The Cubs continue to be stacked and should win the Central once again, though not without a strong challenge from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers ﬁnished only one game out of a Wild Card spot last year, and they bolstered their outﬁeld for this year by adding Yelich and former Kansas City Royals center ﬁelder Lorenzo Cain. Cain’s elite play should carry over to Milwaukee, highlighted by his fantastic defense and penchant for getting on base. St. Louis, despite a deep outﬁeld with Ozuna, Tommy Pham, and Dexter Fowler, have their most disappointing roster in over a decade. Catcher Yadier Molina and third baseman Matt Carpenter are past their prime, while every pitcher behind two-time All-Star Carlos Martinez (career 3.45 ERA) is either unproven or has struggled mightily. While Pittsburgh is oﬀ to a strong start, their oﬄoading of stars Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole will eventually catch up to them, and they should ﬁnish below .500. Slotting in at the bottom are the woebegone Cincinnati Reds. They do not have much to look forward to other than another likely stellar season from 2017 MVP-runner-up Joey Votto (36 home runs, league-high .454 OBP last year).
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: ALL STATS AS OF APRIL 15
Despite their surprisingly slow start, the West will likely be won by the Dodgers for the sixth straight year, as all of their key players from last year’s World Series run return, where they fell just short to the Houston Astros. Their rivals, the San Francisco Giants, will try to recapture their evenyear magic, though a roster largely ﬁlled by stars in the twilight of their careers begs to diﬀer. Arizona, coming oﬀ a 93-win season, will likely take a Wild Card spot for the second consecutive season. This could hinge, though on the health of their elite but fragile rotation, headed by Zack Greinke (career 3.40 ERA), Robbie Ray (league-high 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings), and Taijuan Walker
(career-best 3.49 ERA in 2017). The same cannot be said for the Colorado Rockies, who snagged a playoﬀ spot last year for the ﬁrst time since 2009. While most players are returning, their success seemed to be a ﬂuke, as their pitchers were rocked in the second half in the thin Denver air. This will likely continue and they should fall short in 2018. An interesting team to watch is the San Diego Padres, who made one of the biggest oﬀseason free agent signings, inking powerhitting ﬁrst baseman Eric Hosmer (two consecutive 25 home run, 90+ RBI seasons) to an eight-year deal. However, the rest of their team—aside from star outﬁelder Wil Myers—is young and largely unproven, so it will be interesting to see how well the team gels.
The East will be a two-team dogﬁght the entire season between the archrival New York Yankees and Red Sox. Even though they are working through a disappointingly slow start, the Yankees’ lineup is still loaded with power hitters, featuring oﬀseason acquisition Stanton, breakout star Aaron Judge (52 home runs and 2017 AL Rookie of the Year), and young catcher Gary Sanchez (career .550 slugging percentage). They also have an elite bullpen anchored by ﬁreballer Aroldis Chapman. Boston was already stacked in all facets of the game, but decided to improve their explosive oﬀense by adding designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who launched a careerhigh 45 home runs last year. In the end, the Red Sox should come out on top for the third consecutive season. Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Baltimore should be non-factors, as they will all probably suﬀer from a lack of depth and the tough draw of the Red Sox and Yankees.
Cleveland will continue their dominance of the Central, led by one of the best one-two starting pitching combos: defending Cy Young winner Corey Kluber (career- and league-best 18 wins, 2.25 ERA, three shutouts, and 0.869 WHIP in 2017) and Carlos Carrasco (fourth in Cy Young voting last year). They will receive somewhat of a challenge from last year’s biggest surprise, the Minnesota Twins. Led by slugging third baseman Miguel Sano, young pitcher
Jose Berrios, and a deep bullpen buoyed by the signing of closer Addison Reed (30+ saves twice in his career), the Twins will pick up where they left oﬀ last season and contend for a Wild Card spot. The rest of the division is rebuilding, with the Royals jettisoning most of their top players, the Chicago White Sox developing their deep farm system, and the Detroit Tigers struggling all around. This year’s top overall pick in the upcoming draft will help the Tigers, however.
The world champion Astros improved over the oﬀseason, adding Cole from Pittsburgh and securing bench depth. They should be able to emerge victorious in the West once again to the AL’s top seed. Even though World Series winners typically fail to replicate the success of their previous season, the Astros seem poised to buck this trend and make another championship run. Seattle, fronted by ace Felix Hernandez and the slugging Kyle Seager, and the Los Angeles Angels, led by MLB’s best player Mike Trout (career average of 35 home runs, 100 RBIs, and a slash line of .306/.409/.566) and twoway sensation Shohei Ohtani, are the only potential competition for Houston, and so far this season, they have proven themselves to be up to the challenge. Ohtani has been lights out on the mound through two starts, allowing only six baserunners while striking out 18. He has also been dominant as a designated hitter, slugging three home runs with eleven RBI in only 30 at bats. The international star has captured the imagination of baseball fans on both sides of the Paciﬁc. The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics round out the West, as both teams look to rebuild after successful stints at the top earlier in the decade.
While most playoﬀ teams from last year will repeat, expect the race for the Commissioner’s Trophy to unfold diﬀerently. The Dodgers and Astros will be upset by the upstart Nationals and Yankees en route to the World Series. However, the Bronx Bombers will overcome their early-season foibles to win a classic seven-game series thanks to stellar oﬀense from Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez and their stout bullpen.
April 18, 2018
Body dysmorphia: A distorted perception The prevalence of eating disorders among high school athletes
from ATHLETES page A1
fered from an eating disorder from middle school to the beginning of high school. “In seventh grade I joined an indoor track team that was really focused on diet, and that got me really transfixed on what I was eating,” she says. “The coaches tell us to not eat too much during season.” Instead of having substantial meals, Claire would substitute meals with fruit.
Effects of the disorder
In just the span of a few months in freshman year, Sarah lost 25 pounds by eating far fewer calories than she burned by swimming. Although she felt as though losing the weight would make her faster, it only hurt her performance. “It would affect me a lot,” she says, “I would do flipturns and immediately my head would start to hurt. I remember feeling weak and dizzy and disoriented all the time.” Competitive swimming only intensified Sarah’s body dysmorphia, as it caused her to compare herself to her fellow athletes. “With swimming, everyone is extremely fit,” she says. “[I] feel like [I needed] to look like them.” Along with impaired functions, Sarah suffered from extreme mood swings, irritation, and anxiety-induced depression. “My personality is anxiety prone, and I was [eating this way] to channel my anxiety,” she says. “It also made me neglect my social life … I feel like there [weren’t] a lot of things I could control in my life, and it is very easy to control food. When I needed to control situations, I would turn to my diet.”
Anna, a junior, has had a similar experience throughout her time running track. Like Sarah, she was diagnosed with an eating disorder as a result of severe diet restrictions. “I’ve always been health conscious, but it got out of hand when I started trying to be as small as I could possibly be,” she says. “It’s a stereotype that the skinnier runners are faster, and I believed that.” Anna started to cut down her diet in seventh grade, where she restricted herself to
800 calories a day compared to the recommended 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. For both freshman and sophomore year, Anna would try to eat more when other people were around, so she could continue to lose weight without concerning her family or friends. “You can pass for quite a long time before people start to notice,” she says. “But by that time it’s too late.”
Anna’s disorder began to spiral out of control during the middle of sophomore year, when she was told to take off half of the indoor track season for her physical health. “I would start running during practice and I would hit a wall,” she says. “I would try to run but my body wouldn’t let me. I was dizzy and uncoordinated.” Claire, a sophomore also on track, suf-
Claire lost a severe amount of weight, and was then referred to a nutritionist by her doctor. The nutritionist recommended an eating plan, which she follows to this day. Both Sarah and Anna also sought medical help from nutritionists, who guided their recovery process. “My nutritionist really helped me get back on track,” says Anna. “I am in the process of recovery.” Sports-induced eating disorders tend to target a particular demographic. Studies show that female athletes are highly prone to eating disorders; according to EatingDisorderHope.com, 42 percent of female athletes competing in “aesthetic sports” display characteristics of eating disorders. According to Anna, eating disorders are so prevalent among female runners that it is desensitized. “Being an athlete makes it normalized,” she says. “I had people around me who had [eating disorders] too who just said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s really bad, but it happens.’” This desensitivity causes the issue to be widely ignored in the athletic community. Anna feels that this issue is not discussed nearly enough for the amount of damage it does for young athletes. “It is so often shoved under the rug,” she says. “It is something we need to talk about more often because it puts people’s lives at risk.”
April 18, 2018
By Henry Wiebe “Wiebe’s World” is a monthly column where sports editor Henry Wiebe expresses his opinions on current events in sports.
Heading for equality
The untold impact of the USWNT By Camden Roberts On March 7, the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) won the She Believes Cup, an invitational international tournament. Most Americans did not notice. The team maintained their ranking of number one in the world, but they still did not receive the press coverage usually warranted by an international tournament win. The USWNT is one of—if not the—most successful teams in the history of US women’s sports. They have placed in every FIFA Women’s World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1991, winning ﬁrst place three times—the most of any country in the world. The team has also won four out of the six possible Olympic gold medals since women’s soccer was added to the games in 1996. In 1999, they were honored as Sports Illustrated’s Sportswomen of the Year,’ the ﬁrst soccer team to ever receive the title. The team is coming out of an impressive showing at the tournament poised to maintain their legacy. Their talent is youthful, with the team’s two youngest players, both 19, playing well in the tournament. Forward Mallory Pugh of the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) Washington Spirit was one of only two players on the team to score. Defender Tierna Davidson, a sophomore at Stanford University, was one of only three players to play every minute of the tournament. Both started every game of the competition. In a match against the Mexican women’s team on April 5, Pugh scored another goal, backed by two from forward Alex Morgan and one from midﬁelder Carli Lloyd. Compared to the USWNT’s success, the men’s team has never won a gold medal in the Olympics or placed higher than third in the FIFA World Cup, failing to even qualify in 2018, statistics that do not make sense when given the pay disparity between the teams. When the women’s national team won the FIFA World Cup in 2015, they took home two million dollars. When the men’s national team placed eleventh in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they received nine million dollars. In March 2016, ﬁve players from the team ﬁled a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, against USA Soccer for wage discrimination. In the complaint, they alleged that USA Soccer was paying them approximately forty percent of what the men’s team made. At the time, when the men’s team lost, they would receive $5,000. When the women lost, they were paid nothing. When the men won, they were given around $17,625. When the women won, they were given $1,350. More than a year after the beginning of the legal battle, the players ﬁnalized a ﬁve year
deal with USA Soccer, giving them what The New York Times described as “A sizeable increase in base pay for the players … and improved match bonuses that could double some of their incomes.” The agreement also forced USA Soccer to maintain their support of the NWSL and required bonuses for players not under contract with USA Soccer who attended training camps. Beyond its direct impact for the women’s national team, this deal set a precedent for similar legal cases. Almost simultaneously, the women’s national hockey team made their ﬁght with USA Hockey for equal pay public. “From one [US Women’s National Team] to another,” Morgan tweeted in support, “we are behind you.” The team’s impact oﬀ the ﬁeld extends even further than improving conditions for female players within the USA Soccer program—players serve as role models for young soccer players across the country, using their platform to honor and encourage girls. Before their last game of the She Believes tournament, the USWNT held a moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. They also met with the family and teammates of 14-year old Alyssa Alhadeﬀ, a member of the girls’ soccer team at Stoneman Douglas who was killed in the shooting. As the players met with the national team, they were each presented with an oﬃcial US jersey, with Alhadeﬀ’s name and number printed on the back courtesy of the team’s equipment manager. The event was organized by USA Soccer, after Jamie and Emily Morris, the captains of the Stoneman Douglas varsity soccer team, reached out through Twitter. “The USWNT exempliﬁes strength, activism, and resilience, and as young soccer players, we admire you,” they wrote. Morgan responded, tweeting a personal invitation to the game with the message “You are ... her family, and the soccer community helps each other.” Beyond grand gestures, they are also a source of inspiration for girls simply by playing the game. Those who are inspired include sophomore Bianca Martinez Penn, a midﬁelder on the Blair girls’ soccer team. Martinez Penn has been a fan of the USWNT for a long time, and even credits them with inﬂuencing her style of play. “The way that people play is kind of subject to who they watch and ... I would say that my style kind of mirrors theirs,” she says. She also believes that the team gives young players a way to see a future for themself in the sport. “You have something that you can look forward to, and aspire to … something that can happen if you work hard enough.” Martinez Penn says. “I think that [is] really really important for girls.”
When NBA awards are announced in June, most experts agree that James Harden’s name will be called out as the Regular Season MVP. He had a fantastic season, scoring an NBA leading 30.4 points per game while leading the Rockets to the best record in the talent-laden league. He had an amazing season, but he is clearly not the most valuable player in the league. That title belongs to LeBron James. Two seasons ago, the Rockets were the third seed in the west, due in large part to Harden. When they added Chris Paul this past oﬀseason, they immediately became a superteam, winning ten more games than they did in 2016-2017. The complete opposite happened for the Cavs. They lost Kyrie Irving, their second best player. Instead of tanking, James led the team to roughly the same record as they had the year before with Kyrie. The Rockets are a great team because
they have a combination of strong chemistry, a well-constructed roster, and an elite backcourt. The Cavs are a great team because of LeBron. Traditional stats like points per game, assists per game, and rebounds per game, which are typically used to determine major awards, favor Harden. After all, he is only the fourth player in NBA history to average over 30 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds over the course of the regular season. However, the metrics used to judge NBA awards are out of touch with the rest of the sports world. The NBA uses per game stats as opposed to big picture numbers like total points, total rebounds, and total assists. In the NFL, awards are always judged by total touchdowns, yards, wins, and other cumulative statistics, and MLB awards are likewise judged by stats like RBI, runs, steals, and home runs. LeBron James leads James Harden in total points, total assists, total rebounds, blocks, ﬁeld goal percentage, games played, and minutes per game. Without LeBron James, the Cavs are a bottom-of-the-barrel team. Without James Harden, the Rockets would have still been able to make the playoﬀs. There is no doubt that LeBron James is the 2017-2018 NBA Most Valuable Player.
A BLOWOUT From left to right: junior Noah Levin, junior Noah Stern, senior Josh Dominguez, and senior Alex Feliz play against Northwood on April 11.
Baseball crushes Northwood Offensive outburst leads to victor y
By Noah Chopra-Khan Montgomery Blair Stadium, April 11— In a blowout Battle of the Boulevard, varsity baseball (5-4) destroyed the Northwood Gladiators (1-5-1) 23-2, ending the game by mercy rule after the ﬁfth inning. Junior pitcher Noah Levin struck out Northwood’s ﬁrst two batters, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Blair came out strong in the bottom of the ﬁrst, with senior Joseph Merrill leading oﬀ with a single to left ﬁeld. “We knew we had to get oﬀ to a strong start because we hadn’t really been playing well,” Merrill said, referring to the team’s back-to-back losses during a doubleheader two days prior. “That hit really did set the tone [for the game],” he said. Seniors Zachery Dunne and Edivel Montero walked, keeping the momentum going as the Blazers built a 6-0 lead in the ﬁrst inning. Going into the second, Blair subbed players in oﬀ the bench and continued to shut Northwood out. In the bottom of the inning, senior Elbi Lucas-Amaya and sophomore Nick Maynard continued the oﬀensive explosion, blasting consecutive doubles to the left ﬁeld warning track. “Elbi Lucas, unbelievable, he hasn’t started this year until [this] game and then this man hits a base-clearing double that onehopped the fence down left ﬁeld. I mean, he unloaded on it,” assistant coach Bryce Shemer said.
In the third and fourth innings, a combination of walks and errors allowed the Blazers to increase their lead to 23-2, as senior pitcher Alexander Dacy entered the game, striking out four batters over two innings. The Blazers shut out Northwood in the ﬁnal inning, which concluded the game as they were already up by at least 10 runs in the ﬁfth inning. Shemer liked how Blair worked as a team and focused on getting baserunners. “The best way to manufacture runs is to get people on base … whether it’s getting walks, [getting] a big hit … as long as we get runners on base, we’re going to do well,” he said. Shemer believes the game was also great for giving all of the players more in-game experience. “I think that game was a really good thing for us to harness our skills, really emphasize everybody from the top to the bottom of the lineup, from starters to nonstarters, everyone got a great amount of reps,” he said. Senior captain Sebastien Kraft believes the win will help build momentum for their next few games. “Just having that swath of energy come up and propel us forward is really going to help us out in these upcoming days,” he said. Two days later, the Blazers beat Paint Branch 12-6 to move back over .500.
Varsity baseball’s next home game is April 21 at 1 p.m. against Sherwood.
April 18, 2018
Starting the season with spring sports
By Elise Cauton
Baseball has been solid to start the season, with an overall record of 5-4. Senior captain Zachery Dunne notes that despite a couple of injuries that prevented the team from winning one game, he is confident that they will do well. “Some injuries kind of hurt us, but overall, I think there’s a lot of potential this year and it’s going really well so far,” he says. Along with the team having good pitching, they also have a solid foundation, which stems from their seniors. “We got a lot of leadership [because] we got a lot of seniors this year,” Dunne says. About “eight of our nine starters are seniors, so we have … a lot of experience.” Because many of the team’s key players graduated last year, Dunne emphasizes the importance of constructing a different style of leadership that is unique to the current team. “We’ve had a ton of great seniors in the past, and [we need to] figure out how we can continuously do well without those players [and] figure out … our [own] strength,” he says. Key Players: senior Zachery Dunne, senior Sebastien Kraft, senior Joseph Merrill, senior Joshua Dominguez
The softball team is currently undefeated with a record of 9-0. Senior captain Natalie Daly believes that the team will continue to perform at a high level due to their experience playing together. “We’ve got a great foundation,” Daly says. “Most of the girls on this team have been here since freshman year, and we all know each other really well.” In addition, the team’s outstanding offense and defense allows them to make impressive plays that keep them ahead of the opposition. “We have a really strong infield [and] we have a strong outfield,” Daly says. She also thinks that the environment of the team contributes to their winning streak. “I think even when we get down and or we get discouraged, we always pick each other right back up,” Daly explains. The team is looking forward to playoffs, where they hope to recreate their success from past years. Last season, the team made it to the regional finals, and two seasons ago, they made it to the state semifinals. Key Players: senior Elexzene Plain, senior Madeleine Hutchins, junior Courtney Wyche, junior Cassia Williams-Rogers
The boys’ lacrosse team is off to a steady start this season with an overall record of 2-3-1. After losing many of last year’s starters, the team is working hard to fill in the gaps. Senior captain Uro Lyi believes that the team will have to continually work hard throughout the rest of the season. However, Lyi is confident that the team will be able to come together with more practice. “A lot of new guys don’t have a lot of experience communicating and playing lacrosse at the varsity level, [but] that’ll come with games and just a little bit more time,” Lyi explains. “We have the talent to be really good this year, we just need to work together as a team.” Lyi is also expecting to do well in the playoffs this year despite their change in division, and is overall excited for the season to come. “Our division got a little tougher this year, but it’s definitely possible that we can do very well this year also if things come together,” he says. “I have a lot of confidence in our guys and I’m excited to play with them this year.” Key Players: senior Matt Morris, junior Garrett Anderson, junior Calvin Bruwelheide, freshman Brady Mason
Coed volleyball currently has a record of 4-1. Senior captain Jaya Hinton notices how the team has been improving, and attributes this to their teamwork on the court. “Our communication has been really good this year, which is pretty different from past years when we don’t really talk on the court,” Hinton says. The team has a good amount of new players this year, and teaching them new skills is a challenging part of this season, but Hinton finds value in it. “We have a lot of new players … we’re just working on teaching them ball control so that the ball is going exactly where it’s supposed to be,” Hinton explains. “[But] it’s always good to go back to the basics … because you can always get better.” Additionally, Hinton is looking forward to Divisionals and thinks that the team has a high chance of winning. “I think we have a really good shot this year, we have a really strong team,” Hinton says. Key Players: senior Brenna Levitan, senior Jaya Hinton, senior Abdulaziz Baig, junior Fiona Haverland
COURTESY OF MAGGIE LIN
THROWING STRIKES Senior Joseph Merrill pitches against Quince Orchard.
FOCUSING ON FIELDING Senior Elexzene Plain gets ready to field a ground ball.
UNDER PRESSURE Senior Uro Lyi catches a ball against a Sherwood defender.
SETTING THE STAGE Junior Fiona Haverland sets the ball for a teammate to hit.
COURTESY OF MORGAN CASEY
STANDING UP Freshman X’oniyae Stewart swings herself around the uneven bars.
BRINGING IT IN Allied softball players celebrate at the end of an inning.
TAKING A LOOK Sophomore Lauren Finlay surveys the field as she runs.
HURDLING HEIGHTS Senior Neva Taylor leaps over a hurdle in as she races.
Track and Field
The gymnastics team is off to a slow start with their overall record of 0-2. Despite their losses so far, the team is committed to doing better. Senior captain Emily Fox feels that the team needs to take more time to perfect their routines before each meet. “I think just getting our routines down solidly before we start doing our meets [is vital],” Fox says. “We haven’t really had enough time to do [so].” However, Fox believes that the team’s greatest strengths come from their enthusiasm during meets and their originality in their routines. “I think that we have a lot of spirit and … I think we’re very creative with our floor routines,” she explains. Fox hopes that the team continues to do well through the rest of their meets, especially in preparation for their final competitions. “I just hope we can do our best and get in a good place for championships,” she says. Key gymnasts: senior Olivia Amitay, sophomore Alejandra Vides-Austin, senior Emily Fox
Allied softball started the season on a good note, with an overall record of 2-1. Senior captain Tanjum Chowdhury attributes their success to the team’s chemistry on the field. “We work together, and we have a friendly environment,” Chowdhury says. Compared to previous years, Chowdhury thinks that the team is in better shape because they have more practice time and a mix of returning and new players. “Last year we had less time to practice, and a lot of us were playing for the first time,” she explains. “But this year, we have so many old players and also new players, [so] it’s great.” With all of the new players on the team, Chowdhury believes that the one thing they need to work on is communication during the games. “I think we sometimes can get confused who to throw the ball to and stuff, so we need to work on that,” she says. Key players: junior Alya Hall, junior Snegha Saravan Kumar, sophomore Ricky Ramirez, freshman Billy Scott
The girls’ lacrosse team currently has an overall record of 0-5. Despite losing a couple of key players from last season, the team is is working hard to fill the gap. Senior captain Marike Pinsonneault believes that the amount they have practiced together as a team will pay off. This time together has already led to better communication, which Pinsonneault expects will benefit the team. “We all kind of got pretty close already, and it’s already been a month, so I think that will definitely help us during games,” she says. With their communication, the team hopes to improve their overall teamwork on the field, especially as they integrate new members this season. “It’ll be our first time playing with some new people on the team, so we’ll kind of get the feel for it and go from there,” Pinsonneault says. Key Players: senior Markeeta Reed, senior Marike Pinsonneault, senior Grace Hildebrandt, senior Mia Rothberg
Predictions for the MLB 2018 season
A spotlight on the US Women’s Soccer Team
see page F1
see page F3
Continuing their strong performance last season, the track and field team is off to a solid start with an overall record of 2-0. With a new head coach leading the way, senior captain Morgan Casey is looking forward to what she expects to be a great season. Specifically, Casey is excited for Regionals, as the team will compete in the 4A North Division for the first time. “It’ll bring some new competition, [which] will be tougher for sprints,” she says. This year, the team also has many talented freshmen who have proven to be assets for the team. “[We have] a ton of freshman who are really good, which is awesome, because it just helps build the program,” she says. This season, the team has been adjusting to a new head coach, teacher Mike Zick, who also coached cross country. Zick has made modifications to develop the team in their discipline and management. “He’s made a lot of improvements to the program, in terms of just organization and motivation,” Casey says. “He’s definitely made a really big change in terms of just how we run our program and how people act.” Key Runners: senior Morgan Casey, junior Alexis Stewartson, junior Luca Cannuscio, junior Nathaniel Kinyanjui
April 2018 edition of Silver Chips Print. Editors-in-chief: Alexander Dacy and Olivia Gonzalez